Follow This Blog: RSS feed
Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

Give Picture Book Non-fiction a Chance?

give bees a chance

Non-fiction books in a picture book format  can be a hard sell in a Newbery discussion. The Terms and Criteria state that the “distinguished contribution to American literature” is “defined as text.” And in the best picture book non-fiction, like the best picture books and graphic novels, text and illustrations are usually dependent on one another. But […]

The First Rule of Middle Grade Fiction: Be Yourselves

first rule of punk

The first rule of punk, according to Malú’s dad, is to be yourself – as if yourself is a single, easy-to-define, tangible something.   But when you’re in middle school, figuring out who you are is a lot more complicated than that.   The First Rule of Punk has starred reviews from Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, and School Library […]

Rose Lee Carter and the Historical Fiction Advantage

Midnight without a Moon

Historical fiction has done well over the years in terms of Newbery recognition. In the past ten years, about 43% of the Medal and Honor books fit the category (18 of 42 if you count “When You Reach Me” and “Splendors and Glooms”), and all but one year included at least one historical fiction title. […]

Look Who’s Talking: First Person/Present Tense Narrative Voice

seeyouinthecosmos

By the third page of See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng, I am absolutely hooked: not because it has an unusual narrative device and not because of the almost stream-of-consciousness, intimate, conversational tone, although both are immediately noteworthy.  I am hooked by the book’s unique and affable protagonist Alex, a first person/present/immediate past tense young narrator.  When Alex brings […]

Eye on the Prize: The National Book Award Longlist

what girls are made of

The 2017 National Book Award longlist of nominees was announced this week, and the Young People’s Literature list is exciting!                             Elana K. Arnold, What Girls Are Made Of (Carolrhoda Lab / Lerner Publishing Group) Robin Benway, Far from the Tree (HarperTeen / HarperCollins Publishers) Samantha Mabry, All the Wind in the World (Algonquin Young Readers / Workman […]

Only two stars. None taken.

well that was awkward

The category of Funny-Middle-School-First-Romance is always well represented on library shelves, but when it comes to Newbery recognition…well, ”none taken,” as Gracie from Well, That Was Awkward would say. It’s her response when someone has insulted her, but hasn’t said “no offense” (p. 7, 134-5, 250). Published reviews of Rachel Vail’s book are strongly positive, […]

Newbery Social Media “Guidelines” — How Strict Is It?

Heavy Medal Logo

Roxanne: A recent Newbery committee member’s experience reported by the member herself, on social media, and by industry outlets such as School Library Journal,  reminds me of a line from the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: ‘the code is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules.’  What is the difference between Guidelines and Rules?  When a […]

The People We Were Before

Ethan

Well, I told you I would surely be back and talking about grief, and here I am.  Just the title of this book spoke to me, personally, as I’ve thought a lot recently about the time before vs the time after in terms of my own grieving process and all the changes that death has […]

Hello, Heavy Medal – Hello, Universe

hello universe

Hello, Heavy Medal readers. I was born and raised in Taiwan. After college, I taught 7th and 8th grade English in a Taipei public school before pursuing a Master’s degree in Children’s Literature from The Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College. Those two brief but glorious years saw me reading 15-30 […]

2 Brothers, 6 Stars, and 454 pages

Vincent and theo

I’m Steven Engelfried, one of the new Heavy Medal bloggers. Besides being an avid reader of the blog since it started, I’ve served on the Newbery Committee a couple times. I was on the 2010 Committee (When You Reach Me) and was chair of the 2013 Committee (The One and Only Ivan). I’ll jump right […]