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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal



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 [...]

What the Heart Knows


Jonathan included Sidman’s WHAT THE HEART KNOWS among his October Nominations, noting that it’s for a slightly older audience than her picture book collections.  These mostly free verse poems engage at different levels, and to different audiences.  Some of my favorites: “Silly Love Song” (p.61) speaks best to those in the flush of romance, though [...]

What lasts?

A little back and forth about what kind of writing lasts longer got me thinking about this frequently cited non-criteria for the Newbery.  Nowhere do the Newbery Criteria say that a winner must be “lasting.”  For good reason, I think, as there is really no way to tell, from our relative point of view in time, [...]

From Norvelt to Nowhere & Better Nate Than Ever


  While we’re spending some time in the upper age ranges of the Newbery, I wanted to talk about Jack Gantos’ FROM NORVELT TO NOWHERE.  Jonathan touched on it in his post Revisting Sequels, where I was tickled to hear him confess he likes it better than the first, since I’ve been toying with that [...]

Far, Far Away


We broached The Age Question in September when the NBA longlist was announced. Having just finally finished Tom McNeal’s FAR FAR AWAY, I can’t think of a more interesting title to challenge the question. Here we have a ghost narrator who establishes a tone of other-worldliness while setting us firmly in a very normal (-seeming) [...]

The Real Boy


The National Book Award Finalists were announced last week; the Longlists cut by half into Shortlists. Among the Young People’s Lit titles that are squarely within Newbery range, TRUE BLUE SCOUTS and THE THING ABOUT LUCK are hanging in there.  FLORA & ULYSSES did not make the final round, nor did A TANGLE OF KNOTS or [...]