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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

Where’s the…?

Jonathan’s just posted on the range of National Book Award nominees, and the Newbery Committee process for narrowing down to nominations.  In recent comments, "A Teacher" remarks "I get the feeling through reading these comments that "distinguished" to lots of people means "historical fiction".  And Jane "One last discussion question: is PC policing going on to [...]

National Book Award Nominations

The National Book Award finalists were announced yesterday with some surprises that sent the children’s book community into a tizzy.  The NBA finalists always tend to skew older, favoring YA to children’s books by a two to one ratio, and this year is no exception.  Thus, it’s not that surprising that WHEN YOU REACH ME, A SEASON OF GIFTS, and THE [...]

When The Whistle Blows

Monica notes that we’ve not yet talked about When the Whistle Blows here. It does bear comparison to The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate and A Season of Gifts.  It is episodic, historical, and told from an adult-perspective looking back [sic, see comments] . It took quick a while to draw me in, but I tried to tell myself [...]

The King Died And Then the Queen Died

We recently discussed the slower pacing of THE EVOLUTION OF CALPURNIA TATE, how it may have just as many events as other historical fiction titles (RIOT, A SEASON OF GIFTS, and THE BROTHERS STORY), but how the author uses at least twice as many words.  She does use beautiful language, but it slows the story considerably. We also already [...]

Callie Vee

THE EVOLUTION OF CALPURNIA TATE does have that nice Southern and/or country voice that we often associate with the Newbery, not to mention a spunky heroine, but  . . . don’t you think it’s too long and boring to win the Newbery?   Several years ago Vicky Smith bemoaned the fate of Disappearing Children’s Books.  I think [...]

Save The Date

Jonathan’s post on sentence-level style reminds me of Monica’s "Thoughts on Newbery" posts over at Educating Alice, most of which she posted while serving on the committee (with me) that ultimately selected Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! This level of discussion–about exactly what identifiable qualities in an eligible book make it "distiguished"–is the type of discussion [...]

These Are the Times That Try Men’s Souls

Style is one of the Newbery criteria.  Defining it can be a challenging thing, but we often know it when we see it.  See if you can spot which sentence–all very similar in meaning–is distinguished for its style.  (You may recognize these examples from THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE by Strunk and White.)   1.  Times like these try [...]

The Brother’s Story

I’ve been running (or getting someone else to run , thanks Sharon ) a live Mock Newbery discussion in Oakland CA since 2003. Predicting the "winners" has never been the main point for me…it’s the experience of the process, and the sharing of that experience. But when our Mock winners correlate with the actual ones, I [...]

Please read the Peck

I’m sure we’re not done with A Season of Gifts, but I’m sure exhausted and fried by this discussion, and need to take a break.  Meanwhile: I’ve seen in comments here and also at Debbie Reese’s blog, many people who–symphatetic to "my camp"–suggest they now have no desire to read the book. That was never [...]

Take Two: A Season of Gifts

I have now finished rereading A SEASON OF GIFTS and all of the posts and comments that we have written about it.  I enjoyed my second reading and found it as distinguished as ever, but I hope that I have gained some insights into why Nina and I have diametrically opposed views on this book.   I [...]