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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

And the Winner Is….

The Newbery hellouniverseMedal was  announced this morning!   We’ve posted the Newbery results here, and added any other awards won by books we’ve discussed on Heavy Medal in the comments below.

Newbery Medal: HELLO UNIVERSE 

Newbery Honor: LONG WAY DOWN
Newbery Honor: CROWN: AN ODE TO THE FRESH CUT  (We didn’t feature this, but got some comments in our “What’s Missing” post)

You can see all of the ALA Youth Awards here.




piecingmetogetherlong way downcrown

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. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

    THE 57 BUS just won the Stonewall Award. We had some discussion of the book at

  2. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

    Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent goes to THE STARS BENEATH OUR FEET (

  3. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

    Coretta Scott King Author Award: PIECING ME TOGETHER

    Coretta Scott King Author Honor goes to: LONG WAY DOWN

    Coretta Scott King Author Honor goes to: THE HATE U GIVE

  4. I feel so so pleased that Piecing Me Together is the Coretta Scott King award winner! My view on it her on Heavy Medal is linked by Steven above. It also won my faculty Mock Newbery award this past Saturday.

    • I loved Piecing Me Together and I didn’t realize it had missed our Heavy Medal nominations so I was bummed we didn’t get to discuss it for the award. So happy to see it getting love today!

    • Mary Clare O'Grady says:

      Yes! Piecing Me Together was my “wishful thinking” for the Newbery. Honestly, I read all 3 (THUG, LWD, and PMT) and Piecing Me Together was the only one I gave a 5 star rating to.

      • I agree- I thought Piecing Me Together had the strongest writing and was the best paced of the three. So happy to see it with some wins today!

  5. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

    Willam C. Morris Award, for first time YA authors: THE HATE U GIVE

  6. Yay, Jonathan, for chairing and selecting Angela Johnson for the Margaret Edwards lifetime achievements award!

  7. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

    YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award: VINCENT AND THEO

  8. YA Nonfiction …. Vincent and Theo!!!! Yay. We love it here on Heavy Medal. I’m so pleased. So pleased.

  9. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:
  10. An observation: All Odyssey award honor titles are narrated by Male voice actors — 3 out of 5 are British. The winner (The Hate U Give) is narrated by the talented and intrepid Bahni Turpin!

  11. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

    Pura Belpre for Latino/Latina author/illustrator; Honor Award: THE FIRST RULE OF PUNK

  12. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

    Just a reminder: I’m only posting the award-winning titles that we discussed here on Heavy Medal. For a complete list, go to:

  13. Congrats to Doctor Debbie Reese, founder of American Indians in Children’s Literature – for winning The May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award (2019)! So deserving!

  14. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

    Robert F. Sibert Medal Award for Informational Books: Aside from a brief mention of GRAND CANYON, we didn’t discuss any of the Sibert books this year!

    • No VINCENT & THEO?

      • It was a Printz Honor AND the winner of the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults. So, I imagine that it is even too “old” for the Sibert Committee – which is, like the Newbery, administered by ALSC and given to books for young readers from 0 to age 14.

    • I love how comprehensive the Sibert Committee was. They really look at all of Children’s publishing. I am short (temporally) on three of the titles, ones I might not have know were it not for this committee.

  15. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

    Laura Ingalls Wilder Award: Jacqueline Woodson. No 2017 books by her, but what a great choice!

  16. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

    Geisel Award for Beginning Readers: CHARLIE AND MOUSE. We didn’t feature this on Heavy Medal, but it got two nominations!

  17. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:
  18. HELLO UNIVERSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:
  20. And I’d been arguing for CROWN for a Newbery so very very happy about that. And, of course, for LONG WAY DOWN. And PIECING ME TOGETHER. All Newberys by POCs!

  21. Very very happy and excited for Piecing Me Together!
    Hello Universe was not my personal jam, but I see lots of good things about it and I hope lots of kids love it as much as its supporters here do.
    Got to read Crowns and Long Way Down! Betsy Bird will be really happy about Crown, though she only predicted it for Caldecott, not Newbery.

    • Mother Lydia says:

      Is this the first time a book appeared on both the Caldecott and Newberry award lists?

      • Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

        In 1982 “A Visit to William Blake’s Inn” won a Newbery Medal and a Caldecott Honor!

      • Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

        And just a couple of years ago “Last Stop on Market Street” did the same thing: Newbery Medal + Caldecott Honor for 2016.

  22. Is The Long Way Down the first book to get recognition by both Newbery and Printz?

    • HOUSE OF THE SCORPION by Nancy Farmer is another one that has received both Newbery and Printz recognition (both honors). I don’t know if there are other examples but that one circulates so much that it’s memorable. The kids always ask about it!

      • Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

        Also LIZZIE BRIGHT & THE BUCKMINSTER BOY by Gary D. Schmidt won Printz and Newbery Honor awards in 2005.

  23. Congrats Mr.H and Monica on Hello Universe. Good call. Very good book.

  24. My students and I are not too disappointed. Vincent And Theo won a couple awards and they did pick Wolf In The Snow for their Caldecott choice.

    • BIG CAT LITTLE CAT, won our Mock here at my school. But WOLF IN THE SNOW and A DIFFERENT POND didn’t make it to the second round. GRAND CANYON was our Mock Sibert honor, to their medalist IF SHARKS DISAPPEARED.

  25. Adrian Zeck says:

    Happy that CROWN got the love it deserved! The author and illustrator did an amazing job.

    I’m kind of surprised and a little discouraged that the Newbery went so heavy to Teen Fiction. It feels a little…attention grabbing.

    I’m proud the patrons here nailed three of the CALDECOTT’s in their respective spots..


    • I agree about the older winners. I know the age range within the categories are broad. Likewise, different years seem to see different winners/trends but it feels like I will have to pass on recommending many of the winners to my K-5 students because many of them were written for a more mature audience.

      • It is an award for 0-14 and two of the four are perfect for a K-5 audience. My 4th graders had already loved CROWN and I’m now going to have them decide if they want their next read-aloud to be HELLO, UNIVERSE. I have several who don’t want me to so they can read it NOW, but I’d love to read it aloud. Had been uncertain before as it is a quiet book and some of my kids seem to listen better to books that are louder, so to speak. (Right now I’m reading aloud the forthcoming WED WABBIT by Lissa Evans. British so not Newbery eligible, but so much fun.)

        I have huge Jason Reynolds’ fans due the Track books and they also adore Kwame Alexander’s verse novels. So when I gave a brief description of LONG WAY DOWN, even though I told them it was for older kids, eyes lit up. I told them it was up to their parents if they read it now or read it when they were a few years older (my recommendation). No interest in PIECING ME TOGETHER (as they aren’t familiar with Watson as they are with Reynolds).

      • I will attest to Crown’s readership. I gave this to a few 5th graders in my class and they just beamed while reading it. They loved it.

        Personally, I didn’t love LONG WAY DOWN as much as others, but it was well written and creative and will undoubtedly appeal to kids because of its edginess. I think it skews upward in age range and am not sure I personally think it’s the type of book that all kids in that age range should have to read (which is in the Newbery Manual), but I do think it’s clearly within the age range. I have no qualms with it getting an Honor.

      • As to the age of LONG WAY DOWN. They are within the Newbery age. I had PIECING ME TOGETHER, here at our elementary from when it was released. I don’t know that there will be many readers for it. A few of the Newbery Club tackled it, and one girl liked it quite a lot, but it is such a bildungsroman. I do feel it is meant for the upper teen years, when you are more ready to look inward.

        I reread, after previously listening to the now award-winning audio, LONG WAY DOWN the day before the Newbery was announced. I wrote this on GoodReads:

        “When I was in fifth grade I first read THE OUTSIDERS. It instantly became my favorite book of all time. it seemed so exotic and so ‘dangerous’ to my 10-year-old suburban self. The story it told felt so important, and I felt on the inside. That is the book that made me a reader.

        “At first glance, and on first listen, LONG WAY DOWN appeared too YA for my elementary students, the ones I build our library collection for. But my inner 10-year-old wants me to know that I have readers for this at my sheltered, suburban school. Yes, there is a bit of ‘language’ and it won’t be for everyone of my students. I trust they will figure it out.

        “This is a book to teach from: This is the book to pull out when figurative language is discussed. It is there so ripe for the picking. This is the book to teach theme. This is REALLY the book to show how in just a few stanzas a deft writer can create a characters so vivid they rise from the dead. (So corny, I know)”

        I brought my copy to school Monday morning, knowing my students would want to see it. One student immediately wanted to borrow it. I will be getting it for our collection, although it pushed the ‘language’ that my students expect to find in the books they read. I think the cover give hints to the content, and like many books I trust my students to figure out what they are and are not ready for.

    • I disagree heartily with those who feel PIECING and LONG WAY skew too far to teen. Both would have been in my middle school library (that served children in grades 6, 7, and 8). And I’m pretty sure my predecessor has both of them in the collection already. Remember, too, that JACOB HAVE I LOVED, THE GIVER, and MC HIGGINS (among others) received medals, and they definitely skewed older.

      Had THUG been honored, I would agree with the committee skewing too high, but PIECING and LONG WAY comfortably fit in the purview of the award.

      I’d argue, too, that if Newberys are given to picture books like CROWN (so, so, so deserving) and LAST STOP, books for middle school students should also be considered.

      • I agree with you, 100%, Joe. Piecing and Long Way are both appropriate for my middle school; Piecing Me Together was actually on our middle school summer reading list last summer. Both of these books are vitally important books for libraries to offer to their 6-8th grade readers. I am thoroughly pleased they were both recognized. I am equally pleased that Newbery committees have been recognizing excellence in picture book writing lately (Market and Crown). We LOVED Crown at my school–it won our Caldecott Club. The language of that book is distinguished in every way. We should be honoring excellent writing in picture books as well as books with excellent writing at the upper end of the Newbery spectrum. 0-14 means 0-14. I heartily commend the committee for all three of their honor books.

      • I do think they skew YA, but I don’t think they skew so far that they are out of the age 14 limit of the Newbery. I guess, I haven’t read PIECING ME TOGETHER so I shouldn’t comment on that one.

        The thing about picture books, is that the same language that works against upper age titles should apply to picture book texts too but it’s an easier sell when picture book texts are concerned. The language that suggests for a book with a very narrow intended age audience to be considered it needs to be so distinguished that everyone of that age range should read it. This is obviously an easier sell when trying to build consensus around a title that is narrowly aimed at the younger end of the spectrum than the older end. A 14 year old can read and appreciate WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE but a 7 year old can’t read and appreciate LONG WAY DOWN.

        CROWN is just so unique to me. What is it’s intended audience? I feel that it’s pretty wide, actually! For a picture book to accomplish what it did, is pretty impressive.

        I read Betsy Bird’s thoughts this morning and some of her Newbery rumblings make a lot of sense. I have had the feeling all year, that this was a rather “down” year for MG fiction. I had stated multiple times that HELLO UNIVERSE was my favorite but more by default than anything else. I just wasn’t feeling overly passionate about any MG fiction titles. I think the choices this year speak to that. We got such a wide range of work. A few YA, a picture book. Heck, look at our Mock group on here… we awarded a poetry collection! It seemed like a challenge to build consensus around a lot of MG fiction books (your typical winners) and I think that created this eclectic group of titles to win out yesterday.

  26. Meredith Burton says:

    I am delighted with all the awards this year! I loved Hello, Universe and am thrilled it received such distinguished recognition. So interesting that it was the very first book discussed last year on this blog. More books with disabled protagonists need to be recognized in this way.
    As another commenter said, has only nineteen reviews for the book. So glad that will change. And, I loved Long Way Down and Piecing Me Together. I hope to find Crown sometime soon. Good work to all the committees!

  27. When does the Notable Books list come out?

    • The Notables committee would have still been meeting this afternoon. They will probably have the list annotated by tomorrow afternoon. Then it will take a little time to have the list published.

  28. I nominated Strange the Dreamer for our Online poll but no one else supported it 🙂 There was also a lot of discussion over whether this is too YA. At least it receive much love from YALSA!

    • Rosanne Parry says:

      I read the first quarter of Strange the Dreamer and thought it was a very strong title but because of its length and my writing deadlines I set it aside. I bet if I’d finished it I’d have been a voice in support. On the other hand I think Laini clearly has an older teen audience in mind for the book, so I’m happy to see it recognized by the Prinz committee.

      While we are celebrating– a quick shout out to the other Portland author honored–Alan Say who won a Schneider Family book award for Silent Days Silent Dreams.

      • steven engelfried says:

        And one more Portland person: Renee Watson, whose “Piecing Me Together” won the CSK Medal and a Newbery Honor. I guess she lives in New York now, but grew up here (and the book takes place in Portland).

  29. Best. Awards. Ever.

    I’m a little sad about WAR not receiving any love, but who can argue with *any* of the final Newbery honors? Not I. And though it wasn’t my favorite, I quite enjoyed HELLO, UNIVERSE and think it speaks to many children who feel overlooked. It’s a quiet, contemplative book, and a lovely choice. Happy day!! Happy, happy day!! WTG, Real Committee!!

    • I’m behind in getting here. But thrilled with the results. HELLO, UNIVERSE is a book that will have an audience for years to come. It will speak to kids in a way that children’s literature is designed to. CROWN was the the excitement of the day. It came to my school too late to get it into our Mocks, but boy am I proud to showcase it.

      Joe and I are reading our way through the Newbery Medalists on Goodreads, and let me tell you, some have not aged well. I appreciate when books seem to speak to future generations as well. HELLO, UNIVERSE does this.

      The styles showcased in CROWN my change over the years, but one thing we know about fashion is that what comes around once, shows up again and again. I’d kind of like to believe that the institutionalized racism that Jade bumps up against in PMT might dissolve as we evolve. Perhaps not, but it is books like this that will make a difference. And the generational CODE of MISCONDUCT followed in LONG WAY DOWN won’t go away either until the younger generations are shown a different path. That is why that book is for Newbery age students.

      I have always loved Heavy Medal for the way it looks past just the expected types of Middle-grade novels. Being here this year has shown a light on two books that I gained heavy appreciation for: I’M JUST NO GOOD AT RHYMING and PRINCESS CORA. Medal or no, they contribution greatly to what children have to read. Neither one is going anywhere anytime soon.

      And as I spend the second week reading PRINCESS CORA to my first and second graders, I can’t tell you how excited I get every time I pick it up. I love, love, love doing that naughty crocodile. He has evolved to should like me doing Kate McKinnon, doing Jeff Sessions. So much fun. That what books should be: So much fun!

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