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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 ninalindsay@gmail.com

The Witch’s Boy

Witch's Boy

Several of you have mentioned Barnhill’s THE WITCH’S BOY, and our library copies finally hit the shelves recently.  I wasn’t a fan of Barnhill’s starred debut THE MOSTLY TRUE STORY OF JACK, and was underwhelmed by IRON HEARTED VIOLET….so I’m having a hard time parsing my appreciation of THE WITCH’S BOY.  Did it simply exceed [...]

Picture Books

Josephine

There is no stipulation that the Newbery be fiction, nor that it be long, though it tends to happen that way. Some exceptions from the lengthy category include a 1973 Honor for FROG AND TOAD TOGETHER, a 1983 Honor for DOCTOR DE SOTO, the 1989 winner for JOYFUL NOISE, and the 1982 Medal for A VISIT [...]

The Madman of the Piney Woods and How it Went Down

Madman

Curtis’ companion novel to ELIJAH OF BUXTON is an equally excellent stand alone, which shares much of what made its predecessor distinguished: unique voices that take their time, building deep familiarity with character and setting so that–in this case–a fairly simple but highly dramatic plot line supports a complex coming-of-age in the two main characters. [...]

Convince Us

Boys of Blur

Jonathan and I are working on our shortlist of titles that we’ll be discussing at our in-person Mock Newbery discussions in January (dates TBA for Oakland and San Diego).  We try to announce our list just before Thanksgiving, to give you the chance to read up, and limit ourselves to publication dates through October, so [...]

Egg & Spoon

Egg&Spoon

If Gantos and Preus are in the running for using the fewest words possible to excellent effect, nobody filled in Gregory Maguire on that contest.  However, for the right reader, his EGG & SPOON dishes out delectable word after word after word after word after word, for a classic-feeling adventure/fairytale/coming-of-age story as fancy as the [...]

El Deafo

ElDeafo

I was glad to see this one listed among so many of your favorites, as it is in mine.  But how do we discuss this graphic novel for the Newbery?  Let’s look at some of the language in the criteria. Definition #1: . “Contribution to American literature” indicates the text of a book. It also [...]

Brown Girl Dreaming, and How I Discovered Poetry

Brown Girl Dreaming

In another interesting pair of subject-matter-coincidences, we have two works in verse from African American female writers this year that are memoirs of their childhood experiences which prepared them for their writing careers.  (These both follow closely on last year’s Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes, for a triple coincidence.) Jacqueline Woodson’s BROWN GIRL DREAMING is [...]

Zane and the Hurricane, and Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere

Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere

Debbie made a plea back in Fall Favorites for ZANE AND THE HURRICANE, which I’m seeing on many Mock Newbery lists. But we have to talk about it alongside Julie Lamana’s UPSIDE DOWN IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, which is essentially the same story:  Katrina. Stranded in the Lower Ninth. Dog escaping causes trouble. Rescue. [...]

Stranger than Fiction?

Fourteenth Goldfish

I like quirky.   Yet Jenni Holm’s THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH and Jack Gantos’ THE KEY THAT SWALLOWED JOEY PIGZA both put me pretty off-kilter, in that stomach-dropping “Whoa!” way of a roller-coaster.  I enjoyed both thoroughly, but am still trying to clear my head.  I do think that the oddball humor in both speak directly [...]

Fall Favorites?

We’re certainly not done talking about Spring and Summer titles, but as it’s now October, it’s time to get cracking: which are your fall release favorites? We’ve heard from fans of BROWN GIRL DREAMING, RAIN REIGN, EGG & SPOON…. This becomes the hard part of the season, as we try to read ahead and keep [...]