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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal


As I get ready for the Oakland Mock Newbery this coming Sunday, I’m thinking of the members of the many actual award committees, also doing some final re-reading and considering before they head to Boston to huddle in.  They meet for two full days, as many hours as they can squeeze in, and deliver their […]

Newbery Nonfiction

We’ve discussed some nonfiction titles in depth already, namely our shortlisted titles MOST DANGEROUS, DROWNED CITY, and RHYTHM RIDE.  We also briefly discussed THE BOYS WHO CHALLENGED HITLER (although I think it’s worthier of an extended conversation). However, those are far from the only worthy nonfiction titles to consider this year.  The additional titles below […]


I’m still desperately plowing through other Newbery contenders before we reach ALA Midwinter and the Youth Media Awards announcement. I just finished THE JUMBIES by Tracey Baptiste…cannot remember who mentioned this to me but it was on my hold list.  While I don’t know this would make it into my top 10, I would have certainly […]

The War That Saved My Life

If there’s any book that we’ve given short shrift to this past year, then perhaps it’s THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE, a popular favorite–it dominated our Top Five Tally and is ranked second on the Goodreads Poll–has also generated great buzz (three starred reviews translated into three best of the year lists), and just […]

San Diego Mock Winners!

We had a small turnout–just five people–but nevertheless managed a spirited and engaging discussion of our nine shortlisted titles. We also accomplished something I’ve never encountered in all my years of mock Newberys: We had a unanimous winner. All five people voted for ECHO with their 1st place vote. But it gets better! We were […]

Consider the margins

As some of you get ready, with Jonathan, for the San Diego mock Newbery tomorrow, the actual Newbery committee members are in the midst of their own re-reading, and many of all of us are approaching the “apples to oranges” dilemma.   How, considering the Newbery criteria, and the nominated books (for the committee, a […]

Goodbye Stranger and Rhythm Ride

Okay, here’s a second look at our last pair . . . GOODBYE STRANGER When I read all the overwritten books that got published this past year–and they are legion!–I just wanted to make GOODBYE STRANGER required reading for their authors.  Stead uses a minimum amount of description, allowing the dialogue to carry plot and […]

The Hired Girl, Nina’s Take

Well I can’t say I’ve been looking forward to this post, but I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out whether to do it at all, and what it’s about.   Jonathan and I decided we wanted this book on our shortlist, despite my own reservations about it, because it is such a […]

Mock Newbery Update

While Nina and I announced the dates for our respective Mock Newberys, we didn’t give you the additional details. The San Diego County Library and the San Diego County Office of Education are co-sponsoring mine.  It will be held on Wednesday, December 16 at 6:30 pm in the evening at Miguel’s Cocina (10514 Craftsman Way, […]

Seneca Village Redux

Am I the only person that dreams my dreams? Does anybody else on this planet think my thoughts? Are my ideas like darting lights I’ve caught? Is my mind a net sieving through thought-filled streams? I know when we first posted about this book it was a bit under the radar.  It had a couple […]