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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

A Conspiracy of Mockingjays

Well, what did you think?  I liked it.  I liked the fact that it didn’t retread the Hunger Games for a third time and I found the war themes interesting, but it was too internal for my tastes and Katniss became too passive.  And I still think THE HUNGER GAMES is not only the strongest book […]


We’ve tentatively decided on Sunday, December 12 for our live Mock Newbery discussion in Oakland CA…with a reading list ETA at Halloween. A quick refresher on the Newbery process: A brand new committee forms each year, charged with considering eligible books from that year only…not to be compared to other books by the same author, […]


I’m sure this doesn’t surprise you, but I was only lukewarm on the previous books of Deborah Wiles, namely LOVE, RUBY LAVENDER and EACH LITTLE BIRD THAT SINGS.  Those books just weren’t my cup of tea (too character-driven, too leisurely paced, and too cute for their own good; in short, too girly).  So I didn’t […]

The Lady (and the Sugar) and the Tramp

This is looking to be another rollicking year for nonfiction. Tanya Lee Stone’s THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE BARBIE is an easily engaging, broad and provocative perspective on the history and cultural currency of Barbie.  Of note is how different Stone’s authorial voice is in this title as compared to her last year’s Sibert […]

Great Expectations

When ESPERANZA RISING was published, it immediately leaped to the top of my Newbery list and remained there for most of the year before being nudged aside in the fall by SILENT TO THE BONE.  Of course, the Newbery went to A YEAR DOWN YONDER and none of my top three–with THE ART OF KEEPING […]

Why I do this

This has always been my favorite time of year.  Fall colors, new school supplies, my birthday… …and now, with it firmly in the blogosphere, the start of book award season.  On Friday, Betsy “stepped up her game” at Fuse #8, and Roger put the trend of speculation-frenzy into perspective. The first week of blogging here […]


I liked THE UNDERNEATH quite a bit, but I found the resolution of the stories vaguely unsatisfying.  HOLES, THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX, and AMERICAN BORN CHINESE have set the bar pretty high for these kind of stories, and I just felt like something about the ending was a little bit off.  Maybe a second reading […]

Conspiracy of Kings

Alright, I figured the photo of my shelves would be a good opening party trick, but I do have to explain that those piles will start shifting, and quickly, as we get going in our discussions. So let’s go! Why not start with A Conspiracy of Kings, whose position in my pile many of you […]

When It Rains, It Pours

Many of the books that we discussed last year continued to win prizes during our hiatus, and I want to mention a couple that I helped choose. First, MARCHING FOR FREEDOM is the winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize with CHARLES AND EMMA, THE LOST CONSPIRACY, THE RISE AND FALL OF SENATOR JOE McCARTHY, and TALES […]

The Wonderful World of Comment Moderation

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