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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
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Top Seven

Because of the holidays, this is traditionally a slow week here at Heavy Medal.  And that makes it a perfect time for us to trade our final set of nominations, which is a thread that typically has a longer life.  The real committee trades three in October, two in November, and two in December–but since we’re behind in our reading, we’re allowing you to give us your full seven at this late date–and to change your mind from what you may have nominated previously.  And speaking what was previously nominated, here’s the updated list.

(19) BROWN GIRL DREAMING

(15) THE NIGHT GARDENER

(12) THE FAMILY ROMANOV

(10) THE CROSSOVER

(10) THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH

(9) REVOLUTION

(8) THE PORT CHICAGO 50

(7) EL DEAFO

(7) WEST OF THE MOON

(5) ABSOLUTELY ALMOST

(4) GREENGLASS HOUSE

(3) PAPER COWBOY

(4) RAIN REIGN

(3) THE RIVERMAN

(3) THE GHOSTS OF TUPELO LANDING

(2) NEST

(2) A SNICKER OF MAGIC

(2) THE PRINCESS IN BLACK

(1) FLY AWAY

(1) THE KEY THAT SWALLOWED JOEY PIGZA

(1) EGG & SPOON

(1) EMILY’S BLUE PERIOD

(1) HALF A CHANCE

(1) HALF A WORLD AWAY

(1) CAMINAR

(1) NIGHTINGALE’S NEST

(1) THE RED PENCIL

(1) NUTS TO YOU

(1) ARKADY’S GOAL

(1) WINTER BEES

(1) THE FREEDOM SUMMER MURDERS

(1) FREEDOM SUMMER

(1) HARLEM HELLFIGHTERS

(1) THE SECRET HUM OF A DAISY

(1) UNDER THE EGG

(1) THE TURTLE OF OMAN

(1) SPARKY!

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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 hunt_yellow@yahoo.com

Comments

  1. 1. Ghosts of Tupelo Landing
    2. West of the Moon
    3. The Family Romanov
    4. Greenglass House
    5. Brown Girl Dreaming
    6. El Deafo
    7. The Secret Hum of a Daisy

  2. 1. ARCADY’S GOAL
    2. THE FAMILY ROMANOV
    3. WINTER BEES AND OTHER POEMS OF THE COLD
    4. BROWN GIRL DREAMING
    5. HARLEM HELLFIGHTERS
    6. SILVER PEOPLE: VOICES FROM THE PANAMA CANAL
    7. FLY AWAY

  3. 1. Greenglass House
    2. Egg and Spoon
    3. Half a World Away
    4. West of the Moon
    5. Brown Girl Dreaming
    6. El Deafo
    7. A Snicker of Magic

  4. 1.Revolution
    2. Brown Girl Dreaming
    3. The Night Gardener
    4. Crossover
    5. Rain Reign
    6. The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing
    7. Curiosity

  5. Annette B. says:

    1. The Crossover
    2. Brown Girl Dreaming
    3. Night Gardener
    4. What the Moon Says
    5. Caminar
    6. Port Chicago 50
    7. The Family Romanov

  6. 1. Brown Girl Dreaming
    2. West of the Moon
    3. The Night Gardener
    4. Greenglass House
    5. The Crossover
    6. Port Chicago 50
    7. Nightingale’s Nest

  7. Dean Schneider says:

    1. Brown Girl Dreaming
    2. Revolution
    3. Port Chicago 50
    4. The Family Romanov
    5. The Turtle of Oman
    6. The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza
    7.El Deafo

  8. Okay, good. I missed the first round but I know what I like:

    1. The Family Romanov
    2. Revolution
    3. The Crossover
    4. Brown Girl Dreaming
    5. The Night Gardener
    6. El Deafo (I want this to be recognized in some way so why not. I’ll go back and read your justifications)
    7. Buried Sunlight by Molly Bang (Just to be original)

  9. 1. Brown Girl Dreaming
    2. Revolution
    3. Port Chicago 50
    4. Absolutely Almost
    5. The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher
    6. The Thickety
    7. El Deafo

  10. 1. The Family Romanov
    2. Brown Girl Dreaming
    3. Revolution
    4. The Crossover
    5. The Madman of Piney Woods
    6. West of the Moon
    7. El Deafo

  11. Leonard Kim says:

    1. Revolution
    2. El Deafo
    3. The Princess in Black
    4. The Riverman
    5. Sparky!
    6. The Red Pencil
    7. West of the Moon

    • Jonathan Hunt Jonathan Hunt says:

      Leonard, Can you talk about what you like about the text for SPARKY!

      • Leonard Kim says:

        I think SPARKY! is a model of writing and one of those rare texts where I wouldn’t change a thing. I won’t lay the text out on its own here (as you did a couple years ago with I BROKE MY TRUNK!), but it’s worth doing, and I think shows that, by itself, the text is distinguished for

        1) its integrity — even with great writers like Henkes and DiCamillo, in their easy readers, I sometimes get the feeling they might have preferred more freedom of phrasing or word choice but for their audience. I never got that feeling here.
        2) its economy — I don’t find any superfluous sentences or even words. For example, in just 4-5 words, statements by the different characters show distinct personalities and voices: “Let me see your new pet,” “Sparky knows tricks too,” “You look very interesting.”
        3) its breadth — it’s funny and absurd but also poignant and lonely with graceful moments of unexpected, thoughtful beauty (“They survive by eating leaves and drinking the dew that collects in them,” “You could hear all the neighborhood dogs barking.”)
        4) its consistency — for all its poetic qualities, the level of writing is very consistent. The sentence-level craft and voice is never sacrificed, for example, when it’s time to advance the plot.
        5) its musical repetitions and contrasts and variety of sentence lengths (Example: this sequence of 4 short sentences followed by two longer ones, “We all waited. And waited. ‘Speak?’ I said. Sparky looked at me. The only thing you could hear was the wind in the trees. ‘He has a very pretty coat, doesn’t he?’ Mrs.Edwin said finally”) which enhances the story’s structure and pacing and comedic timing.

    • Great arguments, Leonard; you’ve convinced me to give this one another look. I personally found the text to be the weakest link here, almost to the point where I thought the Caldecott committee would completely pass it by because of the weak text.

  12. Eric Carpenter says:

    1. Riverman
    2. The Fourteenth Goldfish
    3. Red Madness: How a Medical Mystery Changed What We Eat
    4. Port Chicago 50
    5. West of the Moon
    6. The Dumbest Idea Ever! (This is my favorite memoir from a year full of memoirs. I think what I like best here is that Gownley tells his story without any expectation that the reader will learn a lesson, gain insight or compassion or understanding. Instead are given a great story with exceptional execution. On the other hand, I struggle with evaluating El Deafo because the message is so strong it overwhelms the story and somewhat clouds critical judgement. There is didactic content in El Deafo while Gownley’s book is absent of such sentiments and I believe stronger for it.)
    7. Brown Girl Dreaming

  13. Jennifer R. says:

    1. Brown Girl Dreaming
    2. The Family Romanov
    3. The Crossover
    4. West of the Moon
    5. The Night Gardener
    6. The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing
    7. El Deafo

  14. 1. BROWN GIRL DREAMING
    2. REVOLUTION
    3. THE FAMILY ROMANOV
    4. PORT CHICAGO 50
    5. WEST OF THE MOON
    6. GHOST OF TUPELO LANDING
    7. THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH

  15. THE NIGHT GARDENER is my first choice. It is a tale told extremely well, appealing to both girls and boys. Reminiscent of the fairy tale with its original intention, this novel seems effortless in its connection to those primitive fears of the “dark” or unknown. It too can change and morph in meaning relative to the years that go by, since it is so rooted in basic human psychology. This is a small gem of a book – combine this with the mellifluous and consummate writing style and exquisite book design – it deserves serious consideration.

  16. 1) Port Chicago 50
    2) The Family Romanov
    3) The Night Gardener
    4) Under the Egg
    5) The Fourteenth Goldfish
    6) Rain Reign
    7) Half a Chance

  17. Kristine A says:

    1) bgd & Romanov
    3) revolution
    4) river man
    5) princess in black
    6) crossover
    7) west of the moon

  18. samuel leopold says:

    1. BROWN GIRL DREAMING
    2. FAMILY ROMANOV
    3. HALF A WORLD AWAY
    4. THE RIVERMAN
    5. NIGHT GARDENER
    6 WEST OF THE MOON
    7. 14TH GOLDFISH

  19. Erin Moehring says:

    1. NIGHT GARDENER
    2. GHOSTS OF TUPELO LANDING
    3. BROWN GIRL DREAMING
    4. RAIN REIGN
    5. NIGHTINGALE’S NEST
    6.14th GOLDFISH
    7. GREENGLASS HOUSE
    Anxiously waiting to read THE FAMILY ROMANOV , JOEY PIGZA, and CROSSOVER

  20. 1, Brown Girl Dreaming
    2. Fleabrain Loves Franny ( I know…)
    3. Reign Rain
    4. Under The Egg
    5. Revolution
    6. Skink
    7. The Green glass House.

  21. Jonathan Hunt Jonathan Hunt says:

    (18) BROWN GIRL DREAMING

    (12) THE FAMILY ROMANOV

    (11) WEST OF THE MOON

    (10) REVOLUTION

    (9) THE NIGHT GARDENER

    (8) EL DEAFO

    (7) THE CROSSOVER

    (7) THE PORT CHICAGO 50

    (5) THE GHOSTS OF TUPELO LANDING

    (5) THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH

    (5) GREENGLASS HOUSE

    (4) RIVERMAN

    (4) RAIN REIGN

    (2) THE PRINCESS IN BLACK

    (2) NIGHTINGALE’S NEST

    (2) HALF A WORLD AWAY

    (2) UNDER THE EGG

    (1) EGG & SPOON

    (1) THE SECRET HUM OF A DAISY

    (1) ARCADY’S GOAL

    (1) WINTER BEES

    (1) HARLEM HELLFIGHTERS

    (1) THE SILVER PEOPLE

    (1) FLY AWAY

    (1) A SNICKER OF MAGIC

    (1) WHAT THE MOON SAYS

    (1) CAMINAR

    (1) CURIOSITY

    (1) THE TURTLE OF OMAN

    (1) THE KEY THAT SWALLOWED JOEY PIGZA

    (1) BURIED SUNLIGHT

    (1) ABSOLUTELY ALMOST

    (1) THE MISADVENTURES OF THE FAMILY FLETCHER

    (1) THE THICKETY

    (1) THE MADMAN OF PINEY WOODS

    (1) SPARKY!

    (1) THE RED PENCIL

    (1) RED MADNESS

    (1) THE DUMBEST IDEA EVER

    (1) HALF A CHANCE

    (1) FLEABRAIN LOVES FRANNY

    (1) SKINK

  22. Hannah Mermelstein says:

    Not sure if it’s too late, but…
    I’m going to give my votes to my 41 students, 4th-6th grade, who fortuitously chose 7 Mock Newbery finalists:

    1. GREENGLASS HOUSE
    2. THE NIGHT GARDENER
    3. UPSIDE DOWN IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE
    4. NEST
    5. CURIOSITY
    6. WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE
    7. THE CROSSOVER

  23. Need to add Half a World Away to my list!! Just finished it. Can’t decide what it should take the place of on my list of 7 tho…

Trackbacks

  1. […] No, that isn’t many.  However, that just means that I have a lot to choose from to read over the next month and a half!  As usual, I will focus on reading what I can of the finalists, especially from the middle grade fiction (including speculative) categories, fiction picture book category, elementary and middle grade nonfiction category, and poetry category.  I will be putting in my order with my library ASAP.  I am especially interested in titles from the middle grade categories that are crossovers from the mock Newbery blog I sometimes read. […]

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