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

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 you if there’s something that didn’t come up already, or if something that has already been mentioned hasn’t shown up yet on the shortlist

To catch our interest, be as detailed as you can about how the title you’re pitching speaks to the Newbery criteria. Use specific examples. And if you disagree with us over something we didn’t like, take us on!

Nina Lindsay About Nina Lindsay

Nina Lindsay is the Children's Services Coordinator at the Oakland Public Library, CA. She chaired the 2008 Newbery Committee, and served on the 2004 and 1998 committees. You can reach her at


  1. The Hunger Games is the best book I’ve read all year. Graceling was also good but may be too adult for a Newbery.

  2. I second SherriT’s “Hunger Games” suggestion. I know Nina has concerns about character development, but I think it would be great for discussion. Especially given the recent School Library Journal article mentioned in an earlier post, which faulted recent winners for not being popular. It would be fun to have a popular book to compare to more literary ones with that discussion in mind.

  3. I know you already posted about The Porcupine Year, so I hope it’s going to be on the shortlist, but I want to mention it again. As I just posted on Goodreads, so far this is my pick for the Newbery. Truly, everything about it is distinguished. The setting is beautifully realized; there’s a real sense of progress through a year; I felt I came to know all the characters; the style is nicely simple, in keeping with the simplicity of the plot, and yet there’s a richness in the way words are used. The “presentation of information” is always interesting, never comes across as didactic.

  4. RichiesPicks says:

    It is so bizarre to think of a story set in the 1980s as historical fiction! I would urge the inclusion of Gary Schmidt’s TROUBLE on your list. I well recall why I love many of the books so far suggested, but this is the one that continues to make me feel.

  5. Susan Campbell Bartoletti’s The Boy Who Dared is a remarkable book, a fictional exploration of a true story from the author’s Hitler Youth. Distinguished for its presentation of theme, its chilling setting, and its portrayal of a character whose conscience evolves….

  6. Emily Jiang says:

    I’ve commented on Sharon’s original posting just now, but I’ll add to this one. Kelly Link’s Pretty Monsters is a collection of 9 short stories, surreal, out-right weird, compelling in their strangeness, a quality complimented by illustrations drawn by Shaun Tan.

  7. Kay Powers says:

    I nominate The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones by Helen Hemphill (Front Street) for its unusual historical perspective and historical accuracy of the multi-cultural cattle drives as told through the eyes of an African-American cowboy who is trying to escape Reconstruction in the South after the Civil War by joining a cattle drive. There simply aren’t many books written recently for kids about cowboys — and certainly none written about African-American and Hispanic cowboys and there thousands of them. This adventure allows kids to learn about the West, the time period and the cultural issues of the time without middle schoolers even realizing how much information they are digesting. The richness of the writing and the literary references to Greek mythology add another dimension as well.

Speak Your Mind