No Crystal Stair (2012) and Africa Is My Home (2013).
Our hero in Jean Lee Latham's 1956 Newbery winner is Nathaniel Bowditch, a Massachusetts polymath whose book The New American Practical Navigator (1802) revolutionized the science of navigation. We meet Bowditch when he is only six years old, and follow his life through to his return from his last sailing voyage in 1803. This choice of time frame allows Latham to focus on Bowditch's navigation and nautical exploits; the second act of his life, in which Bowditch published a number of scientific articles, and worked as a noted actuary and investment manager, goes unremarked upon. I've complained before about biographical works that only cover part of their subjects' life (looking at you here, You Never Heard of Willie Mays?!), but I think Latham made the right choice; the narrative arc comes to a logical conclusion at the point where Latham elects to end the story.
I didn't really know what to expect from Carry On, Mr. Bowditch -- it's one of those more obscure Newbery titles, and I knew almost nothing about it except for the title. It started a bit slowly, but I ended up very much enjoying this one. Bowditch is a strong, interesting protagonist, and although most of the secondary characters don't get much screen time, they come across effectively enough. The setting also works well; I felt the excitement of Salem and Boston in the early days of the United States as I read. I was sorry to see Carry On, Mr. Bowditch end.
I will confess that I cringed during the descriptions of Bowditch's interactions with the Malay people in Sumatra; I have no doubt that it's an accurate depiction of how the American sailors thought about their trading partners, but given that nowadays, we'd call that "racist," it's a bit awkward to read. I've read much worse from the time period, however; even if those passages in the book would be frowned upon now, I certainly wouldn't call Latham a bigot in the context of her era.
Three Honor books were named in 1956, the best known of which is probably The Secret River, by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. The most famous eligible book that was shut out of that year's awards is almost certainly Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson. Harold is a classic, but I don't think it works at all without the illustrations, and I wouldn't have supported it for the Newbery over Carry On, Mr. Bowditch.