The 2011 Newberry Medal was announced yesterday. The winner was Moon over Manifest, by Claire Vanderpool:
"Abilene Tucker feels abandoned. Her father has put her on a train, sending her off to live with an old friend for the summer while he works a railroad job. Armed only with a few possessions and her list of universals, Abilene jumps off the train in Manifest, Kansas, aiming to learn about the boy her father once was."
-From Random House
Confession: I don't know much about it. But I am reading last year's winner (When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead) at the moment, and finding it quite lovely and engaging.
The Newberry Medal is awarded every year by a committee of librarians to recognize "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children."