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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

An Invitation – To Go Wild (with your recommendations!)

Starting in March, we asked our readers to make monthly suggestions with the strict rule on only including books already published.  So far, more than 80 titles have been put forth by our readers and 27 of them have 3 or more reader support.  We will definitely discuss all 27 and many more from the suggestion pool.  You can see the full list from our August post.

Just like Newbery members, our fear of not covering all possible contenders is real!  Even though we have a long list to work from, what if there is ONE truly worthy book, overlooked by everyone?  Wouldn’t that be awful!  So the hunt continues as we head toward the book discussion stretch (starting next Monday.)

I, for one, have heard praises of Kekla Magoon’s The Season of Styx Malone (coming out in October) and can’t wait to get my hands on it!  What other September – December releases have some of you already encountered and deem truly distinguished?  We’d like to hear from you.

Go wild, and list them in the comments!  We will continue tallying up the suggestions periodically.



Roxanne Hsu Feldman About Roxanne Hsu Feldman

Roxanne Hsu Feldman is the Middle School (4th to 8th grade) Librarian at the Dalton School in New York City. She served on the 2002 and 2013 Newbery Committees. Roxanne was also a member of 2008-2009 Notable Books for Children, 2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults, and the 2017 Odyssey Award Committees. In 2016 Roxanne was one of the three judges for the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards. You can reach her at at


  1. Eric Carpenter says:

    Styx Malone is fantastic!
    I would also add TWO ROADS by Joseph Bruchac and the just released COUNTDOWN : 2979 DAYS TO THE MOON by Slade, Suzanne.

  2. SAM LEOPOLD says:

    Cannot ignore RUN by J.Lewis or Harbor Me by J.Woodson!

  3. Brooklyn Kemp says:

    Inkling, by Kenneth Oppel
    Herstory: 50 Women and Girls Who Shook Up the World, by Katherine Halligan

  4. Jenna Friebel says:

    Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo exceeded my expectations. The voice is so strong. The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson & Eugene Yelchin also deserves a close look.

  5. My to-read pile is growing higher and higher 🙂 Thank you for the suggestions so far — keep them coming!

  6. I just read “The Rhino in Right Field” by Stacy DeKeyser and found it absolutely delightful! So much kid-appeal!

  7. Blended by Sharon Draper; Small Spaces by Katherine Arden; Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina; Sweep by Jonathan Auxier. Also, House in Poplar Wood by K.E. Ormsbee just came out.

  8. I have to third STYX MALONE (anyone wants to read my gushing about it go here: I’m nodding away at the others also mentioned. Exciting discussions ahead!

    • I certainly wins for the most dynamic cover. I can’t wait for it to come out. I will put a copy of the cover on our Newbery wall, I think my students will we drooling for it.

  9. What do you do with Jack Gantos’s The Dented Head of Joey Pigza, just out as an Audible Studio original? ( Is it not eligible? Too bad as it is fantastic!

  10. Patricia Clingman says:

    I looked up the Newbery criteria and this may make the audiobook ineligible:

    3. The book must be a self-contained entity, not dependent on other media (i.e., sound or film equipment) for its enjoyment.

    • That’s exactly what I was going to quote. When these criteria were first compiled, I believe no one was considering audiobook originals and book was easily and universally understood as a collection of paper, with printed text, bound between front and back covers.

    • Leonard Kim says:

      But then the obvious question is, isn’t an audiobook a kind of book by its very name? If so, and since this presumably meets the other conditions: being self-contained and not reliant on other media, it might be considered eligible. Though the committee would need to apply “graphic novel standards” and consider only those elements that Gantos is responsible for, i.e., not the narration, production values etc.

    • Leonard Kim says:

      Scratch that. Although “book“ is not defined in the terms and criteria, it is in the manual’s expanded definitions appendix:

      (D) BOOK
      BOOK – means that the work was published in book format (pages between covers). Electronic books (e- books) and technological additions (including, but not limited to, CDs, DVDs, or accompanying websites) are specifically excluded from consideration of the book itself. A book published only in electronic format (e-book) is not eligible.

      • Even without the manual specifically spelling this out, I would probably prefer not to mix evaluating audiobook presentation with printed book presentation — the added element of performance/recording quality (either enhancing or detracting) would make the comparison problematic.

  11. Meredith Burton says:

    Small Spaces, by Katherine Arden.

  12. WHERE THE WATERMELONS GROW by Cindy Baldwin. It’s received quite a few stars!

  13. I was intrigued by a book coming out Sept 18th from Abrams called THE FAITHFUL SPY: Dietrich Bonhoffer and the plot to kill Hitler. It’s highly illustrated non-fiction, not quite a graphic novel and a bit mature in it’s topic yet still well within the themes appropriate to 11-14 year olds. I believe there is also a book coming out either this year or spring of next about Sophie Scholl, another nazi resister. They’d make an interesting comparison.
    I was also quite charmed by THE TURNING by Emily Whitman. It’s a shape-shifter coming of age story about a selkie boy who can’t quite manage his transformation and his subsequent search for someplace between sea and shore to call home. That one came out in the summer and is a Greenwillow book.


  1. […] Some month I’m going to be able to say that I’m completely caught up. This is not that month. I finally have July stars entered, but still have work to do since it’s already almost mid-September. I need to get the August stars sorted out before I do updated Newbery and Printz posts. But in better news, Heavy Medal is back and starting off their season! If you’re into the Newbery Medal and mock discussions, check out their opening list of titles to watch. […]

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