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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

The Inquisitor’s Tale

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I like this book very much, and I can easily see the committee discussing it very seriously.  It’s strong in virtually every single element that pertains to it–plot, character, setting, style, theme, and accuracy–and yet I’m feeling slightly underwhelmed on a personal level when it comes to plot and theme.  The characters in this book are […]

When the Sea Turned to Silver

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First, a confession.  I haven’t read the previous Grace Lin books in this series!  Unforgivable, maybe, but I think that makes it easier for me to try to read and evaluate her new novel without letting my feelings about her other work get in the way.  I don’t have to worry about it standing alone, about […]

The Girl Who Drank the Moon

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Yes. There is a witch in the woods.  There has always been a witch. Will you stop fidgeting for once?  My stars!  I have never seen such a fidgety child. No, sweetheart.  I have not seen her.  No one has.  Not for ages.  We’ve taken steps so that we will never see her. Terrible steps. […]

Verse Novel Roundup

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We’ve already said it’s been an exceptionally strong year for poetry, and if you include novels in verse (not to mention FREE VERSE, a novel that celebrates and incorporates poetry, but is not a verse novel), then it is a phenomenally strong year.  We’ve already discussed BOOKED, a fairly strong contender on its own merits, but […]

PW’s Best Books of 2016

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As the end of the year approaches, Best Of lists appear!  Publisher Weekly’s list came out today and it shares a lot of titles in common with this blog.  Their list is divided into Picture Books, Middle Grade, and Young Adult and books from any of these lists could potentially be Newbery contenders.  So, what’s not […]

Wolf Hollow

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***SPOILER WARNING*** This review and subsequent comments are sure to spoil the ending of this book as well as various plot points throughout.  If you don’t like spoilers and haven’t read it yet, read it and then come back and join the discussion.   “The year I turned twelve, I learned how to lie.” This […]

Tim Wadham: The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones

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Tim Wadham has served on numerous award committees, including The Boston Globe Horn Book award, the Pura Belpré award committee twice, and the 1998 Newbery committee.  He is a contributor to School Library Journal and the Horn Book Guide.  His picture book, The Queen of France was published by Candlewick Press.  He lives in Puyallup, […]

Too Old?

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ANNA AND THE SWALLOW MAN by Gavriel Savit . . . When I first read descriptions of this book with comparisons to THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS and LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL, I didn’t think I would like it very much.  THE BOOK THIEF is another apt, if imperfect, comparison.  The language here is beautiful, […]

Jason Reynolds and Comparing Author’s Works

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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 […]

Poetry Roundup

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BEFORE MORNING by Joyce Sidman . . . This picture book contains a single poem, but what a lovely, haunting poem it is!  The form of this poem is an invocation, and as such it seems like it could have been an outtake from her previous collection, WHAT THE HEART KNOWS.  Can a single poem […]