Search on ....
Subscribe to SLJ
Follow This Blog: RSS feed
Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

What Are We Looking for in the Newbery?

Seen her before in some book?

Now is the time of year I have to triage my reading: I accept I won’t be able to do it all.  I use your comments, the Goodreads Mock Newbery list, and Jen J’s starred review spreadsheet, as a first place to try to figure out what is getting “buzz.” But once I’ve narrowed down that […]

The Popcorn Astronauts


THE POPCORN ASTRONAUTS by Deborah Ruddell is an excellent poetry collection, definitely one of the best of the year, perhaps the best Newbery eligible collection, especially if we think of Marilyn Nelson’s MY SENECA VILLAGE as more of a narrative work of poetry. All of the poems in THE POPCORN ASTRONAUTS are about food, as the subtitle […]

Lost in the Sun


Lisa Graff appeared on our Newbery radar with the publication of A TANGLE OF KNOTS which was long listed for the National Book Award, then came another strong book with great reviews (ABSOLUTELY ALMOST), and now she delivers what is arguably her best novel to date, LOST IN THE SUN. I am not the ideal reader […]

The Thing About Debuts


It’s easy to keep track of authors from whom we expect excellence; harder to stay on top of debut authors.  A pitfall of debut writing can be when it serves as a “warm-up”: a good writer, with a good idea, works that idea into a novel that…works, though sometimes the idea can feel more present than the […]

Hey, Old Friends: Part 2


When I started my list of sequels this year, it grew so rapidly that I decided to focus on sequels of Newbery-winning books, but there are some other high profile sequels as well, and a couple of them have already creeped into our discussion. COMPLETELY CLEMENTINE by Sara Pennypacker . . . This is the […]

Gone Crazy in Alabama


I used to open every box of children’s books for review that arrived at my library…but it’s not my direct job anymore, and I had to let go of the micro-managerial (and selfish!) urge to be the first to get my hands on everything.   So it was that I only got to read GONE […]

Hey, Old Friends


We know the odds of repeat Newbery recognition are slim (the percentage of repeat winners in the past 5 years ranges from 20%-50%) and the odds of repeating for a sequel are slimmer still–in fact, limited only to Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper, Robin McKinley, Cynthia Voigt, and Richard Peck.  And yet we cannot help but […]

Why We Do What We Do

Now that we are rolling, I want to take a moment to say that this will be my last season on Heavy Medal. I started it in 2008 with my colleague Sharon McKellar (Jonathan joined in 2009), but we’d been blogging about our Mock Newbery discussions a couple years before that, and I’ve been holding Mock […]

George and the Question of Didactic Intent


Given our conversations so far, I think GEORGE is the perfect next book to discuss because (a) it is indeed serious work, and (b) it is also didactic (an issue we’ve been exploring in our discussion of ECHO). Now the Newbery Medal is expressly NOT given for didactic intent.  Throwing the D-word at a book, however, […]

Serious Work


There’s a concern, somewhat but not totally borne out by reality, that the Newbery only goes to “serious” works. While it does seem harder for lighthearted or funny books to win, there are no limits to the type of literature that is eligible, just that it be “original work.”  Here, however, are three titles from early […]