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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

How does a book Win? Part 1: Nominations

4416018510_952eb6f552_bI’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 been up to lately and what will be they be doing at the Midwinter Meetings in just a couple of weeks?

Let’s start with nominations.

Throughout the year, as we know, the Newbery Committee has been reading and reading and re-reading eligible titles. Over the last couple of months of the year, the committee members will nominate seven titles each in three rounds.  During the first round, three titles are nominated then two more in each of the next two rounds.  These nominations will include a write-up of why the nominator thinks the book is worthy of consideration, applying the Newbery criteria to the title.  All nominated books are up for discussion at the Midwinter conference and books that are not nominated are off the table under most circumstances.

8808717962_6075e76b84_bWith 15 committee members and seven nominations, the committee could be looking at, discussing, debating, and maybe voting on upwards of 100 books over the course of a couple of days!  Of course the same title is often nominated more than once, so that number may be smaller.

Nominations can be strategic.  A member might choose to nominate a title to make sure it is on the table even if it isn’t one of their top seven picks if they feel it is worth discussion.  This makes sense especially if a member knows their top picks are likely to be nominated by others (or already have been).   Every member has the freedom to nominate as they see fit.

9561066959_58ebf67d5c_kWhen Jonathan and I announced our short list it was a mock of a much larger discussion list that the real committee will be using.  We also try to write blog posts that demonstrate what a nomination might look like.    I know you’ve already commented on our short list over here, and shared some of your mock lists.  What, though, if you weren’t trying to build a perfect mock discussion that had books of different types for different ages that are particularly fun to compare.  What if, instead, you were tasked, like the real committee, to just nominate the seven you most want to talk about and that you feel are the most distinguished.  What would your nominations be for?

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Sharon McKellar About Sharon McKellar

Sharon McKellar is the Community Relations Librarian for the Oakland Public Library in California. She has served on the Rainbow List Committee, the Notable Children's Recordings Committee as well as the 2015 Caldecott Committee. You can reach her at sharon@mckellar.org.

Comments

  1. Jonathan Hunt Jonathan Hunt says:

    Nominations are always strategic, but I imagine I’d nominate one or both of the Jason Reynolds bookS (GHOSTS and AS BRAVE AS YOU), SAMURAI RISING, WHEN GREEN BECOMES TOMATOES, and probably one of the many fine historical novels this year, probably FULL OF BEANS although I respect them all. BEFORE MORNING and FREEDOM ON CONGO SQUARE still stick firmly in my mind as picture book texts. I could get behind lots of other dark horse candidates, but those are probably mine.

  2. My 7 nominations would be:
    BEFORE MORNING
    HOUR OF THE BEES
    A POEM FOR PETER
    SUMMERLOST
    WHEN GREEN BECOMES TOMATOES
    WHEN THE SEA TURNED TO SILVER
    WOLF HOLLOW

  3. Eric Carpenter says:

    Top 7 in the order I would place them on a ballot:
    GHOST
    SAMURAI RISING
    FREEDOM IN CONGO SQUARE
    FULL OF BEANS
    THE BORDEN MURDERS
    PRESENTING BUFFALO BILL
    MARCH BOOK 3

  4. My current 7:
    PAX
    WHEN GREEN BECOMES TOMATOES
    THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON
    FULL OF BEANS (rising)
    SOME KIND OF COURAGE (slipping)
    WOLF HOLLOW (slipping)
    THE INQUISITOR’S TALE (Slightly cheating with this one because I’m not finished reading it. I’m close enough to know that it would get one of my nominations, regardless of how it ends. Might even end up higher on my list)

  5. My 7 which have changed pretty dramatically over the last week or two due to our wonderful conversations on this blog:

    In order:
    Ghost
    When Green Becomes Tomatoes
    Wolf Hollow
    The Girl Who Drank the Moon
    Some Kind of Courage (though I probably have dropped this from my list after some enlightening analysis from contributors here and elsewhere, I’d still nominate it for discussion. It really is a gem, but some flaws are more apparent to me now).
    Pax
    Jazz Day

    But I still need to read Full of Beans and Samurai Rising!

  6. Hmm,

    GHOST
    WHEN GREEN BECOMES TOMATOES
    RAYMIE NIGHTINGALE
    GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON
    FULL OF BEANS
    AIN’T SO AWFUL FALAFEL
    GERTIE’S LEAP TO GREATNESS
    SALT TO THE SEA

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