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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal



You’ve probably all caught the news by now, that Kate DiCamillo has been named the next Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. She is the fourth such Ambassador to be named for a two-year term, following Jon Scieszka, Katherine Paterson, and Walter Dean Myers.  I was struck by something she said that was quoted in the New [...]


Christmas 1972, I just couldn't get enough of Tom Kitten

Hoping you all had some peaceful time off this week.  Did you do any reading? Read something new, or something you read before?  I always have that tug-of-war over the holidays…  I want the excitement of a new read, but I don’t want to risk a bad one.  So I often end up turning to [...]

Meet Jen J of the Spreadsheets


Those of you who’ve followed us for a while may anticipate, as I do, commenter Jen J piping in to point us to her spreadsheet where she tracks starred reviews and best books.   Many of us watch this data in some form or another…Jonathan has always been good at summarizing starred reviews in posts. [...]

More things about luck


We’ve all had plenty to say about THE THING ABOUT LUCK from out of the gate this season, from Jonathan’s first post, all the way through the NBA announcements and our nominations.  We’ve talked about the strength of the characters, setting, and prose; how these all support a theme that hangs on a light plot, [...]

It’s an Honor


Jonathan goaded me in the last paragraph of his P.S. Be Eleven post:  ”it has the kind of broad support necessary to go far, but I’m not sure that it’s anything more than . . . wait for it, Nina . . . an Honor book.”  He knows I bristle when anyone categorizes a contender [...]



Jonathan made a statement by giving this his first October nomination.  When we pick a nonfiction title for our shortlist (cause we always do), it’s easier to tend to the longer, historical narrative nonfiction offerings, which read more like novels and so seem easier to compare with other contenders.  And we had several of that sort [...]

Mock Newbery Discussions

Amy Martin Comics

It’s December, and finally feeling like award season!  If you’ve ever read through the Newbery manual, you have an idea of what the actual Newbery committee has in store for themselves the next couple of months. Shortly, they’ll complete their final round of nominations, and will be busy re-reading those several dozen titles in preparation [...]

Discussion Shortlist


Thanksgiving is nigh, and that means it’s time for me and Jonathan to settle on and announce a shortlist for our live discussion.  The Oakland Mock discussion and voting will be held on Sunday, January 12th, in Oakland CA.  More details to come. Our shortlist is designed to create a good Mock discussion, with a [...]



Brian Floca’s homage to the locomotive follows the same format as his acclaimed MOONSHOT, presenting a fully involving work textually and visually that becomes a challenge to dissect from a Newbery perspective. The large, square picture book format and long-ish length suits the subject: one family’s trip from Omaha, Nebraska, to Sacramento , CA, by [...]



Back in October, Jonathan posted about The Year of Billy Miller and other beginning chapter books, but we haven’t gone back to look at more of these.   What are the other standouts this year…and here I’m casting a very wide net…among those books for beginning readers, from, say the PENNY AND HER MARBLE crowd [...]