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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

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 […]

November Nominations Results – 67 titles so far!

Thank you all so much for another round of robust nominations.  Here are some stats: 60 Heavy Medal readers have now participated in the nominations process since October. 247 nominations total. 39 of the 60 reader-nominators have put forward five titles each, the others nominated either just in October or just in November. The list […]

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 […]

November Nomination & The Heavy Medal Committee

In November, we are asking our readers to Nominate TWO more titles (and two in December as well) following the actual Newbery Committee schedule and procedure. If you already nominated three titles in October, nominate two now — Do not duplicate your own titles but you are free to nominate titles already put in by others. If you did not […]

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 […]

Will Woodson Win?


It is hard to argue against Jacqueline Woodson’s writing in any given year, and this year is no exception.  She not only has written a stellar picture book (THE DAY YOU BEGIN) that has real Newbery potential, but she has also brought us the beautiful HARBOR ME.  Woodson has a rare gift of covering topics that […]

Goblins, Elves, and a Different Kind of Book


THE ASSASSINATION OF BRANGWAIN SPURGE is the last of the five National Book Awards finalists we’re featuring on Heavy Medal. We decided to post about all five this year, because it’s unusual to see all of the NBA Youth Finalists fall so clearly within the Newbery range (well, let’s say four clearly and one maybe, […]

X Marks the Spot (In My Heart)


As verse novel goes — The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo is near perfection.  So many high caliber poems one after another with surprising, haunting, beautiful, raw, and revealing lines. If I were to present it at a Newbery Committee meeting, I would definitely recite some of the following: p. 24 Maybe because I can’t keep the […]