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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

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 FROM OUTER SUBURBIA as the other finalists.  Of course, just prior to this MARCHING FOR FREEDOM had won School Library Journal’s Battle of the (Kids’) Books, and just after it would win the Jane Addams Award, and eventually the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Nonfiction.  I also got to moderate a panel with Betsy and Deborah the next day as part of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.  Betsy and Deborah hardly needed me, however, as they were both lively, engaging, and had plenty of wit and wisdom to share.

Second, the PEN USA Literary Award is given to an author living west of the Mississippi for a children’s or young adult book.  The books were selected from the pool submitted by publishers, and will be recognized in a ceremony later this year.  THE DUNDERHEADS is the winner with ALL THE WORLD, LAST NIGHT I SANG TO THE MONSTER, and THE MAGICIAN’S ELEPHANT as finalists.  Of course, THE DUNDERHEADS had previously been shortlisted for the Greenaway Medal (the British version of the Caldecott Medal), and word on the street is that it’s being developed into a movie, so it too had a nice run.

Other books also racked up more accolades, most notably . . .

  • When the Bank Street College of Education handed out their annual awards, WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON and THE EVOLUTION OF CALPURNIA TATE shared the Josette Frank Award (fiction), while ALMOST ASTRONAUTS took the Flora Stieglitz Straus Award (nonfiction).
  • WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON also won the Mythopoeic Award for Children’s Literature.  (I swear I read in Publishers Weekly that Little, Brown had acquired rights to sequels for this  book, but for the life of me, I cannot find it now.)
  • While MARCHING FOR FREEDOM won the Jane Addams Award, CLAUDETTE COLVIN and ALMOST ASTRONAUTS filled the honor book slots.
  • This is going back a couple of years now, but surely you heard that THE GRAVEYARD BOOK also won the Carnegie Medal.  You might not have realized, however, that CHAINS was also up for the award.

And, finally, if you missed Nina’s excellent Horn Book article, “Newbery 2010: The United States of Newbery” then be sure to track down the July/August issue because you can also read Rebecca Stead’s wonderful Newbery speech.  Two for one!

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. Welcome back, Jonathan! I’m already wondering about one of the interesting parts of this blog: Which books will you and Nina disagree about? And am I beginning to figure out your individual tastes? (Probably why it’s a good thing the committee changes every year.)

    I got to go to the Newbery Awards in June, and it was a nice culmination of all the discussion. Thanks for doing this!

  2. Jonathan Hunt says:

    Well, I’m as curious as anyone to learn which pile is which. I currently favor the theory that the bottom left pile is the one Nina really likes, but then how do you explain the presence of ALCHEMY AND MEGGY SWANN and the absence of A CONSPIRACY OF KINGS. It’s truly puzzling.

  3. I know that the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards has a different publication time range for which books are eligible. Do you know if any of those Award or Honor books (besides A CONSPIRACY OF KINGS) are eligible for the upcoming ALA awards?

    Oh, let’s see: THE DREAMER should be eligible for the next Newbery. (And I’m really hoping it will at least be an Honor book — Though too bad the great illustrations can’t work in its favor.) I’m not sure about I KNOW HERE, ANNE FRANK, or SMILE.

  4. Jonathan Hunt says:

    The only BG-HB books eligible for 2011 ALA awards are THE DREAMER and A CONSPIRACY OF KINGS. ANNE FRANK and SMILE were published last year and I KNOW HERE is Canadian.

  5. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure SMILE was published this year.


  6. Jonathan Hunt says:

    Oops! Of course, you are right, Peter. It probably felt like a 2009 book to me because I got the ARC last fall. I was too lazy to look it up.

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