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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

The Real Winners!

Here we are folks, with a whole row of Heavy Medalers/BOBers. The room is smaller this year, and completely full…with an overflow room set up downstairs. We were here….early.

There are many many amazing award winners being announced, and I won’t be able to get them all in, but here are some recognizing books we’ve discussed here….

The Schneider Family choices are very fine this year, incuding ROSE UNDER FIRE for best Teen Book.

The Stonewall Awards gives an honor to BETTER NATE THAN EVER! So nice to see that cover on this big screen. And again…for an Odyssey honor. That award is equally for the production as the text…so double congrats to Tim Federle, who narrated his own audiobook. [Update: I am a little wrong about the Odyssey criteria. Thank you Necia for correcting me.]

PS BE ELEVEN gets the CSK author award!!! Had to be. Surely did.

A Printz honor goes to NAVIGATING EARLY…a very young one for the Printz…nice to see their full age range represented.

YAQUI DELGADO better shape up….she got the Belpre!

PENNY AND HER MARBLE gets a Geisel Honor. I love that book the more and more I read it.

LOCOMOTIVE: the Caldecott Winner and Sibert Honor!

And now the Newbery! There are 4 Honors…


And the winner is….


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. Nina Lindsay says:

    You can see the full listing of the ALSC awards here:

    Where are the fans of ONE CAME HOME and PAPERBOY? Good work!

  2. I’m happy to say that the Rhode Island mock Newbery book discussion group picked PAPERBOY as its mock award winner … but it was brought to the table by one of our group members, and then championed by the others at the table (not me in particular). I didn’t notice it going through reviews or other starred/mock lists, so I hadn’t included it on our reading list (until the nomination came in). They did an excellent job of convincing me it was distinguished!

  3. ONE CAME HOME! It was a late read for me – as in about a week ago. I was an instant fan, though I didn’t rally up support for it all year. Fine choice.

  4. Can’t say I think much of the Honors, but I’m really excited to see FLORA & ULYSSES. 1) I think it is really deserving. 2) It’s really funny, which I always like to see honored.

  5. So excited and happy for FLORA & ULYSSES and THE YEAR OF BILLY MILLER! Thrilled to see FLORA, my top choice, win the Medal — a funny, quirky, book with heart. BILLY MILLER was so good, and it’s great to have a younger book recognized.
    And glad to see two other awards for BETTER NATE THAN EVER (Stonewall and Odyssy Honors), CSK Medal for P.S. BE ELEVEN, long-overdue Caldecott to Brian Floca for LOCOMOTIVE, and Alex Award for RELISH. All the books of my heart got some recognition. (Plus ELEANOR & PARK for a Printz Honor!)

  6. My Newbery Club students and teachers were happily surprised that Flora and Ulysses won. Though we loved the book, we feared that the illustrations told so much of the story that it would be difficult to not consider them. It appears that the committee found a way! We are delighted for this book and for the magnificent Kate DiCamillo. And The Year of Billy Miller was also a favorite among our group. We were surprised to see Doll Bones and One Came Home in the field of medal winners, though. Not many of us have read The Paperboy yet; we’re all lined up to do so now! We were glad that all of the books recognized were in our “box” of contenders this year. Thanks to Heavy Medal for helping to point me in the right direction! What an exhilarating morning!

    • Nina Lindsay Nina Lindsay says:

      Molly, my take on how to look at Flora & Ulysses through the Newbery lens is just to consider how well the text does *its own part* in telling the story. I’m so pleased to see the award go to an out-of-the-box-looking book.

      • With the increase of mixed media books Nina phrasing is perfect. Text does its part. It is ridiculous to discount marvelous writing if part of the story is told graphically.

  7. I’ve read all the Newberys and was happy enough with the committee’s decisions, though I thought One Came Home lost focus in the middle of the narrative and Paperboy seemed a little adult for a Newbery (and made me wonder who the target reader was for the book). But I am glad my favorite, Doll Bones, got some recognition and I found F&A a delight to read, if quite silly. (And The Year of Billy Miller is very sweet and just right for its target reader.)

  8. Sheila Welch says:

    The only one I haven’t read is the winner, so I’m looking forward to getting it and reading it soon. Personally, I think having a range of honor books is good for everyone — authors, kids, teachers, etc. The descriptive writing in ONE CAME HOME is rich and unusual — definitely distinguished in my opinion — although I wasn’t as enthusiastic about the plot. The book has historical value too, and I can see it becoming a big hit with teachers as well as students. This is the author’s second novel, and I think it’s great that she’s gotten this recognition. Of course, BILLY is wonderful and one of my top three. Lots of people feel that DOLL BONES is exceptional. Which leaves PAPERBOY. I think mine were the only comments about it on this blog, so I’m looking forward to someone else defending it. 🙂

  9. I’m thrilled that Kate DiCamillo was honored again! She’s obviously a rock star writer. 😉 I’m reading “One Came Home” right now and really enjoying it, so I was glad to see that honor.

    One correction, though: I was on the Odyssey committee in 2010 and the award is solely for production NOT text. We ran into this several times in our discussions where there was a great book that had a lot of support but the narration wasn’t as strong. Certainly a lot of previous winners were both well-written and well-narrated, but the award is for production and narration, not the actual writing of the book itself. From the criteria on ALA’s website:

    “The literary merit is part of an excellent audiobook, it is not what creates the unified whole of the completely unique literary experience provided by an audiobook. ” (This means that a good story helps, but it cannot affect whether the book wins the award since the committee is considering the technical and narrational aspects of the book and not the writing or story themselves.)

    And, “Popularity is not the criterion for this award nor is the award based on the message or content of the book on which it is based.”

  10. I’m so happy to see my favorite middle-grade book of the year, ONE CAME HOME, earn an Honor. Yay! I actually had a dream last night that BILLY MILLER won the Newbery Medal and I woke up feeling disappointed. My morning brightened when the dream haze cleared and I found the fun, quirky FLORA & ULYSSES had taken the gold! Seeing DiCamillo win shouldn’t surprise anyone anymore, but I really was surprised. Like a lot of people, I thought it was probably too dependent on the illustrations to win.

  11. I was happy about all the awards. The Printz was the committee that made the decisions I was happiest about and least happy about. I *loved* the choice of Midwinterblood for the Medal. Also *loved* Eleanor & Park. But the honor book we discussed on this blog? I still shake my head that readers might think mathematical proof works that way. Oh well!

    As for the Newbery, I can’t believe, with following Heavy Medal, I hadn’t read two of the honors — One Came Home and Paperboy. But I *am* happy with the ones I have read. Am happy about Doll Bones in particular. I’m happy about Flora & Ulysses because, like Mark, I like to see a light-hearted, funny book win. Way to honor the esteemed Ambassador! 🙂

  12. I knew this would be a year of surprises. While both DOLL BONES and ONE CAME HOME were early favorites for me, they eventually made room for books I found stronger. I’m afraid by the time I had FLORA read I’d read enough to know how divisive it was so I kept my love to myself. I would still pick PENNY over BILLY in a blow by blow bash up, which is allowed this year. While I found PAPERBOY well enough done the heavily expository ending did it in for me. It was like the author couldn’t trust his readers to draw the conclusions he’d led them to.

    • Nina Lindsay says:

      Danae, don’t ever keep your love to yourself!!!!! That is exactly the reason for the CCBC book discussion guidelines, making sure that all appreciations of a book are noted, despite its flaws or detractors.

      To all you lurkers out there, many of whom revealed yourselves in person to me at conference this weekend, let this be a lesson! Speak your appreciation for fine books. You might be the one to change some minds.

  13. Kristine A says:

    It’s a good day when I see some of my favorites get recognition: Doll Bones, The President Has Been Shot, Journey, etc. I hadn’t read F&U because I wasn’t sure it would be in Newbery range but I’m pleased I”ll go buy it to go with my medals collection and read it with my daughter.

  14. So so happy for One Came Home! That was my favorite book this year and did not get much buzz here or any other blogs. (Betsy B liked it, which is where I first heard of it. I though for sure the winner was going to be PS Be Eleven, totally surprised to see Flora!

  15. Loved that Billy Miller and Doll bones were recognized……but disappointed in The thing about luck getting shutout—-that one is still my favorite from 2013……

    • Nina Lindsay says:

      Well of course THING ABOUT LUCK was one of my favorites too, but we can’t forget that beautiful NBA sticker on it. Not a complete shut out. No one yet has mentioned the lack of FAR FAR AWAY showing up anywhere. That to me is a little sad, but not surprising… In discussions I found it to be so divisive in so many ways that I just had a hard time rallying people around it. And yet, it ia clearly, still, one of the more remarkable books of the year. Say, why does no award use the term “remarkable”?…..

      • I do agree about Far Far Away. I didn’t read it until a couple weeks ago, but I was really impressed when I did. Do I remember right that it was an NBA finalist? That’s the one I was hoping might turn up as a Printz Honor if it wasn’t a Newbery Honor.

      • FAR FAR AWAY was one of my absolute favorites of the year, but that love really happened on the second reading when I was able to swim in the beautifully language and admire the crafty character building. I, too, found this book divisive in discussion groups. Selling to some, I very much felt like Jacob Grimm when he said, “But my hand was like a hand raised to the wind” (50). I really felt that it was a book that broke new ground, ground that made others feel very uncomfortable. So yes, why doesn’t criteria use “remarkable” as a standard?

  16. Kristine A says:

    I agree, disappointed to not see Far Far Away anywhere. I also read it late and it was such an amazing homage to the horror and good and evil of the original fairy tales.

  17. Agree with all of you about FAR FAR AWAY…….I thought it was much more distinguished in every area than a couple books which did receive medals.

    But NO MEDAL will not change my ——–or my students’——- present and future enjoyment of those two books.

    On another note….Nina and Jonathan, thank you again for a wonderful season of literary discussions!!!

    • Nina Lindsay Nina Lindsay says:

      Samuel, i think that sometimes “no medal” makes your enjoyment of a book even more intense. It does for me. I start to feel about the book like I do a person….someone very special with an amazing talent, one I know that most people might not notice, yet still wreaks its wonderful effect on the world. I feel prvieleged to witness it, take part in the experience, and enjoy that book/person/world for the rest of my life. Every time I see a certain cover, I think– there you are! And you are still great.

      • Wow, Nina, what a great way to put it !!!

        Thanks…and I am sure I will always look at my two book choices as “great!!”

      • I think that’s partly why I like to post my own “Sonderbooks Stand-outs” on my own website each year. I don’t use criteria. I don’t claim they are “most distinguished.” I just like to say, These are the books I love most from my reading this year. I hope this helps at least a few more people to find them, even if they don’t win awards. (Of course, I’m happy when my favorites do win awards, but it’s fun to publicly say, “These are my favorites!”)

  18. Thanks, Nina, for mentioning Schneider Award up top. As one of the newer awards, and not sponsored by ALSC or YALSA, it tends not to be mentioned in this sort of venue. So happy you gave a nod of approval to this year’s winners–3 strong books, each very different from the others.

    • We had a bit of a discussion over the breath of disability that Schneider Family has covered over the years. I love that they’ve championed reading disability several times. Covering both torture victims and PTSD this year with ROSE was again ground breaking. It has become one of my favorites to watch for. I also love the tiered leveling.

  19. Notables:



    With a complete and utter lack of THE THING ABOUT LUCK. Waaaaaaaaa

    • Nina Lindsay Nina Lindsay says:

      Also missing IF YOU WANT TO SEE A WHALE, which I now chalk up as the number one under-appreciated book of the year. In discussions at our Mock, and at the Bill Morris Seminar at ALA, I found many people frustrated by its “inconsistencies,” or “ambiguities,” and the more we talked about how the book works “against” itself, the more convinced I became that that is what makes it so great. Oh well!

      • Yes! IF YOU WANT TO SEE A WHALE is still one of my favorites, and it shocked me to find it almost as divisive as TRUE BLUE SCOUTS or FAR FAR AWAY. Seeing what a hard road poetry has in group discussion definitely gives me more admiration for those poetry books that have managed to snag a medal in the past, as well as challenging me to be more articulate about my appreciation (since “you just don’t *get* it” is not really convincing).

  20. Jonathan Hunt Jonathan Hunt says:

    Anybody know why neither THE THING ABOUT LUCK or IF YOU WANT TO SEE A WHALE was not included? They did include FAR FAR AWAY and ESPIONAGE AND ETIQUETTE (a book most people probably see as solidly YA).

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