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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

No Rest for the Weary

Everywhere I ask, the mood about starting another year seems a little…exhausted. Pensive. Hopeful that 2010 will be "better than 2009."  Note Peter Sieruta at Collecting Children’s Books: "Oh well, life will get better. The Newbery and Caldecott winners will be announced two weeks from tomorrow!"

Yep, and I spent my restful holiday furlough re-reading our titles for discussion and keeping up with all your comments!  After this coming weekend, we’ll have some Mock results to share with you, and the following week, the real ones will be in.  Meanwhile, in case you’re still not getting enough:

Over at GoodReads, there’s a Mock Newbery discussion group, as well as a list where you can just vote. (And strategic voting really does count there.)

Anderson Book Shop is offering a mail in ballot for groups of young readers.

Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services holds their Mock Newbery this Wednesday.

Allen County Public Library will hold theirs on January 9th, the day before ours.

Eva Perry Mock Newbery Club….hmm. Can’t tell when they’ll be deciding. But they’re always on top of things. (Saw them once at ALA, wearing t-shirts that said "…But is it distinguished?")

St. Joseph County Public Library holds their final meetings on the 14th and 15th, just days before the final annoucements. 

Did I miss yours? Let me know….

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. Jonathan Hunt says:

    Anderson’s Book Shop has 25 shortlisted titles, but not a single nonfiction title. Rhode Island has 16 shortlisted titles, but no nonfiction. Allen County has several, which is a break from past practice when the nonfiction was lumped solely in their mock Sibert. Good job, Allen County. Eva Perry has 29 titles, but no nonfiction. My own student-driven mock Newbery has three nonfiction titles (out of ten) so I wonder what role the Eva Perry organizers play in shaping the student nominations. Far and away, the most eclectic and diverse list (nonfiction, picture books, poetry, YA) and therefore the one that should most closely resemble what the Newbery is actually considering is St. Joseph’s. Well done, Kris Springer! :-)

  2. The Oregon Library Association, the Washington Library Association, and Multnomah County Library are presenting a Mock Newbery program on January 9th in Portland. We’ll be discussing 8 books: Almost Astronauts, Heart of a Shepherd, How Oliver Olson Changed the World, The Magician’s Elephant, Red Sings from Treetops, When You Reach Me, and Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. And we’ll get the added treat of hearing Newbery insights from three former committee members: Nell Colburn, Ellen Fader, and Katie O’Dell. We’ll share results next week.

  3. Nancy Werlin says:

    This seems as good a place as any for a little love-note directed to Nina and Jonathan, with thanks to them, to SLJ, and to all those who have commented for conducting such a lively and provocative discussion. I check daily and have thoroughly enjoyed every post and every comment. One more week to go–keep it up!

  4. a teacher says:


    Discussions get lively at times, but as an elementary teacher stuck in the middle of the country and with no real outlet to expressive my interest in children’s literature, this blog has been awesome!


  5. Hi Jonathan! Thanks for the compliment. We’re in our 4th year of doing a Mock Newbery Club and we refine and improve each year. I had a great intern this year helping me create the list (yay Kathy–check out her blog at , based on reviews from review journals & blogs, as well as looking for big name authors who were publishing, and titles that I knew the students would love–the latest Percy Jackson, the latest Mysterious Benedict Society, for example. I’ll be blogging about this tomorrow for our library, but right now The Last Olympian and Catching Fire are the most lauded books (based on the number of nominations I received from the 19 students). But I was pleasantly surprised by a good # of nominations for The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate and When You Reach Me. Unfortunately the students avoided the nonfiction titles, but I did get a few to read Claudette Colvin and they said they were glad they did. It is always harder for me to get them to read nonfiction–they love to read fiction, especially fantasy, so nonfiction is a real stretch and I’m sure feels a bit like something they’d read for schoolwork instead of enjoyment.

  6. Jonathan Hunt says:

    Thanks, Nancy!

    Kris, my students overwhelmingly gravitate toward fiction, too (although I do have a fourth grade boy who reads about 50% nonfiction). We do have several nonfiction titles on our student-created shortlist (CLAUDETTE COLVIN, TRUCE, and MOONSHOT), but none of them have very much support. I think TRUCE has the best shot, and is picking up steam. No girl readers on it yet, but five boys and counting . . .

  7. Kate Messner says:

    What Nancy said… These conversations have been thought-provoking and fantastic. Thanks!

  8. [OMG…a little love fest provoked by Nancy Werlin. Boy, did I need that today. I’ll just float happily through the rest of my meetings and tuna fish sandwich now…]

  9. Kathi Appelt says:

    I’ll chime in too, Jonathan and Nina! I’ve learned so much from reading your posts, as well as from the thoughtful comments. Thank you for providing this forum.


  10. The Eva Perry Mock decision is scheduled for Jan. 15, so blog/website should be updated before official announcement made Monday. (The blog is updated now as well.) We require 3 opinions before a title is eliminated from What We Are Reading. We read 287 titles this year, a lot of those non-fiction. Our kids just did not like the non-fiction this year, but described them all as dull or text-book style, or depending too much on illustrations.

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