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Heavy Medal Committee: Official Call for Participants


Let the excitement mount!

As our final nomination round winds down and the discussion of the many”Best Of” lists of the year comes to an end, it’s time to officially call for the Heavy Medal Committee members.  These will be HM readers who are committed to:

  • Read (and re-read) all the 15 (fifteen) titles on our final list (to be revealed next Monday);
  • Be able to fully participate during the weeks of discussion*: From Wednesday, Jan 2nd to Tuesday, January 23rd (only Weekdays)
  • Be able to vote, re-discuss, and re-vote between Wednesday, January 24th and Friday, January 26th.

We will announce Heavy Medal Winner and Honor Books on Friday, January 26th. (The Youth Media Awards announcement at Midwinter Conference will be on Monday, January 29th.)  From last year’s participants, we know that this will be a deeply rewarding and thrilling experience for all who take part.  We’d love to see more people involved!

We are also exploring the possibility of a Peanut Gallery for readers who are not HMC members to voice their thoughts during January.

Please sign up to be a Heavy Medal Committee Member in the comment below.  There is no restriction on how many people should be in this group (larger than 15 is fine) as long as you are committed to reading and discussing all the books through January.

* Updated Information: Fully Participating = having read all the 15 books and being able to discuss on Heavy Medal site in the comments area during those three weeks.  No group chat, no email chain, no time coordination necessary.  Sorry if that was very unclear!

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. I would enjoy participating again.

    However, if the group looks to be too big, I can sit this one out and watch from the peanut gallery.

    Probably depends on whether or not I’ve read all 15 or realistically think I will be able to.

  2. I would also like to participate again but would be happy to sit in the peanut gallery if needed.

  3. I would like to participate, but I need more information, if you don’t mind. What does “fully participate during the weeks of discussion” mean exactly? Be responding to emails periodically during the day, or be ready to drop everything for a real-time group chat? Similarly, what is the process and time commitment for the voting component? I don’t want to sign up and then realize that there’s a mandatory chat right in the middle of Story Time that I won’t be able to make it to.

    What is the deadline to join the group?

  4. I missed out last year, but I’m in this year.

  5. I would love to participate, but I have similar questions as Alys — will I need to be available virtually at certain times, or are emails fine? I am a school librarian, so I am limited to times that I can be at my computer.

  6. Mary Zdrojewski says:

    I would love to participate again, but, as the others have said, I can sit out and watch if the group is too large.

  7. Aud Hogan says:

    I think the peanut gallery sounds like fun!

  8. I’d like to participate!

  9. Me!

  10. Erin Moehring says:

    I’m down!! I have a nice vacation coming up, so reading will be my priority anyway.

  11. It looks to me that we have 9 so far: Mr. H, Kari, Alys, Erin, Katrina, Susan N, Mary Zdrojewski, Anne, Joe.

    Please keep signing up. The more the merrier!! 🙂

  12. I’d love to participate this year but I have a deadline in January so I think I’d better stick to the peanut gallery this year. I can’t guarantee I’ll get them all read on top of my research reading (20 books & 5 documentaries since Sept) and deadlines. Following with interest though. Thanks for all the work all of you do to keep this going.

  13. I would love to participate! I’ve hosted our library Mock Newbery discussion the past several years but would love to participate in a larger one. I love diving in and discussing books.

  14. Kazia Berkley-Cramer says:

    Hey everyone! This is just a note to remind folks that the phrase “peanut gallery” has a racist origin and it’s a phrase you might want to retire:

    • Dear Kazia, thank you so much for pointing this out. I totally did not know the historical origin and we will definitely come up with a different terminology for those who are commenting on the sidelines. Great learning moment here 😉

    • I didn’t know this! Thank you for letting us know.

    • Leonard Kim says:

      I am fine with retiring it, but after some Googling it’s not at all clear to me how well-grounded this contention is. The discussion here, which includes multiple primary source citations is the most informative I found:

      There are synonyms (i.e. words referring to the cheap seats of a venue) that are clearly not racist (European) and those that clearly are. The historical fact of segregation means that any American reference to a venue’s seats could be racially charged, whatever term is used. I don’t know that the evidence against “peanut gallery” is much stronger than that, but as I said I am fine being in the nosebleed seats or whatever other place we decide.

  15. Deborah Ford says:

    I would love to participate. I’m rereading the top books already for my Best of the Best workshops.

  16. Courtney Hague says:

    I’d love to participate. I’ve been following these discussions here on Heavy Medal for years and I think it’s finally time to jump in. I have opinions! (And having people to hold me accountable for my reading will be nice also)

  17. Me, me me! Please.

    • I ran to respond to the email and then read the instructions. I can follow all the rules, but I’d like to state my weekends are freer than my working days to participate. I’m busy at work. However, I will make time each day to check in. I’ve had a consuming few months but find my time opening up and I’m ready to go.

  18. I would love to participate! I often take part in the in-person mock Newbery that is hosted in Oakland. An online version of that conversation will be fun. I also host mock Newbery clubs at our school libraries throughout the district. It has been a real treat talking about quality literature with kids. I’m curious how many of your books will overlap with the books on our list. note: I was not involved in the generating of the list, only supporting the student clubs and creating materials.

  19. Nicola Burke says:

    I would love to do this. This would encourage me to read books that are out of my comfort zone

    • Great! That’s a good reason for participating. Please take a look at the announcement for the finalists — 16 titles all — and confirm that you will be able to finish the books by January 2nd and participate in the discussion. Thank!!

  20. I would love to participate!

  21. I would love to participate if there is still space!

  22. Hi. It looks like we’ve gotten 21 Official Heavy Medal Committee Members! So exciting. They are:

    Amanda Snow
    Courtney Hague
    Deborah Ford
    Erin Moehring
    Jenn Potter
    Jessica Lee
    Leonard Kim
    Mary Zdrojewski
    Mr. H.
    Nicola Burke
    Susan N.

    We will contact you all via email very soon and get everyone settled to participate starting January 2nd.