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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

So you wanna be a Mock Newbery star?

At this point we’re going to start taking some time to tell you a little bit about how to run your own Mock Newbery, if you’re so inclined.  Of course there are probably an infinite number of ways to go about it and an huge number of ajustments that can be made to the way that the Oakland Mock Newbery works.  So, what we’ll be providing you is how *we* do it, possibly with information about other ways to potentially make it work.  We welcome comments from other folks who have run or participated in Mock Newberys who might have some great ideas of their own to share!  

First of all, the Oakland Mock Newbery is for adult participants, so our methods are geared towards adult readers, adult discussion, etc.  There are certainly fun and exciting ways to run a sort of Mock Newbery discussion with children and I’d love to hear about those of you who’ve had success doing so!  

Nina told you, in our very first post, what exactly a Mock Newbery is.   Now it’s time to talk a little detail.  I thought I’d start by giving a general to-do list in chronological order that covers a large part of the work that goes into a Mock Newbery before, during and after.  If I’ve left anything out, let me know!  And we’ll expand on some of these in posts of their own as we work our way through the process.

Steps for planning and running a Mock Newbery:

*  Set up a location for people to find information.  Nina and I have been using blogs for the past 3 years.
*  Spread the word through colleagues, friends and mailing lists that you have a Mock Newbery blog or website.
*  Read read read and then read some more.  This includes reading reviews, blogs, and child lit related mailing 
    lists to see what books people are talking about.  And then also reading those books!
* Solicit suggestions for books from your own readers.  Read those books too!
* Pick a date and location for your Mock Newbery and announce it.  Make sure it’s before the actual Newbery 
   Committee anounces their winner and honors, but not TOO much before.
* Don’t forget to take the Newbery Criteria into consideration in your reading, and remind your readers to do the
* Begin to work on a short list of books to be considered in your discussion.  The real Newbery committee 
   considers many more books, but you’re going to want to look at a small number.  Seven or eight or maybe 
   nine.  It’s nice to get about half of those chosen and announced sometime in October so your participants can 
   begin reading.
* You want to give your participants plenty of time to get and read all the books (make sure they know that they 
   should read them ALL), so make sure you have a final list announced in plenty of time for the day of your 
   Mock Newbery.
* Send that final list to all the people who have expressed interest in attending the Mock Newbery as well as 
   posting it on your page.
* As the date approaches you’ll want to make sure all your participants receive an email that explains how the 
  discussion will work and reminds them of the date, time and location as well as the final booklist.
* In preparation for the day of, you’ll want to have copies of discussion guidelines, the Newbery Criteria, and 
  plenty of ballots.  Snacks are nice too.  

I’m sure I’ve left some things off, but that’s sort of a general sense of what goes into planning a Mock Newbery.  We’ll definitely expand on many of these items – in particular how to select the books and how the actual day is formatted. 

I’m getting excited already!

Sharon McKellar About Sharon McKellar

Sharon McKellar is the Supervising Librarian for Teen Services at the Oakland Public Library in California. She has served on the Rainbow List Committee, the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee, The Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Committee, and the 2015 Caldecott Committee. You can reach her at

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