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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

Lifting the Veil

So we’ve had some back and forth on Peck’s Season of Gifts this week. Jonathan’s heading out of town, but I don’t think he’ll mind me stirring the pot a little, at least to collect some of the great thoughts that have popped up in the comments. Jonathan suggests I’m making a moral argument about [...]

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

First of all, I do think the previous books affect A SEASON OF GIFTS in a negative way as much as a positive one.  Sure, some readers will already have a comfortable relationship with Mrs. Dowdel, but I think that the first book, A LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO, is clearly the superior book of the trio, and, too, both  [...]

A Season of Gifts..Don’t Throw the Popcorn

I know how much Jonathan likes this book because he wrote the starred Horn Book review. Other reviews rave as well. Besides great characters, it boasts a deceptively strong voice that wants to be read aloud. The sort of voice you just disappear into so you forget it’s a voice, and not the events transpiring before [...]

It’s an Outrage!

Eric brings up some good points in his comments to Nina’s post on ALMOST ASTRONAUTS, some of which I agree with and some of which I do not.   I, too, wanted more information about how the men fared compared to the women (especially since it was such a point of emphasis), and I do [...]

Everything Newbery

If you’ve been wondering exactly what a Mock Newbery is…I’ll point you back to Sharon’s post from last fall, So You Want to be a Mock Newbery Star? For a flashback of our Mock Newbery discussion last year, check out Anatomy of a Mock Newbery. Last year I’d hoped to lead people through the intricate recesses of [...]

Infinitesimal Minutiae

In the comments to a previous post, some eligibility questions were raised about a couple of titles.      I’m not so sure a 2008 copyright date disqualifies ODD AND THE FROST GIANTS by Neil Gaiman.  It’s highly unusual that a Newbery book would be published outside of America first, but as I read the criteria that does not necessarily disqualify [...]

Marching for Freedom and Claudette Colvin

Jonathan and I have both mentioned it’s a strong year for nonfiction. Of the many titles that have been recommended for my "must read" list, I’ve just finished two that bear close comparison, and both are very strong titles under Newbery Criteria.  Both rely on personal interviews with people who were young activists in the [...]

The Trip Is a Difficult One

I have WHEN YOU REACH ME and A SEASON OF GIFTS rated as the best fiction I’ve read so far, but I think it’s been a relatively weak year for fiction.  The nonfiction, on the other hand, has been stellar–and I like about a half dozen titles.  I’m also still thinking about some poetry, picture books, and graphic novels.  Although [...]

Time Slip: The When You Reach Me Debate Rages On

When I was in sixth grade, a class I didn’t much like, I’d sneak a moment of closing my eyes. Looking only at the backs of my eyelids, I’d tell myself that in this blink, I was actually being transported into another world…and just like in the Narnia stories, living an entire, full, exciting adult life…then [...]

When You Reach Me: A Time Travel Tutorial

While the characters, setting, style, and theme are all distinguished elements of WHEN YOU REACH ME, I don’t know that any of them push the book past the other serious contenders into the realm of most distinguished.  Rather, the book’s claim to most distinguished rests primarily on the plot which uses the conventions of genre fiction, namely mystery and [...]