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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 sharon@mckellar.org.

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 […]

Moving On Up: Princesses, Capers, and Crocodiles

dark shadows chicken

What do you call these books in your library?  Here, in Oakland, we call them “Moving Up” books.  More advanced than easy readers, but not as sophisticated as chapter books.  Featuring lots of pictures, but integrating more complex language.  In any case – they don’t tend to get a lot of Newbery love.  There are […]

The Awards U Win

hate u give

Indulge me a little bit with this one, friends, and follow me into this thought experiment.  Let’s pretend that the quick arguement I’m about to give in terms of age range of Newbery and this book fully convinces you that the book is eligible.  I’m open to arguements that it’s not, but I’d love to […]

Sometimes a Tree isn’t Just a Tree

wishtree

Katherine Applegate is the master of a certain kind of quiet novel.  I’ll resist comparisons to her previous Newbery winning title, though, and stick to just this book and this year.  WISHTREE whispers its message of tolerance and hope With such slight text, Applegate manages to make characters that are real, believable, flawed, and honest.  […]

YA? Why Not?

american street

So, what about YA?  We talked about this quite a bit in the comments of our post about the National Book Award Longlist, which was heavily Young Adult.  It’s come up in other places too, including in one of our very first posts this year, about VINCENT AND THEO.  There are quite a few titles […]

Amina and Auma

aminas-voice-9781481492065_hr

I’ve been thinking a lot about didactic content recently.  As the Newbery Criteria states: The committee should keep in mind that the award is for literary quality and quality presentation for children. The award is not for didactic content or popularity. So, what do we do with books that are important and what counts as didactic […]

The First Rule of Middle Grade Fiction: Be Yourselves

first rule of punk

The first rule of punk, according to Malú’s dad, is to be yourself – as if yourself is a single, easy-to-define, tangible something.   But when you’re in middle school, figuring out who you are is a lot more complicated than that.   The First Rule of Punk has starred reviews from Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, and School Library […]

Eye on the Prize: The National Book Award Longlist

what girls are made of

The 2017 National Book Award longlist of nominees was announced this week, and the Young People’s Literature list is exciting!                             Elana K. Arnold, What Girls Are Made Of (Carolrhoda Lab / Lerner Publishing Group) Robin Benway, Far from the Tree (HarperTeen / HarperCollins Publishers) Samantha Mabry, All the Wind in the World (Algonquin Young Readers / Workman […]

The People We Were Before

Ethan

Well, I told you I would surely be back and talking about grief, and here I am.  Just the title of this book spoke to me, personally, as I’ve thought a lot recently about the time before vs the time after in terms of my own grieving process and all the changes that death has […]

It’s September!

Heavy Medal Logo

It’s September, and that means it’s time for Heavy Medal to get started up again, and we could not be more excited to be here.  Roxanne, Steven, and I have been hard at work behind the scenes talking and organizing and learning about each other and most of all READING AND READING AND READING. It’s […]