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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

Welcome Back!

We’re back! Welcome to another year of Heavy Medal, the blog of everything Mock Newbery. Through the next few months, Jonathan and I will discuss the Newbery medal and possible contenders for this year. We’ll also invite you to and report on our live Mock Newbery discussion held in Oakland CA, and on the final, real awards.

The actual Newbery deliberations happen at the ALA Midwinter conference…which is particularly early this coming January.  This probably means an early-mid December date for our Mock Newbery, as it’s all holiday weekends after that up to the big one. Stay posted.

Meanwhile (and as Jonathan and I work out the new blogging software here at SLJ…thank goodness!), let us know what you’ve been reading and why you think it meets the  Newbery Terms and Criteria. Be specific! 

If you want to know what I’ve been reading, take a look at my shelves.  There’s a “read it” pile, a “really liked it” pile, a “really disappointed” pile and a “to read” pile (which is still missing many titles that I’ve got on hold at my library.  You can try to guess….

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. I’m hoping that the books to the left on the bottom shelf (including ALCHEMY AND MEGGY SWANN and WHAT HAPPENED ON FOX STREET) are the “really liked it” pile. Those are two of my personal favorites so far, though I haven’t read them with an eye to the Newbery criteria yet.

    Looking forward to this fall’s discussion!

  2. We’ve been waiting for the return of Heavy Medal. Welcome back!


  3. Hooray! You’re back! I can finally get to some serious reading. Can’t wait until the real discussion begins. Looking forward to another great year!

  4. Jonathan Hunt says:

    While I’ve still got about a dozen books I’m looking forward to reading–I’m very jealous that Nina has a copy of THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE BARBIE by Tanya Lee Stone–if I had to cast my Newbery ballot today, this is what I’d go with (in no particular order): KEEPER by Kathi Appelt, SUGAR CHANGED THE WORLD by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos, and A CONSPIRACY OF KINGS by Megan Whalen Turner.

  5. Welcome back, Nina! I was happy to meet you at ALA.

    This year, I’ve been thinking about Newbery possible titles as I read. My favorites so far are One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams-Garcia, followed by The Dreamer, by Pam Munoz Ryan.

    Of course, I always want anything by Megan Whalen Turner to win something — but that’s because the series is so good. I have no real perspective on whether A Conspiracy of Kings could win anything. Is it for too old an age group? Does it stand alone? It’s hard for me to judge, because I love it because I love the series.

  6. I’m guessing the top picture is the “to read”, the left standing stack is “really liked it”, the middle stack on its side is the “read it” pile and the right standing stack is “really disappointed” which makes me a little sad because I was looking forward to Bink and Gollie since I love good easy reader/early chapter book type things.

  7. I’ve been checking in every day for awhile now…welcome back! So glad to see you!

  8. Elizabeth Bird says:

    How fascinating. To my mind the “really disappointed” pile must be the one containing “Mockingbird”, “Touch Blue” and (most interesting to me) “The Water Seeker”. Huh! Not a “Water Seeker” fan, eh? With that in mind, the pile with Megan Whalen Turner, Louis Sachar, and Pam Munoz Ryan is the “really liked it” pile. But if that’s true then that means that you haven’t read “One Crazy Summer”, which doesn’t make a lick of sense. It’s possible that that’s the “really disappointed” pile though, in which case I am now officially depressed.


  9. YES! I’ve been checking every day since September started, not wanting to miss anything! (Yes, maybe I have a problem. Especially since I’m subscribed to SLJ newsletters that would probably inform me right quick.)

    There’s still a whole bunch of MG on my to-read shelf and I’m looking forward to that list growing thanks to this here blog.

    I actually have a fair number of books on my own “disappointed” shelf, including five-times-starred Incarceron and A Tale Dark and Grimm. I’m kind of on the fence with The Boneshaker, so I’d really love to discuss it/see it discussed. I loved Reckless but I assume it’s not eligible (German author). I think Jonathan should totally give the Dunderheads treatment to Mirror, Mirror and Yummy.

    I haven’t read any of the Megan Whalen Turner books, but I have A Conspiracy of Kings on my Hold list at the library, we’ll see how I come down on the “stands alone” question as a reader who’ll actually be reading it in a vacuum. (don’t worry, if I like it I’ll go back and read the other books… I’ve actually really liked a couple series that I read last first).

    And… YAY!

  10. I am glad heavy medal is back. Nina spoke to our 2010 Newbery committee last year-very helpful in the decision and reading process-thank u. I know it may not be a contender but it made me want to re-learn bridge is The Card-Turner. I have read several books but none so far is “magic” for me. Which makes it fun to read your blogs.

  11. I’m really curious about which pile is the “disappointed” pile. It can’t be the bottom middle pile, because A Conspiracy of Kings is in that pile. And, that’s just impossible. Right? Whether it stands alone, though, is a totally different question. Can’t wait for your commentary!

  12. Elizabeth Bird says:

    Oh wait. I’m recalling a conversation I had with Nina half a year ago. Yes, the “disappointed pile” is the one in the second picture on the far left.

    Now sell me on “The Cardturner”.

  13. There are excellent books in all three piles so I can’t imagine which is which!

  14. I don’t believe it–as I remember, Nina gave at least four stars to One Crazy Summer on Goodreads. I think the top stack is “to-read”, the bottom left is “really liked”, the bottom middle is “read”, and the bottom right is “disappointed”. Geez, we’re easily amused.

  15. So glad you are back!

    My co-workers and I have been having some awesome debates over the past few months. We run a Mock Newbery club (“Newbery Visionaries”) for kids and we’ve got our first list up which includes Countdown, One Crazy Summer, Out of My Mind, and a few others I see on your shelf. We are still working on our second shortlist. We plan on giving the kids about 16 or 17 books to read and vote on. Narrowing down our longlist has been no easy feat!

    If you want to check out our Newbery Visionaries kidblog, it’s :–)

  16. You’re back! I love this blog.

  17. I’m a HUGE fan of MOCKINGBIRD for the Newbery, and I hope that’s not the disappointed pile!

  18. The Newbery Visionaries website is awesome! I’m looking to read aloud some of the contenders in my 5th grade classroom this year and hope to lead some good discussions about the Newbery and such . . . The Newbery Visionaries website gave some great, kid-friendly language, that will help this make better sense to my students. Thanks!

  19. And by the way . . . where is KEEPER in those stacks?

  20. Am I the only one who votes for “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth”?

  21. Anyone know if Plain Kate is eligible? I’m guessing not, as the author lives in Canada, but she was born in Iowa, and the rules say citizenship OR residency… and it’s an excellent book.

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