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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
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Why We Do What We Do

Now that we are rolling, I want to take a moment to say that this will be my last season on Heavy Medal. I started it in 2008 with my colleague Sharon McKellar (Jonathan joined in 2009), but we’d been blogging about our Mock Newbery discussions a couple years before that, and I’ve been holding Mock Newbery discussions since 2003. Long enough!

The point of this blog for me has always been to encourage robust discussion about literature for children, with an eye towards the Newbery criteria, but not with the criteria as an end in themselves; rather to encourage fine writing for children, and not to settle for only what adults want for kids, or what adults find supports their own nostalgia about childhood.   Kids, all of kinds, deserve as varied and remarkable writing for themselves as we do.

Many of you have already seen a new blog to which I’m contributing, Reading While White. Though my decision to wrap up here was long settled before Reading While White was spawned, I’m glad to be able to continue to further discussions of excellence in children’s literature in directions I think need our utmost attention today.

I was lucky enough to come to this profession through ACL (The Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California) and the CCBC (Cooperative Children’s Book Center, Madison WI), both of which nurture the kind of examination of children’s books that we try to model here.  I recognize that this blog is hard to read for many authors and those who work closely with them on their work, but there has to be a place for honest critical examination of children’s literature, and I’ve tried to make this one of them.  The hope has always been that commenters on this blog are making others, and making the discussion accessible to those who have something new to add.  So thanks: I know you are.

ACL will be continuing the Oakland mock award discussions, and this blog isn’t going anywhere, so stay tuned.   I’m looking forward in particular to completing this season with you all, knowing that I’ve said most of what I have to say about the Newbery here, and looking forward to listening to and learning from others.

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. I, for one, will miss your perspective!

  2. Jonathan Hunt Jonathan Hunt says:

    Reading While White is off to a great start. I hope people will check it out!

    It’s been a great run, but I completely understand where Nina is coming from. I think I still have some gas left in the tank, but I’m not sure that I’ll be doing this indefinitely either.

  3. Nina, your lovely way of expressing ideas will not be duplicated. I love the new blog. Thank you for starting this discussion here.

  4. We’ll definitely miss you, Nina! I’m glad you’ll be with us for this season! Thanks for providing your perspective. I do think you’ve affected the way I look at books and evaluate them for awards like the Cybils and Capitol Choices.

  5. I love the Reading While White Blog and am excited to see all the things you do there. I will miss you here though!

  6. I so value your voice, Nina! Thanks for all you’ve contributed here. And thanks big time for the new blog, and for helping us all not just to look for answers, but for the right questions.

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