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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
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We’re Back!

This year, unlike years past, we didn’t *really* go anywhere, since we’ve been checking in every month to see what everyone has been reading.  Here we are, though, in September, ready to get the Heavy Medal year officially underway.

We are so excited to be here!  We’ve been reading and reading and know you have too, and we can’t wait to get into book discussions.  Before we do, though, I want to reintroduce ourselves to you.

Sharon-McKellar_avatar_1525287615-70x70I’m Sharon.  I work for the Oakland Public Library in California as the Supervising Librarian for Teen Services.  This is my third year in a row doing Heavy Medal, but I also was a Heavy Medal blogger when the blog first started.

Roxanne-Hsu-Feldman_avatar_1504873163-70x70Steven_avatar_1500562275-70x70Last year, for the first time, I had the pleasure of blogging with Roxanne and Steven, and we are all three back again this year.  Roxanne is the Middle School Librarian at the Dalton School in New York City and Steven is the Library Services Manager at the Wilsonville Public Library in Oregon.

From here on out you can expect to see at least a couple of posts a week from us, and we are going to dig right in with the book discussions very soon.  We’ve been looking at the books you all have suggested and can’t wait to hear more from you all.

If you’re new, say hi. If you are a lurker, comment and let us know you are reading.  If you’re an old friend, we’ve missed you and are looking forward to your voice.

Happy reading, happy disussing, happy September!

Much more coming, very soon.

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. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy!!!!!

  2. Jenny Staller says:

    So excited you’re back! This is the third year in a row that I’ve done a Mock Newbery elective with my students, and I always rely heavily on this blog for book suggestions and discussion topics!

  3. Yay!

  4. I’m a lurker! I’m a literacy interventionist (and wanna-be librarian) for an elementary school in Denver, CO. I ran my first Mock Newbery with 5th grade students last year and it truly was life changing. I’ve been keeping on top of new releases to the best of my ability all summer. I rely very heavily on your expertise and opinions in choosing books and critically examining them. I’ll be doing a Mock Newbery again with 5th graders and am finalizing my list over the next couple of weeks.

  5. Jenna Friebel says:

    Hi! I’ve been a lurker for several years– looking forward to reading along with you all this year before I go on 2020 Newbery Committee (!!!) I’m feeling pretty behind in MG reads this year, but favorite so far is Front Desk.

  6. I’m a lurker, but excited to follow along! I’m working on my Graduate Degree in Children’s Literature at Eastern Michigan University and can’t wait to read/comment/discuss all the great books that have already come out this year 🙂

  7. Looking forward to good book discussions.

  8. Evelyn Schwartz says:

    lurker, hopefully turning into frequent commenter/discusser this year! First year in a lower school library last year – but so inspired by this blog that I’m planning a Mock Newbery club for my 5th graders this year too! Can’t wait to try to get some of these books read, both for my own pleasure and theirs. (this list also SO helpful in creating my book-talks for my library classes!)

  9. Karen MacPherson says:

    Hi! — I’m also a lurker. While I don’t generally comment, I do read this blog regularly and have found it invaluable in spotlighting some of the best new books for kids. Plus the discussions are wonderful! Thanks for doing another season.

  10. So thrilled that some of you have come out of your lurkerdom and joined the conversation! We can’t wait to hear more from everyone! It’s also nice to know that Heavy Medal is useful at your schools and libraries. We’d also love to hear from how this blog is being utilized in your units/programs.

  11. Hello, longtime lurker here! I love keeping up with this blog and comparing my own reading to yours, plus seeing what I’ve missed. At the beginning of this year, I hosted a series of programs on the Newbery medal and also visited a school for an in-depth presentation about the Newbery and its award process (I read the manual to prepare, which I’d never done before!). I plan on at least having a Best Books for Kids program next January, using many of the books discussed here for the 2019 medal. Thank you for being a wonderful resource!

  12. I follow this blog very closely and try to read most of the books. I am a children’s librarian and usually only comment three or four times each year. I do find this resource very helpful in recommending books for myself and my patrons.

  13. Hello! I’ve been lurking for about 3.5 years – since I started working in an elementary school library! I definitely use the blog as a source of ideas for new books. I’m not sure how much I’ll comment – it entirely depends on how much time I have to read the suggestions!

  14. I’ve been lurking, but this is year two for my Mock Newbery and they are obsessed, so hope to be weighing in more!

  15. Great to see you back! Greetings from the North of Ireland to you all in sunny Oakland, California! Brings back great memories of my vacation in CA in 1996.

    Like a few of the above posters, I too am a long term lurker in here.

    I love reading about the books people are reading.

    Best regards.

  16. Amanda Foulk says:

    Lurker here – I’ve really appreciated the suggestion roundups as we were planning and picking titles for our local Mock Newbery discussions. Looking forward to the upcoming discussions!

  17. Hello again! I’ve been chatty in the past but this year I have several research trips coming up in the fall so I may be doing more lurking than usual. I’m a MG author but in this forum I comment as a bookseller. I work at the indie bookstore Annie Blooms in Portland Oregon. I’m also the captain of the League of Exceptional Writers which is a free mentoring workshop for young avid writers and readers. The League is sponsored by the Oregon SCBWI and hosted by Powells Bookstore. Looking forward to the reading and chatting! Thanks to our brilliant hosts for all the hours they put into keeping this running smoothly.

  18. Hannah Mermelstein says:

    I haven’t seen a post yet specifically soliciting this kind of comment, but I could use some help narrowing down my Mock Newbery list. Our group is 4/5 grade and 6/7 grade. Is there anything I’m missing from this list? And more importantly, is there anything on this list that you would take off? I need to cut 5-10 titles.

    Here they are in no particular order:

    The Wild Robot Escapes – Peter Brown
    A Possibility of Whales – Karen Rivers
    Checked – Cynthia Kadohata
    The Journey of Little Charlie – Christopher Paul Curtis
    Escape From Aleppo – N.H. Senzai
    The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle – Leslie Connor
    Ghost Boys – Jewell Parker Rhodes
    The Book of Boy – Catherine Gilbert Murdock
    The Night Diary – Veera Hiranandani
    The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley – April Stevens
    Just Like Jackie – Lindsey Stoddard
    The Parker Inheritance – Varian Johnson
    Bob – Rebecca Stead and Wendy Mass
    Be Prepared – Vera Brosgol
    Harbor Me – Jacqueline Woodson
    The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl – Stacy McAnulty
    Like Vanessa – Tami Charles
    A Stitch in Time – Daphne Kalmar
    Front Desk – Kelly Yang
    Rebound – Kwame Alexander
    Sunny – Jason Reynolds
    Betty Before X – Betty Shabazz, Renee Watson
    Aru Shah and the End of Time – Roshani Chokshi
    Martin Rising – Andrea Davis Pinkney
    You Go First – Erin Entrada Kelly
    Boots on the Ground – Elizabeth Partridge
    Snow Lane – Josie Angelini
    Hurricane Child – Kheryn Callender
    Amal Unbound – Aisha Saeed
    Granted – John David Anderson
    Hope in the Holler – Lisa Lewis Tyre
    Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World – Ashley Herring Blake
    The Girl Who Drew Butterflies – Joyce Sidman
    Sweep – Jonathan Auxier
    Louisiana’s Way Home – Kate DiCamillo
    The Season of Styx Malone – Kekla Magoon
    Merci Suarez Changes Gears – Meg Medina
    Blended – Sharon Draper
    Small Spaces – Katherine Arden
    Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi
    The Prince and the Dressmaker – Jen Wang

  19. Hi — I’ve been lurking and occasionally commenting since the early days; happy to be back for more great discussion!

  20. I have been following the blog for many years. I am a k-8 Media Specialist in Indianapolis and read all of your posts and use your suggestions each year to help me with my purchasing decisions. Love the collective brain!

  21. Mary Clare O'Grady says:

    I am mostly a lurker, sometimes a more active participant. My claim to fame is mentioning “Hello Universe” on one of my first ballots last year. Granted, it was one of the only ones I’d read at that early point, but it made me look like a genius!

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