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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

A Newbery Dream… in the Sky

strangethedreamer

This week, all three of us will be posting about titles that are probably considered “too old” to even dream about being nominated for, let alone winning, the Newbery. And yet, when a book features a godly dreamer, a citadel floating in the sky, and characters accomplishing the impossible, its contribution to the young reader’s […]

The Message of Ms. Liberty’s Foot

Her Right Foot

My county library system catalog lists 34 nonfiction books about the Statue of Liberty.  I think I’ve actually only read one (Lynn Curlee’s, which was excellent), but I’m pretty confident that none of them resembles HER RIGHT FOOT in terms of style, presentation of information, or interpretation of theme.  It starts out light and conversational:   […]

Sometimes a Tree isn’t Just a Tree

wishtree

Katherine Applegate is the master of a certain kind of quiet novel.  I’ll resist comparisons to her previous Newbery winning title, though, and stick to just this book and this year.  WISHTREE whispers its message of tolerance and hope With such slight text, Applegate manages to make characters that are real, believable, flawed, and honest.  […]

Sequels, Prequels, and Companions

War I Finally Won

There’s plenty of precedent for sequels getting Newbery recognition.  A YEAR DOWN YONDER won the medal in this century; earlier Dicey Tillerman, Will Stanton, and Taran the Assistant Pig-Keeper, among others, all debuted in earlier books before winning the gold. The Terms and Criteria state that “The committee’s decision is to be made following deliberation about the books […]

YA? Why Not?

american street

So, what about YA?  We talked about this quite a bit in the comments of our post about the National Book Award Longlist, which was heavily Young Adult.  It’s come up in other places too, including in one of our very first posts this year, about VINCENT AND THEO.  There are quite a few titles […]

For All That’s Real and Fair(e): Two Outstanding MG GNs

realfriends

As  the Newbery Committee manual dictates, the “committee is to make its decision primarily on the text” and “[o]ther components of a book, such as illustrations, overall design of the book, etc., may be considered when they make the book less effective.” In other words, good designs and fabulous illustrations that enhance the overall reading experience, theoretically, should not […]

He’s Actually Really Good at Rhyming

ImJustNoGoodAtRhyming

Chris Harris’ I’M JUST NO GOOD AT RHYMING AND OTHER NONSENSE FOR MISCHIEVOUS KIDS AND IMMATURE GROWN-UPS is a strong collection of funny poems.  Which might not be enough for Newbery consideration, but there’s a little more here. For one thing, the poems work together to create a sort of unified world of wordplay that’s […]

Two Orphans, Two Islands: Which Is More Distinguished?

beyondthebrightsea

Certain recurring narrative devices have long been universally employed by authors of children’s books: a boarding school setting, moving (away) as the main conflict, meeting a wise mentor, etc.  One often-seen element is an orphan protagonist: From Huck Finn and Mary Lennox to Harry Potter and the Beaudelaires, children’s books do seem to feature parentless protagonists disproportionally.  Perhaps it allows the author to easily externalize […]

Informational Book With Made-Up Bits

Heavy Medal Logo

Some followers of Heavy Medal asked about Subject Headings and their potential influences over the Sibert or Newbery Committee members’ decisions. I went ahead and queried one of the 2017 Sibert Committee members, Gail Nordstrom, a public library consultant at the Viking Library System, Minnesota.  She also served on Newbery and Caldecott committees. My email […]

Amina and Auma

aminas-voice-9781481492065_hr

I’ve been thinking a lot about didactic content recently.  As the Newbery Criteria states: The committee should keep in mind that the award is for literary quality and quality presentation for children. The award is not for didactic content or popularity. So, what do we do with books that are important and what counts as didactic […]