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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal
Steven Engelfried

About Steven Engelfried

Steven Engelfried is the Library Services Manager at the Wilsonville Public Library in Oregon. He served on the 2010 Newbery committee, chaired the 2013 Newbery Committee, and also served on the 2002 Caldecott committee. You can reach him at

Heavy Medal Finalist – Princess Cora and the Crocodile

princess cora

Long List Title:  PRINCESS CORA AND THE CROCODILE ( (Titles on our long list will be included in our online conversation and balloting, alongside the short list titles.) PRINCESS CORA received three starred reviews and made one “Best Books of 2017” list (PW).  It’s been mentioned here on Heavy Medal, but not extensively.  I’m certainly glad to have […]

Heavy Medal Finalist – Refugee


Long List Title: REFUGEE (Titles on our long list will be included in our online conversation and balloting, alongside the short list titles.) Alan Gratz’s novel received six nominations on this blog, which puts in up near the leaders.  I find it especially strong in “presentation of themes.”  The three separate, but related stories all […]

Heavy Medal Finalist – The Hate U Give

hate u give

Short List Title:  THE HATE U GIVE (Titles on our short list will be included in the live Mock Newbery in Oakland.) We started our posts on the Heavy Medal Short List and Long List titles on Wednesday; now we’ve decided to tweak the process a little bit.  Instead of discussing two books per post, we’re going to […]

What’s Missing?


The year’s almost over and the 2017 Heavy Medal has been going for three and a half months.   We’ll announce our “Long List” on Friday, which will include roughly 18 titles that we’ll use for our on-line voting in early February.  You’d think by now we’d have covered every book with a decent shot at […]

First Time a Charm?

Train I Ride

In a comment from an earlier post, Genevieve said:  “I wish there was a Morris equivalent for children’s books.”  It’s an interesting idea.  YALSA started the Morris Award in 2009 to honor a “first time author writing for teens.”  ALSC doesn’t have a similar award at this point, and the Newbery Terms and Criteria tell […]

Disastrous Journey, but the Book’s Sure Good

Bound by Ice

BOUND BY ICE  by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace has a lot of qualities that I look for in narrative nonfiction.  It’s a highly absorbing survival story with lots of suspense.  The historical figures have distinct and engaging personalities.  And it’s a piece of history that most readers won’t know about already.  With a compelling true […]

So Much Nonfiction, So Little Time

Fault Lines

I’ve thought about doing separate posts for some of these titles, and still may, but my list of nonfiction-books-I’d-really-like-to-discuss keeps getting longer.  So here’s sort of a catch-up post of a half-dozen titles (in Dewey Decimal order) that could be worthy of Newbery consideration: FAULT LINES IN THE CONSTITUTION:  THE FRAMERS, THEIR FIGHTS, AND THE FLAWS […]

Language and Length in The Glass Town Game

Glass Town Game

In THE GLASS TOWN GAME, four Bronte siblings (yes, those Brontes) travel to a magical world filled with characters and settings from the their own imaginative games.  I went back and forth on this book several times while I read it, and it shows in my thoughts below: The language is eloquent, imaginative, clever, often […]

November Nominations: Only Two This Time!

Glass Town Game

The real Newbery Committee members will submit two more Nominations in November.  They each select three books in October, then two each in November and December for a total of seven.  We collected nominations from 22 people in October, and the results are here.  Now it’s time to think about two for November. We’re also working […]

Novels in Verse: Two Out of Three Isn’t Bad


This week Roxanne and Sharon both introduced books for older readers with thoughtful arguments for why they should be considered possible Newbery contenders.  I’ll start this post on novels in verse with a title that falls clearly on the other side of the line for me.  David Elliott’s BULL is one of my favorite books […]