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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

2017 Newbery Reading List

The 2016 winners have been announced.  Hope you had time to catch your breath.  Let’s start reading again!

9781499801033_p0_v6_s118x184FREEDOM IN CONGO SQUARE by Carole Boston Weatherford . . . Fresh on the heels of the first Newbery Medal picture book, I offer you this one to consider.  It’s got three starred reviews so far, and could likely add to that total in the coming weeks.  Weatherford could go the Joyce Sidman route.  She gets on our radar by authoring a couple of Caldecott Honor texts and–boom!–she’s a Newbery winner in her own right before you know it. 9780060577940_p0_v1_s192x300

MAKOONS by Louise Erdrich . . . To me, this is the most anticipated read of the year.  If you’ve ever heard me whine about the first three books in the series–something about the literary equivalent of watching paint dry on the wall–that will probably shock you, but CHICKADEE won me over with its brevity and humor in a way that the other books didn’t.  I’m hoping for big things from this one.  Don’t let me down, Erdrich!

9780062377012_p0_v1_s192x300PAX by Sara Pennypacker . . . Now that the CLEMENTINE series has wrapped up, it will be interesting to see what direction Pennypacker’s career takes.  We got a glimpse of it, I think, with SUMMER OF THE GYPSY MOTHS, a book that sharply divided us here.  I think PAX, which I’ve already read, will probably have a unifying effect on us.  That is, I think we’ll all find it distinguished; it’s just a question of to what degree.  And illustrations by Jon Klassen . . . that doesn’t hurt, does it?9780763681173_p0_v1_s192x300

RAYMIE NIGHTINGALE by Kate DiCamillo . . . A new novel from DiCamillo is always cause for celebration, and almost always cause for Newbery speculation.  I kind of put my foot in my mouth last time around when I opined that FLORA & ULYSSES was my least favorite of her novels.  But that doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm for this one at all.  Appears to be autobiographical, too.  Could DiCamillo become the first three-time Newbery Medalist?  I’m betting on her, if not for this book, then perhaps another one.

9781580895842_p0_v2_s192x300 SAMURAI RISING by Pamela Turner . . . With three starred reviews this one seems like the leading nonfiction candidate at this point in the year.  I’ve enjoyed Turner’s work on the Scientists in the Field series, but this one represents a bit of a change of pace for her–and what a welcome one it is!  I can’t wait to read this one either.  And illustrations by Gareth Hinds–notice the recurring theme here.

This list is by no means comprehensive, and if you’ve read something that you think deserves our attention, please add it below in the comments.

 

 

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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. sam leopold says:

    Great selections!!!

    I have three more that I believe will be in the conversation later this year.

    Paper Wishes by Sepahban
    Some Kind of Courage by Gemeinhart
    Booked by K.Alexander

    Any Graphic novel ideas?

    Sam

  2. Eric Carpenter says:

    Currently reading PAX and can’t wait to get to Applet’s MAYBE A FOX
    I’d add another Pennypacker to the 2017 discussion list. WAYLON has 2 starred reviews and though existing in the same world as the Clementine series, this is a fresh start and just as much fun.
    At the top of my nonfiction to-read list are THE BORDEN MURDERS by Sarah Miller and BUBONIC PLAGUE by Gail Jarrow.
    On the graphic novel side of things I’m excited to see Raina Telgemeier’s GHOSTS.

    And though it probably doesn’t “stand on its own” I can’t imagine reading anything more powerful or awe-inspiring than THE STORYTELLER, Aaron Starmer’s conclusion to his brilliant Riverman Trilogy.

  3. This might be the year of the fox.

    I’ve read PAX and I’m impressed. Just checked my stars and MAYBE A FOX by Kathi Applet and Allison McGee just got its third. Two authors I’m always happy to spend time with. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25785754-maybe-a-fox?from_search=true&search_version=service

    And also, if author names count: THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLE by Janet Fox just claimed a third star as well. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25776220-the-charmed-children-of-rookskill-castle?from_search=true&search_version=service

    Still such early days, but with a DiCamillo on the horizon, life is grand. Love to hear of tantalizing bounty those in Boston picked up on the tables.

  4. Do you hear the bees? They are coming.

  5. I’m all about PAX. Of course, it’s the only 2016 title I’ve read, but I have a strong feeling it will stay on top for me. (Since I was such a SUMMER OF THE GYPSY MOTHS fan.)

  6. Pax Pax Pax
    Because it’s by two of my fav’s…and I just LOVE saying Pennypacker!

  7. Do you enjoy saying Pennypacker because of Seinfeld connection???

    • Ha! YES Kate…BIG Seinfeld fan…
      love me a wealthy American industrialist!!! That Pennypacker Varnsen Vanderlay episode…classic!
      However I did also love Gypsy Moths, was hoping for an ALA nod for Dullards and regularly check out Clementine to students. And teamed with Klassen…say no more!

  8. Just ordered Pax for my classroom. Can’t wait to read Dicamillo’s new one. Love her. Also hoping for new Creech this year. Finally read Goodbye Stranger. Liked a lot but makes me scared for my students…

  9. I don’t know if other people are still reading this blog, but I recently reviewed “Free Verse” by Sarah Dooley for SLJ and it’s terrific. Pub date of March 15th. Another title to look for, and it’s not one of our well known authors. I think we often spot their new books and know to read them, but I think this is a debut author.

  10. I’m about halfway through ONCE WAS A TIME by Leila Sales, and though I know it’s risky to recommend a book I haven’t finished, I have to say that I’m loving it so far!

  11. January stars update! For those who don’t know: I keep a Google spreadsheet of the starred book reviews given by Booklist, the Bulletin, Horn Book, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly and SLJ. To see the spreadsheet you can visit my website (link in the sidebar). Here’s a list of everything with 3 or more stars.

    No books have received 5 or 6 stars yet.
    5 books have received 4 stars – one (Unbecoming by Jenny Downham) has a British author and is therefore ineligible, I believe – although I am not even close to the final authority on that. The most likely contender of the remaining 4 has been covered by Jonathan above – Pax by Sara Pennypacker. However, given that the committees are making all sorts of outside the box choices in the past couple of years here’s the other three:
    The Bitter Side of Sweet by Tara Sullivan – reviewed by most for ages 12 and up – so a little old, but not outside the range
    Ideas Are All Around by Philip C. Stead – picture book
    We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson – reviewed for age 14/Grade 9 and up so just touches the range, but probably too old

    23 titles have received 3 stars – I’ve divided them into three lists: traditional contenders (middle of the age range – novels or non-fiction); outliers; and non-US authors. Obviously you should not ignore that second list of outliers – I definitely feel like anything can happen these days! But if you have limited reading time and want to play the odds you could focus on the first list.

    Traditional Contenders – 4 books:
    The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox
    Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee
    Samurai Rising by Pamela S. Turner
    The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

    Outliers – 15 titles (9 picture books, 1 poetry collection, 3 reviewed solidly as YA and 2 that I almost moved to that top list….)
    Character, Driven by David Lubar – top of Newbery age range
    Cricket Song by Anne Hunter – picture book
    Emma and Julia Love Ballet by Barbara McClintock – picture book
    Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford – picture book
    The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle – YA
    Horrible Bear! by Ame Dyckman – picture book
    I Hear a Pickle and Smell, See, Touch & Taste It, Too! by Rachel Isadora – picture book
    The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork – top of Newbery age range
    Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) by Julie Falatko – picture book
    The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters – YA
    Swap! by Steve Light – picture book
    Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach – YA
    When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano – poetry
    The White Cat and the Monk by Jo Ellen Bogart – picture book
    You Never Heard of Casey Stengel?! by Jonah Winter – picture book biography

    These 4 have non-US authors (based on brief internet research-so again – others may know more)
    Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston – Canadian
    Half Lost by Sally Green – UK
    My Name Is Not Friday by Jon Walter – UK
    When Mischief Came to Town by Katrina Nannestad – Australian

    • Thanks for always being such an incredible sharer! Appreciated.

    • Oh, Jen, how I value your list!! Thanks for allowing us to share your hard work and wealth of knowledge. Last year I used your list to stay abreast of good titles before this group restarted, and thus was in much better spot to really join the conversations. I hope to do even better this year, thanks to you!

  12. As always Elaine and Kimbra, thank you for the kind words! I’m just glad there’s other people who can get use out of the info and with whom to geek out about this stuff!

    At the end of February there were no 5 or 6 star books. 9 books received 4 stars, 39 books received 3 stars. I’ve divided them into three lists: traditional contenders (middle of the age range – novels or non-fiction – 11 books); outliers (29 books); and non-US authors (8 books) – but in general you probably have to figure out the criteria that work for you and how widely you want to read. Titles that weren’t on the previous comment have been marked NEW, 4 star titles are also noted. Also – when it comes to eligibility I’m just taking guesses based on brief Google searches – I assume I’m wrong about someone’s nationality somewhere……my apologies if so!

    Traditional Contenders:
    The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox
    The Door By the Staircase by Katherine Marsh – NEW
    Free Verse by Sarah Dooley – NEW
    Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee
    The Most Important Thing by Avi – short stories, so considered putting this below, but previous winner and smack in the middle of the age range, so went with this list – NEW
    Pax by Sara Pennypacker – 4 stars
    Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo – NEW
    Samurai Rising by Pamela S. Turner – non-fiction
    The Storyteller by Aaron Starmer – NEW
    We Will Not Be Silent by Russell Freedman – non-fiction – NEW
    The Wild Robot by Peter Brown – 4 stars

    Outliers:
    ¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z!/Olinguito, from A to Z! by Lulu Delacre – picture book – NEW
    Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit – top of Newbery age range – NEW
    Anything But Ordinary Addie by Mara Rockliff – picture book biography – NEW
    Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat – picture book – NEW
    The Bitter Side of Sweet by Tara Sullivan – top of Newbery age range – 4 stars
    Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina – YA – NEW
    Character, Driven by David Lubar – top of Newbery age range
    Cricket Song by Anne Hunter – picture book
    Emma and Julia Love Ballet by Barbara McClintock – picture book
    Essential Maps for the Lost by Deb Caletti – YA – NEW
    Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford – picture book
    The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle – YA
    Horrible Bear! by Ame Dyckman – picture book
    I Hear a Pickle and Smell, See, Touch & Taste It, Too! by Rachel Isadora – picture book – 4 stars
    Ideas Are All Around by Philip C. Stead – picture book – 4 stars
    Jazz Day by Roxane Orgill – poetry collection – NEW
    The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork – top of Newbery age range – 4 stars
    Miss Mary Reporting by Sue Macy – picture book biography – NEW
    Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) by Julie Falatko – picture book
    The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters – YA
    Swap! by Steve Light – picture book
    Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach – YA
    Their Great Gift by John Coy – picture book non-fiction – NEW
    Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie – picture book – NEW
    We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson – YA – 4 stars
    Wet Cement by Bob Raczka – poetry collection – NEW
    When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano – poetry
    The White Cat and the Monk by Jo Ellen Bogart – picture book
    You Never Heard of Casey Stengel?! by Jonah Winter – picture book biography

    Non-US authors: (based on brief internet research-not the final authority)
    Delilah Dirk and the King’s Shilling by Tony Cliff – Canadian – NEW
    Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston – Canadian – 4 stars
    Half Lost by Sally Green – UK
    The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge – UK – NEW
    My Name Is Not Friday by Jon Walter – UK
    The Night Gardener by Terry and Eric Fan – Canadian – NEW
    Unbecoming by Jenny Downham – UK – 4 stars
    When Mischief Came to Town by Katrina Nannestad – Australian

    • Using this list to order books for China as we speak, thanks Jen J for all you do. Thanks Jonathan Hunt. It’s a joy looking through these posts and shop shop shopping!

  13. Just read Booked…LOVED it, possibly more than The Crossover…having Kwame here at the same time probably helped the vibe.
    Can’t wait to go through the books above. Thanks for making getting the right books to Shanghai so much easier with comprehensive lists like this, love everyone’s ideas.

    • Safranit Molly says:

      I agree! I loved Booked! Loved it! Just what is in that Dragonfly box? That ambiguity is going to drive my students nuts! Genius!

  14. We have our first 5 star books! Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo and Jazz Day by Roxane Orgill. There are also 20 books that have 4 stars and 41 books that have 3 stars. Three lists: traditional contenders (middle of the age range – novels or non-fiction – 14 books); outliers (37 books); and non-US authors (12 books).

    Traditional Contenders:
    Booked by Kwame Alexander – 4 stars – NEW
    The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox
    The Door By the Staircase by Katherine Marsh
    Free Verse by Sarah Dooley
    Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar – NEW
    Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee
    The Most Important Thing by Avi – short stories
    Pax by Sara Pennypacker – 4 stars
    Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo – 5 stars
    Samurai Rising by Pamela S. Turner – non-fiction – 4 stars
    The Storyteller by Aaron Starmer
    We Will Not Be Silent by Russell Freedman – non-fiction – 4 stars
    The Wild Robot by Peter Brown – 4 stars
    Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk – NEW

    Outliers:
    ¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z!/Olinguito, from A to Z! by Lulu Delacre – picture book – 4 stars
    Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit – top of Newbery age range
    Anything But Ordinary Addie by Mara Rockliff – picture book biography
    Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat – picture book
    The Bitter Side of Sweet by Tara Sullivan – top of Newbery age range – 4 stars
    Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina – YA – 4 stars
    Character, Driven by David Lubar – top of Newbery age range
    Cricket Song by Anne Hunter – picture book
    Draw the Line by Laurent Linn – YA – NEW
    Emma and Julia Love Ballet by Barbara McClintock – picture book
    Essential Maps for the Lost by Deb Caletti – YA
    Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford – picture book
    The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle – YA
    Horrible Bear! by Ame Dyckman – picture book
    I Hear a Pickle and Smell, See, Touch & Taste It, Too! by Rachel Isadora – picture book – 4 stars
    Ideas Are All Around by Philip C. Stead – picture book – 4 stars
    Jazz Day by Roxane Orgill – poetry collection – 5 stars
    The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork – top of Newbery age range – 4 stars
    Miss Mary Reporting by Sue Macy – picture book biography
    The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos – YA – NEW
    The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry – YA – NEW
    The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater – YA – NEW
    The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner – YA – NEW
    Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) by Julie Falatko – picture book – 4 stars
    Spot, the Cat by Henry Cole – picture book – NEW
    The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters – YA
    Swap! by Steve Light – picture book
    Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach – YA
    There Is a Tribe of Kids by Lane Smith – picture book – NEW
    Their Great Gift by John Coy – picture book non-fiction
    Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie – picture book – 4 stars
    Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley – picture book – NEW
    We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson – YA – 4 stars
    Wet Cement by Bob Raczka – poetry collection – 4 stars
    When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano – poetry – 4 stars
    The White Cat and the Monk by Jo Ellen Bogart – picture book – 4 stars
    You Never Heard of Casey Stengel?! by Jonah Winter – picture book biography

    Non-US authors: (based on brief internet research-not the final authority)
    Delilah Dirk and the King’s Shilling by Tony Cliff – Canadian
    Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston – Canadian – 4 stars
    Golden Boys by Sonya Hartnett – Australian – NEW
    Grumpy Pants by Claire Messer – UK – NEW
    Half Lost by Sally Green – UK
    The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge – UK – 4 stars
    My Name Is Not Friday by Jon Walter – UK
    The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks – Canadian – NEW
    The Night Gardener by Terry and Eric Fan – Canadian
    A Tangle of Gold by Jaclyn Moriarty – Australian – NEW
    Unbecoming by Jenny Downham – UK – 4 stars
    When Mischief Came to Town by Katrina Nannestad – Australian

  15. Greetings all! I’m super late this month and I’m doing things differently. I’ve posted the updated list of titles over at my website: https://booksheets.wordpress.com/2016/05/19/april-2016-newbery-contender-update/

    There’s now 61 books with 3 stars or more that could be eligible. Not a lot of new traditional contenders this month – you’ll definitely want to look at Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson, but otherwise new list additions are either YA or picture books. Also of note: Jazz Day by Orgill is the first 6-star book of the year.

  16. Sheila Welch says:

    I haven’t read Joan Bauer’s book yet, but I’ve finished PAX. I’ve been a fan of Pennypacker’s Clementine series and also found much to appreciate in her SUMMER OF THE GYPSY MOTHS. I was anticipating a marvelous read when I started PAX, but it didn’t live up to my expectations.

    I give Pennypacker credit for writing something so different from her other work, but I think this book lacks her sharp insight and light, sure touch.To me, PAX feels forced. The fox portions of the story appeal to me more than the boy’s and feel more “real” and developed. Peter’s story has an almost fairy tale feeling that serves the theme but strikes me as heavy handed. Of course, this is my opinion, and obviously many other readers love the book.

    • I absolutely agree with you, Sheila. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. Maybe it just couldn’t live up to the hype.

  17. Update based on books with 3 or more stars by the end of May is finally done. Take a look at Bubonic Plague by Gail Jarrow on the non-fiction side. On to recording the June stars!

  18. Update based on starred reviews through the end of July. Lots of new things to check out this time around including new titles from some previous winners! https://booksheets.wordpress.com/2016/08/27/july-2016-newbery-contender-update/

    Can’t wait for Heavy Medal season to officially start!

Trackbacks

  1. […] will win the 2017 Newbery? Heavy Medal recently shared some books to look out for – and you can add yours in their […]

  2. […] our first few months of books with nothing more than my own opinion and Heavy Medal’s  extremely early 2017 Reading List to guide me. Our first discussion will take on Sara Pennypacker’s Pax and Joan Bauer’s […]

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