Karen Cushman

Karen Cushman

Newbery award-winning children’s book author

Karen Cushman


The Midwife's Apprentice

The Midwife's Apprentice

From the author of Catherine, Called Birdy comes another spellbinding novel set in medieval England. The girl known only as Brat has no family, no home, and no future until she meets Jane the Midwife and becomes her apprentice. As she helps the sharp-tempered Jane deliver babies, Brat—who renames herself Alyce—gains knowledge, confidence, and the courage to want something from life: “A full belly, a contented heart, and a place in this world.” Medieval village life makes a lively backdrop for the funny, poignant story of how Alyce gets what she wants. A concluding note discusses midwifery past and present.

More than 1,112,000 copies available on bookshelves around the world!


Discussion guide

Podcast: an introduction to The Midwife’s Apprentice, as well as a short excerpt from the book, on TeachingBooks.net.

My Bookshelves: Medieval Times: Here are some of the books I used for research while writing about Brat. I hope you enjoy reading them or using them for your own writing.

Awards and Recognition

Newbery Medal

ALA Best Book for Young Adults

ALA Notable Book for Children

Booklist Editors’ Choice

Horn Book Fanfare Selection

School Library Journal, Best Books of the Year

ALA Best Book for Young Adults

Hungry Mind Review Book of Distinction

Notable Children’s Book in the Language Arts

Not Just For Children Anymore! Selection (CBC)

Parenting Magazine Reading Magic Awards

Pacific Northwest Library Association Young Readers Choice Award Short List

Parents’ Choice Gold Award

American Bookseller “Pick of the Lists”

New York Public Library, 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing

ABC Children’s Booksellers Choice Award

NYPL Books for the Teen Age List


“With simplicity, wit, and humor, Cushman presents another tale of medieval England. Here readers follow the satisfying, literal and figurative journey of a homeless, nameless child called Brat. … Earthy humor, the foibles of humans both high and low, and a fascinating mix of superstition and genuinely helpful herbal remedies attached to childbirth make this a truly delightful introduction to a world seldom seen in children’s literature.” (School Library Journal, starred review)

“This novel is about a strong, young woman in medieval England who finds her own way home. … Kids will be caught up in this short, fast-paced narrative about a hero who discovers that she’s not ugly or stupid or alone.” (Booklist, starred review)

The Midwife's Apprentice
Newbery Medal

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