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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

It’s Time to Vote

heavymedalpollThe announcement of the 2018 Newbery Medal is just 12 days away.  You can watch the announcements of all of the ALA Youth Media Awards on February 12th.  Meanwhile, here at Heavy Medal we have two separate mock-awards going on:

As Roxanne announced yesterday, the Heavy Medal 15, consisting of 15 people who have read every single book on our long list (18 titles) will be voting today.  Those votes will be weighted ballots, just like the Newbery Committee uses: 4 points for a first place vote, 3 points for second place, 2 points for third place.  Results of their first ballot will be shared on Heavy Medal on Friday, February 2nd. 

It’s possible that their first ballot will not result in a winner.  According to Newbery procedures, the Medal book must “receive at least 8 first-place votes and have an 8 point lead over the book with the second highest number of points.”  If there is no winner on the first ballot, the Heavy Medal 15 will have the chance to discuss the contending books, with the aim of convincing others to change a vote or ranking.   And then a second ballot will take place, with results announced soon after.

Meanwhile, we invite everyone who reads this blog to take part in our General Heavy Medal Poll.  With this poll, you do not have to have read all 18 books.  Select the three titles you think should win the Newbery, without ranking them.  Place your vote on the poll at this location by Wednesday, Feburary 7th.  We will share the results on Friday, Februay 9th.  If you’d like to share the reasons why you chose what you did, please do so in the comments below.


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. When I received the link from Roxanne yesterday, I voted right away. I love that I have the opportunity to be a part of this unique experience. However, after participating in our own mock last weekend, it is not lost on me, the power of face to face debate. Roxanne, Steven and Sharon have done a masterful job allowing for discussion with each title, but there is something unique about being around a table and hearing the passion or disdain relayed through vocal cords. This may or may not, arrive at the best solution. I suppose a very charismatic voice may have more sway than it should. So, I’m not entirely convinced which is the most democratic. However getting a majority of fifteen to agree on anything is quite an achievement. Of course the other advantage the actual committee has is deeper reading. I would guess most of us here have not gone on to read many of the titles more than once, and in some cases not recently.

    Two of my choices changed either due to comments here or the discussion in our Mock. (My first place vote is just correct and the other fourteen simply need to fall into line 🙂 )

    • Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

      I agree, DaNae, there’s nothing like those in person discussions. But I have to admit, the kind of extended online discussions we’ve had here in the past months have been valuable in a different way. It’s nice to read someone’s opinions and insights, then have some time to think about it and reflect. I know some of the responses I’ve made here have required some real time and thought, and sometimes re-reading and looking up stuff. In the live discussion, you often have to come back pretty quickly. I have clear memories of “things I should have said” attached to particular books. I still feel a little guilty when I see certain seal-less books on the shelf, wondering if I’d only just been a little more persuasive…..

      That’s one reason members are encouraged to engage in as much book discussion during the year as they can, so that when you reach the final discussion phase, you’ve already had some of your views challenged to some degree. I clearly remember writing an enthusiastic and (in my view) highly convincing nomination for a book that I never got a chance to discuss with anyone else for one reason or another. When we discussed it in committee, several members were well prepared with concerns that, once I thought about it, were pretty much true. I gave up without a fight….with that book, anyway.

      • Cherylynn says:

        The one nice thing about online discussion is that I can see opinions that are generated from cities that are bigger and less conservative than mine. In person discussion often means you are talking to people with a similar background because they grew up in a city close to yours. I am from the Midwest and can find out if the book set in New York is accurately presented by someone who lives there.

  2. Hannah Mermelstein says:

    Two questions: 1) Do we have to have read all the titles we’re voting for? (Not that I would necessarily vote for something I haven’t read, but it changes the pool.) 2) Do we have to vote for 3 or can we vote for 1 or 2?

    • Sharon McKellar Sharon McKellar says:

      Hi, Hannah! I’m sort of making this up, since these aren’t questions Roxanne, Steven, and I have discussed, so they can chime in if they disagree, but I’d say:

      1. Yes, you should vote for titles you’ve read, not titles you have not read.
      2. In the real committee you do have to vote for 3, but since these aren’t ranked votes and people can vote even if they’ve not read everything, I’d say voting for up to 3 is fine. 🙂

  3. Emily Lammy says:

    I just want to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed keeping up with Heavy Metal and I will miss it so much after this is done! I’ve managed to read all but 2 of the books, “Her Right Foot”, which our library doesn’t own yet, and “Vincent and Theo” which I’ve checked out but never got around to reading. I voted for my 3 favorite on the general poll. I can’t wait to see which one you all pick! Thank you so much for the opportunity to read along with you!

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