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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

Good Odd


On the eve of the National Book Award finalist announcements, I’m coming out the gate with my dark horse: THE KNEEBONE BOY. Page One: There were three of them. Otto was the oldest, and the oddest. Then there was Lucia, who wished something interesting would happen. Last of all was Max, who always thought he […]

Nonfiction Monday

The National Book Award finalists will be announced on Wednesday.  You’ll remember that last year two of the finalists, CLAUDETTE COLVIN and CHARLES AND EMMA, were informational books and a third, STITCHES, was a memoir in the form of a graphic novel, bringing the grand total of nonfiction titles to three. I don’t know that the Newbery […]

Poetry Friday

When we survey the poetry written for young readers, the best stuff seems to fall into two categories–verse novels for young adults such as WICKED GIRLS or BORROWED NAMES–and picture books like UBIQUITOUS or MIRROR, MIRROR.  Additionally, the longer poetry collections that we do see are not always written by a single author, and even […]

City Dog, Country Frog


Some of you have been speculating what will be the DUNDERHEADS of this year…that is, a picture book that Jonathan and I think is strong enough under the Newbery criteria to put on our Mock discussion list. Illustrated books are eligible for the award …they just have be found distinguished on the basis of their […]

The Child is the Father of the Man

DaNae wrote– THE DREAMER was lovely in every way except the way in which I can get my students to pick it up and read it. (Oh, stop reaching for your Newbery Criteria handbook already; I know that child appeal is NOT to be considered. As long as one kid is in the audience – […]

One Crazy Summer


Jonathan tempered his enthusiasm for this title just slightly by noting that his appreciation for the author may be a bias.  The fact that the book is set in my hometown may be my bias. But I think it’s undeniable that One Crazy Summer excells in voice and character.  I especially appreciate the complexity of […]

13 vs 14

As you know, the Newbery audience goes up to and includes the age of 14, but this spring the ALSC membership will have an opportunity to lower the age of service from 14 to 13 (while increasing it at the bottom end from preschool to birth).  If the proposed changes to the bylaws pass, there […]

I won’t grow up


I know I’m supposed to be reading down my Heavy Medal pile, but first I had to finish BLACK SWAN GREEN by David Mitchell, which is perhaps the finest book I have ever read.  At least, it goes up there on my “so-devastatingly-wonderful-I-want-it-with-me-always” shelf with Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let me Go and The Unconsoled, Ursula LeGuin’s Left […]