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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal
Jonathan Hunt

About Jonathan Hunt

Jonathan Hunt is the County Schools Librarian at the San Diego County Office of Education. He served on the 2006 Newbery committee, and has also judged the Printz Award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. You can reach him at

The Popcorn Astronauts


THE POPCORN ASTRONAUTS by Deborah Ruddell is an excellent poetry collection, definitely one of the best of the year, perhaps the best Newbery eligible collection, especially if we think of Marilyn Nelson’s MY SENECA VILLAGE as more of a narrative work of poetry. All of the poems in THE POPCORN ASTRONAUTS are about food, as the subtitle […]

Lost in the Sun


Lisa Graff appeared on our Newbery radar with the publication of A TANGLE OF KNOTS which was long listed for the National Book Award, then came another strong book with great reviews (ABSOLUTELY ALMOST), and now she delivers what is arguably her best novel to date, LOST IN THE SUN. I am not the ideal reader […]

Hey, Old Friends: Part 2


When I started my list of sequels this year, it grew so rapidly that I decided to focus on sequels of Newbery-winning books, but there are some other high profile sequels as well, and a couple of them have already creeped into our discussion. COMPLETELY CLEMENTINE by Sara Pennypacker . . . This is the […]

Hey, Old Friends


We know the odds of repeat Newbery recognition are slim (the percentage of repeat winners in the past 5 years ranges from 20%-50%) and the odds of repeating for a sequel are slimmer still–in fact, limited only to Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper, Robin McKinley, Cynthia Voigt, and Richard Peck.  And yet we cannot help but […]

George and the Question of Didactic Intent


Given our conversations so far, I think GEORGE is the perfect next book to discuss because (a) it is indeed serious work, and (b) it is also didactic (an issue we’ve been exploring in our discussion of ECHO). Now the Newbery Medal is expressly NOT given for didactic intent.  Throwing the D-word at a book, however, […]



What’s not to love about this book?  All the storytelling elements–plot, character, setting–are superb, while the elegant simplicity of the language belies the thematic depth that resonates on every page.  Seems like a Newbery Medal winner to me! The structure of this novel is ambitious, from the double stories that frame the three interior ones to […]

2016 Newbery Watchlist


By this time of year, the YMAs have usually been announced and we’re signing off with some suggestions of what to read in the coming year.  So consider this an early version of that post (if you’re attending ALA make sure you grab these galleys), and then we’ll culminate with some responses to real Newbery […]

Online Winners!

Here are the results.  We had 67 voters, and although BROWN GIRL DREAMING had less than a quarter of those first place votes, it still has almost double the next highest book.  It’s much closer on the point spread; it’s got 31 points more than the second book, and it has 31.  It’s our clear […]

Results for the San Diego Mock Newbery


I’m sorry for posting these results late, but here they are. We had seven participants, but only five voters so we had a much smaller group than Nina. We decided on co-winners and one honor book! Newbery Medal THE FAMILY ROMANOV and WEST OF THE MOON Newbery Honor BROWN GIRL DREAMING On our second ballot, […]

Online Mock Newbery

Okay, you know the drill by now.  I need your top three clearly labeled first, second, and third so that I can assign the correct point values (i.e. 1st=4 points, 2nd=3 points, 3rd=2 points).  You need to have your votes posted by the end of the day on Monday, January 19th and I will post […]