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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

We Are the Ship

What is it that makes We Are the Ship so heart-thumping? Anyone who enjoys a live baseball game will feel that familiar stadium-big excitement that comes across in Nelson’s stunning paintings, with their photographic compositions and larger-than-life perspectives. The heft of the large square book adds to the thrill, and I find myself turning to […]

Turkey and Andes and Spiders Oh My

Just a quick reminder to dust off your copy of Charlotte’s Web and read that and Secret of the Andes in between stuffing yourself with turkey and if you’re lucky with stuffing as good as my mom’s homemade!   Sometime soon after this week, when I return from sunny Florida, I’ll post my thoughts on that […]


Gary Schmidt’s Trouble is one of the books this year that hangs on tenacioulsy in my memory, even though it came out in the spring.  With layer upon layer of plot and character development, Schmidt creates a perspective that is real to life and constantly surprising.  He catches the mood shifts of a family in […]

The Charming Alvin Ho

I just read (in a couple of hours, if that) Lenore Look’s Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary  Things.  And I loved it.  I know, I know, whether or not I loved it is not relevant, but I just wanted to point it out.  It’s another "funny book" and it’s slight, a […]

Last Call: Still Looking for Titles

"Thanksgiving" is roughly when Sharon and I try to have our final list of 8 or 9 titles pinned down…giving participants in our January discussion a good six weeks to read them all.  We’ve announced our first five, and have some ideas about what the last few will be–but we still want to hear from […]


Sharon gave a brief overview of how we organize our Mock Newbery, and I talked more about choosing titles.  We’re now at the stage of shaking out the end of our shortlist, and I’m officially consigning some of my favorite titles of the year to the "UnMockable" shelf. These include: The Astonishing Life of Octavian […]

Another Interesting Newbery Site

In my random blog readings, I came across an intersting site I wanted to share with you all.  Called The Newbery Project, this is a group blog that anyone can join.  Members read Newbery winners (whichever ones they’d like) and post about their thoughts on them. These readers are not necessarily looking at the books […]

Secret of the Andes – Part I

In 1953, the Newbery Committee chose a Newbery winner and five honor books.  The winner?  Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark.  The honor books?     * Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White     * Moccasin Trail by Eloise Jarvis McGraw     * Red Sails to Capri by Ann Weil     * The Bears […]

Fruitcake weather

Anyone who thinks you can’t tell autumn in California just isn’t sensitive enough.  This weekend was beautiful: blazing permission leaves flinging themselves and baring their fruit to the squirrels, National election euphoria tinged with local election catastrophes, "Christmas Trees Coming Soon" banners unfurling over fading "Condos Coming Soon" signs on empty lots…and the New York […]

The Porcupine Year

Louise Erdrich’s The Porcupine Year received multiple starred reviews and showed up on a bunch of blogs when it was released in September (including Debbie Reese‘s and Fuse#8’s). And if you take a look at it on Goodreads, you see that fairrosa calls it "one of the better books of the year" and Monica‘s tagged […]