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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

Orbiting Jupiter


Then Pastor Ballou prayed again, and he said that Joseph had put himself in danger to save others, and then he said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend.” And that’s when I started crying.  Crying like a kindergarten kid in front of everyone.  Crying […]

What’s Wrong With the Printz?

Debbie Reese recently noted that ALSC had added language in support of diversity to their committee manuals, but YALSA has had that language in the Policies and Procedures since the inception of the Printz Award: “Librarianship focuses on individuals, in all their diversity, and that focus is a fundamental value of the Young Adult Library […]

Curse of the Three Star Book, Part 2


On Friday, we talked about a pair of three star books that I’ve read.  Here are a whole heap–seven!–that have either languished in my to-be-read-pile or I’ve started them but not finished them (not for lack of interest, but lack of time).  So I present them here, leaning on the reviews to provide some insights […]

Curse of the Three Star Book, Part 1


We don’t necessarily create our shortlist with the intention of predicting the winners, but it’s nice when that works out.  I’ve noticed that we’ve been especially prone to missing or underestimating the winner if the book has three starred reviews.  We missed MOON OVER MANIFEST and DEAD END IN NORVELT entirely and while THE ONE […]

Top Five

In the past couple years we’ve checked in with our readers at various points in the year to see what they would nominate.  Due to the shorter timetable this year–the YMAs are on January 11th–we’re consolidating those into a single post.  I’ll go first.  In alphabetical order . . . DROWNED CITY ECHO THE HIRED […]



After much reading and deliberation, Nina and I have decided on the following nine–nine!–titles: DROWNED CITY . . .             ECHO . . .             GONE CRAZY IN ALABAMA . . .             GOODBYE STRANGER . . .     […]

Great Expectations


It’s been a banner year for nonfiction yet again.  Since we’ve been saying that every year for the past several years maybe it’s time to start speaking of a Golden Age of Nonfiction?  In any case, many of the most excellent titles this year are published for ages 12 and up, what many people would […]

Graphic Novels


Nina opened our running annual text vs. images conversation with THE MARVELS.  Last year, EL DEAFO made history by being the first graphic novel recognized by the Newbery committee.  Nina discussed it here and here, but my voice was noticeably absent as I was on the Caldecott committee; thus, we didn’t put it on our shortlist. […]

My Seneca Village


I know this book hasn’t published yet–November 1–but this is to serve notice that Nina and I are both extremely enamored of it, so much so that we have decided to put in on our shortlist despite the late publication date.  We encourage you to put your holds on the book, or better yet buy […]

The Hired Girl


I have always admired the work of Laura Amy Schlitz, but I have never been in love with it.  Until now.  Not only am I pulling for Newbery recognition for this one, I’d love to see it join THE HOUSE OF THE SCORPION and LIZZIE BRIGHT AND THE BUCKMINSTER BOY as only the third book […]