Search on SLJ.com ....
Subscribe to SLJ
Follow This Blog: RSS feed
Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

Underdogs?

9781634059626_p0_v1_s118x184

We’ve often worried that we create a bit of an echo chamber effect here, picking a shortlist to focus on at the expense of many other wonderful titles.  Previously recognized authors along with highly praised books tend to dominate our shortlist, exacerbating the effect.  Sometimes, I wonder if we should do something radical like exclude […]

When Green Becomes Tomatoes

9781596438521_p0_v5_s192x300

I was pleasantly surprised to see WHEN GREEN BECOMES TOMATOES tied with WOLF HOLLOW atop our recent Top Five tally.  We liked Fogliano’s previous books, AND THEN IT’S SPRING and IF YOU WANT TO SEE A WHALE, but being picture books, they were somewhat of a hard sell. This longer work, a poetry collection, should […]

Russell Freedman

519pg8hpll-_sx348_bo1204203200_

Russell Freedman–like Jason Reynolds–actually has two strong Newbery contenders: WE WILL NOT BE SILENT (five starred reviews plus Kirkus Prize shortlist) and VIETNAM (four starred reviews).  Both of them are quintessential Freedman: crystal clear prose, elegant book design, carefully selected primary sources, and thoughtful, intelligent analysis. I first became familiar with the story of Hans […]

Makoons

9780060577933_p0_v2_s192x300

MAKOONS by Louise Erdrich is the fifth book in this cycle, but only the second one about this new generation in the family.  I have to admit that I am not a natural reader for this series, that the slow episodic plots do not speak to my needs as a reader, and I believe I […]

Samurai Rising

9781580895842

Having reread SAMURAI RISING, I can say that it has unequivocally secured a place on my ballot, and depending on the will and disposition of my hypothetical committee, I could even spend my first place vote on it! First of all, I want to say that whatever you think of this book (and we were strongly divided on […]

2017 Heavy Medal Shortlist!

9780553510362_p0_v2_s118x184

We have settled on the shortlist for our mock Newberys (and we will release specific details and dates and times once we have arranged them).  We typically chose 8 titles, but have occasionally stretched to 9 titles (as we have done this year).  When we do 9 titles then length is always a consideration, and it makes it […]

The Best Man

best-man

We are heading towards picking our final list and I’m feeling the pressure.  There are just so many amazing books, and so little time!  So for today,  THE BEST MAN.  It came up in a couple of people’s lists, and I think it has a deserved place in our conversation. Richard Peck is pretty much the […]

Black Power!

cxbzn2yxuaawtfw

“In the midst of the human ugliness of racism, there is the human beauty in the resistance to racism.” Ibram X. Kendi The National Book Awards had a bit of a 2015 ALA Midwinter moment with African Americans winning three of the four categories, and for decidedly political works, no less.  Joining John Lewis and […]

Top Five

9781596438521_p0_v5_s192x300

We used to check in with our readership several times a year about their top choices, mimicking the nomination process that the real committee experiences wherein they nominate three books in October, two in November, and a final two in December.  Since we don’t post quite as frequently now as we used to, we are […]

Chapter Book Roundup

9780763672089_p0_v1_s118x184

Now it’s time to discuss an underappreciated body of literature for children, what are often called chapter books.  Since I think that term is still fairly vague, I’d call them transitional chapter books.  That is, books that bridge the gap from the more challenging easy readers to the easiest novels.  On the younger side, these […]