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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
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Freedom Summer

This is the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer, and we’ve already discussed one book depicts that time, REVOLUTION by Deborah Wiles.  Like its predecessor, COUNTDOWN, it’s a work of fiction that borrows heavily from the conventions of nonfiction, namely the incorporation of numerous primary source materials, both textual and visual. There also happen to be […]

The Crossover

Speaking of the Present Tense…. I feel like everyone was talking about THE CROSSOVER as soon as the ARC came out, and I’ve been looking forward to talking about it here. I expected the biggest question would be “the age question”, so was tickled to see Eric comment here that he can’t remember why it […]

Present Tense

Now that we’ve got Southern Girl and her cousin Country Girl out of the way, there’s another pet peeve–present tense–I’ve got to tackle before we get deeper into discussions of major Newbery contenders. While present tense will probably have no bearing on whether a book receives Newbery consideration, it is nevertheless bad writing, and 90% […]

The Port Chicago 50

I’m in the midst of the ALSC Institute here in Oakland, where we just listened to Steve Sheinkin give the opening session talk about his approach to writing history, with The Port Chicago 50 story as his centerpiece.  My Boston Globe Horn Book committee awarded it this May, and it just showed up on the NBA […]

NBA Longlist

This is old news, but worth sharing.  For those of you who may have missed it last year, the National Book Award began announcing a longlist of 10 books before announcing the shortlist and eventual winner.  The reason being to shine the spotlight on even more worthy books.  The NBA typically skews older with 2/3 […]

West of the Moon and The Night Gardener

I’m trying to re-read A SNICKER OF MAGIC again to participate in that discussion, which has gotten very interesting. Meanwhile, Julie Corsaro mentioned in that comment thread a couple of spring titles I’m more interested in talking about. Recalling Vicky Smith’s guest post this time last year, Reader Know Thyself, I had to recognize that […]

A Snicker of Magic

I haven’t read this one yet, so I’m going to quote its three starred reviews below and let you weigh in on the strengths and weaknesses in the comments below.  Maybe you’ll convince me to read it sooner rather than later. KIRKUS: The protagonist of this debut joins a growing list of endearing young girls from […]


This seems the spring book to talk about, based on comments from our first post, with raves from many, and a few of us voicing qualms. Rachel Stein offers a nice synopsis of the book at For Those About to Mock, though she mentions she hesitates to comment on its Newbery chances because she listened […]

The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing

THREE TIMES LUCKY was a very mild surprise as a Newbery Honor book a couple of years ago. While I enjoyed Turnage’s debut, I did have some reservations about it (and I think Nina did, too).  I acknowledged that I needed a second reading to sort out my feelings, but I just didn’t have the […]

Welcome Back

It is the day after Labor Day, and time to getting rolling on a new season of Heavy Medal!   Jonathan signed us off in January with a list to look forward to, and you’ve all been adding to it as the months have trickled by. Danae is excited about THE CROSSOVER, THE FAMILY ROMANOV, […]