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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

From Half-Asleep to Wide-Awake: Little Charlie’s Journey


The moment I opened this book and started reading, I knew it would be a book that divides readers’ reactions.  The southern dialect spelled as spoken could throw some readers off, even though I appreciate it quite a bit: being able to “hear” Little Charlie’s and other characters’ voices more vividly due to spellings such as “seent,” […]

She’s a Car, Not a Bicycle


Up to this point, FRONT DESK by Kelly Yang is getting great support among Heavy Medal participants. During the March – August period when we solicited monthly “suggestions,” it was tied for first with eight. After our first round of “nominations” earlier this month, it’s the leader with ten. I really appreciate the way it […]

Reading the Pictures


Scott McCloud, a well respected expert about Comics and Graphic Novels, declares, “Pictures ARE text” and “Pictures ARE meaning” in an interview (17:45) and that they are not just illustrations in a novel of words.  I already cited these words in a comment about Shannon Hale’s Real Friends in January and urged Heavy Medal readers to expand the meaning […]

National Book Awards Finalists


 When the National Book Awards Longlist was announced a few weeks ago I wasn’t sure it would relate very much to mock-Newbery stuff.  As Roxanne pointed out in her post, at least five of the ten books were very much on the older end of the teen audience. But today the five Finalists were announced and it […]

Dead Mothers and Diaries


It’s almost like we deliberately tried to start our book discussion this year on the darkest notes.  Two novels Steven discussed both feature dead mothers/parents.  The two titles I’m going to present in this post also have dead mothers — not only that, both mothers died giving birth to our protagonists.  Even more, both books […]

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 […]

Martians, Butterflies, and the Depths of the Ocean


When Roxanne, Sharon, and I  looked ahead to this year’s Heavy Medal season we discussed how deeply we should dig into each book in the early days. When you read a book you’re really enthusiastic about, it’s tempting to explore every possible example of qualities that might make it “the most distinguished contribution to American […]

1st Ballot Results – Far from the End


The Heavy Medal 15 have cast their first ballots, and the results are below.  There is no winner at this point because a Medal winner needs to receive 8 first place votes (VINCENT AND THEO has 3) and the margin between 1st and 2nd place must be at least 8 (I’M JUST NO GOOD AT RHYMING leads […]

Heavy Medal Finalist – Tumble & Blue


Long List Title:  TUMBLE & BLUE (Titles on our long list will be included in our online conversation and balloting, alongside the short list titles.) This is the last book we’ll be looking closely at before getting to our short list and long list balloting.  More about those processes is coming soon. TUMBLE & BLUE received […]

Heavy Medal Finalist: Wishtree


Short List Title: WISHTREE (Titles on our short list will be included in the live Mock Newbery in Oakland.) In Sharon’s earlier post on WISHTREE she writes:  “WISHTREE whispers its message of tolerance and hope.”  That sentence really captures the essence of this book.  The “whispering” is quite an accomplishment.  We have a lot of books […]