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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

The Dreamer–More Middle Muddle

THE DREAMER adds an interesting angle into the Middle Muddle…what to do with fiction based on biography? I think Ryan achieves excellence in character and setting through her style…using imagery and sound with an exagerrated clarity intended to mimic the poetry of Neruda.  Neftali and his family, and his home, certainly come alive for me […]

Middle Muddle

Wendy wanted to know how I could possibly rate KEEPER higher than ONE CRAZY SUMMER, and now that I’ve reread both books, I can address that question. KEEPER PLOT: The action of this story is very slight, but through the use of short chapters and numerous flashbacks, Appelt infuses it with lots of suspense.  Ultimately, […]

Beating the Bushes

The Newbery committee has almost certainly traded two more November nominations and will shortly trade a final two in December (for a total of seven).  Back in October, we traded our own initial mock nominations.  Mine were KEEPER, SUGAR CHANGED THE WORLD, and A CONSPIRACY OF KINGS, and others chimed in with their top three […]

Secret of the What?

As we start to pick apart our shortlist, we’re finding plenty of flaws in all of our favorites….which is not at all surprising. No Newbery winner is flawless. But the flaws complicate that already complicated puzzle of how to measure books against each other that are totally different.  A thread that’s shown up in various […]

Sir Charlie

STYLE I think the most salient feature of SIR CHARLIE is the strong narrative voice: lively, opinionated, sympathetic, and engaging.  Fleischman has lots of tricks in his narrative bag, but one of my favorites is his strong use of imagery throughout.  Consider these similies and metaphors from the first three pages of the Introduction alone. […]

Another Crazy Summer

Let’s let Jonathan and me get over our shock regarding the NBA winner. But DaNae’s comment is apt: the NBA award has totally different criteria than the Newbery. In fact, NBA juries develop their own criteria, and the award has a reputation for “upsets.” We’ve talked about One Crazy Summer already, but I re-read it recently […]

Best Books

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD The National Book Award will be announced tonight, and I’m 90% sure that it will be ONE CRAZY SUMMER and 10% sure that it will be SHIP BREAKER.  Only two books–M.C. HIGGINS THE GREAT and HOLES–have won both the National Book Award and the Newbery Medal (and, incidentally, also the Boston Globe-Horn […]

Some things that happen for the first time….

Monica Edinger remarks on a tidbit picked up in an interview with Betsy Bird, questioning the expectation for “popularity” in Newbery books, and indeed, on our ability as adults to gauge that popularity. Monica occasionally posts “Thoughts on Newbery“, and I encourage you to browse these for some provoking discussions. She’s good at taking the […]

Conspiracy Revisited Again

PLOT Plot is the arrangement of the events in the story, and here Turner has again given us her signature twists and turns with lots of tension and suspense.  The book has some great adrenaline moments–the abduction of Sophos, escaping from the traitorous baron Hanaktos, solidifying power at Elisa, Attolian troops arriving at the eleventh […]

Conspiracy Revisited

I first read A CONSPIRACY OF KINGS almost a year ago, and I decided to read it again this fall to see how it holds up, having read many more eligible books since then.  I was even more impressed on a second reading and the book remains firmly ensconced in my top three.  We’re going […]