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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

Results from the Mocks, and ALA Midwinter!

Thank you all for starting to post your mock results!  If you haven’t yet please contribute your comments here. We’ve heard from:

Cincinnati and friends (BROWN GIRL DREAMING)

Rhode Island Public and School Librarians (CROSSOVER)

Masschussetts Library System (NIGHT GARDENER)

Emerson School in Berkeley CA (read synoposes of the kids discussions at

And we are in the final stretches!  Next week, award committee members and thousands of others flock to Chicago (yes, like penguins) for the ALA Midwinter conference.  There’s much more than just book discussing going on, but you might be interested in:

The discussion list for the ALSC Notable Books for Children committee.  This committee process is fully open, and those of you attending the conference can sit in an observe their meetings.

For those attending, the orientation meetings for the 2016 award committee.  While the award committee discussion meetings are closed, their initial orientation meetings are open, and you are welcome to sit in and listen. Just browse the schedule for “2016” and “Newbery” “Caldecott” etc.

YALSA’s “Best Fiction for Young Adults” meetings are open, like ALSC Notables, and on Saturday afternoon they have their Teen Feedback session, where actual readers present their judgments to the committee.

Finally, for everyone the Youth Media Awards Announcements happen Monday morning, 8am Central, at McCormick Center or live online.  We will have a blog post ready for comments following the announcements, but the real online action, as it happens, is on Twitter: #ALAyma.

Jonathan and I will be there. Can’t wait!

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. Thanks for the round-up! I haven’t been around much this year because my life exploded but I read all the posts. Maybe I will see some of you around next weekend. :)

  2. Doe Myers says:

    Our group is called: “Dare to Mock”
    WINNER: Port Chicago 50 by Steven Sheinken
    HONORS – 3: Crossover, Nest, Absolutely Almost

    Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff
    Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
    Caminar by Skilia Brown
    El Deafo by Cece Bell
    Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion and Fall of Imperial Russia by Candice Fleming
    Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Shelia Turnage
    Nest by Ester Erlich
    Port Chicago 50 by Steven Sheinken
    Revolution by Deborah Wiles

    • Nina Lindsay Nina Lindsay says:

      So happy to see some love for PORT CHICAGO 50! Nice choice 😉

      Doe, I think that NEST and ABSOLUTELY ALMOST have not gotten due attention here. Can you tell us a little about why your group chose them for honors?

      • Doe Myers says:

        Sure…ABSOLUTELY ALMOST surprised me a bit. When we started our voting on Thursday evening we had all of the books on our Short List on the table and eveyone had something to say about just about all of the books, except AA. So, I thought it might go ‘off the table’ even before we got to our first ballot. As the evening progressed, I remembered our September meeting when we first talked about AA. In terms of distinguished literature, I recall we loved:

        Characters: Albie, Calista, even Mom and Dad. They surprised and annoyed and frustrated us. “Why did Mom fire Calista?” “She had to fire her?” “She could have talked to her.”……
        Setting: New York was so well used in the book. Perhaps because we are all here in California; still Albie’s out and about experiences in the City worked so well for his life and his simple tale.
        Theme: Underestimating People – I think this touched many of us. Albie is no brilliant or talented wonder kid, thank goodness. Yet, many of his emotional insights were spot on and in tune with him. Still, he underestimated himself in terms of putting together that rocket (model? something his dad was ingnoring him over). Yet, as readers, I think we underestimated many of the characters ourselves and then our author surprised us with a moment where Dad or Calista does or says something more than we’d thought they might have in them.
        So, as our evening vote went on….AA was barely mentioned, but in votes….well it was always a solid presence, not #1, but there. When someone wanted it ‘off the table’ there was enough of a ‘NO’ to keep it in there.
        NEST – Again the setting just won many in our group – the Cape and the 70s. We spoke often of the birds, of course. But we also spoke about Joey and Chirp breaking those windows in the house. Really reminded me of the “It’s a Wonderful Life” scene with Mary and George, but I digress. Still, the use of that empty house and its windows. Lovely. One inour group took to reading random passages to prove that the writing was consistently well done.
        Characters – Chirp, the older sister, Mother, (at times very) feckless Dad. Well, they just made us so mad and so passionately protective of them. They were nicely rounded. Even when someone questioned Joey’s OCD symptoms, we rallied and talked about how it was well represented because you can know someone for a while and still not know these struggles for a while.

        So, when voting came around, maybe we were more emotionally attached than focused on literary elements. Our winner, PORT CHICAGO 50, got a fine speech about the excellent nonfiction writing styles used, but our Honors might have been more around a few “Sighings” of “I just loved NEST” or “Albie is such a love” but that what happens in our group too.
        I’ve sent an email to my group and asked them to jog my memory with more details around NEST and ABSOLUTELY ALMOST. If any respond, I’ll ask them to post their thoughts themselves or barring that…I’ll get their permission to post their recollections here.

  3. Our group met yesterday. I think after three years we have finally landed on a name. The Wasatch Front Mock Newbery.

    The snapshot of our results are:

    The behind the scenes squabble was that after three votes our group of six stalemated in a three to three tie between CROSSOVER & FAMILY ROMANOV with CROSSOVER getting 20 total points to ROMANOV’s 15. All six of us put CROSSOVER somewhere in our top three. We fudged on protocol and conceded to give the medal to CROSSOVER if we could include BROWN GIRL DREAMING as a second honor although it received a distant 7 total points.

    On the other shortlisted books:

    GHOSTS OF TUPELO LANDING: 5 points. Very much appreciated by all, although there was a slanderous Scooby Doo reference made. Ranked especially high in Characters and setting. We all agreed that the ghost needed to be a real ghost. (As all ghosts should)

    REVOLUTION: 5 points. Well respected but could have been tighter with the complaint that our hands fell asleep while holding the damn heavy book.

    THE NIGHT GARDENER: 2 points. Well crafted but too draggy in parts of the plot that would have served the tension of the story better with a clippier pace.

    RAIN REIGN: 2 points. Head over heels about Rose’s voice and the authors deft use of perspective. Most of us agreed that the flatness of the uncle’s character became a plot contrivance to rescue Rose. This was seen as a fatal flaw and moved it out of serious contention.

    Also on our short list but didn’t get a whole lot of attention were:


  4. Beth Martin says:

    DC Everest Middle School Mock Newbery chose:

    Winner: Greenglass House by Kate Milford
    Honor Books: The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
    The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson

  5. My department had our annual discussion last week and our results were:

    Medal: Brown Girl Dreaming
    Honors: El Deafo
    Greenglass House

    There was a big point spread between El Deafo and a tie of GH/R, but they were clear winners.

  6. I’ll look for you in Chicago!

  7. Nina Lindsay Nina Lindsay says:

    Here’s a roundup of some that have posted responses to the ALSC member listerv:

    Allen County Public Library
    Winner: CROSSOVER.
    The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson.

    Denver Public Library
    Honors: The Glass Sentence by S. E. Grove, A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd, and West of the Moon by Margi Preus

    Springfield-Greene County Library
    Honor Books: A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd, West of the Moon by Margi Preus

    Kansas City Metro
    Honors: Rain Reign and The Night Gardener

  8. Chelsea C. says:

    Sacramento (CA) Public Library held both an in-person and online vote to determine our winner and honor books.

    Over the course of 2014, we read 22 titles:
    Crossover by Kwame Alexander
    The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
    The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill by Megan Blakemore
    Caminar by Skila Brown
    The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis
    Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff
    The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm
    Half a World Away by Cynthia Kadohata
    A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
    Nightingale’s Nest by Nikki Loftin
    Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord
    Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire
    Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin
    Greenglass House by Kate Milford
    The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney
    West of the Moon by Margi Preus
    The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin
    The Riverman by Aaron Starmer
    Revolution by Deborah Wiles
    Boys of Blur by ND Wilson
    The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Brenda Woods
    Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

    In December, we narrowed it down to 6 finalists:
    The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
    Greenglass House by Kate Milford
    West of the Moon by Margi Preus
    The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin
    Boys of Blur by ND Wilson
    Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

    Our results for both the in-person and online discussion were virtually the same:

    Winner (both): WEST OF THE MOON
    Honors: BOYS OF BLUR (both)
    THE NIGHT GARDENER (online only)

  9. Here are the voting results from the Falmouth Elementary School Mock Newbery Book Club in Falmouth, Maine. The book club is comprised of students in grades four and five.

    The Mark of the Dragonfly

    Brown Girl Dreaming
    Rain Reign
    A Snicker of Magic
    The Fourteenth Goldfish

  10. The Ossining Public Library Children’s Room runs a mock Newbery club called the OPLbery Club. Club members–kids in 4th grade and up–met monthly since last April to discuss and choose the most outstanding book for children published in 2014. They read more than 40 books last year. On January 16, the club voted for:

    OPLbery Medal: When Audrey Met Alice, by Rebecca Behrens
    OPLbery Honor: Greenglass House, by Kate Milford.

    Read our blog for more info:

  11. Safranit Molly says:

    Here are the voting results from the Portland Jewish Academy Newbery Club.
    We had a near tie and would have re-balloted but did not have enough time.
    Greenglass House was our winner with 48 votes
    Brown Girl Dreaming a very close Honor book with 45 votes

    The next closest books had 26 (Snicker) and 18 (Curiosity) votes. I think we had clear winners, but I wish we had had time to re-ballot those top two. My suspicion is that GG would still have come out on top.

  12. Hannah Mermelstein says:

    Saint Ann’s School (Brooklyn) Mock Newbery Committee, comprised of forty 4th-6th grade, voted yesterday.


    Greenglass House
    The Night Gardener
    Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere

  13. At the King County Library System we haven’t closed our online poll yet, but the results from in-person discussions with participating classes have been coming in and it looks the favorite among students (mostly 5th and 6th graders) by a large margin is RAIN, REIGN.

    I’ve been surprised that not very many kids have voted for BROWN GIRL DREAMING, but I will say that I got to hear a ten-year-old student share a poem she wrote inspired by BGD and it renewed my love of the book in a big way.

  14. The Eva Perry Mock Newbery met on Friday. Our grades 6-9 group chose Paper Cowboy as the winner. We had four honors and all the counts were very close. Our honors were Bird, Nest the Night Gardener and Rain Reign.

  15. The Horace Mann Mock Newbery Committee awards its medal to The Riverman by Aaron Starmer. Honors go to Brown Girl Dreaming and A Snicker of Magic. Details on our final deliberations here:

  16. One more before the legit winners get announced.

    The 2015 Snow Elementary’s Leubery goes to:


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