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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

Transitional Chapter Books


Since traditional chapter books have spot illustrations, and since some people might consider them picture books instead of illustrated books, I’m going to quote from some of the reviews and read your comments below about their literary merit. DORY FANTASMAGORY by Abby Hanlon Kirkus;  Often just on the edge of out of control, this inventive child […]

The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza


This is the only book on our shortlist that we have not previously discussed, and while that may have made it something of a surprise, it really shouldn’t have been: the book got five starred reviews and was a Kirkus Prize finalist.  This is the fifth and final book in the Joey Pigza series and […]

It’s a Small World After All (The Prose Edition)


Cynthia Kadohata won the National Book Award last year for THE THING ABOUT LUCK, and she follows that up with another strong book.  Lightning didn’t strike twice, however.  She doesn’t have the most memorable character of the year; that honor would go to Gregory Maguire for Baba Yaga in EGG & SPOON. But it’s still […]

Top Five


For the past several years, we’ve surveyed you about your “nominations” at various points in the fall, mirroring the process that the real committee follows.  We skipped October and are late here in November. The reason that I’ve dragged my heels here is that (a) for me, THE FAMILY ROMANOV and BROWN GIRL DREAMING remain […]

It’s a Small World After All (And in Verse, No Less!)


Over at Calling Caldecott, they recently took time out to consider international picture books that are ineligible.  We could probably do something similar here, as there seems to be quite a few translated books for middle grade and young adults: AS RED AS BLOOD, MARINA, NINE OPEN ARMS, VANGO, WHY WE TOOK THE CAR–not to […]

Looking Back: 2007


Last year, we began a retrospective series where we revisited the 2005 Newbery crop.  This year, we’re going to turn our attention to the 2007 Newbery picks. WHAT WON Susan Patron won for THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY.  You’ll remember there was a big fuss made in some quarters about the use of the word […]

Whither Fantasy?


If you’ve read the blog long enough, you probably know that when push comes to shove, I’m going to advocate for nonfiction and fantasy if there are viable contenders from those genres.  We’ve already covered the various possibilities in the former genre, and while Nina recently brought up EGG & SPOON as the most likely […]

Nonfiction Contenders


If Nina and I have anointed THE PORT CHICAGO 50 and THE FAMILY ROMANOV as the most likely Newbery nonfiction candidates there is a bevy of wonderfully written books that may also get a look from the committee. ANGEL ISLAND by Russell Freedman has four starred reviews and while it dovetails nicely with the fourth […]

The Family Romanov


First of all, you need to know something about me as a reader to understand why I find this one quite possibly the most distinguished contribution of American literature for children this year.  I like biography, but it can often feel too claustrophobic for me to inhabit a single viewpoint with a very linear narrative […]

Spring Contenders


Earlier Nina asked us to glance ahead and talk about some of our Fall Favorites, but we’re not done with the spring season yet either.  What about this trio of contenders? ABSOLUTELY ALMOST by Lisa Graff I haven’t read this anywhere, but does anybody else get a slightly WONDER-ish vibe from this one?  New York […]