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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

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 […]

Gone Crazy in Alabama


I used to open every box of children’s books for review that arrived at my library…but it’s not my direct job anymore, and I had to let go of the micro-managerial (and selfish!) urge to be the first to get my hands on everything.   So it was that I only got to read GONE […]

Why We Do What We Do

Now that we are rolling, I want to take a moment to say that this will be my last season on Heavy Medal. I started it in 2008 with my colleague Sharon McKellar (Jonathan joined in 2009), but we’d been blogging about our Mock Newbery discussions a couple years before that, and I’ve been holding Mock […]

Serious Work


There’s a concern, somewhat but not totally borne out by reality, that the Newbery only goes to “serious” works. While it does seem harder for lighthearted or funny books to win, there are no limits to the type of literature that is eligible, just that it be “original work.”  Here, however, are three titles from early […]

2016 Spring and Summer Favorites?

2015 Newbery Covers

And we are back!  Many thanks to all of you who’ve care-taken this blog from February through August at the 2016 Newbery Watchlist post, especially my hero Jen J of the Spreadsheets for her monthly updates of starred reviews.  It is  a handy place to start exploring award possibilities, though we are always quick to point […]

Signing off

Thanks so much for continuing to add your thoughts on this year’s winners to yesterday’s post, and your ideas for next year to the 2016 Newbery Watchlist post. I want to add to my thoughts to yesterday to say that while ethnic diversity was only one facet of the statement this year’s awards make…they make […]

And the Winners Are….

(This post is now updated from the earlier placeholder.) People, I don’t know quite how to start on how groundbreaking today’s announcement are, in many different ways,  but I want to thank both the Newbery and Caldecott Committees in particular for making bold choices that will end up changing the way we all talk about […]

Under Wraps

I am sitting on the shuttle bus to the convention center in a snowstorm, and on this bus are THE results of the Newbery! Committee Chair Randall Enos is on his way to deliver the results to the ALA Press Office, two seats behind me. Shortly, a few select people beyond the committee will know, […]

90-Second Newbery Film Festival & Battle of the Kids Books

Today we are all arriving in Chicago for the ALA Midwinter Meeting, soon to listen in to the Notable Book discussions, browse the exhibits for next year’s contenders, and await the announcement of the awards on Monday morning.  We will wrap up our discussion on that final post next week, and then go into hibernation […]

Three Longshots?

Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere

I’m scanning my shelves for books we’ve not done justice to this season.  Has anyone mentioned FIVE, SIX, SEVEN, NATE by Tim Federle, LORD AND LADY BUNNY by Polly Horvath, or THE UNSTOPPABLE OCTOBIA MAY by Sharon Flake?  Barely a mention of Freedman’s ANGEL ISLAND, Nye’s THE TURTLE OF OMAN, Yelchin’s ARCADY’S GOAL or Pinkney’s […]