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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
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What Breaking News?

I’m always pleased to see good New York Times coverage of the awards. I was up at 6:30 this morning to read:  Very New York Novel Wins Newbery Medal.  Motoko Rich’s article focusses mostly on Rebecca Stead, with a a nice secondary piece on Jerry Pinkney, and couple of mentions of other awards.  

I do have a kneejerk reaction that is not always appropriate about the NewYorkCentricism of New Yorkers.  Here, I had to admit to myself that Rich’s is a perfectly fine spin on the Newbery for the New York Times. However, it just struck the wrong tone with me because the bigger news to me is that Jerry Pinkney is the first individual African-American to get a Caldecott Medal…the only other African American medalist was Leo Dillon (who shared the medal with his wife Diane) in 1977 and 1976. That’s a long stretch.  Has the wider media really not realized this?  It happened on MLK day for ____ sake. Rich does not mention it. 

(And the fact that WYRM is set in NY is just not important to anyone who doesn’t live there. Sorry. I still think it’s a bad headline.)

[update: here’s Karen MacPherson’s article, mentioned in the comments, which does mention Pinkney’s achievement.]

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. Monica Edinger says:

    I understand your feeling completely, but I have to say I was tickled to see her note the New York aspects of the novel as the Times is for some of us New Yorkers, our local daily newspaper.

  2. I see your point, but I think “location, location, location” matters more to the general NYT reader than the fact that Jerry Pinkney was the first individual African American male to win the Caldecott. Most general readers of the newspaper don’t follow the history of children’s books, so this racial “first” wouldn’t mean as much to them as the fact that a “hometown” book won the prize.

    I’m from Detroit and when Christopher Paul Curtis won the Newbery for BUD, NOT BUDDY, the newspapers talked more about the fact that a novel set in Michigan won the award than that CPC was the first African-American male to win the Newbery.

  3. I realize I’m making a small quibble, but there is a difference: the NYT is one of “the” National newspapers.

    I just always find it interesting to see how the broader media pick up the news. There’s often a few kinks.

  4. Karen MacPherson says:

    As a former reporter, I totally understand that the NYTimes would play up the “New York-ness” of WYRM. That’s just natural.
    But the fact that Jerry Pinkney is the first individual African-American to win the Caldecott Medal is definitely the biggest news of the day. I write a weekly children’s book review column for Scripps Howard News Service, and I wrote a piece yesterday for today’s newspapers about the awards, playing up the importance of JPinkney’s winning the Caldecott Medal. I can’t link to the article here, but it’s easy to find via Google.
    BTW — I’m a longtime lurker on this blog. It is so wonderful to have this online community of children’s lit lover. You guys rock!

  5. Thanks Karen! I linked to your article back up at the end of the post.

  6. Fairy Bookmother says:

    Personally, I was excited that a sort of fantasy/sci-fi book won for the second year in a row. Go unrealism!

  7. Marge Loch-Wouters says:

    I was really excited that Jerry Pinkney’s amazing book was announced as the medal recipient on MLK day. It was so fitting to me as I sat in the audience and that was my big shout-out!

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