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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

A Monster Calls

As Nina mentioned, eligibility issues are decided by the chair in conjunction with the priority consultant.  I’m going to hazard a guess about A MONSTER CALLS.  The book has been getting lots of buzz, and deservedly so.  It’s one of the better middle grade titles of the year. The monster showed up just after midnight.   As they do. […]

Picture Book Newbery

Here we go again. Every year Jonathan and I try to find at least one picture book that seems like a potential Newbery contender.   Though a widespread general assumption pigeonholes the Newbery as an award for older, longer fiction, the award terms state right upfront that “There are no limitations as to the character of the […]

Spring Nonfiction Newbery Contenders

Last year was another really strong year for nonfiction.  SUGAR CHANGED THE WORLD, THEY CALLED THEMSELVES THE KKK, and THE WAR TO END ALL WARS were particularly strong, but they were all published for ages 12 and up, and it’s hard enough to build consensus around a nonfiction title, let alone one that may also […]

Full frontal evidence

In comments on OFN: The Gloves Come Off  I brought out the first sentence of Schmidt’s novel as evidence of a tone that I think contributes to the book’s success.   In Newbery discussion, committee members are often called upon to produce several pieces of evidence, in the writing, for their argument. “I think it works” […]

Chapter Book Newbery

Chapter books transition readers from easy readers to longer novels.  Their audience is typically between first and fourth grade, although occasionally a particular series will achieve popularity beyond fourth grade (e.g. JUNIE B. JONES, CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS).  The chapters tend to be short, the plots episodic, and the book designs often include spot illustrations, larger font […]

Being Ten

Who remembers it? Those double-digits felt to me both enormous and miniscule.  Two starred-review novels this year hone in on that condition from a character-driven perspective. And they’re under 300 pages. MO WREN, LOST AND FOUND by Tricia Springstubb is a sequel to one of my almost-top-ten favorites from last year, WHAT HAPPENED ON FOX […]

Batty, Jane, Skye–and May Amelia

While I was sad to see the absence of Rosalind from most of this book, it certainly changed the family dynamic among the remaining sisters, and especially allowed for Batty to come into her own.  Each sister grew and changed over the course of the story, and the revelation about Jeffrey’s father, if a bit […]

Get your tomatoes ready

In Is this Absolutely Necessary Jonathan points out a symptom in many of this year’s book, which I then blame on Harry Potter. Since Harry can handle it, I’m going to point to another post-HP trend that I’m growing exceedingly weary of, and that’s Books That Equate Magic With Capiltalization. Ok, I’m being harsher there […]

Okay For Now: The Gloves Come Off!

Betsy has her latest round of Newbery/Caldecott predictions up and, not surprisingly, OKAY FOR NOW is at the very top of the list.  Betsy praises the book for its “heart” and its ability to get readers “emotionally involved,” both wonderful  intangibles for a book to have, but qualities that we need to translate into the […]

Okay for Now, Dead End in Norvelt

Gary Schmidt and Jack Gantos are probably loathe to hear it, but their newest novels, clearly–if to differing degrees–based on their own childhood experiences, can both be chalked up as “historical fiction.” But Doug Swieteck, and…well…Jack Gantos, hailing from 1968 and 1962 respectively, present themselves as two of the most present characters in any of the […]