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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

San Diego Mock Winners!


We had a small turnout–just five people–but nevertheless managed a spirited and engaging discussion of our nine shortlisted titles. We also accomplished something I’ve never encountered in all my years of mock Newberys: We had a unanimous winner. All five people voted for ECHO with their 1st place vote. But it gets better! We were […]

Consider the margins


As some of you get ready, with Jonathan, for the San Diego mock Newbery tomorrow, the actual Newbery committee members are in the midst of their own re-reading, and many of all of us are approaching the “apples to oranges” dilemma.   How, considering the Newbery criteria, and the nominated books (for the committee, a […]

Goodbye Stranger and Rhythm Ride

Goodbye Stranger

Okay, here’s a second look at our last pair . . . GOODBYE STRANGER When I read all the overwritten books that got published this past year–and they are legion!–I just wanted to make GOODBYE STRANGER required reading for their authors.  Stead uses a minimum amount of description, allowing the dialogue to carry plot and […]

The Hired Girl, Nina’s Take

Hired Girl

Well I can’t say I’ve been looking forward to this post, but I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out whether to do it at all, and what it’s about.   Jonathan and I decided we wanted this book on our shortlist, despite my own reservations about it, because it is such a […]

Mock Newbery Update

While Nina and I announced the dates for our respective Mock Newberys, we didn’t give you the additional details. The San Diego County Library and the San Diego County Office of Education are co-sponsoring mine.  It will be held on Wednesday, December 16 at 6:30 pm in the evening at Miguel’s Cocina (10514 Craftsman Way, […]

Seneca Village Redux


Am I the only person that dreams my dreams? Does anybody else on this planet think my thoughts? Are my ideas like darting lights I’ve caught? Is my mind a net sieving through thought-filled streams? I know when we first posted about this book it was a bit under the radar.  It had a couple […]

Crazy About Gone Crazy


UNPACKING BAGGAGE As you well know, if you’ve followed this blog long enough, I am an unabashed plot-driven reader.  I most enjoy those types of books where the plot drives the action of the book and where I can anticipate the events to come.  For example, even before I picked up HARRY POTTER AND THE […]

Echo, Nina’s Take


After our earlier discussion of ECHO, I’m sure there were some audible groans when Jonathan and I revealed our shortlist.  Much of the previous discussion was around the story structure and manipulation of the reader.  I think we all recognize “manipulation” as something inherent to novel writing, it’s just that many readers prefer not to clearly […]

Roller Girl


ROLLER GIRL is not a flashy book in Newbery terms, and that is part of its charm. Stripped down just to its bare text, sentence by sentence, it wouldn’t wow me.  But ROLLER GIRL is a great example of a story presented in exactly the right format.   From the pre-title/title page/post-title page drama in […]

Orbiting Jupiter


Then Pastor Ballou prayed again, and he said that Joseph had put himself in danger to save others, and then he said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend.” And that’s when I started crying.  Crying like a kindergarten kid in front of everyone.  Crying […]