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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
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Newbery Suggestions: Leaders through June

June Suggestions are now closed, and at the almost-halfway-point, there’s still a wide variety of votes submitted so far by Heavy Medal readers. Ten books have five or more suggestions; Twenty-one have just a single vote so far. Of the 51 books receiving suggestions, eight show up on the list for the first time. These are noted in red. Check out the full list below and we’ll put out a call for more suggestions in early July!

Prairie LotusPark12
Show Me a SignLezotte10
List of Things That Will Not ChangeStead9
When You Trap a TigerKeller9
From the Desk of Zoe WashingtonMarks8
King and the DragonfliesCallender7
Efrén DividedCisneros6
Almost American Girl: A MemoirHa5
Rise and Fall of Charles LindberghFleming5
On the HorizonLowry4
When Stars are ScatteredJamieson4
Black Brother, Black BrotherRhodes3
Echo MountainWolk3
One and Only BobApplegate3
Stand Up, Yumi Chung!Kim3
Wish in the DarkSoontornvat3
All the Days Past, All the Days to ComeTaylor2
Any Day with YouRespicio2
Black is a Rainbow ColorJoy2
Dragon HoopsYang2
Here in the Real WorldPennypacker2
Home for Godesses and DogsConnor2
Only Black Girls in TownColbert2
Thief KnotMilford2
Village of ScoundrelsPreus2
Ways to Make SunshineWatson2
We Dream of SpaceKelly2
Blackbird GirlsBlankman1
Clean GetawayStone1
Great UpendingKephart1
How to Make Friends with the SeaGuerrero1
How Women Won the VoteBartoletti1
Kent StateWiles1
Leaving LymonCline-Ransome1
Many Feathered ThingGerlits1
Nonsense! The Curious Story of Edward GoreyMortensen1
One Last ShotAnderson1
Ordinary DayArnold1
Sal and Gabi Fix the UniverseHernandez1
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and YouReynold & Kendi1
Things Seen from AbovePearsall1
Things You Can’t SayBishop1
Voice Named ArethaRussell-Brown1
Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of DoomSachar1
We are Water ProtectorsLindstrom1
What Stars are Made ofAllen1
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


  1. Due to health concerns, I’m only doing audiobooks. Can’t find Show Me a Sign in that format. My colleague guesses it’s because the characters use sign language. Shouldn’t it be accessible to everyone?

    I’m a seasoned spectator of Heavy Medal. This year feels more like 2019 than 2020.

    It’s ungracious to the great Julie Morstad to crop her cover art. Cheers!

    • Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

      Thanks for catching the cover error, Debra. I hadn’t realized that the image got cropped. It’s fixed above, though it’s still the smaller thumbnail on the HM home page (will try to fix that later…)

  2. A question about “leaders” – If there are books we particularly want to champion, should we be “voting” for them even if someone else already has? Is there any benefit to being a “leader” in the conversation at this point? I ask because I am not posting a title if I know it is on the list, but there are, of course, several that I would post if they weren’t there already. If I did post, that would lead to more “votes” in the tally. I’ve followed this conversation for years, but I can’t remember the details regarding this informal nomination process.

    • Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

      Hi Sara,
      Good question. Yes, it’s fine to add your vote to a book that already has votes. But suggestions on Heavy Medal (and on the real Committee) don’t really carry any weight when it comes to selection. The Committee uses the process as a way for members to share what they’re reading through the course of the year. The totals can give some indication of books that have caught the attention of multiple readers, but often don’t line up at all with the eventual choices. One way they’re deceptive is that they clearly favor books published early in the year. Also, a book doesn’t have to be “distinguished” or “excellent” to make the Suggestion list. Just worth considering. When we get to “Nominations” in the fall, those are much more relevant to the actual Newbery decision. Committee members can only Nominate 7 titles and only nominated titles make it to the final discussion table. So the short answer (after this pretty long one) is that Suggestions are used as a reading list, but not as a real indicator of leading Newbery candidates.

      Your question does make me reconsider the use of “leaders” in the titles of these posts, because it really is misleading…

  3. Jennifer says:

    Question: How early can someone add a title to the list? I read a lot of e-galleys and I would like to nominate titles before I forget.

    • Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

      Good question, Jennifer. We do ask folks to hold off on Suggesting until the book is actually published in print form. It means we don’t hear about some of the great books that aren’t out yet…but it also keeps us kind of on the same reading schedule. Suggestions happen the first Monday of each month, and if a book is due out in the next week or two after that, it’s fine to add it to the list. But for others…yes, it’s keep a list and save them, I’m afraid.

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