Subscribe to SLJ
Follow This Blog: RSS feed
Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

It Begins

It’s the canning season, a fully post-Harry Potter world, and I’m ready to tear in and talk awards.  Happily this year, we’ve got company at the Horn Book: Calling Caldecott.

But here is where Jonathan and I, and you, start to look at possible contenders for the Newbery award. Recall that the award discussions are confidential, and while Jonathan and I have both served on this committee in previous years, we have no idea what the real contenders are.  As evidenced last year.

Done this before? Need some dusting off?  Here’s some basics.

The Newbery home page has links to just about everything you need, including the all important:

The official announcements will be made at the Youth Media Awards Press Conference on Monday January 23, 2012 in Dallas at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. Our Heavy Medal mock elections will take place between New Years and the official announcement, with a combination of online voting and a live mock election.

Want to DIY this year? The Newbery & Caldecott Mock Election Tool Kit by Steven Engelfried is finally here! Buy it from ALA and save on the Webinar October 5th.

What do you think Jonathan and I should be considering for our mock shortlist?  Remember that we’ll be rigorous about the criteria, and that for us the fun is in exercising those criteria as much as the prediction.  We’ll be looking for contenders in the full 0-14 age range, all genres and formats, keeping popularity and didactic intent off this table, and looking for examples of “distinguished contributions to American literature for children” published in the US, by US citizens or residents, in 2011. Keep posting your suggestions at 2012 Newbery Reading List and we’ll get out of the gate.

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. I’m hoping Calling Caldecott will be live soon, but the web team is still working on it. Nina, do you know if award manuals are available via (your link above only goes to the criteria)? I heard a rumor about the Caldecott I want to check out.

  2. Sparrow Road by Sheila O’Connor. Loved it and thought “Oooh, Newbery!”

  3. Nina Lindsay says:

    Thanks Roger: I fixed the link to the manual. Thanks for asking how to find these by navigation, as it’s (purposefully I think) a little opaque….from the award website, use the lefthand navigation list to click on Newbery or Caldecott “Committee Members”. At the bottom of the resulting page you’ll find the manual.

  4. Summer Laurie says:

    I’ve fallen under the spell of Troy Howell’s “The Dragon of Cripple Creek”

  5. Roger, I’ve found from experience that the most direct way to access any of the award manuals is via Google. If you search for “Caldecott Medal Manual” the top result takes you directly to the manual. Oddly, the heading says “Newbery Award Committee Manual,” but it’s actually the Caldecott Manual. The new “Expanded Definitions and Examples” section at the end is especially useful.

  6. Nina,

    I’m glad you mentioned the ALSC Webnair. I took it a couple weeks ago and it was most informative. Particularlly if you want to do Mocks with children. Last year I held both a Mock Caldecott and Newbery with my students. I was pretty much an idiot when it came to talking about the criteria. I’m hoping, with Steven’s logical examples, to be less so this year.

    I also took KT’s Newbery class last Winter. So watch out, I’m full of all kinds of Newbery wisdom. (Not really, but the hope is I will make less stupid comments this year)

    (A Girl can dream)

  7. I’m keeping fingers crossed for With a Name Like Love by Tess Hilmo …it is very atmospheric and full of heartache with one tight little mystery to boot… I was lucky enough to get an advance copy as it releases later this month.

  8. Yay! So glad to see this pop up in Google Reader. Off to the Newbery 2012 post.

  9. So glad you’re back! And it was nice to see you at ALA, Nina, if only to wave! :)

  10. My top picks thus far are Wildwood, by Colin Meloy, and Bigger Than a Bread Box, by Laurel Snyder.

  11. I have not tagged many 2011 books favorites and I still have plenty of buzzed-about books yet on the to read pile, but here are my favorites so far from most to less:
    1. Okay for Now
    2. Inside Out and Back Again
    3. The Absolute Value of Mike
    4. Pie (despite it’s Blueberry/ Newbery riff, there were some lovely moments as well as a little mystery, a little hilarity and sudden cravings for pie.

  12. This won’t be out until November 15, and from a small indie press besides, but please don’t neglect to look at THE FREEDOM MAZE by Delia Sherman (Small Beer Press/Big Mouth House).

  13. I believe it may be ineligible, due to an earlier version having being published on the Internet, but my hands-down favorite for this year is The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente.

    As far as I’m concerned, it’s got “distinguished” written all over it.

  14. I’d like to suggest a book that hasn’t received as much attention as I think it should have–Uma Krishnaswami’s “The Grand Plan to Fix Everything.” Characterization, setting, and plot are done so well. It’s one of my favorites this year. (“Favorite” is a Newbery criteria, right?)

Speak Your Mind