Follow This Blog: RSS feed
Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

Can’t seem to keep them out of the Newbery Collection

Halloween is turning out a little hairy in the City of Oakland. It’s layoff notice day. (Neither of yours’ truly affected, directly.)  And then there’s this zombie librarian in the stacks, trying to stamp "discard" on The Story of Mankind.

Matters of…apples and oranges

Sharon posted a couple weeks ago about Chains, and I’m just now catching up. I’d actually started the book long ago…and put it down, a couple of times. I did find myself engaged once I committed myself to it, but I still have the lingering feeling that I never quite believed Isabel as a character. […]


It’s way more fun when you have a non-fiction title or two to discuss at the Mock Newbery.  Because remember, non-fiction is, of course, eligible for the award.  Last year’s winner, in fact, was non-fiction.   What about this year?  Non-fiction thoughts or frontrunners? I talked about Knucklehead in my last post about funny titles and humor […]

Why don’t funny books ever win the Newbery?

I’ve heard people ask this question in the past.  "Why don’t funny books ever win the Newbery?"  I’ve been thinking a little bit about it.  First of all, I’m not sure it’s entirely true that they never win, but it is surely not the genre of book that tends to win.  When I have participated […]

"Graveyard Book" ineligible after all?

Thanks, Lisa @ the Eva Perry Mock Newbery Club, for alerting us to the fact that The Graveyard Book might be ineligible after all, as one chapter ("The Witch’s Headstone") was included in Gaiman’s M is for Magic last year. I’ve placed a hold on that book so that I can compare the previously published […]

More on the Newbery nomination process

I want to make sure to address a couple of comments from my post on Autumn Leaves and Shortlists, by referring to guidelines in the Newbery Committee Manual.  Usually, the entire manual is available online, but at the moment ALSC is working through a website revamp. I’ll be sure to post the link as soon as […]


How about Laurie Halse Anderson’s Chains?   The novel contains quite a few characteristics that I won’t be considering when I think about it in terms of a Mock Newbery contendor.  For example, the cover is striking and beautiful and the book design is old-fashioned and evocative of the time period during which the story takes place […]

The Highway Cats

Here’s one that no one’s mentioned yet. Two mangy cats lay a bet on some kittens left in the median of a busy highway: which one will avoid becoming roadkill? Miraculously, they all make it. The kittens continue to work some miracles on the strays, including instantly-likeable tough-guy Shredder and the frightening Khalia Koo–a Siamese so […]

Autumn Leaves and Shortlists

October is the month when Newbery committee members start to show their cards to each other. All year long they’ve been sending suggested titles to the chair, who sends a compiled, anonymous list back to the whole committee monthly.  But before the final deliberations in January, committee members each must formally nominate six titles–usually three […]

Underneath uncovered

Thanks Becky for just putting my question directly to the author! Here’s "Becky’s Book Reviews" interviewing Kathi Appelt, which more than fully adresses my questions about the mythology in The Underneath. Be sure to read the whole thing…and to stop back for day 2.