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

About Sharon McKellar

Sharon McKellar is the Supervising Librarian for Teen Services at the Oakland Public Library in California. She has served on the Rainbow List Committee, the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee, The Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Committee, and the 2015 Caldecott Committee. You can reach her at

Will Woodson Win?

It is hard to argue against Jacqueline Woodson’s writing in any given year, and this year is no exception.  She not only has written a stellar picture book (THE DAY YOU BEGIN) that has real Newbery potential, but she has also brought us the beautiful HARBOR ME.  Woodson has a rare gift of covering topics that […]

Hey Kiddo

Last week, Roxanne talked about a couple of graphic novels that have Newbery potential.  She talked through how we can “read pictures” and where that fits into Newbery Criteria. Another graphic title I want to discuss is HEY, KIDDO, by Jarrett J. Krosoczka.  It came out just about a week ago, so many may not […]

It’s Time! Top Three? Wheee!

I know it seems so fast, but it’s already time to start nominating.  In October the real Newbery Committee members are painstakingly deciding which titles to put forward as their first nominations.  The first ones are hardest, for me, because I’m flying blind.  I’m trying to guess what others are likely to suggest and balance […]

You Go First

Maybe you’ve heard of Erin Entrada Kelly?  She won a little award called The Newbery last year.  And although the winner of last year’s Newbery doesn’t factor at all into this year’s decision, of course it means people are going to pay attention to her newest novel.  We, here at Heavy Medal, included. Ultimately YOU […]

Past Winners and Trend Bucking

Remember that year when the Caldecott winner was a significantly longer book than the Newbery winner?  It was 2008 and Brian Selznick got the Caldecott Medal for The Invention of Hugo Cabret while Laura Amy Schlitz got the Newbery for Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village.   That felt like a big deal […]

We’re Back!

This year, unlike years past, we didn’t *really* go anywhere, since we’ve been checking in every month to see what everyone has been reading.  Here we are, though, in September, ready to get the Heavy Medal year officially underway. We are so excited to be here!  We’ve been reading and reading and know you have […]

2019 Heavy Medal: Suggestions to Date – March, April & May

Our list is getting so long and exciting!  Enjoy! (updated with corrections on May 8th) Single Suggestion: All the Animals Where I Live by Philip Stead Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi The Burning Maze: Trials of Appollo, Book 3 by Rick Riordan Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, […]

2019 Heavy Medal: May Suggestions

This is an invitation for May 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, […]

And the (Other) Winner is…

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

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 […]