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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

Hello readers!

My name is Annisha Jeffries and I am the Youth Services Manager at the Cleveland Public Library. Since this is my first blog post, I wanted to introduce myself.

I have worked at the Cleveland Public Library for over 23 years, I currently chair the Norman A. Sugarman Children’s Biography Award, which is given biennially by Cleveland Public Library and presented to a writer and/or illustrator of a new biography for children’s grades Kindergarten through 8th grade. I served on the the 2018 Caldecott Committee and I have the honor of chairing the Committee for 2021. I will be joining Roxanne and Steven as contributors on this blog, posting and discussing new titles that you have read and perhaps, overlooked. I have followed the Heavy Medal blog since it began, and I always felt an openness to the opinions of readers to contribute in the discussions from September to January.

Now, I have the opportunity to share my selections with you, and whether you agree with me or not, I open this platform as a way to let us know if there is a book we may have overlooked.

With so many diverse titles that have been published early this year and are forthcoming, it can get a bit overwhelming, but fear not because Roxanne, Steven and I will get the discussion going. We may not agree on a book or if it merits Newbery statist of course it is up to the selection committee.

So, now off with the gloves, crack open your books and let the reading begin!

Annisha Jeffries About Annisha Jeffries

Annisha Jeffries is the head of the youth services department at Cleveland Public Library. She was a member of the 2007 ALSC Board and served on several selection committees, including the 2018 Caldecott Committee. A 2000-2001 Spectrum Scholarship recipient, Jeffries is currently the Chair of the Norman A, Sugarman Children's Biography Award.
She can be reached at


  1. Meredith Burton says:

    Welcome, Ms. Annisha. I am excited to hear about your selections this year. There are so many good books, and I’m sure the selection committee will have a tough decision to make.

    I am a blind English teacher residing in Lynchburg, Tennessee. My favorite genres include fantasy, mystery, some historical fiction, and magical realism books, (hard to know what category those books fall under! Ha)!

    I look forward to hearing about discussions.

  2. Molly Sloan says:

    Welcome, Annisha! I look forward to hearing your perspectives on the various books coming our way! This is an exciting time of year! I am the librarian at Portland Jewish Academy in Portland, Oregon and I run a lunchtime Newbery Club with my 5th-8th graders. Ready, set, READ!

    • Annisha Jeffries Annisha Jeffries says:

      Thank you so much Molly! You are absolutely right about this being a exciting time of the year and having a Newbery Club is awesome. Ready, set, READ!

  3. Gabe Kusner says:

    WOOO CLEVELAND! I’m YS staff in Geauga – I am SO EXCITED and looking forward to reading about your selections this year and your insights 🙂

  4. Welcome, Annisha! I was on 2019 Newbery (!!!) so I got out of the habit of commenting on this blog — and have also gotten behind on reading children’s books this year — but I hope to start following along better. Tonight I’ve got a Newbery Book Club meeting at my (public) library, so time to think about it again!

    • Annisha Jeffries Annisha Jeffries says:

      Many thanks, Sondy! I can’t wait to find out which books your Newbery Book Club is talking about. If you can, please let us know. 🙂

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