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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

Peter Sieruta

I first became acquainted with Peter Sieruta about a dozen years ago on the child_lit listserv. We shared a love of children’s books, young adult books, and theater. And we developed a daily correspondence over the next several years that allowed me to appreciate Peter’s wit and wisdom on a wide range of topics, both […]

More Splendors & Glooms

This was my Holiday re-read treat.  We posted Jonathan’s and Nina’s takes way back in September, when the world seemed new. Between then and now, SPLENDORS & GLOOMS has been used in many discussions as a comparative work…a sort of default book that exhibits a high standard of sentence-level writing, and of overall craft.  In my […]

Hey, we’re back!

…Like me, with your mouth full of leftovers? This migration has caught me and Jonathan in the midst of taking it slow, and traveling, so it may take us a moment to get back up to speed and get comfortable in with our upgrade.  In the meantime… Monica Edinger at Educating Alice hosted a couple […]

Unexpected Interruption…

Everyone, we’ve heard from SLJ that for technical issues (which many of you have been experiencing) they are fast-forwarding their server upgrade to: tonight. This means that at 12 midnight EST we will be “freezing” posting so that they can migrate our content…giving us a face lift in the process! (Check out or for […]


Upon rereading MOONBIRD, it remains firmly entrenched in my top three.  It doesn’t have the buzz that BOMB does, but I think it’s just as good in its own way.  Take plot, for instance, a criterion that most people would give to BOMB in a head-to-head comparison.  To be sure, the tension and suspense of BOMB […]

No Crystal Stair, Nina’s Take

As I understand better the distance created for me in the prose style of BOMB, I also understand better why I find Nelson’s book so engaging, collapsing that distance.  So it’s interesting to note that for many of you who responded in Jonathan’s first post on this title,  your concern was exactly one of distance. […]

December Nominations

It’s time for our final two nominations.  32 of you played our little game in the last round, and this is what we came up with. (17) LIAR & SPY (16) BOMB (16) SPLENDORS AND GLOOMS (8) NO CRYSTAL STAIR (8) THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN (7) SUMMER OF THE GYPSY MOTHS (7) WONDER (6) […]

Liar & Spy, Nina’s Take

This is what’s so interesting to me about reading for the (Mock!) Newbery: how a book changes on second read.  And when I look back at the comments on Jonathan’s post for Liar & Spy, I see that many of the advocates had delved into it more than once.  My own “not personally compelling” comment? […]


Documention has evolved–perhaps is still evolving–in nonfiction books for children and young adults, and as such, it is a bit of a moving target.  Jim Murphy said as much on a recent thread. About the sourcing for The Great Fire. That book was done a long time ago (as far as publishing goes) and sourcing […]

Jepp, Who Defied the Stars

JEPP has come up a few times in comments this season, in most interesting contrast to WONDER SHOW and WILL SPARROW’S ROAD for its depiction of characters with dwarfism.  It is easily the most complex and complete depiction of the three, because here the dwarf is the protagonist, and the book itself is longer (nearly 400 […]