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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

Roller Girl


ROLLER GIRL is not a flashy book in Newbery terms, and that is part of its charm. Stripped down just to its bare text, sentence by sentence, it wouldn’t wow me.  But ROLLER GIRL is a great example of a story presented in exactly the right format.   From the pre-title/title page/post-title page drama in […]

Orbiting Jupiter


Then Pastor Ballou prayed again, and he said that Joseph had put himself in danger to save others, and then he said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend.” And that’s when I started crying.  Crying like a kindergarten kid in front of everyone.  Crying […]

What’s Wrong With the Printz?

Debbie Reese recently noted that ALSC had added language in support of diversity to their committee manuals, but YALSA has had that language in the Policies and Procedures since the inception of the Printz Award: “Librarianship focuses on individuals, in all their diversity, and that focus is a fundamental value of the Young Adult Library […]

Most Dangerous and Drowned City


Because of the shortened season and early mock discussions, Jonathan and I may not have a chance to do our usual redux of every title on our shortlist, but we’ll attempt to make space for each one that hasn’t got as much discussion as others.  While people are still reading and commenting on RHYTHM RIDE, I […]

Curse of the Three Star Book, Part 2


On Friday, we talked about a pair of three star books that I’ve read.  Here are a whole heap–seven!–that have either languished in my to-be-read-pile or I’ve started them but not finished them (not for lack of interest, but lack of time).  So I present them here, leaning on the reviews to provide some insights […]

Curse of the Three Star Book, Part 1


We don’t necessarily create our shortlist with the intention of predicting the winners, but it’s nice when that works out.  I’ve noticed that we’ve been especially prone to missing or underestimating the winner if the book has three starred reviews.  We missed MOON OVER MANIFEST and DEAD END IN NORVELT entirely and while THE ONE […]

Rhythm Ride


No one’s commented in surprise to the presence of RHYTHM RIDE on our shortlist, but it is rare that we include a title that we haven’t posted on yet. This year’s early schedule and the intensity of recent discussion threw some things a little out of whack, so let’s get back on track. It’s hard […]

Top Five

In the past couple years we’ve checked in with our readers at various points in the year to see what they would nominate.  Due to the shorter timetable this year–the YMAs are on January 11th–we’re consolidating those into a single post.  I’ll go first.  In alphabetical order . . . DROWNED CITY ECHO THE HIRED […]



After much reading and deliberation, Nina and I have decided on the following nine–nine!–titles: DROWNED CITY . . .             ECHO . . .             GONE CRAZY IN ALABAMA . . .             GOODBYE STRANGER . . .     […]

What We Talk About When We Talk About Children’s Books

Well I can’t say that this hasn’t been an interesting season on Heavy Medal.  Jonathan and I will be announcing our shortlist shortly, but I’m due a reflection on the last few weeks. Rather than loop back into the specifics of the HIRED GIRL discussion, or the similar one that is going on regarding A FINE […]