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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

Virtual Winners

We had 76 voters which is about 5 times the size of the real committee.  Our results are followed by some analysis.


THE THING ABOUT LUCK . . . 16 (1st) + 6 (2nd) + 3 (3rd) = 88 points

FAR FAR AWAY . . . 9 (1st) + 8 (2nd) + 8 (3rd) = 76 points

THE TRUE BLUE SCOUTS OF SUGAR MAN SWAMP . . . 9 (1st) + 5 (2nd) + 8 (3rd) =67 points 

DOLL BONES . . . 7 (1st) + 6 (2nd) + 7 (3rd) = 57 points

THE YEAR OF BILLY MILLER . . . 4 91st) + 10 (2nd) + 4 (3rd) = 54 points

FLORA & ULYSSES . . . 6 (1st) + 4 (2nd) + 7 (14) = 40 points

COUNTING BY 7s . . . 2 (1st) + 5 (2nd) + 7 (3rd) = 37 points

WHAT THE HEART KNOWS . . . 1 (1st) + 10 (2nd) + 1 (3rd) = 36 points

P.S. BE ELEVEN . . . 5 (1st) + 2 (2nd) + 4 (3rd) = 34

THE CENTER OF EVERYTHING . . .  3 (1st) + 5 (2nd) + 1 (3rd) = 29 points

THE REAL BOY . . . 4 (1st) + 3 (2nd) + 3 (3rd) = 25 points

BETTER NATE THAN EVER . . . 1 (1st) + 3 (2nd) + 6 (3rd) =  21 points

CLEMENTINE AND THE SPRING TRIP . . . 3 (1st) + 3 (3rd) = 18 points

IF YOU WANT TO SEE WHALE . . . . 2 (1st) + 2 (and) + 2 (3rd) = 18 points

NAVIGATING EARLY . . . 2 (1st) + 2 (2nd) + 1 (3rd) = 16 points

ZEBRA FOREST . . . 2 (2nd) + 4 (3rd) = 14 points

HOKEY POKEY . . . 2 (1st) +  1 (2nd) = 11 points

A TANGLE OF KNOTS . . . 1 (1st) + 1 (2nd) = 7 points

ONE CAME HOME . . .  3 (3rd) = 6 points

ERUPTION! . . . 1 (2nd) + 1 (3rd) = 5 points

THE ANIMAL BOOK . . . 1 (1st) = 4 points

PENNY AND HER MARBLE . . . 2 (3rd) = 4 points

JINX . . . 1 (3rd) = 2 points

FROM NORVELT TO NOWHERE . . . 1 (3rd) = 2 points

THE CANARY IN THE COAL MINE . . . 1 (3rd) = 2 points

AFRICA IS MY HOME . . . 1 (3rd) = 2 points

COURAGE HAS NO COLOR  . . . 1 (3rd) = 2 points


THE THING ABOUT LUCK is our winner with FAR FAR AWAY, THE TRUE BLUE SCOUTS OF SUGAR MAN SWAMP, DOLL BONES, and THE YEAR OF BILLY MILLER as honor books.  At times, FAR FAR AWAY looked like it might pull away and allow us to have a discussion about having a single honor book, and we could also be grinchy and declare only FAR FAR AWAY and TRUE BLUE SCOUTS as the only honor books.

You’ll also notice that there are another cluster of four books–FLORA & ULYSSES, COUNTING BY 7s, WHAT THE HEART KNOWS, and P.S. BE ELEVEN–that I think many would be happy to see as honor books.  That would mean eight honor books.  Would you do it?  Most of us can probably see a couple of poison pills in that list of eight books, but if you think back to Nina’s concept of ambassadors–well, just about every reader could find a book for them on that list.  The reason why we don’t see this scenario play out more often on the real committee is that you may only have nine books on your winning ballot, and I think it would take a very harmonious committee to essentially honor all or most of the books on the winning ballot.



Jonathan Hunt About Jonathan Hunt

Jonathan Hunt is the Coordinator of Library Media Services at the San Diego County Office of Education. He served on the 2006 Newbery committee, and has also judged the Caldecott Medal, the Printz Award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. You can reach him at


  1. Interesting results. When you say 9 on the ballot do you mean the final ballot? Does the committee vote on all nominations by the committee or do they narrow it down to 9 pretty quick? I tried to scan through the manual but didn’t read it carefully enough to find “9 on the ballot.” In think the process is very interesting.

  2. Jonathan Hunt Jonathan Hunt says:

    Yes, I meant the final ballot, and I used 9 as an arbitrary number, because we had nine here, but winning ballots could vary from as few as 3 to more than 9. Each committee may handle things differently, but when I was on the committee we did a straw poll before discussion and a straw poll after discussion to help us gauge support for individual titles. The thing is that each person nominated 7 but only gets to vote for 3, so you know regardless of what anybody says about any of the books, you’re probably going to lose about half of them on the first ballot (i.e. if you have an initial discussion list of 50, you might be lucky to end up with 25 titles after the first ballot), and you’d probably lose a few more with each progressive ballot.

  3. Oh I see. What we’ve done here is only a preliminary vote, but since it is a “mock” we are counting it as the final. Really we should vote again on those top 9 titles. Thanks for the clarification.

  4. Jonathan Hunt Jonathan Hunt says:

    No, what should happen is that we should rediscuss and reballot again and again until THING ABOUT LUCK has 38-39 1st place votes and a 38-39 point spread over FAR FAR AWAY. We’ve found that doing a second ballot online doesn’t really clarify things. If you peek at our sister blogs, Calling Caldecott and Someday My Printz Will Come, you’ll notice that they both had problems with the second ballot being an accurate reflection of what should happen after the first ballot.

    • Jonathan Hunt Jonathan Hunt says:

      And when we reballot for a second time we would keep all books above. It’s only once a book receives no votes that you take it out of contention–unless the committee agrees otherwise (i.e. take off books with only one vote or only third place votes) to help them achieve consensus.

  5. Complicated. Thanks–I can appreciate why our mock is done this way.

    • Jonathan Hunt Jonathan Hunt says:

      We’ve really only taken the first step toward consensus. If we locked all 76 of us in a room, I think chances are good that we could emerge with THE THING ABOUT LUCK as our winner, but I think any of those top books could make it. Who knows!

      The real committee uses secret ballots so the results are always a bit of a surprise. On the other hand, what’s kind of neat about doing it so publicly here is that you see within a single ballot how somebody can have incredible taste in books and absolutely horrible taste in books. Opinions converge and diverge on individual books to such an extent that it’s hard to make a generalization about the committee as a whole.

      • Nina Lindsay Nina Lindsay says:

        Yikes, I don’t know that I’d wqnt to see all 76 of us locked in a room! Not sure how to interpret winners and honors from these results really, but I do appreciate seeing the tally laid out, and which rise to the top!

  6. Sheila Welch says:

    This is all so interesting. I’m looking forward to finding out which books are selected by the real committee!

    I just saw that the bookstore chain in the Chicago area, Andersons, held a Mock Newbery and these are their results:
    Winner: RUMP by Liesl Winter
    Honors: COUNTING BY 7s

    Only one book is the same.

  7. Last night 13 school and public librarians from Rhode Island met and held our election. Here are our results:

    Mock Newbery Medal: PAPERBOY by Vince Vawter

    Mock Honor Books: FAR FAR AWAY by Tom McNeal and THE TRUE BLUE SCOUTS OF SUGAR MAN SWAMP by Kathi Appelt.

    We had 16 books on our final consideration list. One by one we discussed them until we were down to 7 books on our voting ballot. The books reached the ballot if more 7 or more people wanted the book to remain on the ballot after discussion of the pros + reservations of each. Most of the people had read most of the books (we met 4 times total over the Fall and discussed approximately 10 books at each meeting). Our final 7 were our 3 winners + BETTER NATE THAN EVER, COUNTING BY 7S, P.S. BE ELEVEN, LOCOMOTIVE.

    It’s been a great fall full of great conversation here in Rhode Island. We’re all excited to see what wins on Monday!

  8. Sheila Welch says:

    Goodreads Mock Winners:

    Winner: COUNTING BY 7s
    Honor Books:

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