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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal
Sharon McKellar

About Sharon McKellar

Sharon McKellar is the Community Relations Librarian for the Oakland Public Library in California. She has served on the Rainbow List Committee, the Notable Children's Recordings Committee as well as the 2015 Caldecott Committee. You can reach her at

And the (Other) Winner is…

War I Finally Won

Wow, everyone!  Two hundred and eighty of you voted in our General Heavy Medal poll, choosing your top 3 favorite titles from our long list.  I’m really so pleased to see so much participation! So, what won? THE WAR I FINALLY WON took first place, and is crowned the winner, with 104 votes! Remember that […]

Oakland Results

Our maginificant group of participants.

What a wonderful afternoon of book discussion with these amazing people!  I’m excited to do a little bit of a recap for you, and all of the participants have been encouraged to chime in in the comments to share their perspectives, points of view, and any parts of the discussion they think the world should […]

Heavy Medal Finalist – All’s Faire in Middle School


Long List Title:  ALL’S FAIRE IN MIDDLE SCHOOL (Titles on our long list will be included in our online conversation and balloting, alongside the short list titles.) I’ve been a strong supporter of ALL’S FAIRE IN MIDDLE SCHOOL from the start. I found the plot more compelling, emotionally, than that of REAL FRIENDS, our other […]

Heavy Medal Finalist – Orphan Island


Short List Title:  ORPHAN ISLAND (Titles on our short list will be included in the live Mock Newbery in Oakland.) There is maybe no more controversial title on our list, and I really look forward to the discussion of this title, here, and in person in Oakland.  For the purposes of this post, I’m going to […]

Heavy Medal Finalist – Patina


Long List Title:  PATINA It is easy to look at Patina and compare it to other books this year.  How does Patina, as a character, compare to Starr?  To Malu?  To Imogene or Shannon in our two graphic novels?  I’d love to hear readers thoughts on this. As for me, I think she is an incredibly strong and […]

Heavy Medal Finalist – Hello, Universe


Short List Title:  HELLO, UNIVERSE (Titles on our short list will be included in the live Mock Newbery in Oakland.) Before I go any further, I just want to give everyone a heads-up that I am writing this from Australia, where I am visiting for a couple of weeks.  This just means that, depending on where […]

Heavy Medal Finalists – Clayton Byrd Goes Underground and The First Rule of Punk

clayton byrd

As Roxanne explained yesterday, we are going to start discussing our final long list of titles in a way as similar as possible to the way the real Newbery Committee discusses titles.  This is a great time to compare books to each other, and is also an opportunity for everyone to express both the things […]

December Nominations

57 Bus

In December, the real committee submits two more nominations and this is crunch time.  It’s the committee’s last chance to nominate titles (unless things come out later in the year) and each member’s last chance to ensure that their choices are on the table for discussion. Here at Heavy Medal we did nominations in October […]

It’s Here! Announcing the Short List and Oakland’s Mock Newbery!

clayton byrd

We are so excited to announce our short list today!  But before we get to that, let me tell you a little bit about our plans for this list and some of our plans for the blog for the rest of the Newbery season. This short list will be used in the Mock Newbery discussion […]

Picture Book Possibiities

after the fall

We haven’t talked too much about picture books yet this year, and I wanted to check in and see where everyone was in terms of picture books with potential. After LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET took the gold, I think we are all thinking even more about the text in picture books and how it […]