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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

And the Winner is . . .

Twenty five people met yesterday at the Rockridge Branch of the Oakland Public Library for several hours of spirited discussion on our shortlisted titles.  We broke into two groups with Nina facilitating one discussion and I facilitating the other.  Nina will report on her group a bit later today, but here are the results for my group.


MARCHING FOR FREEDOM by Elizabeth Partridge 
WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead

When we finished a lively first round of discussion, there was such admiration for so many titles that I was really not sure how the voting would go.  We had ten voters in my group (plus two people who had not read all of the books, but joined in the discussion).  On the first ballot, MOUNTAIN had four first place votes, CLAUDETTE three, MARCHING two, and WYRM one.  We removed ALMOST ASTRONAUTS, CHARLES AND EMMA, and THE DUNDERHEADS (sob!) from contention for having little to no votes, but the remaining books remained fairly close in terms of overall points.  On the second ballot, MOUNTAIN received the five votes to win, but did not have the point spread, and we removed CALPURNIA for dwindling support.  On the third ballot, MOUNTAIN received the votes and the point spread.  We had to make a decision, then, between only CLAUDETTE as an honor book or all three (as CLAUDETTE always stood a handful of votes above the other two).

Jonathan Hunt About Jonathan Hunt

Jonathan Hunt is the Coordinator of Library Media Services at the San Diego County Office of Education. He served on the 2006 Newbery committee, and has also judged the Caldecott Medal, the Printz Award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. You can reach him at


  1. Sondy at Sonderbooks says:

    Interesting! I like your list. I’ve read all of those titles, except MARCHING FOR FREEDOM, and I think they are all worthy of honor. I wonder how the real thing will go…

  2. Interesting! My children’s dept (13 voters) mock awards gave it to When You Reach Me (by a large margin) with honors for When The Mountain Meets the Moon and Claudette Colvin. I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens.

  3. The Washington Library Association, the Oregon Library Association, and Multnomah County Library held our Mock Newbery this past weekend also. About 50 people took part and our Medal choice was: “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon” by Grace Lin. We also had one Honor book: “When You Reach Me” by Rebecca Stead. Third place went to “Heart of a Shepherd” by Roseanne Parry.

  4. I’ve started compiling these results. So far I’ve got your Oakland group, Jonathan; Multnomah; Austin TX; and ACPL in Indiana. Plus your library, Shelley.

    So far in the Meta-Mock-Newbery, we’ve got:

    When You Reach Me (3: Shelley’s library; Austin, TX; ACPL)
    Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (2: Oakland 1; Multnomah)

    When You Reach Me (2: Oakland 1; Multnomah)
    Claudette Colvin (2: Oakland 1; Shelley)
    Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (1: Shelley)
    Marching for Freedom (1: Oakland 1)
    All the Broken Pieces (1: Austin)
    Calpurnia Tate (1: Austin)
    Written in Bone (1: Austin)
    Anything but Typical (1: ACPL)

  5. How long before publishers put “Winner of the Mock Newbery” on their books? Has the Oakland Public Library considered an award sticker?

    : )

  6. Jonathan Hunt says:

    Miriam, ACPL has two mock Newbery results. The one you listed is for the kids’ Newbery, but the adults chose WHEN YOU REACH ME with CROSSING STONES and PEACE, LOCOMOTION as honor books.

    Faith, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. Stay tuned for Nina’s results later today. Interesting comparison and contrast between the groups.

  7. Thanks, Jonathan! That’s an interesting way to do it. I’ll post another meta-list after I see what Nina’s group did…

  8. Jonathan Hunt says:

    And if you google Ossining Public Library (surburban upstate NY), you’ll see they chose CALPURNIA TATE with WHEN YOU REACH ME and ALMOST ASTRONAUTS as honor books. Would love to know what the Rhode Island group chose. Anyone know?

  9. Jonathan Hunt says:

    BCCLS Mock Awards (NJ)

    Printz Award Winner:
    Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith by Dorothy Heiligman

    Printz Award Honors:
    Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
    Fire by Kristin Cashore

    Newbery Award Winner:
    The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

    Newbery Award Honors:
    Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
    Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland by Sally M. Walker

    Caldecott Award Winner:
    The Lion & the Mouse written and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

    Caldecott Award Honors:
    Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
    Wombat Walkabout by Carol Diggory Shields

  10. Alright, updated Meta-Mock-Newbery, now with Nina’s group, the ACPL’s adult group and Bergen, NJ:

    When You Reach Me (5) (Austin, ACPL kids, ACPL adults, Shelley’s, Oakland/Nina)
    Calpurnia Tate (3) (Ossining, BCCLS, Bergen)
    Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (2) (Oakland/Jonathan, Multnomah)

    When You Reach Me (3) (Oakland/Jonathan, Multnomah, Ossining)
    Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (3) (Shelley’s, BCCLS, Bergen)
    WRitten in Bone (3) (Austin, BCCLS, Bergen)
    Claudette Colvin (3) (Oakland/Jonathan, Shelley’s, Oakland/Nina)
    Calpurnia Tate (2) (Austin, Oakland/Nina)
    Marching for Freedom (Oakland/Jonathan)
    All the Broken Pieces (Austin)
    Anything but Typical (ACPL kids)
    Crossing Stones (ACPL adults)
    Peace, Locomotion (ACPL adults)
    Almost Astronauts (Ossining)
    The Dunderheads (Oakland/Nina)

    The Honors are all over the place!

    And if I were to emulate’s Jonathan’s best-of-list strategy, it would look like:

    When You Reach Me (5 wins, 3 honors)

    The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (3 wins, 2 honors)
    Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (2 wins, 3 honors)

  11. Shelley’s = Oak Park Public Library, IL, fyi :) I love seeing the mock updates; thanks, guys.

    (And thumbs up to the three groups that gave Honors to Written in Bone – that was my favorite nonfiction of the year.)

  12. a teacher says:

    What’s the facilitator’s role in these discussions (and in the real committee discussion)? I’m seriously NOT trying to start anything or cry foul in any way, I just find it extremely interesting that in Jonathan’s group, WHEN YOU REACH ME scraped by with an honor yet in Nina’s group, it seems to have won fairly easily and early (Nina had her winner after two ballots whereas Jonathan’s took three).

    Numerous times on this blog I have inferred that Nina is a strong supporter of WHEN YOU REACH ME while Jonathan did not appear to be too strong of a supporter of the novel!

    Is the facilitator just one more voice in the room and if their voice or arguments happen to be the loudest or most convincing, so be it? Or does the facilitator actually get some freedom in what is discussed and for how long?

    And please, I’m am purely asking out of curiosity. I love seeing all the differing opinions!

  13. …and yet, Jonathan was a big supporter of Dunderheads, which flopped in his group, and while I was the first champion for Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, it flopped in mine and turned out in his.

    The facilitator facilitates…but also votes. Generally the facilitator tries to make sure everyone else is talking, and comments to refocus the discussion, or to bring in points that no one else has.

    I do think that the facilitator has more potential “undue” influence in a Mock committee than in the real committee. In the real committee, there is a full year for the chair to impress upon each member the importance of their role as individuals, and in those discussion I don’t see one person’s comments having more weight than others.

    Good question, and I do want to start dissecting the intricacies of the differences in these results!

  14. Jonathan Hunt says:

    I don’t think I had much influence on the fate of WHEN YOU REACH ME. We discussed the pros and cons of the book for about fifteen minutes, but none of the stuff on this blog (both recently and way back in September) was discussed.

    WHEN YOU REACH ME only had one first place vote after the first ballot, but it had about four second place votes. I think in a real committee situation any of those four books–CLAUDETTE, MARCHING, MOUNTAIN, and WYRM–might have emerged as the winner.

    Here’s my first ballot.


    Here’s my second ballot.


    Here’s my third ballot.


  15. Cheryl Space says:

    The Rhode Island group (25 people, primarily school library media specialists and classroom teachers) selected:

    When You Reach Me

    Honor Books:
    Umbrella Summer
    Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

    These results were determined after one ballot – WYRM was the clear winner with 13 first place votes.

  16. Jonathan Hunt says:

    1. Miriam, thanks for compiling these results. One note: Bergen and BCCLS are the same (i.e. Bergen County Cooperative Library System).

    2. Doris Gebel posted the Northport-East Northport Library mock Newbery results on CCBC-NET. Hers was a kid-centered one with WHEN YOU REACH ME as the winner with WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON and THE MAGICIAN’S ELEPHANT as honor books.

  17. Oops. I should’ve noticed that they completely agreed (since no one is agreeing that completely on Honor books)! No need to thank me—I’m compiling them because it’s fun (and fascinating).

    That fixed, and with Northport and Rhode Island:

    Win Votes
    WYRM 7 (Austin, ACPL Kids, ACPL Adults, Oak Park, Oakland/Nina, Northport, RI)
    Calpurnia Tate 2 (Ossining, BCCLS)
    Where the Mountain 2 (Oakland/Jonathan, Multnomah)

    Honor Votes
    Where the Mountain 4 (Oak Park, BCCLS, Northport, RI)
    WYRM 3 (Oakland/Jonathan, Multnomah, Ossining)
    Claudette Colvin (Oakland/Jonathan, Oakland/Nina, Oak Park) (It must by an Oak-y book!)
    Written in Bone 2 (Austin, BCCLS)
    Calpurnia Tate 2 (Austin, Oakland/Nina)
    Marching for Freedom 1 (Oakland/Jonathan)
    All the Broken Pieces 1 (Austin)
    Anything but Typical 1 (ACPL Kids)
    Crossing Stones 1 (ACPL Adults)
    Peace, Locomotion 1 (ACPL Adults)
    Almost Astronauts 1 (Ossining)
    The Dunderheads 1 (Oakland/Nina)
    The Magician’s Elephant 1 (Northport)
    Umbrella Summer 1 (RI)

    I think it’s really interesting how broad the list of Honors is, with 10 books getting an honor nod from a single Mock. That said… WYRM is making a pretty impressive showing. (Deservedly, IMHO).

  18. a teacher, I think if the facilitators were hugely influencing the ballots, THE DUNDERHEADS would have been an honor in Jonathan’s group rather than Nina’s. ::grins::

  19. a teacher says:

    I was just wondering in terms of steering discussions in certain directions . . . I too noticed THE DUNDERHEADS issue before I posted my question, and I knew Jonathan was a huge fan of it, but I also remember Nina’s post before releasing the second half of her reading list in which she admitted that it was growing on her.

    Either way, I thought that WHEN YOU REACH ME stood out more to me than THE DUNDERHEADS and was wondering if the facilitator gets to steer the discussion in directions that they see fit! Just curous . . . Thanks Nina for explaining!

  20. Jonathan Hunt says:

    Managing a discussion between fifteen people is a very difficult job. Like Nina said, you have to make every member feel like they are contributing, you might have to reign some of the more verbose people in. You have to keep the discussion focused on the books and the criteria. And you have to keep things civil. I think most chairs want to avoid the appearance of undue influence and go out of their way to do so. I think my chair only commented on a handful of books, but she was very involved in managing the discussion. We had to ask her afterward what her favorite book was because nobody could discern it from the discussion.

  21. Jonathan Hunt says:

    Rachel V just reported this on Fuse–

    We had our Mock Newbery discussion yesterday, and When You Reach Me won. And you’re right – there was a lot of “I LOVE this book.”

    Our honor books, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate and The Year the Swallows Came Early, also had their fervent supporters, though. Especially Swallows. Actually most people picked either Swallows or When You Reach Me as their first title, with Calpurnia as the perpertual runner-up.

    Full disclosure, though: I neglected to include Claudette Colvin when I finalized our discussion list in December, and that might have changed things.

  22. Another Meta-Mock Update, with Darien Library coming out of left field with Slob as their winner pick. (Apologies if my sports metaphors are bad).

    Win Votes:
    When You Reach Me 8
    Evolution of Calpurnia Tate 2
    Where the Mountain Meets the Moon 2
    Slob 1

    Honor Votes:
    Where the Mountain Meets the Moon 4
    When You Reach Me 3
    Claudette Colvin 3
    Written in Bone 2
    Anything but Typical 2
    Marching for Freedom 1
    All the Broken Pieces 1
    Crossing Stones 1
    Peace, Locomotion 1
    Almost Astronauts 1
    The Dunderheads 1
    The Magician’s Elephant 1
    Umbrella Summer 1
    Year the Swallows Came Early 1
    Chasing Lincoln’s Killer 1

    (Tallied from 13 mock discussions: Austin, ACPL Kids, ACPL Adults, Oak Park, Oakland moderated by Jonathan, Oakland moderated by Nina, Northport, Rhode Island, Rachel V, Ossining, BCCLS, Multnomah, Darien. And yes, this time I check that I’m not double-counting anyone.)

  23. I’m not bored yet and a few more Mock announcements were on CCBC today, so here’s another Meta-Mock-Newberry, with additional data from Bank Street, Brooklyn Public Library, and Rochester, NY:

    When You Reach Me 12
    Evolution of Calpurnia Tate 2
    Where the Mountain Meets the Moon 2
    Slob 1

    Where the Mountain Meets the Moon 6
    Claudette Colvin 4
    Evolution of Calpurnia Tate 4
    When You Reach Me 3
    Anything but Typical 3
    All the Broken Pieces 3
    Written in Bone 2
    Marching for Freedom 1
    Crossing Stones 1
    Peace, Locomotion 1
    Almost Astronauts 1
    The Dunderheads 1
    The Magician’s Elephant 1
    Umbrella Summer 1
    Year the Swallows Came Early 1
    Chasing Lincoln’s Killer 1
    Eleven Birthdays 1
    Love, Aubrey 1
    Wild Things 1

  24. Jonathan Hunt says:

    Bank Street College of Education in NYC, a kid-driven mock Newbery, selected WHEN YOU REACH ME with 11 BIRTHDAYS and WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON as honor books.

  25. Jonathan Hunt says:

    Oops. You beat me to it.

  26. Jonathan Hunt says:

    I’m trolling the internet for these . . .

    Rockland County, NY

    Love, Aubrey by Suzanne Lafleur (winner)

    Anything but typical by Nora Raliegh Baskin (honor)

    The Girl who threw butterflies by Mick Cochrane (honor)

  27. Jonathan Hunt says:

    Briar reported her results in the Love, Love, Love thread–



    I’m getting CCBC-NET in digest, but noticed Middleton, WI which I don’t think we have noted yet.

    *When You Reach Me *by Rebecca Stead

    *Anything But Typical* by Nora Raleigh Baskin
    *All the Broken Pieces* by Ann E. Burg
    *Where the Mountain Meets the Moon *by Grace Lin

  28. Ms. Martha says:

    The Eva Perry Mock Newbery Book Club of Wake County, NC, chose winners for their 11th year!
    The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon

    The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry
    The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
    Jane in Bloom by Deborah Lytton
    Watersmeet by Ellen Jensen Abbott

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