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Seal of Approval

Smithies Create


Published May 11, 2021

The silver seal of a Newbery Honor Book is as recognizable as the golden profile of an Oscar statuette.

And now it graces the cover of not one but two books by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley ’89. Bradley, who writes for children and young adults, learned on Jan. 25 that she had been named a 2021 Newbery Honoree for her 18th and most recent book, Fighting Words. One of her previous middle-grade novels, the No. 1 New York Times bestseller The War That Saved My Life, was selected as a Newbery Honor Book in 2016.

Fighting Words book coverFighting Words is about two sisters, 10-year-old Della and 16-year-old Suki; sexual abuse; and healing. The American Library Association, which awards the Newbery Medal and names “truly distinguished” Honor Books, commended Bradley for creating “a survival story that transcends—addressing the toughest of topics with honesty, hope and humor.” On Twitter, Bradley posted an updated image of the book cover with its embossed foil seal. “I like the way it looks with a sticker,” she wrote.

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley ’89
Dial Books, August 2020

This story appears as part of the Smithies Create column in the Spring 2021 issue of the Smith Alumnae Quarterly.

Photograph by Amy MacMurray