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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal
Roxanne Hsu Feldman

About Roxanne Hsu Feldman

Roxanne Hsu Feldman is the Middle School (4th to 8th grade) Librarian at the Dalton School in New York City. She served on the 2002 and 2013 Newbery Committees. Roxanne was also a member of 2008-2009 Notable Books for Children, 2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults, and the 2017 Odyssey Award Committees. In 2016 Roxanne was one of the three judges for the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards. You can reach her at at

Heavy Medal Finalist – Vincent and Theo

Vincent and theo

Short List Title: VINCENT AND THEO (Titles on our short list will be included in the live Mock Newbery in Oakland.) Vincent and Theo is not a book that I would casually pick up or leisurely read as entertainment.  It would have been the book that makes me slightly groan, “Oh, really? Now I MUST read it all the way […]

Calling the Newbery 15 (or more)!


Dear Readers of Heavy Medal, If you would have read all 18 of our long listed titles by February 1st, 2018, please comment below to register for an additional balloting poll that will closely mimic the Newbery Committee voting process. Here are the 18 titles to be voted on by the Heavy Medal Newbery 15 (the number […]

Heavy Medal Finalist: Loving vs. Virginia

Loving vs Virginia

Long List Title: LOVING VS VIRGINIA ( (Titles on our long list will be included in our online conversation and balloting, alongside the short list titles.) The book is subtitled: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case — a “documentary” “novel,” not a “verse novel” and not a nonfiction.  So, I read it […]

Heavy Medal Finalist: I’m Just No Good At Rhyming and Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups


Short List Title:  I’M JUST NO GOOD AT RHYMING AND OTHER NONSENSE FOR MISCHIEVOUS KIDS AND IMMATURE GROWN-UPS (Titles on our short list will be included in the live Mock Newbery in Oakland.) I often distrust the age-designation “For All Ages” on recommended book lists. For, no doubt, each book must have a target audience: by the author’s choices […]

Heavy Medal Finalist – Her Right Foot

her right foot

Short List Title:  HER RIGHT FOOT (Titles on our short list will be included in the live Mock Newbery in Oakland.) In Steven’s previous post about this short listed title “The Message of Ms Liberty’s Foot,” the many strengths of this informative and inspirational picture book were mentioned.  I want to especially echo Steven’s assessment that […]

Let the Discussion Begin…Again…Soon!


Now that we are ready to discuss and compare the 18 Heavy Medal 2018 Mock Newbery candidates, it seems to be the optimal time to go over some basic meeting procedures and discussion guidelines. On Heavy Medal, bloggers and readers have the luxury of getting into detailed and sometimes lengthy explanation of our opinions. In the actual Newbery committee meeting, time […]

At Long Last — the 2018 Heavy Medal Long List for Balloting


Given that each year more than 3,000 children’s books eligible for the Newbery are published, each of the 70 titles receiving even a single nomination from the Heavy Medal readers already signifies certain distinctive qualities.  We thank you all for sharing with us what you have loved this year. After compiling reader nominations and considering discussion potentials, we […]

Alligators, Curses, A Swamp – Oh My!


In 19th century England, a fictional child reader asked, “and what is the use of a book without pictures or conversations?” In 20th century Taiwan, a non-fictional child reader pondered, “and what is the use of a book without magic or something completely made up?”  Indeed, when this Taiwanese young reader grew up and studied Children’s Literature in the United States, she […]

Jade & Patina: Two Admirable Young Women


One of our short listed titles this year is The Hate U Give, with a teenaged black protagonist attending a predominantly white school away from her own neighborhood.  At least two other titles in 2017 feature  similar situations.  Jason Reynolds’ Patina and Renée Watson’s Piecing Me Together (both received four starred reviews from major review journals.) If two or all three are nominated by […]

Refugee: the Undoubtedly Relevant, but Is It Distinguished?


In the comment section of Sharon’s YA? Why Not? (October 18th) post, some readers discussed the timeliness of titles and whether a book’s thematic relevance increases its winning chances.  Many considered the manual and emphasized that the committee members are not to make their decisions based on the chosen theme but how successful such theme is literarily presented. […]