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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

Peccadillo vs. Fatal Flaw

In our discussion of TEMPLE GRANDIN, I made the assertion that this criteria–Presentation of information including accuracy, clarity, and organization–ought to be applied to fiction just as rigorously as it is to nonfiction. Eric disagreed, citing one of our criticisms of OKAY FOR NOW last year. A fiction book even a realistic one has no […]

Palace of Stone, with Mark Flowers

Mark Flowers

As Jonathan and I continue to start including guests in our posts now and then, it occurred to us that this could be an elegant solution to the “of two minds” problem.  This iteration of the problem being when Nina and Jonathan’s two minds are united in a single struggle to get enthusiastic about a […]


The finalists for the National Book Award were announced this morning. GOBLIN SECRETS by William Alexander OUT OF REACH by Carrie Arcos NEVER FALL DOWN by Patricia McCormick ENDANGERED by Eliot Schrefer BOMB by Steve Sheinkin While they once again skew to an older audience, I think we will probably end up discussing several of […]

Emotion vs. Intellect


We’ve had a running conversation in the comments about whether nonfiction books appeal more to our emotions or our intellect. We’ve discussed four titles in some depth, and if I had to place them on a spectrum from most emotional appeal to most intellectual appeal, then I would rank them thus: WE’VE GOT A JOB, […]

Temple Grandin


Although Jonathan was looking specifically at “science” nonfiction books when he posted recently about BLACK HOLE and MOONBIRD, I can’t compare those two as Newbery possibilities unless I throw this one into the mix. Technically a biography, Sy Montgomery’s TEMPLE GRANDIN: HOW THE GIRL WHO LOVED COWS EMBRACED AUTISM AND CHANGED THE WORLD is really […]

Eyes on the Prize


Civil rights elicit a wide range of deeply felt emotions–horror, outrage, disgust, sadness, admiration, and conviction–especially in relation to black holes and shore birds. Generally speaking, we care more because we’re talking about people. Not surprisingly, these books often get their just due, especially when they are well written. Indeed, half of the nonfiction Newbery books in […]

Starry River of the Sky and Will Sparrow’s Road


I’d like to take a moment to commend all of our excellent writers who win Newbery Medals or Honors and then…keep writing excellent books. It has got to be hard to follow up on expectations, and we’ve got a lot of prize winning authors with new books out this year.  Their ARC tend to filter […]