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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
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A Heroine’s Journey Home: Squirrels, a fox, and a broken family enter the Newbery Medal conversation

“A GAME OF FOX & SQUIRRELS explores the journey of a heroine, one who must learn the true meaning of the word home.” Guest Blogger Meredith Leigh Burton introduces Jenn Reese’s unique novel into our Mock Newbery discussion of the year’s most distinguished children’s books.

Mock-Newbery Nominations List: 43 titles to consider (so far…)

The year’s not over yet, but Heavy Medal readers have identified over 40 contenders for the 2021 Newbery Award. Check out our ranked list of nominations through November.

Show Me a…Newbery Medal? A unique #ownvoices historical novel might have a chance to win

SHOW ME A SIGN “offers offers a beautiful #ownvoice examination of the Deaf community, discussion over the controversy of Native American land disputes, and a touching picture of a young girl finding her place in the world,” writes Guest Blogger Alissa. Will this historical novel set in 1805 emerge as a possible choice for the 2021 Newbery Medal?

Nests Within Nests, Cast Away Trash, and Creatures of the Woods: Poetry Possibilities for the Newbery Medal

Could this be the year that a poetry collection wins the Newbery Medal? It hasn’t happened in three decades, but poets David Elliott, Irene Latham, and Naomi Shihab Nye have each contributed uniquely excellent books that could be contenders.

Narrowing Down the Newbery List: Choose two for November

Can you name your top children’s books of the year so far? On Heavy Medal we’re following the Newbery process of inviting each reader to nominate a total of seven books over the course of our Mock Awards process. November nominations are now open, so it’s time to put forward two of your top seven, which is not easy to do in a year with so many stellar titles.

A Different Kind of Pioneer Story: Racism and Empathy in PRAIRIE LOTUS

In Linda Sue Park’s latest novel, set in the 1880s Dakota Territory, “characters exhibit empathy instead of contempt for the American Indians who were the original pioneers.” Guest Blogger Michelle introduces the Newbery-worthy merits of PRAIRIE LOTUS, an “excellently crafted” children’s book.

The Heavy Medal Award Committee: a sneak preview (with a new twist)

Our months-long discussions of the best children’s books of the year will culminate with our annual Heavy Medal Mock Newbery Winner. This year we’re adding a live discussion of the top books on ZOOM for the first time. Here’s a sneak preview of our Mock-Newbery process.

Thirteen Kids in Peril and One Grieving Young Woman: death, danger, and two of the year’s best nonfiction titles

Death and danger fill the pages of two of the best books nonfiction of the year: ALL THIRTEEN recounts the true story of a perilous cave rescue, while DANCING AT THE PITY PARTY explores the impact of losing a parent with grace, insight, and a bit of humor. Both titles warrant serious consideration for the Newbery Medal.

First Time a Charm?: A debut novel that could be a Newbery contender

A MANY FEATHERED THING “is a spot-on depiction of the utter middle-ness of adolescence.” Guest Blogger Sara Beth explains why even though Lisa Gerlits’ book is a “debut novel from an unknown author,” it just might have a chance at a Newbery Award.

“It’s a Good Book and I Love the Message, but…”: how “didactic content” can impact the Newbery Medal

The Newbery Award is “not for didactic content,” but that doesn’t mean the Award can’t go to books that educate and illuminate young readers. How do we determine when the lessons a book conveys are the result of distinguished writing….or mere didacticism?