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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

Saving the Best for Last?


What follows is the strange and fateful tale of a boy, a girl, and a ghost.  The boy possessed uncommon qualities, the girl was winsome and daring, and the ancient ghost . . . well, let it only be said that his intentions were good. If more heavily seasoned with romance, this might have made [...]

True Blue Scouts


Earlier, Nina described this book as peacocky, and I think that’s an apt description.  No other novel on our shortlist, save FAR FAR AWAY, has such a striking, distinctive narrative voice. OFFICIAL SUGAR MAN SWAMP SCOUT ORDERS keep your eyes open keep your ears to the ground keep your nose in the air be true [...]

2013 Best Books Overlap

Well, it looks like Jen J beat me to the punch.  She must get the print copy of the Bulletin whereas I have to wait for them to post online, so I’m taking her word for the Bulletin Blue Ribbons. six lists- BOXERS/SAINTS five lists– ELEANOR & PARK LOCOMOTIVE MARCH: BOOK ONE MR. TIGER GOES [...]

Whale Watching


PICTURE BOOK  VS. POETRY When last we discussed IF YOU WANT TO SEE A WHALE, Leonard brought up a good question: Should we consider this text as a picture book or a single poem?  Ultimately, I’m not sure that it really matters how we classify it, but it’s definitely helpful to look at it through [...]

Clementine and the Spring Trip


If a book is challenging, and suitable for 13-14-year-olds but not for younger readers, is it eligible? Yes; but it can be given an award only if it does what it sets out to do as well as or better than other, younger books that are also eligible. Of course, we may say the same thing for [...]

December Nominations

This is the third and final time that the Newbery committee will trade nominations (3 in October, 2 in November, 2 in December).  In order for a book to be on the table for discussion, it must first be nominated, so we may see many people use their final two nominations, not to build consensus, [...]

Can Mythology or Folklore Win the Newbery Medal?


Every once in a blue moon the Newbery committee recognizes a work of mythology or folklore.  Don’t hold your breath, though, as the last book recognized was IN THE BEGINNING by Virginia Hamilton (1989), and before that WHEN SHLEMIEL WENT TO WARSAW (1969) and ZLATEH THE GOAT (1967), both by Isaac Bashevis Singer.  THE WHITE [...]

If You Say It Right, It Helps the Heart to Bear It


After a series of wonderful poetry collections about sundry animals in their natural habitats, Joyce Sidman turns her prodigious talents to the most fascinating one of all: the human animal and its singular talent for language. BLESSING ON THE CURL OF CAT As cat curls in a circle of sun– sleek and round,  snug and [...]

P.S. Be Eleven


There’s no doubt that P.S. BE ELEVEN is one of the best books of the year, and most of the criticisms that I’ve seen about this book (including one of my own) fall on the peccadillo side of the fence rather than the fatal flaw side of the fence.  Let’s consider a few of them [...]

The Animal Book


Can a reference book win the Newbery Medal? Well, yes, it can.  The criteria state that, “There are no limitations as to the character of the book considered except that it be original work.”  To me, this clause explicitly states that you cannot discount any kind of book just because it doesn’t seem like a [...]