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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

HMC Mock Results – No Winner Yet

Starting late Wednesday, members of the Heavy Medal Committee (HMC) cast ballots for the Heavy Medal Mock Newbery. We followed the voting structure used by the actual Newbery Committee:

  • Each member votes for three books, ranking them 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.
  • Each 1st place vote counts as 4 points; 2nd place = 3 points; 3rd place = 1 point.
  • A Medal winner must receive at least 8 1st place votes and it must have a lead of 8 points over the second leading title.
  • If there is no Medal winner after the first ballot, books will be re-discussed, with a second ballot to follow.
  • The second ballot will not include books that received no votes on the first ballot.

And that’s where we are now. We don’t have a first ballot winner. Second ballots have just been sent out to HMC members. Discussion begins below, with a chance to bring up new insights into the books that might sway voters. Any of the remaining titles may be discussed below, in any order. Readers who are not part of the HMC are welcome to chime in, but only HMC members will vote. Discussion will not be open long, since we want to find a winner by Friday at the latest.

Here are the results of the first ballot:

Title1st (4 pts)2nd (3 pts)3rd (2 pts)Total
The Remarkable Journey…42124
Torpedoed13217
Other Words for Home3216
New Kid4216
Genesis Begins Again2111
This Promise of Change2210
Queen of the Sea1310
Pay Attention Carter Jones1119
Lalani of the Distant Sea28
The Line Tender117
The Important Thing About MWB24
Scary Stories for Young Foxes13
To Night Owl from Dogfish0
The Toll0
Beverly Right Here0
Totals 151515135

Let the re-discussion begin!

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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 sengelfried@yahoo.com.

Comments

  1. As is common practice, Steven, wouldn’t the field be narrowed down by physically removing the titles that did not receive any votes off of the table so 12 books are eligible for votes instead of 15? They can not be resurrected.

    • Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

      Yes, Roxanne. The 2nd Ballot that the HMC receives does not include Beverly Right Here, The Toll, or To Night Owl.

  2. These results are very interesting. Thank you for allowing the the people not on the committee to watch your process.

  3. Trying to get a few thoughts thrown out right away, since I’ve got straight classes this morning from 8:30-11:30 am CT and won’t be able to jump in again until the end.

    I think we’ve got some very strong frontrunners. For me, I think THE REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF COYOTE SUNRISE is the complete package for this year’s Newbery: endearing and well-drawn characters; a tight, tense plot; and plenty of tearful moments. While the ending certainly strains credulity in adult readers (I could have done without the goat), I think many child readers will be too engrossed to question it. COYOTE is the book that has impacted the most of my students over the past year, and I would love to see a shiny medal bring it to an even wider audience.

    As for honor books, OTHER WORDS FOR HOME is another strong contender. Jude is a strong character who uses poetry to connect to the reader and build empathy and understanding. While other awards should not come into play, OTHER WORDS did just receive a Walter Award Honor for its contributions to diverse literature.

    NEW KID is another stand-out from this year’s group. Even with the added difficulty of balancing the contribution of the text vs. the illustrations, I think NEW KID is strong enough to stand on its own literary merits.

    PAY ATTENTION CARTER JONES is an endearing and unexpected book, and I think the author does so much with language and grammar to differentiate the characters and establish emotions and mood. I love the slow evolution of Carter, and the big reveal about his father at the end is certainly impactful. We need more thoughtful boy books, and this has so many positive qualities.

    I’m still on the fence about TORPEDOED and would love to hear more from others. While I appreciate these kinds of nonfiction books (ala REFUGEE or PORT CHICAGO 50), I found at times that the foreshadowing “hints” were frustrating, and I think child readers in particular might balk. The ‘only one of them out make it through the night’ kinds of things sprinkled through. Sometimes it seems like appropriate tension and sometimes like annoyance.

    Alright, kids are pouring in ….

  4. Rachel Wadham says:

    One of my considerations when voting was which book had the fewest storytelling flaws. So for me that’s why Coyote Sunrise and Torpedoed fell into the top ranks. These books rank tops in storytelling for me, meaning that all the elements (plot, theme, character, setting, and style) hold together the best. In the end we can analyze each element for minor flaws but when you look holistically these books rank the top. Some of the other books just did not offer a holistic vision for me that was convincing throughout.

  5. Cherylynn says:

    I have storytime in 15 minutes and will not see this again for a few hours. I would say that The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise had stereotypical side characters, a strange picture for a grieving father, and just a list of obstacle after obstacle. I would be willing to vote for Torpedoed and Other Words for Home which have high vote counts. Torpedoed does have some foreshadowing hints, but these were also often used to help me remember which characters were which. When you have characters named Beth and Bess sometimes those little sentences helped figure out to which story the author had returned. Also I think it is an acknowledgement that as a historical book with such a cover we knew as we know when we read a Titanic book where the story is going. Other Words for Home was a strong book. I liked so much of the poetry and enjoyed the characterization.

    • Cheryl — thanks for sharing your thought process. Just a note on the official procedure: the discussion continues, centering solely on literary considerations. Yes, we all try to convince each other to see our points and no, we never share how we would vote. There should never be negotiation of votes.

      • Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

        Good point Roxanne. This second round can be fascinating and tricky to negotiate. Conversations must focus on the qualities of the books, but at the same time, Committee members are aware of the ballot status (as we are), and in your mind you’re likely thinking: Do I have a chance to sway others, either positively or negatively, on certain titles? Is it time to give up on my top title because it doesn’t have enough support, or should I try to revive it? And at the same time, we need to be considering the new comments from others. We might think: “This book was not among my top choices, but it has a lot of votes….can I find strengths that others are seeing and support it?” With a first ballot as scattered as ours, it’s clear that there will need to be some movement among voters as we go forward, but we won’t know what that movement looks like until the 2nd ballot results are in.

  6. Amanda Bishop says:

    I agree with others that Coyote Sunrise has so much going for it. The storytelling is beautiful and this was the book that made me both laugh and cry this year. It is so heartwarming and downright fun.

    I hope to see Genesis Begins Again rise higher up in the votes. I love the story of Genesis and her journey. I think Williams does an amazing job of bringing Genesis to life and crafting a character that you want to root for.

    Other Words for Home is another one that should at least gain an Honor this year. I am a sucker for books in verse and I loved this sweet and heartbreaking story. Jude is so strong in how she handles all of the changes she is faced with.

    • Amanda — “fun” is the one word that makes the book less remarkable for me: both the deep tragedy that Coyote experiences and her father’s emotional abuse, which is somewhat romanticized in order for the Journey/Story to occur, are both themes that need a different treatment than being a “fun” read.

      • Courtney Hague says:

        Roxanne, I think you really pin-pointed what has been bothering me about this book. I really enjoyed Coyote and it was fun, but you’re right, she has experienced a tragedy and had her father emotionally abuse her for many years. I wish Rodeo hadn’t been so romanticized though I guess you do see cracks in Coyote’s story that she tells herself and the story goes along. I guess I don’t think think an ending that strains credulity can really be overlooked just because a book is fun.

    • Rachel Wadham says:

      Let me address some of this as well as the comments later about it being a little to outlandish in some places. For me this book straddles genres it is both a tragedy (dealing with tragic events) and a farce (comic dramatic work using buffoonery and ludicrously improbable situations), and for me that’s one of the things that makes it wonderful. I see this genre combination a lot in drama and film, but I hardly ever see it in books, especially children’s books. For this reason, this book reads plot wise has more Shakespearean essence or like something you might see in a movie. To bring in a true tragedy that is realistic of life and then balance that with the farce elements is really hard to do, and I think in some ways it reads better “live” on the stage or film, because we can “see” the emotions of the characters, but I think this book succeeds at it because of Coyote’s voice and the way we can “see” her emotions and connections. So for some of the very reasons you see this as negative, I see this as a masterful combination of genre types that we don’t often see in print.

  7. Mary Zdrojewski says:

    Coyote Sunrise, while certainly a distinguished book, felt more like screenplay than a novel. There were several scenes (shouting while the bus is driving, escaping from a security guard) that were very visual but didn’t fit well with the story. Both of these scenes pulled me out of the story.

    In contrast, every scene in Other Words for Home felt vital to the character development.

  8. I see Mary beat me to this line of thought as I was typing. Anyway… there is a climactic moment in COYOTE that she herself describes as “just like in some dumb movie.” I think COYOTE works the way THE TOLL does. It feels like a movie. Steven mentioned the shouting from the top of the bus scene in those terms, and other scenes (Coyote driving the bus, digging up the box) are very cinematic. There’s no doubt it is effective, vivid, and emotional.

    I still have reservations about the book’s disconnect between show and tell. The book keeps telling us who the good guys are. Coyote insists and insists that Rodeo is good and kind and the best person, whereas everything in the book suggests he is selfish, controlling, and judgmental. A previous comment mentioned the sandwich question as a fun icebreaker, but really it isn’t. It’s an arbitrary measure by which Rodeo will decide whether he will help someone or not, whether someone is good enough to be in his company.

    On Goodreads I wrote that the book was effective and that I responded to it, but also, “I don’t like movies that are emotionally manipulative and have a warped moral compass in the sense that the only things we are supposed to care about are the selfish interests of the designated “good” characters, and everything that works to their ends is justified regardless of how much mayhem, heartbreak, or emotional damage they cause.” The book all but cheers when Lester breaks up with his fiancee over the phone, because his dreams of being a musician are apparently more important. This is what movies do. Unimportant people get hurt, and that’s OK as long as the good guys learn a lesson and are “true” to themselves. I like movies. But Captain America allowed billions of people to die because he wouldn’t abandon one comrade. The magic of movies makes us think he did the right, heroic thing.

    One of the Criterion is “presentation of information” – which sometimes seems irrelevant when discussing fiction. But I do think a distinguished contribution to literature needs to feel “true.” The emotions I felt reading COYOTE were real and genuine, but I also realized the book was basically telling me what to feel and that didn’t always jibe with what was actually happening in the book. When Samuel wrote about crying after reading TORPEDOED I thought that’s what a Newbery should do. The characters in TORPEDOED are not larger-than-life; just ordinary humans that might fail the sandwich test. Heiligman shows them to us. She doesn’t pull out all the stops trying to make us cry. But we do. That’s distinguished.

  9. Aaron Hostetler says:

    I have enjoyed reading many of these books this year and following the discussion throughout the year. This was my first year investing in this type of thing. Unfortunately, I haven’t read all of the books yet, but just a couple thoughts that I’ve had follow.

    As an adult reader, as I was reading Coyote Sunrise I just kept thinking that I couldn’t believe how many people/events kept happening with each event checking off each social issue going on right now. To me it was a turn off. I did enjoy the book overall, but it was not a favorite.

    For me, my top 3 are Pay Attention, Scary Stories, and Promise of Change.

    From the moment I picked up Pay Attention, I was hooked. As a youth pastor who works with many young guys, he had such wisdom that so many boys need today. And as an athlete, I enjoyed learning about cricket and how it was applied throughout the story. I immediately told my wife to read the book and she loved it as well.

    Scary Stories was one of the most original books I have ever read. The way the author made all the stories scary to foxes was so creative. I understand the debate about Beatrix’s inclusion, but I loved it.

    Promise of Change was my favorite nonfiction book I read this year. I think it is such a timely book with the way our country once again is full of hatred for people who are different than us. To see the way this group of kids handled the situation was such an encouragement.

    Anyway, that’s my 2 cents and I’m glad I’m not on the real committee because there are so many good books this year.

    • So glad to see you enjoyed our posts/comments here! We all can’t wait to see what actually WINS!!!

    • Mary Zdrojewski says:

      I love how Scary Stories utilized the standard horror tropes in a new and creative way. If the medal were awarded just on cleverness, this would be my definite choice.

      • Courtney Hague says:

        One hundred percent, Mary. I clearly love Scary Stories for Young Foxes possibly only because it is just so clever. But I can see why other books are floating to the top of this discussion and Scary Stories, sadly, isn’t one of them.

  10. Rachel Wadham says:

    Let me address TORPEDOED. Personally I think Katie is mistaken there is no foreshadowing here, she is using another approach entirely. We know from word one in the title what is going to happen, the ending is very clear. She could have called it A perilous journey or something like that if she had not wanted the ending to be so clear. So when you know what the ending is you really can’t foreshadow. What she is doing is telling us the end of the story first and then going back and filling in the details. Keeping the tension and interest in a story when you essentially know what is going to happen is different than foreshadowing to me, and in my eye a very tricky approach to take. Personally I saw those moments and tension building and release, reminding me of what was going to happen but also giving me a sense that it would be okay despite the tragedy that was coming. So I do think readers respond to that tension in really positive ways since they may not see it as foreshadowing.

    • Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

      I appreciate Rachel’s description of “tension building and release” in TORPEDOED. The pacing, not just of the events of the true story, but of what details the readers learn and how we’ll respond emotionally, seemed just right. We do know that the Grimmond kids won’t make it, but we don’t know when or how they will perish. And the minute by minute descriptions of how different characters fared, from Mary Cornish’s storytelling to the two young women clinging to the raft…you just get such a strong sense of their peril and their courage. It’s a big, devastating event, as the death-numbers show, but in this book it’s the individual experiences, of both survivors and non-survivors, that stick with the reader.

  11. Samuel leopold says:

    I second the argument for Torpedoed as presented by Rachel. The foreshadowing hints were no roadblocks to any of the students who I know experienced the book. And this book was an experience, not just another reading. The ability of the author to build suspense and keep the perfect plot pacing throughout is an amazing accomplishment. And it is rare to see an author create a non- fiction work that is able to paint an accurate picture of something tragic….. while at the same time masterfully sprinkling in colors of hope within that painting. When comparing this book to Coyote Sunrise, Torpedoed wins the comparison when I see the way the father’s emotional abuse was not dealt with in as serious a manner as I thought it should have been. I agree with Roxanne who said that this was romanticized a bit. I have had many students who have gone through this type of abuse and the path to healing is much more difficult and complex. And I do think the ending would be seen as a reality stretch by a lot of young readers. Coyote Sunrise has so many excellent qualities— and I even discussed some of these in a previous post—- but, in light of the Newbery criteria, it is not as distinguished as Torpedoed.

  12. Tamara DePasquale says:

    Okay, so the “gloves” come off as we battle passionately for and against support for our Newbery contenders.

    I knew The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise would rise to the top. I keep asking myself and others in my library and book groups why they want to see this book with a gold medal sticker on its cover. Every response conveys an emotional connection to Coyote and her grief and the fun adventure. I understand that; I was in a room full of people when I started my “ugly cry!” I, too, enjoyed Coyote’s journey There is no doubt that this book is fun and full of compassion and kindness and the need to find a place for grief. This book has such heart. But, heart and popularity are not included in the Newbery criteria, and there are important issues that we need to consider here.

    The checklist of passengers never once felt organic. The diverse cast of characters felt so intentional, and their circumstances stereotypical. I was taken right out of the story because of this. It is one of my biggest problems with the book. There is such white privilege here. Coyote and Rodeo to the rescue! They escape their loss because they have the money and freedom to do so, and as they roam the country at whim, they are going to help the homeless black man, the abused, homeless and poor Latino family, and don’t forget the runaway gay teenager. I would have been okay with including one of these characters with their story explored further to develop Coyote’s growth, but the full cast is troubling.

    Lastly, Coyote is such a likable, DiCamillo kind of character. We love her courage, her wit, her kindness, and her gumption, but I will argue that her voice is not her own.

    So, what title do I want to see move to the top? It was such a strong year and a difficult process to choose only three. I had four titles that were strong contenders. For the sake of brevity, I will defend my top three: Other Words for Home, New Kid and Pay Attention, Carter Jones.

    The HCM members discussed the strength and growth of these protagonists, the delineation of setting and the quality of writing, but I would like to underscore the themes that are presented in these titles. Carter Jones is truly all about “make good decisions and remember who you are.” It is so spot-on and appropriate for its intended audience. Middle schoolers are completely absorbed with trying to balance who they are with the decisions that they make. Identity and choices are paramount to a tween/teen. Carter must decide if he will become his father or if he will do better, and this impacts his relationships at home and at school. Both are fleshed out with humor, heart, and honesty.

    As for Other Words for Home, Jude also has to discover who she is while balancing the ties to two cultures. Will she lose or betray her Syrian identity by settling into her new American life, or will she find a way to balance her need to be a part of both? Her voice, her struggles, and her courage are so eloquently presented in the writing and through her interactions with the secondary characters. To witness and feel these challenges is not only appropriate for the intended audience, but also an important and timely voice.

    Lastly, New Kid confronts racism on such a different level. By highlighting microaggressions through plotlines that are fluid, vivid and authentic, the themes are accurately presented accomplished in a graphic novel format! New Kid is one of those books that you could have endless discussions about windows and mirrors with the reader, and it’s such a relevant and important contribution to children’s literature.

    Lastly, I want to thank all the committee members for being so thoughtful and open in all their considerations and reviews. Whatever the outcome, it’s been a pleasure!

  13. Molly Sloan says:

    Wow. Good morning! It’s just 8:15 here on the west coast and already the Heavy Medal conversation is in full swing! Thank you all for your thoughtful review of the strengths and weaknesses of the books on our list.

    I especially appreciate Tamara’s reprise because it very nearly mirrors my own thoughts. I hadn’t yet articulated for myself what troubled me about Coyote Sunrise but she identified it for me. The cast of supporting characters is just a little too perfectly diverse. Because of this they become stock characters–all likeable but too much like place-holders for the issues they represent. I think young readers don’t often recognize tropes and stereotypes simply because they haven’t encountered enough of them yet. Therefore Coyote Sunrise is resonating with young readers, which is a positive thing for sure (I’m always glad to have kid buzz around books!). However discerning adult readers are able to recognize patterns and see when types are used for effect, as I think they have been here. I am also concerned about the comments regarding emotional abuse. I’d like to think more about that with input from people more knowledgeable about that as it plays out in the context of grief. I hadn’t thought of Rodeo’s unwillingness/inability to cope with his own grief and thereby also denying Coyote the grieving process as emotional abuse. But it is an important question. Until yesterday, this book was on my short list for my third place vote. After the discussion this morning, I have concluded that the concerns some have raised are enough to knock it out of contention for me.

    Another book in my consideration for third place was Pay Attention Carter Jones which I loved for so many reasons. The butler is a completely original, surprising and delightful character. Carter’s growth and maturity was masterfully shown. Rereading the passages about the rainy hike in Australia are beautiful. As I said in a previous post, Schmidt uses repetition the way a painter layers paint to add depth and significance. I thought the plot was distinguished in that I was never sure how it was all going to turn out. When the butler returned at the end it felt right and appropriate but I never felt it was for sure. The reason I ultimately did not vote for Carter Jones was that several of my readers, both kids and adults, were taken out of the story by the cricket passages. They worked for me because I saw them developing into a metaphor. However enough readers I know were lost on the cricket that I felt it might be the only significant flaw of the book. I am willing to be convinced on this point.

    That leaves me with my top three. Torpedoed was a riveting read. I feel it is distinguished in characters, setting, plot (if real history can be called plot), theme and presentation of information. I think Heiligman masterfully weaves the known facts of the event into a story format, introducing characters in distinct and personal ways and then following them through the terrifying ordeal. Throughout the sentence level writing is clear and elegant. “Sailors kept pushing children away from the holes, away from certain death” (p.89). “Colin had never seen a dead body; now he was surrounded by them” (p. 141). If I hadn’t been reading a library copy, three fourths of it would have been highlighted for strong writing.

    Again, Tamara articulated what I’ve been trying to identify in my thoughts about New Kid. I think this is an important and distinguished book because it tackles the topic of racism from a new angle. It presents racism not as the overt whites only lunch counter and drinking fountain issues but as the teacher that mixes up the two black kids. The identity of belonging in two worlds–and the art of passing between them (the bus ride scene). I thought the storytelling of New Kid was particularly distinguished because of Craft’s use of the metacognitive sketch book where Jordan could view situations from the third person point of view and get a truer sense of what was going on. That I thought was really brilliant and original.

    Other Words For Home stole my heart this year. I found the poetry to be distinguished and evocative. Some in the Heavy Medal conversation have expressed concern that the poetry wasn’t poetic enough. I am prone to feeling that way about novels in verse myself; however Other Words For Home reads aloud like art. There is so much to ponder between the words. Through her spare words and insightful observations of American life, I felt Jude’s experiences. She helped me understand what it is like to feel part of two places. Her longing for her brother and her friend, Fatima, laid alongside her community of ELL learners in Cincinatti and the kindness of Aunt Michelle felt very real to me. I loved the use of Syrian proverbs as windows into her mind. I’m sorry I don’t have my copy at hand this morning or I could put my finger on some of the passages that moved me most. Overall I was left with a deeper, more empathetic understanding of what it is like to be a refugee. I think this book will be a gift to all who encounter it.

    So those are my top three this morning: Other Words For Home, New Kid and Torpedoed.
    Thank you for the thoughtful conversation. I continue to be open to the thoughtful input of my fellow readers.

    • Rachel Wadham says:

      As far as “Rodeo’s unwillingness/inability to cope with his own grief and thereby also denying Coyote the grieving process as emotional abuse,” I’m not sure I would take it that far. I’ve worked with a kids in trauma and raised by emotionally abusive parents, and for me the abuse is more about humiliating, criticizing, control and shame, none of which I see here. While there was some emotional neglect in that he could not deal with his own grief he did not let her deal with it either, it seems that Coyote did not want to deal with it either and the thing that made her deal with it was the box, and when that happened she began to more fully realize that she needed to deal with it. Also Coyote is emotionally mature in her own right and she is very clear where she stands with her family and the negatives of the situation. While broken and out of wack I think there is a very loving and supportive relationship here that develops deeper as the book goes on.

  14. Rachel Wadham says:

    For me one of the criteria I judge on is the complexity of the minor characters, and that is where both Other Words for Home and Carter Jones fall short for me. In contrast to the others we have been discussing, these two have a lot of stock characters that don’t feel fleshed out. One of the ways I look at it is if I can see the minor characters have a rich and interesting life outside of what is presented in the book, then I fell they are multifaceted and engaging. However, with both Other Words and Carter Jones all the main characters friends and even some of their family did not feel like they had life beyond just what was being told in the story. For me Coyote Sunrise, Lalani of the Distant Sea, and Torpedoed where the books that did this the best on our list. The made rich characters come to life in both major and minor roles.

  15. Courtney Hague says:

    I would definitely argue for Torpedoed and its effective use of research and primary source documents to make a compelling story despite knowing the outcome. I definitely agree with Rachel that the asides help to create the tension in the story and keep it moving forward. This is definitely one of the books for me.

    I would also just like to say that I am still not completely convinced that Other Words For Home’s poetry is more distinguished than This Promise of Change. I understand that it is free verse but that line between writing prose and just breaking it up and poetry is just too fine. I also think that the flat side characters which Rachel mentions above don’t help its cause.

    • Rachel Wadham says:

      Courtney, I wonder if you are not considering the other poetic elements that Words for Home has such as parallelisms, alliteration, assonance, etc. all of which are used to effect in this novel. Sadly I don’t have the book right here by me so I can’t pick it up for examples, but there is so much more to the free verse in this book than just the line breaks. But it is true you really have to look for those as a reader where as in This Promise of Change where the poetic forms are more pronounced you don’t have to look as much. For me the difference between the two has less to do with poetic forms I think both are distinguished on that point, and more to do about the story. I think both stories are powerful but I think Words for Home does a better job of making you care about the characters, which seems odd since This Promise was a first person narrative. I just felt that the emotion was lacking in This Promise and maybe that was because it was more of a memoir, but that all felt a little detached especially as they added in the primary source material that could have been a little better connected as well to make this book come across with just a deeper impact with the emotions.

      • Courtney Hague says:

        I really wish I had more time to go back and re-read Other Words for Home. I’m going to skim through and see if I can’t wrap my head around the poetic elements you’ve pointed out here. I do think that the more pronounced poetic forms in This Promise of Change are what have me hung up between the two.

        I guess I didn’t feel detached from the narrative in This Promise of Change. While Other Words for Home feel closer to its narrator, I still felt connected to the things that happened in This Promise of Change. I guess I didn’t see the distance in This Promise of Change as necessarily a bad thing.

      • Rachel Wadham says:

        Good point Courtney, It is not necessarily a bad thing, but I think for a first person narrative it was a little confusing for me as to why it would come off as so detached. She lived it, so I did feel that the book distanced the emotion in a way that made me question it, because I feel poetry and first person experience should just have more emotion and that really did not come across in the way I expected with this book.

  16. Molly Sloan says:

    Thank you, Rachel. You bring up a good point about the level of development we expect from secondary characters. I’m not sure I have a firm internal rule about this. I guess this makes me wishy washy! I hear the concern that you and others have raised about the secondary characters being flat in Other Words From Home. And I can see that point. I think when I read Jude’s story I am with her seeing the world through her point of view and her experience so I am willing to accept the flatness of the other characters because that’s they way she experiences them–just in the context of ELL class, just in the cast of the play etc. In Coyote Sunrise I am not bothered by the flatness of the characters. I actually really love Salvadore and think he’s an interesting, lovely boy. It’s when I take the cast of characters as a whole that I started to see them as typecast. It almost felt like they were used to check the boxes of issues addressed. I enjoy them each individually and didn’t find them one dimensional. Rather I just feel that they each could have their own story. And I suppose at the end of the day, that’s what we want from secondary characters–so real that they could have a whole book of their own. Also, Rachel, thank you for your insight on the emotional abuse conversation. That was helpful.

    • Rachel Wadham says:

      Great points, Molly I can really see how holistically these characters could be seen in that way, but I think one of the reasons they typecast these characters is the fact that these are other relatable traumas that children go through and I see that as an important part of this book, in that it expresses trauma that is real to a lot of kids and provides a range that make it approachable. And thanks I’m glad my experience provides another layer of insight into emotional abuse.

  17. Samuel leopold says:

    Great arguments from everyone. For me, when looking at all the criteria, there are so many great books this year. But only two, in my mind, check off all the criteria boxes in a distinguished way—- Torpedoed and New Kid. Either of those would be a radical choice since non- fiction and graphic novels are not gold medal darlings. I think it’s time to change that!

  18. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

    We will be CLOSING DISCUSSION at 2:30 EST/11:30 PST. So you have just another 22 minutes to get comments in. At that point, HM Committee members will submit their second ballots. We’ll post results as soon as all of the ballots are in. We hope to have results posted by 6:30 pm EST today, but it could be a bit sooner or later. With those results, we will learn if we have a winner or if we will need to re-ballot and re-discuss.

  19. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

    COMMENTS ON THIS POST ARE NOW CLOSED. Heavy Medal Committee members are in the process of submitting Ballot #2. We will share results later today.