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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

Jefferson’s Sons, Part 3

“We hold these truths to be self-evident,” read Maddy, “that all people are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” “It does say all people,” Peter said. Maddy sighed.  “Yes.  It does.” What does the first part mean?  We hold these truths to […]

Sir Gawain–Nina’s Take

This short book has already stirred up a lot of controversy on this blog.  Jonathan first mentioned it in his Chapter Book Newbery post, and then made a full-fledged pitch for it.  Recently there was a little flurry over a side-line reference to “the economies,” and truly I had no idea what you all were […]

Small Press Newbery

It’s always a pleasant surprise when a small press is able to break through to the big time.  It last happened just a couple of years ago when A RIVER OF WORDS by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet (Eerdmans) won a Caldecott Honor.  We’ve already discussed a couple of small press titles here, but […]

Sparrow Road and The Grand Plan to Fix Everything

Very soon Jonathan and I will start reposting, one by one, on the books on our shortlist, with the hopes that many of you will have had a chance to read, or re-read them.  But here and there we’ll continue to make room for some that didn’t make it to our shortlist, and I know there are a lot of fans […]

Never Forgotten

BEWARE Drums.  War drums. Benin against Hausa. Yoruba against Ashanti. Mandingo against Wolof. The foreigners against all. Bloodshed. Violence. Chaos. The Drums spoke of treachery– Pumpumpumpum pumpum pum pumpumpum. Dinga, heard the Drums’ song, But it was far away and had nothing to do with him. So he didn’t worry. He wasn’t careful . . […]

How we got here

Wendy asked for a little more insight into how we choose our shorlist. Some of the first choices are arbitrary.  There is a limit to the number of books that be discussed effectively in one afternoon, and that people are willing and able to read.  We’ve always worked with 8, but this year we’re going […]

What Are We Missing?

Last night, INSIDE OUT & BACK AGAIN by Thanhha Lai won the National Book Award.  I was leery of predicting a winner after anointing ONE CRAZY SUMMER last year, but privately I thought it was a 50/50 chance between OKAY FOR NOW and CHIME, but–surprise!–the National Book Award never goes where I think it will.  […]

Jefferson’s Sons, Part 2

I know the comments are going strong at Jefferson’s Sons, Part 1 while I type, but I’m going to attempt to flesh out my concerns with the characterization in this story, since this is what in particular gives me the most pause with it in a Newbery discussion. Looking through passages I’d marked that seemed […]

Jefferson’s Sons, Part 1

Mama sighed, and picked her knitting up again before she went on. “I’ve had a comfortable life,” she said. “I don’t work very hard and I’m never hungry or cold. I have four children and I am treated well. “But it’s not freedom. Sometimes it looks pretty close to freedom. Sometimes it feels okay. Then […]

The Shortlist

Here we are folks. Jonathan and I have chosen 10 books for our official discussion/voting, to take place online, and ultimately at our live event in Oakland CA on Monday, January 16th, 2011, a week before the actual annoucements. Further details on that event pending, but if you’d like to sign up, email me. The number […]