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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

Chapter Book Roundup

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Now it’s time to discuss an underappreciated body of literature for children, what are often called chapter books.  Since I think that term is still fairly vague, I’d call them transitional chapter books.  That is, books that bridge the gap from the more challenging easy readers to the easiest novels.  On the younger side, these […]

The Inquisitor’s Tale

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I like this book very much, and I can easily see the committee discussing it very seriously.  It’s strong in virtually every single element that pertains to it–plot, character, setting, style, theme, and accuracy–and yet I’m feeling slightly underwhelmed on a personal level when it comes to plot and theme.  The characters in this book are […]

The Girl Who Drank the Moon

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Yes. There is a witch in the woods.  There has always been a witch. Will you stop fidgeting for once?  My stars!  I have never seen such a fidgety child. No, sweetheart.  I have not seen her.  No one has.  Not for ages.  We’ve taken steps so that we will never see her. Terrible steps. […]

Verse Novel Roundup

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We’ve already said it’s been an exceptionally strong year for poetry, and if you include novels in verse (not to mention FREE VERSE, a novel that celebrates and incorporates poetry, but is not a verse novel), then it is a phenomenally strong year.  We’ve already discussed BOOKED, a fairly strong contender on its own merits, but […]

Tim Wadham: The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones

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Tim Wadham has served on numerous award committees, including The Boston Globe Horn Book award, the Pura Belpré award committee twice, and the 1998 Newbery committee.  He is a contributor to School Library Journal and the Horn Book Guide.  His picture book, The Queen of France was published by Candlewick Press.  He lives in Puyallup, […]

Too Old?

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ANNA AND THE SWALLOW MAN by Gavriel Savit . . . When I first read descriptions of this book with comparisons to THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS and LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL, I didn’t think I would like it very much.  THE BOOK THIEF is another apt, if imperfect, comparison.  The language here is beautiful, […]

Poetry Roundup

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BEFORE MORNING by Joyce Sidman . . . This picture book contains a single poem, but what a lovely, haunting poem it is!  The form of this poem is an invocation, and as such it seems like it could have been an outtake from her previous collection, WHAT THE HEART KNOWS.  Can a single poem […]

Biography Roundup

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“Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the man. The biography of the man himself cannot be written.” Mark Twain “When you write biographies, whether it’s about Ben Franklin or Einstein, you discover something amazing: They are human.” Walter Isaacson “I seldom read anything that is not of a factual nature because I want […]

Discussing Diversity

As our discussion of GHOSTS slowly unfolds, I’m reminded of how very unNewberylike it is.  Part of that is because it’s virtually impossible to simulate a face-to-face discussion in an online setting, but I also think that another part has to do with process. The committee trades suggestions anonymously through the chair throughout the year. […]

Frank and Lucky Get Schooled

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One day when Frank could not win for losing, he got Lucky. And one day when Lucky was lost and found, he got Frank. Sometimes you read a book, and you have a gut reaction to why it belongs in the discussion of the most distinguished contribution of American literature for children, and you can […]