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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

Co-Authors and Sequels: Penderwicks 5 and a Zombie in a Chicken Suit


BOB and PENDERWICKS AT LAST share this post because they each require a look at the  Newbery Terms and Criteria. These are clear in the way they apply to BOB…and a little trickier with PENDERWICKS. Also, both received two October nominations from Heavy Medal readers. And they both have chickens that must be reckoned with. The Newbery […]

She’s a Car, Not a Bicycle


Up to this point, FRONT DESK by Kelly Yang is getting great support among Heavy Medal participants. During the March – August period when we solicited monthly “suggestions,” it was tied for first with eight. After our first round of “nominations” earlier this month, it’s the leader with ten. I really appreciate the way it […]

National Book Awards Finalists


 When the National Book Awards Longlist was announced a few weeks ago I wasn’t sure it would relate very much to mock-Newbery stuff.  As Roxanne pointed out in her post, at least five of the ten books were very much on the older end of the teen audience. But today the five Finalists were announced and it […]

Nominations: First Round Results


October Nominations are closed. We’ll call for two more nominations per person in early November, then again in December.  The first round of Nominations was one of my favorite parts of being Newbery Chair. Up to this moment, Committee members don’t have a good sense of what other members are most enthusiastic about. Then the […]

Boy / Monster / Angel / Boy


When Heavy Medal readers gave monthly “Suggestions” of likely Newbery contenders from March through August, Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s THE BOOK OF BOY was at the top of the list (tied with THE JOURNEY OF LITTLE CHARLIE) with eight suggestions.  It was an early 2018 publication, which is obviously an advantage in that process…but also: a […]

The Hockey Kid and the Boy in the Stoopid Shirt


I read THE TRUTH AS TOLD BY MASON BUTTLE and CHECKED a while ago and what really stuck with me weeks later was the distinctive voices of the two first person narrators. The Newbery Terms and Criteria mention “appropriateness of style” as a key consideration, and that’s where I think these two books shine. Style isn’t enough […]

Martians, Butterflies, and the Depths of the Ocean


When Roxanne, Sharon, and I  looked ahead to this year’s Heavy Medal season we discussed how deeply we should dig into each book in the early days. When you read a book you’re really enthusiastic about, it’s tempting to explore every possible example of qualities that might make it “the most distinguished contribution to American […]

2019 Heavy Medal: June Suggestions


It’s time for June Mock Newbery suggestions from our readers. Please suggest: books that you think could be possible Newbery contenders. only eligible books.  Check the Terms and Criteria for details.  Basic rules: written by an American citizen/resident; original work; published in the US, in 2018, for children up to age 14. 1 to 5 titles: title/author, no […]

March Suggestions Cumulated

Here’s the compiled list of March Suggestions.  We’ll post a call for April Suggestions around the 1st of the month….   The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (2) Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship by Irene Latham and Charles Waters Chasing King’s Killer […]

March Suggestions

Book of Boy

Heavy Medal is on hiatus until September 2018…well, mostly.  This year we’re going to try something different between now and Fall.  Around the 1st of each month we’ll solicit “Suggestions” from Heavy Medal readers.  This is similar to the process followed by the real Newbery Committee.  It’s a way for members to share what they’re […]