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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

How does a book Win? Part 1: Nominations

I’m going to end this year with a post that gets a little bit into process.  I know this will be review for a lot of you, but it’s nice to talk about and a reminder is always good!  So, how does a winner get picked?  And what about honor books?  What has the committee […]

Juana & Lucas

  JUANA & LUCAS is pure delight.  I’m really excited to be able to discuss a heavily illustrated early chapter book that has lovely art, but certainly also has text worth consideration.  We didn’t find a graphic novel this year that we felt belonged on our shortlist, so for me this is the closest we get […]

Gallery: Curse of the Three Star Book

Last year, I noted here and here that it’s very easy for books with three starred reviews to slip under our radar and earn Newbery recognition.  We can’t read everything, and what we do read, we can’t always read as carefully as the Newbery committee.  Here are thirteen books–a baker’s dozen–which earned three starred reviews. […]

Some Writer!

  In October 1949, he wrote his publisher, Cass Canfield: “My next book is in sight.  I look at it every day.  I keep it in a carton, as you would a kitten.”  Andy spent the year studying spiders.  “In this,” he wrote, “I found the key to the story.”  Andy would not make his heroine, […]

Best Books

Five of the six review journals have spoken: Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal.  I will add Bulletin in after the turn of the new year. Five lists– THE BEST MAN THE INQUISITOR’S TALE THE LIE TREE MARCH, BOOK THREE SCHOOL’S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL SOME WRITER!   Four lists– AS […]

Full of Beans

Look here, Mac.  I’m gonna give it to you straight: grown-ups lie. Sure, they like to say that kids make things up and that we don’t tell the truth.  But they’re the lying liars. Take President Roosevelt.  He’s been saying on the radio that the economy was improving, when anyone with two eyes could see […]

Oakland Mock Newbery

Hi everyone!  I’m excited to announce that we have a date, time and location for the Oakland in-person Mock Newbery.  It will be on Sunday, January 15th at the Rockridge Branch of the Oakland Public Library.  We’ll meet from 12:30 until 5pm with discussion starting promptly at 1pm.  An Evite has been sent to past […]

Hour of the Bees

HOUR OF THE BEES has been mentioned a couple of times in our comments section, but hasn’t gotten as much love as maybe it should.  It is definitely a book that has stuck with me over the months and one I think is worthy of a bit of discussion. I really enjoyed the story within […]


We’ve often worried that we create a bit of an echo chamber effect here, picking a shortlist to focus on at the expense of many other wonderful titles.  Previously recognized authors along with highly praised books tend to dominate our shortlist, exacerbating the effect.  Sometimes, I wonder if we should do something radical like exclude […]

When Green Becomes Tomatoes

I was pleasantly surprised to see WHEN GREEN BECOMES TOMATOES tied with WOLF HOLLOW atop our recent Top Five tally.  We liked Fogliano’s previous books, AND THEN IT’S SPRING and IF YOU WANT TO SEE A WHALE, but being picture books, they were somewhat of a hard sell. This longer work, a poetry collection, should […]