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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

The Announcements

You’ll get a more thoughtful post from Jonathan soon, but here’s something quick from the floor so you all can begin commenting. Remeber that your resource page for all the award winners is


Sharon McKellar and I are here with Monica Edinger. We passed the closed Starbicks (7:30? come on, don’t they know what day it is?), the press office, where committees were still having photos taken after their phone calls:


…And into the theater. As the announcements proceed, there are shouts and yelps, recongition for each committee, and the tension mounts. (All these wonderful books haven’t read yet!) The room gets hot, and electric.

Finally, we hear that the Newbery honors are:



…And the winner is:


And I am thrilled at all the surprises. See you soon!!! Coffee…..

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. Nothing for AMELIA LOST?! I am both shocked and dismayed.

  2. I’m disappointed that I don’t have anything left to read, but at the same time, pleased that I got in Breaking Stalin’s Nose not long ago. Always, after the announcement, I have this feeling of “wait, what were all those months of reading and discussion for?” Then I remind myself that I do it for fun and no other reason.

    Things to note: the majority of Newbery winners are historical/historical fiction and the majority of protagonists are boys. We just added another to each category. All THREE of these books are historical fiction. No fantasy at all, though I think Breaking Stalin’s Nose has this very strange (in a good way) fantastic feel to it. No realistic fiction. No nonfiction.

    And I just realized that no one (at least five minutes ago when I checked) is saying “Wait, what about A Monster Calls?”. Is that being forgotten in the Okay For Now shock?

  3. What about Okay and Monster, indeed. Oh well. I’m a fan of Dead End, even if it is too long.

  4. Nina Lindsay says:

    in the coffee line, i’d like to say hooray for DRAWING FOR MEMORY’s Sibert honor!

  5. I’m also saddened by the lack of Amelia Lost and Wonderstruck.

  6. ETA: I’m also surprised that Beauty Queens didn’t show up anywhere (I figured it was a shoe-in for the Printz or Odyssey)

  7. Yes! I wasn’t sure whether that was eligible or not. There are a LOT of books I would have liked to see among the Siberts this year (perhaps more than for Newbery), but I’m glad Drawing From Memory did get recognition somewhere.

    Now begins the Monday morning quarterbacking about why Okay For Now didn’t place. (uh, that’s the phrase, isn’t it? Sports metaphors aren’t really my thing.)

  8. Shocked indeed. Not necessarily about DEAD END IN NORVELT. That received some quiet buzz on here. More shocked at only two Honor books. What does that say about the field?

  9. I feel sure that OFN’s ending stuck in the crawl of commitee members. Even after analyzing it through several blog posts, the reader can never really be certain if the ending was done with the intent of Doug’s biased POV in mind or an uncharacteristic slip from Schmidt. Maybe that uncertainty ended OFN’s discussion with the commitee in a bit of a hung jury- as it did somewhat on this blog. Either way, I’m off to pick up my copy of DEAD END IN NORVELT with a shiny gold sticker on it, and pursuing a re-read to see what I clearly missed. Also planning to order BREAKING STALIN’S NOSE which I’m quite excited to discover!

  10. Mr. H: maybe it doesn’t say anything about the field, but rather the excellence of the three books selected.

  11. I was disappointed that A Monster Calls didn’t make it. Loved that book, also, Everybody Sees the Ants.

  12. I hadn’t read Dead End in Norvelt yet – got my copy on hold, as well as Stalin’s Nose. I was one of the few fans of Inside Out and Back Again here, so I’m pleased about that. Really surprised that Amelia Lost didn’t get any Sibert or other love (I wasn’t a huge fan, but so many people were that I assumed it would get something). I’m sorry Okay For Now didn’t place, but not surprised since so many people had issues with it — I’m glad to see it on the Odyssey awards. Very surprised that A Monster Calls didn’t get either Newbery or Printz — eligibility issues? age issues? (some may have thought too old for Newbery or too young for Printz)
    Glad to see Wonderstruck on the Schneider list, as well as Close to Famous by Joan Bauer, a book I enjoyed highly but didn’t expect to see in the awards lists.

    Looks like the Caldecotts went as predicted. Glad to see Kadir Nelson win for Heart and Soul on the King Awards, both for author (medal) and illustrator (honor).

  13. Wendy, true. Personally, I don’t see excellence in INSIDE OUT AND BACK AGAIN but that’s just me. Haven’t read the other two so I’m excited to. I’m sure I’ll like DEAD END IN NORVELT.

  14. Since we’re voicing shock about other awards–I thought Mal Peet’s LIFE:AN EXPLODED DIAGRAM was going to get at least a Printz honor. But I did have the notion as I was reading WHERE THINGS COME BACK that it had a distinctly Printz-y feel to it. I think the Sibert list may be my favorite, and I’m super glad to see the WONDERSTRUCK got a Schneider. The short Newbery honor list is something of a surprise–but I think everyone feels that way in a one- or two-honor-book year, since we’ve all spent so much time considering the merits of a great number of books. But now we have Battle of the Kids’ Books to look forward to!

  15. TheSibert is so interesting because it really takes into account the entire package of the book…there were a lot of strong nonfiction books that were discussable for Newbery, but that gives us a narrow focus of what’s really eligibile for that award. I am sad about AMELIA, for sure, but very happy about what won.

  16. Nina, I was surprised (but pleased) about Sugar Changed the World because I remember us all discussing it last year — why is it eligible this year?

  17. The fiscal year for that award is November to November.

  18. Katrina Bergen says:

    Dead End in Norvelt. I read it and thought it was too long I loved the true story of Norvelt though. I also love the Joey Pigza books.

    I’m glad OK for Now by Gary Schmidt was not a winner. I’m still fuming over the scene of the war protesters spitting on the returned and badly injured vet. There’s a new book out called Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam by Jerry Lembeke which says there’s absolutely no proof that a spitting incident every happened – in fact there is evidence that the anti-war movement embraced disabled vets.

  19. Bad time because I’m at work, but Katrina, I’ll look around — I’ve heard otherwise, having had three uncles & a dad in Vietnam.

  20. I’m trying to get through Dead End at Norvelt – in fact, had given up. Now I guess I’d better try again.

    Katrina – I’ve no doubt that the majority of protesters, and particularly the well-organized ones, supported disabled vets. But as a child in California at the time, I remember all too clearly how horrific the attitudes could be on both sides of the fight, and how disorganized some of the protests were. Mob mentality is not fun to witness. Scenes like that happened. Most protest movements are like that – so many good people doing the right thing, and then a few who get too caught up in their own views.

  21. David Ziegler says:

    I’ m a little surprised but pleased over Dead End in Norvelt winning – I feared its quirkiness wouldn’t appeal to the committee. I’m very pleased over Inside Out & Back Again – got that at BEA and signed by author too. I have Breaking Stalin’s Nose on hold at the library.

    A little sad Amelia Lost got no recognition, but hopefully all the discussion it got gives it some name recognition for being used in schools and public libraries in the future.

  22. I still haven’t read Dead End in Norvelt but have it on hold now. I really don’t feel I can voice a reaction about it until I do. I am disappointed that none of my favorites won any recognition and that again the committee seemed to skew toward historical fiction. My library doesn’t yet have Breaking Stalin’s Nose causing me to debate: do I buy it or wait?

  23. Eric Carpenter says:

    I was very surprised to see BREAKING STALIN’S NOSE on the list this morning. I read it back in december after Roger (i think) highlighted it over on the his hornbook blog. I thought it was an incredibly one sided and one-dimensional look at stalin’s soviet union. The character’s were barely caricatures, the politics sat on the surface and gave the reader no opportunity to think for him/herself.

    Since it sounds like many here have yet to read this one I won’t spoil it with any story specific criticism yet but I would love to hear from someone who found this distinguished.

  24. Katrina — Google any online article that denies that Vietnam vets were spit upon — even the Amazon listing for the Lembeke book. Scroll down to the comments, and read what the vets themselves have to say about this.

    The book On Killing by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman (highly recommended acc’t on the price of war) does mention the spitting on pgs. 278-280 (paperback ed). Also the book Homecoming by Bob Greene, a compilation of letters, shows both good and bad about the vets’ return in their own words. It did happen.

    As for how this relates to Gary’s book, well, there’s no question that there are a few scenes I would change. Personally, I would include a scene where Ernie Eco is running up the road with a snarling dog attached to his rear. But I can’t hate the whole book because he left that one thing out.

    Anyway, I don’t want to derail the conversation, so if you want to continue the spit/no spit discussion, holler at me on my blog at, or at some other virtual place if you prefer.


  25. Eric, I’m a little surprised at your reaction to Breaking Stalin’s Nose. It sounds like you may know a lot more about Stalin’s USSR than I did, so that may make the difference. I said in my Goodreads review that I wasn’t sure how much of it might be propaganda–I wouldn’t take this as a resource in itself–but it certainly made me think, a lot. And I definitely went down the wikipedia rabbit hole in search of more information about the things mentioned.

    I don’t expect a work of historical fiction to be anything but one-sided, especially a work that is highly personal like this one. Some authors will work in a variety of viewpoints and make it clear that a situation is more complex than one generally thinks, but that’s usually someone writing about a subject that is highly familiar to the reader, such as Nazi-occupied Europe or the Salem Witch Trials. Even so, how many books do we have about Resistance-type heroes during WWII, and evil collaborators? But how many about regular people who had to make some difficult choices that led to them being called collaborators, or to them fighting for the Nazis?

    I agree about the characters being, basically, caricatures, but I thought that was intentional–it fits seamlessly with the illustrations. The not-quite-real feeling to the characters is part of what makes the book feel otherworldly to me, as mentioned above.


    Just finished watching this. Anaheim in June is going to be some fun.

  27. Ordering in shame after Monday’s announcements: STALIN’S NOSE, UNDERGROUND, WITCHES, SEE ME RUN, & PICKY EATERS

  28. When I discovered that Amelia Lost had been ignored by this year’s committees I had to stop and wonder what was going on. I have no quibble with the Sibert and Newbery winners. Balloons is fun and Jack Gantos writes about America in a way no other writer can. I look at the Sibert honors and the Newbery honors and shake my head. It’s not the quality of the books chosen I question, but what was overlooked. Amelia Lost had it all: gripping characters, a riveting mystery, a familiar story told in a new way, meticulous research and lovely design. Have books that embrace the traditional model, well-written, well-researched, beautifully presented and told as compelling stories, fallen from favor?

  29. No shame, DaNae! I would be surprised to find a librarian or bookseller that didn’t have to order anything after the Youth Media Awards announcements. I had to order the Printz winner yesterday (and the two Geisel books that you mentioned, along with some other titles). I remember when The Higher Power of Lucky won. I was at a large suburban system at the time–26 branches–and not one of us had the book. Not even on order. That was not fun when patrons asked for it that day (and the days after that until it appeared in our catalog.).

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