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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

Cardboard Castles and Three-Headed Cats: more graphic novels

cardboard kingdom

Ten people collaborated to create CARDBOARD KINGDOM, an innovative exploration of the powers of imagination; SANITY & TALLULAH mixes humor and science in an outer space mystery. Does either graphic novel have a shot at 2019 Newbery recognition?

Your Favorite Unlikelies & Ineligibles?


It’s that time of the year (almost December!) that avid readers start to realize that some 2018 books we adore are probably either not likely to get much support from the Newbery Committee or they are simply not eligible for consideration.  Here are a few of mine: Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert Why I love it […]

The Chimney Sweep and the Elevator Trade


Though they’re different in many ways, I’m pairing STYX MALONE and SWEEP in this post because I had a similar experience as I read them: I started out thinking I knew what each book was going to be like and was prepared to probably dismiss them as “good, but not great;” then got quickly hooked […]

Louisiana Finds Her Way


Louisiana, a supporting character from DiCamillo’s well loved Raymie Nightingale, tells her stand-alone story from a first person account of the days after she is taken from her Florida home by her granny, losing contact with friends and pets, and discovering that her entire life’s story is a giant lie.She writes in a blend of […]

Blessed with Crests: Poetry Collections

in the past

Several novels in verse have been nominated by Heavy Medal readers so far, including, JAZZ OWLS, LIFEBOAT 12, THE POET X, and REBOUND, but I don’t believe we’ve had any mention so far of poetry collections. Here’s a quick roundup of several that might be worth considering. IN THE PAST by David Elliott. (3 starred […]

Powerful, Gripping, Important, and Timely — but Is It Distinguished?


Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes has 8 nominations from Heavy Medal readers and is described by reviewers as powerful, gripping, important, and timely.  It is definitely all that, and then some: disturbing, harsh, emotionally challenging, and improbable (?). From the first page when readers see through Jerome’s eyes his small, dead, blood stained body, with all the details (eyes wide […]

Nominations Catch-Up: Jackie, Parker, and Ivy


With November nominations closed and compiled, let’s get three books into the conversation that have high nomination numbers, but haven’t been featured yet: JUST LIKE JACKIE has eleven nominations, alleviating earlier concerns that we might never feature this book; only three titles have more at this point. Now that we are highlighting JACKIE, I hope […]

Connecting the Ancient to the Future and Far Away to the Near By


Has a short story collection contributed by more than a dozen authors ever appeared on the Newbery roster?  I don’t believe so. There have been some gold and silver stickers affixed to the covers of  folk story collections. For example, 1925 winner Tales from Silver Lands by Charles Finger (of South American folk tales,) 1948 honor The Cow-Tail Switch, and […]

Damaged Families, Resilient Girls


I read SNOW LANE and THE BENEFITS OF BEING AN OCTOPUS back to back. Both are about abusive family situations and narrated by girls who don’t reveal the depth and details of the abuse until they’re well into their stories. Both are excellent, but in different ways. In OCTOPUS, Zoey doesn’t address the abuse early […]

Historical Wars Get Personal


When we did our first round of Heavy Medal Nominations a few weeks ago, we had a total of 96 nominations…and 4 of those were nonfiction titles.  Two went to THE GIRL WHO DREW BUTTERFLIES, which was featured in an earlier post.  One each went to the two titles featured today. BOOTS ON THE GROUND […]