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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

Girls Club


I’ve tried to make some headway through a pile of books that I think of as “girly.” That’s perhaps not a nice thing to call them….but they have covers that specifically would have put me off when I was in the intended age range, and so I just always have a harder time getting to […]

Getting Serious

The finalists for the National Book Award were announced this morning.  MY NAME IS NOT EASY by Debby Dahl Edwardson INSIDE OUT & BACK AGAIN by Thanhha Lai FLESH & BLOOD SO CHEAP by Albert Marrin SHINE by Lauren Myracle OKAY FOR NOW by Gary Schmidt CHIME by Franny Billingsley (see link in comments–this post was […]

“Where danger is balanced by enchantment”

If you haven’t yet, read Maria Tatar’s opinion in the New York Times, “No More Adventures in Wonderland.”  (And Monica Edinger’s discussion of it here.)   Tatar contrasts the “luminous promise of magic” in Peter Pan and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to the “unforgiving…savagery” in The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and The Graveyard Book.  To […]

Girl Power Goes Global


INSIDE OUT & BACK AGAIN by Thanhha Lai is an impressive debut novel in verse that trenchantly chronicles the assimilation of a ten-year-old Vietnamese girl into her newly adopted country: the United States.  It’s racked up no less than four starred reviews and is currently ranked number 2 in the goodreads Newbery poll behind only […]

Tween Contenders


We haven’t had the raging “upper age limit” debate yet, even though one of the frontrunners, OKAY FOR NOW, should have stimulated it.  Let’s look at a few titles that are all solidly “12 and up” titles, and therefore must be at least considered by the committee. In the Terms & Criteria: 2. A “contribution […]

Fall Nonfiction Newbery Contenders


Since I loved SUGAR CHANGED THE WORLD, and I like Marc Aronson’s books in general, I was really looking forward to reading his latest book, TRAPPED: HOW THE WORLD SAVED 33 MINERS FROM 2,000 FEET BELOW THE CHILEAN DESERT.  I was impressed with how he incorporated geology, economy, mining, and mythology into this compelling, dramatic […]

Good Mocking

This Wednesday, Steven Engelfried leads an ALSC Webinar on his newly revised Newbery and Caldecott Mock Elections Toolkit.  If you’ve ever wondered about setting up your own mock election, I highly recommend checking this out. This blog evolved from a Mock Newbery group that I’ve been holding in Oakland CA since 2003.   The blog at […]

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland


THE GIRL WHO CIRCUMNAVIGATED FAIRYLAND IN A SHIP OF HER OWN MAKING by Catherynne Valente certainly has the most intriguing title of the year.  It’s a fantasy that has drawn comparisons to such classics as ALICE IN WONDERLAND, THE WIZARD OF OZ, and PETER PAN.  It has a very distinctive narrative voice that drove me crazy, but […]