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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
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Farewell – The Heavy Medal Mock Newbery Process of 2020 Is Officially Over

Now that the 2020 Newbery winners and honors have been revealed and we no longer have to guess and wait, here are some final musings and looking ahead.


I am delighted (and not surprised) at this rare occurrence: that Heavy Medal Award Winner matches the official Newbery pick! Hooray for New Kid! for making Newbery history as the first graphic novel to win the award.  Given that Undefeated received an Honor citation, I guess the text is eligible after all.  Was that a surprise to anyone?  


All I can figure is that “previously published” might apply only to print, and not online?  The poem was used to promote ESPN’s “The Undefeated” website in 2016, in a form very close to the book. The Newbery Manual requires that “the text is presented here for the first time and has not been previously published elsewhere in this or any other form.”  Whatever the reason, I was very happy to learn that it was eligible and won the Honor!


I was definitely surprised. I did not think it met the requirements as far as the Newbery criteria, and like Steven mentioned, it was eligible. That win caught me off guard. In a very good way.


Are there any title that you wished could have made the honors list? Mine are This Promise of Change and Lalani of the Distant Sea, which is our Readers’ choice winner, did not even garner a nod from the Asian/Pacific American Library Association’s literary award. 


My biggest disappointment is for Torpedoed. I thought it was just about as engaging and informative as a nonfiction book for kids can be.  But that disappointment was offset by the Honor for Scary Stories for Young Foxes.


I was hoping that A Good Kind of Trouble would have made the honors list, and also This Promise of Change. I’m a little heartbroken The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise wasn’t acknowledged. I felt consolation with Genesis Begins Again and Other Words From Home receiving honors.


I hope the many other outstanding titles suggested and nominated by our readers, such as Line Tender and To Night Owl from Dogfish will be embraced and loved by many young readers.

A few upcoming books by previous award winning authors will definitely receive some attention: Erin Entrada Kelly’s We Dream of Space, Rebecca Stead’s The List of Things That Will Not Change, Mildred Taylor’s All the Days Past, All the Days to Come, and Jerry Craft’s Class Act.  I can’t wait to read them and also to start seeing suggestions on Heavy Medal.  Monthly suggestions will start in late February. Come back and share your reads!


Also:  The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate (a sequel to Ivan, which won the year Roxanne and I were on Newbery).  And Return of the Thief by Megan Whalen Turner is supposed to finally come out this year.


Right. And don’t forget that these two prequels are coming out, too: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (Hunger Games) and The Enigma Game (Code Name Verity.) Probably long shots for Newbery, but one never knows.


Some upcoming books I am anticipating are: Tristan Strong Destroys the World by Kwame Mbalia, Something to Say by Lisa Moore Ramee, Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes and Stand Up, Yumi Chung by Jessica Kim.

As mentioned above, the 2021 Heavy Medal season will start in late February. Friends and readers, please keep on the lookout for outstanding titles and share with our community in the upcoming months. Now we bid you farewell and happy reading trail!

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 was THRILLED with The Undefeated winning Newbery Honor and I am curious how they interpreted the rules to make it eligible. I wonder if it has to do with the fact that it was spoken and not printed on the website? Like, what if something that was a sort of TED Talk got turned into a book, I wonder if that would also be considered eligible? I’m so happy it won! It’s nice to see a poem like that recognized.

    I am very satisfied with the results this year – they feel fresh and are excellent books that are enjoyed by kids! I personally was disappointed that Queen of the Sea and The Toll didn’t get any recognition. And I would have liked to see more recognition for This Promise of Change. But the results were so strong! A great year.

    I didn’t have a particular favorite this year like I do some years and I wondered if I would feel less excited about the awards but I actually felt even more excited about them!

    • That’s why I thought it was eligible originally—a video isn’t publication of a text. I was bummed about Queen Of the sea too!

  2. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

    I bet you’re right, Kari, about the “spoken not printed” aspect of Undefeated. I hadn’t thought of that. That does make sense for poetry especially, since so many poets perform their poems before they’re published.

  3. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

    Another possible contender, this time nonfiction: The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh by Candace Fleming (Amelia Lost, among others)

  4. March will see the publication of Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park, too.

  5. Looking forward to Summer and July by Paul Mosier releasing in June.

  6. Matthew Bowers says:

    I’ve heard good things about Yang’s Dragon Hoops and Ryan’s Mananaland. I’m looking forward to them both.

  7. I really appreciate all that y’all do to put the spotlight on eligible books. I miss this same format for the Printz books. I know SLJ does a column, but I miss the conversational aspect of the blog.

  8. I love how hardworking and diligent everyone is on this blog.
    I was not disappointed in the choices at all this year. I’m thrilled that New Kid won as I felt it had the right mixture of humor and poignancy to make it thought-provoking and engaging. And, as I’ve repeatedly said, the audiobook is excellent. I was a bit surprised it didn’t win an Odyssey or Odyssey Honor. I was a bit sad about Lalani of the Distant Sea as I thought it was a beautifully written book. And, no matter what anyone else might say, I think Eventown was a distinguished book and dealt so uniquely with the theme of grief. I am glad that it is an Edgar Award finalist.

    The committee chose excellent titles. I am eager to read Scary Stories for Young Foxes as I haven’t read that one yet.
    2019 was a truly exceptional year for children’s literature, and I am excited for 2020.

  9. samuel leopold says:

    Steven, I too was disappointed with Torpedoed not medaling.

    I have been saying that graphic novels and non-fiction seemed forgotten by award committees…..well cannot say that any longer for graphic novels!
    2019 was a great year. Here’s hoping 2020 can also be special for children’s literature.

    And I am looking forward to Lois Lowry’s ON THE HORIZON.

    • I was happy that Sheinken won the Edwards because of his writing being non-fiction! That was something else to celebrate.

  10. Books I’m looking forward to in 2020:

    ONE LAST SHOT by John David Anderson
    ECHO MOUNTAIN by Lauren Wolk
    CHIRP by Kate Messner
    WHEN STARS ARE SCATTERED by Victoria Jamieson
    THE THIEF KNOT by Kate Milford
    HERE IN THE REAL WORLD by Sara Pennypacker
    THE ONE AND ONLY BOB by Katherine Applegate
    BRAVE LIKE THAT by Lindsey Stoddard
    WE DREAM OF SPACE by Erin Entrada Kelly
    COO by Kaela Noel
    SUMMER AND JULY by Paul Mosier
    THE CANYON’S EDGE by Dusti Bowling

  11. Julie Corsaro says:

    I think Prairie Lotus, The List of Things That Will Not Change, and From the Desk of Zoe Washington are three strong contenders out of the gate.

  12. After reading through all the suggestions on this page and looking them up on Goodreads, I think I am most excited for From the Desk of Zoe Washington, A Home for Goddesses and Dogs, When Stars are Scattered, and We Dream of Space.

  13. I am going to participate this year!
    A picture book with amazing writing and illustrations is WE AE WATER PROTECTORS, by Carole Lindstrom; Michaela Goade, illustrator. Watch this one rise!
    SHOW ME A SIGN by Ann Clare LeZotte is a rare book about Deaf American history by a Deaf author. It’s like nothing else I’ve read. The depiction of settler racism and inclusion of a loving Aquinnah Wampanoag family with shading and issues like land rights (which are relevant today) are well-done.
    I’m very interested to read Linda Sue Park’s PRAIRIE LOTUS.
    Another book no one mentioned is EFREN DIVIDED, by Ernesto Cisneros. A real look at Mexican American community and families that are separated by ICE raids.
    THE BLACKBIRD GIRLS by Anne Blankman looks interesting, and SNAPDRAGON by Kat Leyh looks sick.
    Coming in September…Mike Jung’s THE BOYS IN THE BACK ROW!!!!
    I’ll be back with more!

  14. I was also sad THIS PROMISE OF CHANGE didn’t receive more accolades this award season. I thought it was a truly remarkable use of verse to tell such a powerful story.

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