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

November Nominations: Only Two This Time!

The real Newbery Committee members will submit two more Nominations in November.  They each select three books in October, then two each in November and December for a total of seven.  We collected nominations from 22 people in October, and the results are here.  Now it’s time to think about two for November.

We’re also working on a Heavy Medal Shortlist.  This will be a handful of titles that Roxanne, Sharon, and I select, announced in early December.  We’ll use these for online balloting that we’ll do here some time in January.  And Sharon, and possibly Roxanne, will use the same list for in-person Mock Newbery programs…details to be announced soon.  

For my second round of Nominations, I have five titles I’m thinking about, but only two spots.  So how to narrow it down?  Since all Nominated titles will start on the table at the Midwinter discussions, I might pass on books that I support if they’ve already been nominated.  There may be a strong contender or two that I haven’t read yet, and I would want to make sure I don’t have to leave one off in December.  So this time I would pass on HER RIGHT FOOT and THE WAR I FINALLY WON, both of which were nominated by others last month.  That leaves me three choices for the two spots.  I would feel pretty confident that someone will nominate LONG WAY DOWN, which just came out a couple weeks ago.  I would definitely make it a December nomination if it slips through.  So that leaves I’M JUST NO GOOD AT RHYMING and THE GLASS TOWN GAME.  I’ve written about RHYMING in this blog and will likely post about GLASS TOWN soon.

If you’d like to put forward two books, please do in the comments below.  You can say why you nominated them if you want, but titles and authors only are okay too.  If you missed Nominating in October and want to joinGlass Town Game in, go ahead and add five (not ImJustNoGoodAtRhymingallowed in the real committee, but just fine here).





Steven Engelfried About Steven Engelfried

Steven Engelfried is the Library Services Manager at the Wilsonville Public Library in Oregon. He served on the 2010 Newbery committee, chaired the 2013 Newbery Committee, and also served on the 2002 Caldecott committee. You can reach him at


  1. The War I Finally Won
    The Hate You Give

  2. Leonard Kim says:

    I was planning to nominate this anyway. Is it correct to assume the Real Committee doesn’t know what others have nominated in a given round until all have been submitted? So I would know what was nominated in October, but realistically I wouldn’t know Steven also nominated this book (so I might nominate something else)? In some ways, nominating this may be similar to a nomination for STRANGE THE DREAMER in that I’d say this is a “come-for-the-language, stay-for-the-characters/themes” fantasy book, though actually I don’t think they are otherwise similar at all. Nobody has nominated PURLOINING OF PRINCE OLEOMARGARINE yet, but I’ve already had an interesting discussion with my local children’s bookstore owner comparing these two books. (I prefer GLASS TOWN, she prefers PURLOINING).

    I didn’t nominate any prose novels in October, so I’m nominating two now. For much of the year, I shared the feeling that it was hard to find novels to really get enthusiastic about. Until I read GLASS TOWN GAME, this was the one I was most impressed by. I haven’t advocated for it, because on Goodreads, though its good qualities (particularly character, voice, and theme) were recognized, nobody else (meaning Monica, DaNae, Joe, and Destinee) liked it as much as I did, so I figure it’s a lost cause. But *I* think it’s great. I’ve read and forgotten a lot of children’s books in recent years, but some of the scenes in FOREVER have really stuck with me.

    • I’m still working on The Glass Town Game:) You and Stephen got me to return to it and get going on it.

    • True, wasn’t blown away by FOREVER OR A LONG LONG TIME:)

    • Leonard, you’re totally right: I didn’t like FOREVER as much as you (I think I gave it four stars on Goodreads to your five), but… I’m going to nominate it here because I think we can have really interesting discussion around it. And also because I can’t nominate TRAIN I RIDE again, a book I really hope we discuss.

    • We put FOREVER OR A LONG LONG TIME in our Mock Newbery ( I’m very eager to hear to what students have to say about it. I felt like the italicized pieces didn’t work as well as Flora’s first-person narration. But it was mostly because it seemed they weren’t written for a child audience (too florid).

      Interestingly, we also put VINCENT & THEO in our Mock Newbery and most schools have chosen to drop it because of the brothel stuff.

      • Destinee, I have a mock Newbery Club for 3rd-5th graders, and I also didn’t imagine keeping VINCENT AND THEO on my list, because I thought there wouldn’t be too much interest in it – but after a couple of fifth graders went out and got it from their public libraries and couldn’t stop gushing about it, I went ahead and bought multiple copies for our club. I’m amazed by its reception with these younger readers!

      • That’s really awesome Susie. It’s the thing I’ve been mulling over about VINCENT & THEO, readership. Personally, I loved the book. I just couldn’t see any of my students (5th graders) caring about it. Vincent just feels like a figure that adults connect to and want to learn about. As I finished the book, I was amazed at how accessible Heiligman made Vincent and Theo feel and I could see the thought she put into presenting their story to a child audience I just wrestled with whether or not kids would care. So your comment is refreshing.

        I don’t know why, but this is a title I screamed “Too old!” at first, but have been slowly starting to root for as of late.

        One question: Can you comment at all on how they responded to the inclusion of Vincent and Theo’s visits and relationships with prostitutes? It’s the last hurdle I can’t quite get over… I’m not sure if some of my 5th graders would even understand what they are! Or did it never come up?

      • It hasn’t come up at all. I’m thinking (and perhaps hoping) they just skim over those parts, not really understanding what they mean.

    • Leonard, you almost have me convinced to read GLASS TOWNE GAME, I just really didn’t like Valente’s writing when I’ve tried it before. I found her heavily tangential within every single sentence. Has she learned to say no to a few adjectives and metaphors over time?

      Yeah, LONG LONG TIME, felt overly didactic to me. Kind of like an info dump about reactive attachment disorder.

      I just can do VINCENT AND THEO with my students. Not for content, but because I was recently forced to weed CHARLES & EMMA due to lack of interest. Also, while I can admire that book, the hopelessness of mental illness did not put me in a good spot. So, I have no criteria based justification and should most likely shut up.

      • Leonard Kim says:

        DaNae, THE GLASS TOWN GAME was the first Valente book I’d read. I was wow-ed enough that I went back and read the first Fairyland book, and I didn’t like it as much, though other people here have expressed the opposite preference. I think stylistically they are similar, so if you didn’t care for her previously, I guess you could skip this as my reason for preferring THE GLASS TOWN GAME was, as mentioned above, that underneath the distinctive writing style, I was moved by the characters and the themes.

  3. Princess Cora and the Crocodile
    I’m Just No Good at Rhyming

    • TBH, I’m not sure how well Princess Cora and the Crocodile would hold up without the illustrations. These are just the only two eligible books I have read so far that I am really excited about.

  4. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

    You’re correct, Leonard. When submitting November nominations, members would know what was nominated in October, but won’t hear about any of the November choices until all have been submitted, then shared by the Chair.

  5. Eric Carpenter says:

    FAULT LINES IN THE CONSTITUTION for two reasons. First, I think it is exemplary of both presentation of information including accuracy, clarity, and organization and interpretation of the theme or concept. Secondly I think having this title on the table would allow for a useful discussion of didactic content and giving the award for the the writing itself not what the writing is about.

    REAL FRIENDS for all the reasons Roxanne described in her previous post.

  6. Meredith Burton says:

    Do you nominate different books from the ones you nominated previously? I am assuming so. If that is the case, my nominations are:

    1. The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic, by Leigh Bardugo.
    2. Piecing Me Together, by Rene Watson.

    Thank you.

    • Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

      Yes, any books nominated by Heavy Medal participants are on the list already, so you can pick two more. We’ll share a cumulative list of all nominations in a week or so…

    • Leonard Kim says:

      I haven’t read THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS, but based on the description, it seems like this is a collection of 6 stories, 3 of which have been previously published? Thus this might be an interesting test of the Newbery Definitions – are only the 3 new stories eligible for consideration? Or would the whole book be ruled eligible or ineligible?

      • Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

        The whole book would either be eligible or ineligible. For 3 of 6 (about 28% of the pages), I don’t think it would qualify, since “the substantial majority of the book must be wholly new, original and previously unpublished.” Those are the three shortest stories, but still it’s The Newbery Manual says that “each committee must make its own judgments about originality.” If I was chair I would probably run the situation by the committee members hoping for consensus, and if there wasn’t general agreement, check with the Priority Consultant. Here’s more from the Newbery Manual:

        2. If a portion of a book was previously published elsewhere – for instance, in a magazine, a collection of short stories or in electronic format – then the amount of previously published material must be a minor portion of the entire work. The substantial majority of the book must be wholly new, original and previously unpublished.

        Example: A chapter in A Long Way from Chicago, by Richard Peck (Newbery Honor, 1999) had previously been published as a short story. However, this chapter was a minor part of the book, which was much longer. The book was ruled eligible.

  7. Matt Bowers says:

    Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Williams-Garcia
    Pablo and Birdy by McGhee

  8. Books I volunteer as tribute – er, nominate:

    1. The War I Finally Won
    2. Forever or a Long, Long Time

  9. I recently finished UNDEFEATED by Steve Sheinkin and am slightly shocked (given his past success) and a bit disappointed that it hasn’t been given much thought. It’s my personal favorite of the year and I think he does a lot of things well in it.

    And with my second nomination, I’m going with THE WARDEN’S DAUGHTER by Jerry Spinelli. This book seemed to have divisive appeal on Goodreads but some of the negativity toward it tends to come from people’s reaction to the main character, which I think is intentional and not something that would hold in a Newbery conversation. It’s not my favorite read of the year, but I think it’s far better than it has been given credit for.

    My two votes:

    1. UNDEFEATED by Steve Sheinkin
    2. THE WARDEN’S DAUGHTER by Jerry Spinelli

  10. I will put forth these two titles:

    Wishtree and Ship of the Dead. Wishtree for Applegate’s ability to write short passages that carry deep meanings and also her ability to generate gentle humor. The Ship of the Dead for Riordan’s ability to appeal to young readers and create a host of diverse and distinct characters.

  11. Cherylynn says:

    I did nominate last time
    1. Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson
    2. Refugee by Alan Gratz
    3. Thick as Thieves by Megan Whelan Turner
    4. Restart by Gordon Korman
    5. Patina by Jason Reynolds

  12. Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson
    Tumble & Blue by Cassie Beasley
    A Crack in the Sea by H. M. Bouwman
    The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore
    Greetings From Witness Protection! by Jake Burt

  13. I did not nominate before so here are five (though it is a bit unfair as I already know the first three of others:) in no particular order:

    I’m Just No Good at Rhyming: And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups because it is clever, clever, witty, and delightful. As I think I already wrote here, it is in the spirit of Lewis Carroll, Ogden Nash, and others of their ilk. i’m nominating it to give it more strength as I think verse and humor, as we’ve discussed before, are hard to reach consensus about.

    Her Right Foot. This read aloud wonderful well to my 4th graders. I was a fan of the voice and so was pleased that it worked so well for the intended audience. Another that may be hard to reach consensus because the feelings are strong both ways so I’m adding it here.

    Hello, Universe. This would have definitely been in my first set of nominations so I’m putting it here. There!

    Vincent and Theo. Want to be sure this is in the conversation about the higher aged readers along with THUG and Strange the Dreamer (which I adore, but am not nominating this round — perhaps the final though).

    Auma’s Long Run. This is here to get it on the table so when we talk #ownvoices this one is part of it. When we talk reading outside our own experiences and cultures. When we consider how we evaluate, how our own proclivities factor in. (Thinking here of Malinda Lo’s posts:

  14. Sara Coffman says:

    I enjoyed THE GLASS TOWN GAME greatly (though not as much as Valente’s Fairyland series), but since it and my current front-runner (I’M JUST NO GOOD…) have been given attention by our host, I’ll add just 1 new one to the pack: THE PURLOINING OF PRINCE OLEOMARGARINE.

    Just to stoke some conversation, here are a few 2017 titles I haven’t yet read. Has anyone else considered these?
    THE LOSERS CLUB by Andrew Clements

    And one more question: Am I right to assume there won’t be many (if any) high-profile titles still to be released this year? Or are there ones we should have on our radar that haven’t been released yet?

    • I love Andrew Clements and think he does what he usually sets out to do very, very well. THE LOSERS CLUB has been sitting on my desk pile for weeks. Can’t wait to read it, but just haven’t been finding the time to read for fun lately.

      • Sara Coffman says:

        Mr. H: My 10yo son read this one on release day and then went on to read through several others in our Clements collection; he said almost the same thing: Andrew Clements is very good at what he does.

      • I read and it is vintage Clements. Enjoyable, but I didn’t see it as distinguished particularly.

      • This summer, I read galleys of both THE PLAYER KING by Avi and THE NOTATIONS OF COOPER CAMERON by Jane O’Reilly which were both published in October. I thought they were both excellent and they were originally on my Mock Newbery list. However, since then, so many other wonderful titles have come to light that they have moved down my list.

        I enjoyed THE GREAT TREEHOUSE WAR by Lisa Graff and my middle grade students are now as well. I can’t keep it on my library shelves. The concept is imaginative and clever. However, I did not see the writing as particularly distinguished or the plot as developed as many others which we have discussed.

    • Steven Engelfried says:

      It seems like everything I’ve been waiting on has gotten published….not that I’ve read them all yet. I’d been waiting on WILD ROBOT ESCAPES which at one time I thought had an October publication date, but it looks like it’s now not scheduled until March 2018.

  15. Genevieve says:


  16. Kate Todd says:

    My two November titles are:

    Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar
    Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan

    • Steven Engelfried says:

      Glad to see SHORT in there. I read this about the same time I read WELL THAT WAS AWKWARD, and sort of focused on that one. But I thought SHORT was very strong too…

  17. Mary Clare O'Grady says:

    2 nominations:
    The War I Finally Won
    Beyond the Bright Sea

    I did not submit anything last month, so three more:
    One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance
    Hello Universe

    I’m listening to the audio book of Jason Reynolds’ Patina on my commute this week. I love the voice so far.

  18. My two November nominations are:

    LONG WAY DOWN by Jason Reynolds

    Reynold’s novel floored me and I think it is his best work yet. The medium suits him well. He was able to speak volumes with so few words.

    • Steven Engelfried says:

      Oh good. I was thinking my strategy of passing on LONG WAY DOWN because others would nominate was backfiring….but it’s in!

  19. I’m waiting (sort of impatiently…) for our discussion of THE STARS BENEATH OUR FEET, but since I nominated that in the first round, I’ll go with two others that are rising to the top for me:

    SCHOMBURG: THE MAN WHO BUILT A LIBRARY (What a powerhouse that is! Is it Newbery material? I can’t wait to hear what others have to say.)
    ALL’S FAIRE IN MIDDLE SCHOOL (I love her portrayal of subcultures – first the Roller Derby world, now the Renaissance Festival world.)

    I’m excited to hear what others think.

    • Eric Carpenter says:

      I enjoyed Stars Beneath Our Feet, and think it’s an extremely approachable text for middle grade students.
      Did you see the news today that actor Michael B. Jordan (Creed, The Wire, Fruitvale Station) is set to make his directorial debut with the adaptation of this book?

  20. Really behind, but his month my two are easy:



  22. The First Rule of Punk!!!!
    Wish Tree

  23. I have just read Train I Ride and am very glad it received some nominations as it absolutely deserves and needs to be on the table. I hate being manipulated into tears with movie music or the equivalent in books which happens way too often. As a result I’m wary when books are described in ways that make me feel that is what is going to happen. I don’t like a good weepy book as do many so I’m hard on this sort of book. But the sentence level writing on this one was superb as was the setting (Amtrak) and characters. I’m definitely a character-driven reader and this one worked for me beautifully. Hope one of you feels similarly enough to give it a post.

    • I’m with you, Monica. I loved this book. Loved, loved, loved it. I hope it gets discussed by the committee, because, as you stated, the sentence-level writing is superb and poetic. The novel addresses some tough themes in very appropriate ways.

      • I don’t generally read much middle grade (I tend to read teen), but TRAIN I RIDE is my favorite middle grade novel of the year for all the reasons listed above. I tend to gravitate toward character-driven novels, too, so this one was perfect for me.

    • TRAIN I RIDE has stuck with me for some reason. I wasn’t blown away upon initially completing it. When stacking it up against the Newbery Criteria, I think it does a lot of things well. It reminds me of HELLO, UNIVERSE, in the quiet way it is able to stand out.

  24. Well, this is just getting harder. I guess my picks will be:

    1. Princess Cora and the Crocodile
    2. Train I Ride


  26. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

    Please continue sending in November Nominations. Here’s an update of reader Nominations so far, and we’ll update at the end of the week. We have 120 Nominations and 60 titles:

    The War I Finally Wond

    Clayton Byrd Goes Underground
    Hello Universe

    All’s Faire in Middle School
    Beyond the Bright Sea
    The Hate U Give
    I’m Just No Good at Rhyming
    Real Friends

    Loving Vs. Virginia
    Princess Cora and the Crocodile
    Thick as Thieves
    The Train I Ride
    Vincent and Theo

    2 NOMINATIONS (13)
    Charlie and Mouse
    Crack in the Sea
    A Different Pond
    First Rule of Punk
    Forever or a Long Long Time
    Glass Town Game
    Her Right Foot
    Midnight Without a Moon
    Pablo and Birdy
    Piecing Me Together
    Stars Beneath Our Feet
    Well That Was Awkward

    1 NOMINATION (31)
    Auma’s Long Run
    Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora
    Fault Lines in the Constitution
    Forest World
    Give Bees a Chance
    Greetings from Witness Protection
    Joplin Wishing
    Langue of Thorns: Midnight Tales
    Long Way Down
    Lucky Broken GIrl
    One Last Word
    Orphan Island
    Pearl Thief
    Peter and Ernesto
    Princess in Black and the Mysterious Playdate
    Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine
    Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet
    Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library
    See You in the Cosmos
    Ship of the Dead
    Strange Fruit
    Strange the Dreamer
    Tumble and Blue
    Vanderbeekers of 141st Street
    Warden’s Daughter
    Way to Bea

  27. sam leopold says:


  28. Wishtree
    Princess Cora and the Crocodile

  29. Hannah Mermelstein says:

    I haven’t read enough this year to want to champion the books, BUT…my 4th, 5th, and 6th grade Mock Newbery Committee just voted for finalists, narrowing our list of 33 books down to 5. So if kids count, you can take these 5 as nominations. If not, take it as a fun insight into what a group of kids in Brooklyn is thinking:


Speak Your Mind