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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

Win a Newbery in 150 Pages or Less

saving winslow

It’s rare that a fiction title with less that 150 pages gets Newbery recognition. Could there be any short chapter books in the running for the 2019 Medal?

Cardboard Castles and Three-Headed Cats: more graphic novels

cardboard kingdom

Ten people collaborated to create CARDBOARD KINGDOM, an innovative exploration of the powers of imagination; SANITY & TALLULAH mixes humor and science in an outer space mystery. Does either graphic novel have a shot at 2019 Newbery recognition?

Best Books of the Year Lists

dactyl hill

As we  continue to get December nominations from Heavy Medal readers, it’s also the time of year when we see Best of the Year lists coming out from journals.  So far we’ve seen lists from School Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, and Kirkus, as well as the New York Public Library.  Horn Book and Booklist should be […]

December Nominations: Last Chance!


Around this time, Newbery Committee members are sending in their last two official nominations, after having submitted three in October and two in November.  Following that model, it’s time for Heavy Medal readers to do the same: Submit two Newbery-eligible titles in the comments section below. If you have missed either of the two previous […]

The Chimney Sweep and the Elevator Trade


Though they’re different in many ways, I’m pairing STYX MALONE and SWEEP in this post because I had a similar experience as I read them: I started out thinking I knew what each book was going to be like and was prepared to probably dismiss them as “good, but not great;” then got quickly hooked […]

Blessed with Crests: Poetry Collections

in the past

Several novels in verse have been nominated by Heavy Medal readers so far, including, JAZZ OWLS, LIFEBOAT 12, THE POET X, and REBOUND, but I don’t believe we’ve had any mention so far of poetry collections. Here’s a quick roundup of several that might be worth considering. IN THE PAST by David Elliott. (3 starred […]

Nominations Catch-Up: Jackie, Parker, and Ivy


With November nominations closed and compiled, let’s get three books into the conversation that have high nomination numbers, but haven’t been featured yet: JUST LIKE JACKIE has eleven nominations, alleviating earlier concerns that we might never feature this book; only three titles have more at this point. Now that we are highlighting JACKIE, I hope […]

November Nominations Results – 67 titles so far!

Thank you all so much for another round of robust nominations.  Here are some stats: 60 Heavy Medal readers have now participated in the nominations process since October. 247 nominations total. 39 of the 60 reader-nominators have put forward five titles each, the others nominated either just in October or just in November. The list […]

Damaged Families, Resilient Girls


I read SNOW LANE and THE BENEFITS OF BEING AN OCTOPUS back to back. Both are about abusive family situations and narrated by girls who don’t reveal the depth and details of the abuse until they’re well into their stories. Both are excellent, but in different ways. In OCTOPUS, Zoey doesn’t address the abuse early […]

Historical Wars Get Personal


When we did our first round of Heavy Medal Nominations a few weeks ago, we had a total of 96 nominations…and 4 of those were nonfiction titles.  Two went to THE GIRL WHO DREW BUTTERFLIES, which was featured in an earlier post.  One each went to the two titles featured today. BOOTS ON THE GROUND […]