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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

Ballot #2 Results…Well?

Interestingly, our results are not much different.

We had 41 voters this time.  The spread (also in Google Docs):

Title                              1st        2nd        3rd        Total points

FORGE                       4          5          1          33

KEEPER                      5          9          8          63

SUGAR                       0          0          5          10

KKK                           1          3          1          15

KNEEBONE               3          2          4          26

DREAMER                  2          2          7          28

DARK EMPEROR      0          3          2          13

CONSPIRACY           6          4          5          46

COUNTDOWN          3          7          3          39

ONE CRAZY             17        6          5          96

ONE CRAZY SUMMER again is by far the runaway with first place votes, total votes cast (28, over next KEEPERS 22) …. but still lacks the majority of first place votes. By pretty much the same margin. It has 41.5% of the first place votes…in Poll #1, it had 40%.

The middle ground shifts a tiny bit, but not much really.  KEEPER is, in both ballots, the next title down in points, and one could make an argument for it being a single honor book.  CONSPIRACY, COUNTDOWN and FORGE make up the next pack, though they’ve switched places (CONSPIRACY climbed up, and FORGE dropped down…I wonder if its just because we weren’t talking about it recently?), with DREAMER and KNEEBONE kind of huffing and puffing next trying to make a show, but not quite.  In this second ballot that whole middle field is a bit muddier than it was last time.  And I can’t help but think, looking at it (all very “typical” Newbery choices…none of our underdogs!), that that middle field, in this particular forum, is just a popularity contest.

I don’t think other voting…in the way we’ve been doing, is going to produce different results.  So I’m going to be bold and call this a winning ballot for ONE CRAZY SUMMER.

 I also think, personally, that when you look at both ballots, we have one single honor book: KEEPER.  It rises far above, in both.  In this ballot, it’s the only other title besides ONE CRAZY SUMMER that had a vote cast by more than half of the voting body.  In my experience, balloting for honors rarely changes the mix much…just spreads the points out to help people come to a decision that could have been made on the winning ballot.  We might produce results that got us to include the whole shebang of the middle ground, but still with a significant spread.  Recall that the honors go forward together…all as equally “also” distinguished.

What do you think? I’m expecting you to tear me apart here, so go at it.

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. Yeah and Yipppee, I am a very happy reader and voter. Good night! PS thanks for the before bedtime results!

  2. Jonathan Hunt says:

    Nina, if we call both the Medal and Honors from these two ballots then I absolutely think ONE CRAZY SUMMER should be the Medal with KEEPER as the sole Honor book. If we took ONE CRAZY SUMMER out of the mix, it would be interesting to see if those who voted for ONE CRAZY SUMMER would close the gap between KEEPER and FORGE/CONSPIRACY. I think it’s possible, but who knows?

  3. Jonathan Hunt says:

    OUT OF MY MIND wins yet another student mock Newbery . . .

  4. While I think the single honor book is a pretty good idea (even if this particular choice befuddles me), just to be a little devil’s advocatey, note that Conspiracy of Kings–even if the point total didn’t rise to Keeper’s level–got more first place votes than any book besides One Crazy Summer.

  5. I’m sad that none of the non-fiction came anywhere close.

  6. Jonathan Hunt says:

    I’m sad, too, but I think the face-to-face discussion would have closed the gap considerably, and like others, I’m a bit dubious that all of the people who voted read all of the books.

  7. Total votes are not too far off between ONE CRAZY SUMMER and KEEPER, which kind of surprises me because I feel like KEEPER was glossed over on this site. I know people like Jonathan often placed it in their top 3-5, but for some reason, lots of time was spent discussing lots of other books and I felt like KEEPER was often in the background.

    Either way, on the first ballot, 34 people included ONE CRAZY SUMMER in their top three while only 21 included KEEPER.

    On the second ballot, 28 people included ONE CRAZY SUMMER in their top three while 22 included KEEPER. The gap closed quite a bit in my opinion, but granted, it looks like you lost 9 voters. Did all those voters have ONE CRAZY SUMMER as their top choice? Did people choose not to vote for it this go-round because of immense support for it the first time, in an effort to recognize other favorites?

    It’s pretty obvious what the winner is from your vote though! Without looking it up myself, when was the last time the real Newbery had a single Honor book? Just curious if that happens often . . .

  8. And BTW, I would not be surprised at all, if MOCKINGBIRD or OUT OF MY MIND showed up on the official list of winners next week. I just feel like they’re “hanging around” yet, they show up on LOTS of other lists . . . just a gut feeling.

    I’m pulling for TURTLE IN PARADISE to walk away with something, or THE DREAMER, although I think the former is kind of a longshot. Although Jennifer Holm has been no stranger to Newbery committees in recent years . . . does that count for something?

  9. In our RI mock Newbery last night, ONE CRAZY SUMMER was our winner and KEEPER was our lone honor book. We had 21 people present, and our 2nd ballot produced 15 first place votes, 4 second place votes and 2 third place votes for ONE CRAZY SUMMER (76 total points; a vote from every member present) and 6 first place votes, 4 second place votes and 4 third place votes for KEEPER (44 total points; votes from 14 members).

    The book that was next in line, and probably would have ended up an honor if people weren’t dying to get home to bed(!) and were willing to ballot again, was KAKAPO RESCUE (4 second place votes and 6 third place votes for a total of 24 points; votes from 10 members).

    In addition to those 3 titles, we also discussed the following books last night. In total, we read and discussed 30 books between October and January (4 meetings). Our group tends towards fiction because we have many classroom teachers who have a strong interest in reading new children’s fiction, but for the first time this year we read some nonfiction (KAKAPO, KKK and SIR CHARLIE):


  10. Mr. H, assuming Wikipedia’s chart o’ Newbery recognition is accurate, the last time there was a single honor book was 1999: Holes won with A Long Way from Chicago as the solo honor. Other such years are 1991, 1980, 1979, 1974, 1965, and 1926. 1927, 1924, and 1923 had no honors.

    On the flip side, 1934 and 1931 had 8 honors each

  11. Personally, it really bothers me when the committee only chooses one honor book. Because most years there are lots more books that deserve honor. Newbery Honor Awards give a book and author a huge boost in publicity, and I really don’t think that having several Honor books waters it down much. If there was any question of having only one Honor book, I’d want to vote again, on just the honor books. After all, everybody who voted for One Crazy Summer will have a new vote to give, so it might change fairly drastically.

    Now, again, I didn’t vote because I hadn’t read four of the choices (which did not end up in the running). But if I had thrown my support to ONE CRAZY SUMMER to help it win the Medal, I would have been a little crazy to see CONSPIRACY OF KINGS then not get an honor — It was definitely looking in Honor territory after the first ballot. If I were on the committee, and it had done so well, I’d strongly campaign to keep voting or else include the three next in the pack.

  12. I’ve read rumors that single honor books often occur when the committee is deadlocked on two choices and has trouble picking a winner so they give just one honor as a way of compromise. For example True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and Maniac Magee; The Great Gilly Hopkins and The Westing Game; or A Long Way to Chicago and Holes. Seems to be something that happens when two instant classics are published in the same year and only one can win.

    Do we think that One Crazy Summer and The Keeper are in anything close to the same league as the pairs listed above?

    (I still haven’t managed to get my hands on Sugar or Dark Emperor so i was not a voter and therefore have no horse in this race)

  13. Another interesting point is that on this ballot, CONSPIRACY got more first-place votes than KEEPER did. So I don’t think that KEEPER is rising enough above the pack to declare it the only Honor book. KEEPER was strong in second-place votes. Would those votes now turn into first-place votes, or would they remain as second? It would be very interesting to find out.

    And, no, Eric, I don’t think that this pair is anything like the pairs you mention. In some ways, listing only one Honor book makes a more dramatic statement that these books are rising above the non-Honor books than the difference between the Medal and an Honor.

  14. I just read that ONE CRAZY SUMMER won the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction! Bravo!

  15. Nina Lindsay says:

    Sondy, while I take the point of CONSPIRACY having more first place votes…I”m just dubious that reballoting here would accomplish all that much. My bet is that we’d end up with a bunch of honors…in fact, those same four (KEEPER, CONSPIRACY, FORGE, COUNTDOWN) …with quite a spread. If I can figure out how to contain/control the online voting next year, we may be able to finesse this more. But finesse is not what this particular balloting seems to have produced.

    I still think it’s a very interesting result. And I want to point out that it’s an example to dispute the rumor that Eric mentions (I hear it too, all the time), that a single honor book is a symptom of a committee that was deadlocked over two top choices. I don’t think there’s any disputing here that ONE CRAZY SUMMER was by far the top choice. It’s just that KEEPER is also, by far, the NEXT choice….and far enough that it may deserve, among this pool of voters, to stand alone.

    Timing is also against us in trying to do any more voting here…as I think we’ll just continue to lose voters (who may be traveling shortly, as I will be, to the Midwinter conference). And I’d like to spend some time looking at others’ results (thanks for sharing Cheryl!), and make a last stab at some longshots.

    I’d like to continue to hear about ideas for making this voting process “better” (Monica, maybe you and I can put our heads together at Midwinter…if anyone else is there, don’t feel shy!)… I’d be curious to insert more “honor” checks, but am resistant to attempt to formalize it too much, because in the end it is very much a black box, and I’d rather just embrace that. Determined cheaters will always figure out how to cheat. And my personal speculation is that most, if not all, of those votes were “honorable.” I hear directly from a lot of lurkers who don’t post comments. I do think it’s pretty incredible that two rounds of voting with large numbers of voters did strongly suggest some sort of “consensus” around these two titles, and I feel there’s no disputing they are *among* the most distinguished of the year.

  16. Nina Lindsay says:

    (A thought, for next year…if all of the voting/discussing happened over the course of a weekend, with shorter blocks for voting, it might make it seem more of an “event” to turn up for, sifting out the serious from the frivolous…)

  17. I have always felt that the purpose of the Mock sessions is to make people more aware of the process and criteria for the real committees. It is a great opportunity to become familiar with some wonderful new books and have interesting and enlightening discussions. It is fun to think the results might in some way correspond to the official winners, but the selection of winners is less important than the examination of the merits of a selection of titles. Look how many fascinating issues have been raised here this year. While I hope everyone who voted really had read all of the books on this particular list (especially since I refrained from voting), I wouldn’t worry too much about a few who broke the rules. Making it easy to read and participate in the discussion is much more important.

  18. This process certainly makes me all the more avidly interested in what the actual committee decides. I won’t be at midwinter, but I will definitely be watching on the internet.

  19. Jonathan Hunt says:

    Reported on CCBC-NET from the Washington DC area–


    Sources of Light by Margaret McMullan

    Honor Books:

    Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

    The Firefly Letters: a Suffragette’s Journey to Cuba by Margarita Engle.

  20. Jonathan Hunt says:

    And OUT OF MY MIND also wins the Bank Street mock Newbery . . .

  21. Nina Lindsay says:

    Also on the listservs…

    Chicago Public Library: ONE CRAZY SUMMER, with honors to NINTH WARD and WATER SEEKER

    Darien Library “Newbery Visionaries”: OUT OF MY MIND with honors to MOCKINBIRD and HEART OF A SAMURAI

  22. We will be holding our vote tomorrow. I will keep you posted.

  23. Our Children’s Staff just had our Mock Newbery this morning. Our winner was One Crazy Summer, with honors for Ninth Ward and War to End All Wars.

  24. I wasn’t able to read all the books so I didn’t participate, but I have followed closely. Bravo to all of you — it’s been illuminating and fun, though my favorites didn’t win. (I LOVE Dark Emperor. The first time I read it I covered up the illustrations, and still got goose bumps.)
    On a personal note, I prefer it when there are several Honor books. Looking back over my shelves, I can’t help but notice how many of the Honors are wonderful, enduring, quality stories. I like to see more of them get recognition. But I totally understand why you did it this way.
    Thanks for the great ride!

  25. Hammockreader says:

    Like Teri-K, I really appreciate all that you offered. It helped me tremendously for our first Mock Newbery. Our 5th and 6th graders gave the Award to Dreamer and the Honors to One Crazy Summer, Out of My Mind and Kneebone Boy.

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