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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

Nuts to You


Of course I’m biased, but I happen to think that CRISS CROSS is one of the best Medal winners in the canon.  To be sure, it’s a polarizing kind of winner, but there’s no question that–like THE WESTING GAME–it’s individually distinct.  One was made and then the mold was broken. If AS EASY AS FALLING […]



The mystery/thriller category is a popular one with children, and I keep waiting for that special book that will lead to a pop culture phenomenon like Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  Nevertheless, we have a good crop of books this year.  We’ve already discussed THE GHOSTS OF TUPELO […]

Freedom Summer


This is the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer, and we’ve already discussed one book depicts that time, REVOLUTION by Deborah Wiles.  Like its predecessor, COUNTDOWN, it’s a work of fiction that borrows heavily from the conventions of nonfiction, namely the incorporation of numerous primary source materials, both textual and visual. There also happen to be […]

Present Tense

Now that we’ve got Southern Girl and her cousin Country Girl out of the way, there’s another pet peeve–present tense–I’ve got to tackle before we get deeper into discussions of major Newbery contenders. While present tense will probably have no bearing on whether a book receives Newbery consideration, it is nevertheless bad writing, and 90% […]

NBA Longlist

This is old news, but worth sharing.  For those of you who may have missed it last year, the National Book Award began announcing a longlist of 10 books before announcing the shortlist and eventual winner.  The reason being to shine the spotlight on even more worthy books.  The NBA typically skews older with 2/3 […]

A Snicker of Magic


I haven’t read this one yet, so I’m going to quote its three starred reviews below and let you weigh in on the strengths and weaknesses in the comments below.  Maybe you’ll convince me to read it sooner rather than later. KIRKUS: The protagonist of this debut joins a growing list of endearing young girls from […]

The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing


THREE TIMES LUCKY was a very mild surprise as a Newbery Honor book a couple of years ago. While I enjoyed Turnage’s debut, I did have some reservations about it (and I think Nina did, too).  I acknowledged that I needed a second reading to sort out my feelings, but I just didn’t have the […]

Could Squirrels Be the New Zombies?

I spent Monday presenting a Common Core seminar to elementary school librarians in Knoxville, TN.  Our YMA feed stopped working properly during the Belpre Awards, so I had to wait until our morning break to see the full results.  While the Newbery picks surprised me, all the books did get great reviews, and will now […]

Virtual Winners

We had 76 voters which is about 5 times the size of the real committee.  Our results are followed by some analysis.   THE THING ABOUT LUCK . . . 16 (1st) + 6 (2nd) + 3 (3rd) = 88 points FAR FAR AWAY . . . 9 (1st) + 8 (2nd) + 8 (3rd) […]

Calling the Virtual Mock Supercommittee!

It’s time for our virtual edition of the Mock Newbery!  We’ll declare a winner and honor books after the first ballot so it won’t really be very similar to what the real committee will be doing, but it will still be a lot of fun, and that’s what counts, right?  What follows is the list […]