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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal
Nina Lindsay

About Nina Lindsay

Nina Lindsay is the Children's Services Coordinator at the Oakland Public Library, CA. She chaired the 2008 Newbery Committee, and served on the 2004 and 1998 committees. You can reach her at

Roller Girl


ROLLER GIRL is not a flashy book in Newbery terms, and that is part of its charm. Stripped down just to its bare text, sentence by sentence, it wouldn’t wow me.  But ROLLER GIRL is a great example of a story presented in exactly the right format.   From the pre-title/title page/post-title page drama in […]

Most Dangerous and Drowned City


Because of the shortened season and early mock discussions, Jonathan and I may not have a chance to do our usual redux of every title on our shortlist, but we’ll attempt to make space for each one that hasn’t got as much discussion as others.  While people are still reading and commenting on RHYTHM RIDE, I […]

Rhythm Ride


No one’s commented in surprise to the presence of RHYTHM RIDE on our shortlist, but it is rare that we include a title that we haven’t posted on yet. This year’s early schedule and the intensity of recent discussion threw some things a little out of whack, so let’s get back on track. It’s hard […]

What We Talk About When We Talk About Children’s Books

Well I can’t say that this hasn’t been an interesting season on Heavy Medal.  Jonathan and I will be announcing our shortlist shortly, but I’m due a reflection on the last few weeks. Rather than loop back into the specifics of the HIRED GIRL discussion, or the similar one that is going on regarding A FINE […]

Keeping it Real

Moonpenny Island

I’ve been looking for contemporary middle grade stories to compliment our shortlist-in-progress (soon to be announced), and having a hard time find ones that easily rise to the top for me.  What am I missing? Here are some that I’ve liked. MOONPENNY ISLAND. I’m a sucker for Tricia Springstubb, whose writing is detailed, emotionally precise and seamless. […]

The Privilege of Serving

Amy - Version 2

In this blog we try to look at books specifically through the eyes of the Newbery Committee.  Following my article  The 2015 Youth Media Awards: A Crossover Year for Diversity, Amy and I talked about our own experiences reading critically for the committee, and Jonathan and I invited her to share her thoughts here.  Amy Koester […]

Goodbye Stranger

Goodbye Stranger

Rebecca Stead’s GOODBYE STRANGER is unnerving–unnervingly realistic, that is, of the minds of thirteen-year-olds.  That the book disturbed me is a testament to its strength…since that age is not one I really wanted to experience again, but did through Stead’s writing. Here, the alternating viewpoints that very slowly unpack the experience of seventh grade are far more […]

The Marvels, or What is Text?


Brian Selznick’s latest gives his visual/textual literary form yet another twist, as he tells one story first completely through image, then another completely in text, accomplishing a seemingly binary but actually complex interweaving of stories within stories. Though the package presents itself as simple and straightforward, the effect is multi-layered and powerful, and unlike any reading […]

What Are We Looking for in the Newbery?

Seen her before in some book?

Now is the time of year I have to triage my reading: I accept I won’t be able to do it all.  I use your comments, the Goodreads Mock Newbery list, and Jen J’s starred review spreadsheet, as a first place to try to figure out what is getting “buzz.” But once I’ve narrowed down that […]

The Thing About Debuts


It’s easy to keep track of authors from whom we expect excellence; harder to stay on top of debut authors.  A pitfall of debut writing can be when it serves as a “warm-up”: a good writer, with a good idea, works that idea into a novel that…works, though sometimes the idea can feel more present than the […]