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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

Jason Reynolds and Comparing Author’s Works


Jason Reynolds has two books this year that I think are worth discussing.  Usually we talk about not comparing a book to an author’s previous work.  Well, in this case we absolutely can compare as they are both eligible titles and both quite wonderful. Of course, we still have to compare them to all of the […]



Let’s dig into GHOSTS a bit, as promised in my last post.  There is a lot to discuss here. First, let’s start with the easy stuff.  Did I like the book?  Yes.  I really liked the book.  Raina Telgemeier writes relatable, lovable characters.  The relationship between sisters Catrina and Maya feels so genuine that it is almost […]

Graphic Novel Roundup


Well, if there was ever a doubt that graphic novels can have what it takes to get a shiny sticker, the last couple of years have proven that they can!  It is easy to imagine the conversations that might happen around art and graphic novels at an award committee discussion, but it is harder, for […]



Booked is a spring title that has gotten a lot of buzz, and the reasons are plentiful and obvious.  First of all, for those who missed this, this is Kwame Alexander’s follow-up to his Newbery winning The Crossover, and it, like the predecessor, is a novel in verse about sports, but not *really* about sports. Of […]

Wild Robot


Oh, those pictures!  Wait!  Sorry…wrong blog, wrong medal! So, let’s get into our first book discussion – Peter Brown’s The Wild Robot.  Starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal, and Booklist.  Adam Rubin praised it in the New York Times.  Is it a Newbery contender?  Well, this is a great chance to pull out […]

I am Here!

Here I am, hanging out with some books in the library in Oakland (CA) where I work.

Hi everyone.  Do not fear – Jonathan is not stuck flying solo this year.  I am here!   You may or may not recognize me, but if we take a little trip back in time,  you’ll find that I’ve been here before.  In fact, Jonathan replaced me when life commitments took me away from this […]

And in the end…

I am sorry to report that this will be our last post here for awhile. Thank you so much to everyone who has read and commented and made this blog such a great success.  We have had a lot of fun with it, and have enjoyed all the great conversation. We’ll be back in the fall, […]

An Inside Peek

American Libraries has given us a great little peek inside one of the most fun (I imagine) parts of being a member of a book selection committee; the calls to the winning authors! Check it out here! And only slightly off topic – but what did we all think of Coraline?  I saw it over […]

There’s Always a Critic

Neil Gaiman pointed out, via a tweet, this comment on a New York Times blog post announcing the winners of the Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, and others. This book opens with a killer going from room-to-room, knifing a family — mother & father and a child — one-by-one while they sleep, but accidentally leaving a toddler to […]

Photographic Evidence

Sorry I am a day behind adding photos.  My usb cable was buried under a pile of ARCs, dirty clothes, and papers from meetings.  But now that I’m all packed up and ready to go it has been uncovered and I was able to upload all my pictures. So, here’s a morning in the life […]