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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 sengelfried@yahoo.com.

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

514UQFha0qL

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 […]

The Message of Ms. Liberty’s Foot

Her Right Foot

My county library system catalog lists 34 nonfiction books about the Statue of Liberty.  I think I’ve actually only read one (Lynn Curlee’s, which was excellent), but I’m pretty confident that none of them resembles HER RIGHT FOOT in terms of style, presentation of information, or interpretation of theme.  It starts out light and conversational:   […]

Sequels, Prequels, and Companions

War I Finally Won

There’s plenty of precedent for sequels getting Newbery recognition.  A YEAR DOWN YONDER won the medal in this century; earlier Dicey Tillerman, Will Stanton, and Taran the Assistant Pig-Keeper, among others, all debuted in earlier books before winning the gold. The Terms and Criteria state that “The committee’s decision is to be made following deliberation about the books […]

He’s Actually Really Good at Rhyming

ImJustNoGoodAtRhyming

Chris Harris’ I’M JUST NO GOOD AT RHYMING AND OTHER NONSENSE FOR MISCHIEVOUS KIDS AND IMMATURE GROWN-UPS is a strong collection of funny poems.  Which might not be enough for Newbery consideration, but there’s a little more here. For one thing, the poems work together to create a sort of unified world of wordplay that’s […]

A Top Three? Already?

Nominate blue

Some time in October, Newbery Committee members will each submit three official Nominations.  They’ll do two more each in November and December, for a total of seven. Nominations are not ranked, just submitted as a group. Up until now, members have been submitting monthly Suggestions.  This is how they share titles of the books they […]

Give Picture Book Non-fiction a Chance?

give bees a chance

Non-fiction books in a picture book format  can be a hard sell in a Newbery discussion. The Terms and Criteria state that the “distinguished contribution to American literature” is “defined as text.” And in the best picture book non-fiction, like the best picture books and graphic novels, text and illustrations are usually dependent on one another. But […]

Rose Lee Carter and the Historical Fiction Advantage

Midnight without a Moon

Historical fiction has done well over the years in terms of Newbery recognition. In the past ten years, about 43% of the Medal and Honor books fit the category (18 of 42 if you count “When You Reach Me” and “Splendors and Glooms”), and all but one year included at least one historical fiction title. […]

Only two stars. None taken.

well that was awkward

The category of Funny-Middle-School-First-Romance is always well represented on library shelves, but when it comes to Newbery recognition…well, ”none taken,” as Gracie from Well, That Was Awkward would say. It’s her response when someone has insulted her, but hasn’t said “no offense” (p. 7, 134-5, 250). Published reviews of Rachel Vail’s book are strongly positive, […]