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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

And the (Other) Winner is…

Wow, everyone!  Two hundred and eighty of you voted in our General Heavy Medal poll, choosing your top 3 favorite titles from our long list.  I’m really so pleased to see so much participation!

So, what won?

War I Finally WonTHE WAR I FINALLY WON took first place, and is crowned the winner, with 104 votes!

Remember that for this poll, unlike the balloting we did with the Heavy Medal 15, we didn’t weigh your choices, so this is a straight 1 point per vote situation.  The next highest point scorers are:

  • BEYOND THE BRIGHT SEA with 89 votes
  • THE HATE U GIVE with 81 votes
  • WISHTREE with 79 votes

Each of those, along with our winner, were voted for by over 25% of people who took the poll, and I’d declare those 3 titles our honors based on that.  The next highest scoring title is REAL FRIENDS with a big drop down to 49 votes and 17.7%.

If you’d like to see the full breakdown of votes, feel free to check it out here.

Let’s make some comparisons.  The Heavy Medal 15, who engaged in a balloting process that attempted to mimic that of the real Newbery Committee, came up with a different winner and honors.  They voted for I’M JUST NO GOOD AT RHYMING as their winner, and honors went to THE WAR I FINALLY WON, THE FIRST RULE OF PUNK, and PRINCESS CORA AND THE CROCODILE.

Their winner, I’M JUST NO GOOD AT RHYMING, showed up in 14th place in the general poll!  PRINCESS CORA is even lower and  THE WAR I FINALLY WON is the only overlap between the two sets of winners.

And then we had the in-person discussion in Oakland where we selected THE HATE U GIVE as a clear winner, with HELLO, UNIVERSE, REAL FRIENDS, and WISHTREE as honors.

So, why the differences?  Well, first of all, maybe this proves what many of us have been saying all along – this is a *weird* year with no clear obvious frontrunners.  Maybe it shows that the winner and honors are going to look different depending on who is on the committee.  Maybe the difference comes from the different way these version of a mock newbery were run.  Maybe it just shows that the you can attempt to mimic the process, but until you follow it point by point to the letter of the manual, you are only playing pretend!

In any case, I hope that all of these different versions of a Mock Newbery were as fun for you as they were for us, and gave you a little bit of insight into how the real committee works and how a book is or is not crowned the “most distinguished”.

What do you think when you see these differing results?

Edited to Add:  This might be a great time to share your Mock Newbery results (or others you’ve heard of)!  Here’s the ALSC Mock Election page.

Sharon McKellar About Sharon McKellar

Sharon McKellar is the Supervising Librarian for Teen Services at the Oakland Public Library in California. She has served on the Rainbow List Committee, the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee, The Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Committee, and the 2015 Caldecott Committee. You can reach her at


  1. Leonard Kim says:

    It looks like 788 out of 840 possible selections were made (i.e. not everyone chose 3.)

    Two books on the Long List do not appear at all on the Goodreads Newbery poll. Any such omission is a bit surprising as ~240 people contribute to that list, which has 76 books on it. One is TUMBLE AND BLUE. The other one I find so unbelievable that it’s not on the list that I wonder whether there must be some website issue preventing people from adding it: THUG. Am I hallucinating here? Does anybody know what gives?

  2. I would put part of it down to people like me who did not read all the books being able to vote in the general poll. I feel like if I had read the whole list, my choices might have been different. Also, the weighted vs. unweighted votes.

  3. Genevieve says:

    The size of the groups making the decisions is so different (at least, the Heavy Medal 15 vs. this poll) that it doesn’t seem unlikely for the decisions to vary so much.

  4. steven engelfried says:

    Two years ago it was THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE that won Heavy Medal’s online poll (, so that’s two years out of three for Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. And last year’s Heavy Medal online poll winner ( was WOLF HOLLOW by Lauren Wolk (who is #2 on this year’s online poll).

  5. Cory Eckert says:

    My mock kids chose American Street overwhelmingly.

  6. I agree. The War I Finally Won was a wonderful Newbery book.

    The winner was okay, but it appears that the 14 and under rule was thrown out for some of the honor books.

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