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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

The Animal Book

Can a reference book win the Newbery Medal? Well, yes, it can.  The criteria state that, “There are no limitations as to the character of the book considered except that it be original work.”  To me, this clause explicitly states that you cannot discount any kind of book just because it doesn’t seem like a […]

San Diego Mock Newbery

Some of you may have noticed a new change in my bio statement recently, but if not then I’ll take this opportunity to mention that I took a new job at the beginning of October as the County Schools Librarian at the San Diego County Office of Education.  Which means that I will, unfortunately, not […]

Discussion Shortlist

Thanksgiving is nigh, and that means it’s time for me and Jonathan to settle on and announce a shortlist for our live discussion.  The Oakland Mock discussion and voting will be held on Sunday, January 12th, in Oakland CA.  More details to come. Our shortlist is designed to create a good Mock discussion, with a […]

Can Randolph Caldecott Win the Newbery Medal?

If I’ve heard this once this year, I’ve heard it a dozen times: It’s a weak year for nonfiction.  Actually, this isn’t really true.  It’s an average year for nonfiction, but it seems weaker because (a) last year was so unbelievably awesome and (b) the strong nonfiction this year isn’t the kind that tends to […]


Brian Floca’s homage to the locomotive follows the same format as his acclaimed MOONSHOT, presenting a fully involving work textually and visually that becomes a challenge to dissect from a Newbery perspective. The large, square picture book format and long-ish length suits the subject: one family’s trip from Omaha, Nebraska, to Sacramento , CA, by […]

National Book Award

Tonight, the winner of the National Book Award will be announced.  While I was disappointed that the longlist did not include more genre/audience diversity–Are 9 of the top 10 books for children in any given year really prose novels?–I must say this is one of the best shortlists in recent memory.  There really isn’t a head-scratcher […]


Back in October, Jonathan posted about The Year of Billy Miller and other beginning chapter books, but we haven’t gone back to look at more of these.   What are the other standouts this year…and here I’m casting a very wide net…among those books for beginning readers, from, say the PENNY AND HER MARBLE crowd […]

November Nominations

Okay, it’s time for us (and the real Newbery committee) to submit two more nominations for the month of November.  You’ll remember that my October strategy was to simply nominate the three best books.  If, since that time, I have come to believe that another one or two books have genuinely supplanted one of those […]

What the Heart Knows

Jonathan included Sidman’s WHAT THE HEART KNOWS among his October Nominations, noting that it’s for a slightly older audience than her picture book collections.  These mostly free verse poems engage at different levels, and to different audiences.  Some of my favorites: “Silly Love Song” (p.61) speaks best to those in the flush of romance, though […]


JINX by Sage Blackwood is another January publication that has waited patiently for some discussion.  This one scores high for me in all the criteria, and yet I find myself sort of lukewarm about it as a Newbery hopeful, and I’m not exactly sure why.  It does have a Lloyd Alexander/Diana Wynne Jones vibe to it–which […]