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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

December Nominations

This is the third and final time that the Newbery committee will trade nominations (3 in October, 2 in November, 2 in December).  In order for a book to be on the table for discussion, it must first be nominated, so we may see many people use their final two nominations, not to build consensus, [...]

More things about luck


We’ve all had plenty to say about THE THING ABOUT LUCK from out of the gate this season, from Jonathan’s first post, all the way through the NBA announcements and our nominations.  We’ve talked about the strength of the characters, setting, and prose; how these all support a theme that hangs on a light plot, [...]

Can Mythology or Folklore Win the Newbery Medal?


Every once in a blue moon the Newbery committee recognizes a work of mythology or folklore.  Don’t hold your breath, though, as the last book recognized was IN THE BEGINNING by Virginia Hamilton (1989), and before that WHEN SHLEMIEL WENT TO WARSAW (1969) and ZLATEH THE GOAT (1967), both by Isaac Bashevis Singer.  THE WHITE [...]

It’s an Honor


Jonathan goaded me in the last paragraph of his P.S. Be Eleven post:  ”it has the kind of broad support necessary to go far, but I’m not sure that it’s anything more than . . . wait for it, Nina . . . an Honor book.”  He knows I bristle when anyone categorizes a contender [...]

If You Say It Right, It Helps the Heart to Bear It


After a series of wonderful poetry collections about sundry animals in their natural habitats, Joyce Sidman turns her prodigious talents to the most fascinating one of all: the human animal and its singular talent for language. BLESSING ON THE CURL OF CAT As cat curls in a circle of sun– sleek and round,  snug and [...]



Jonathan made a statement by giving this his first October nomination.  When we pick a nonfiction title for our shortlist (cause we always do), it’s easier to tend to the longer, historical narrative nonfiction offerings, which read more like novels and so seem easier to compare with other contenders.  And we had several of that sort [...]

P.S. Be Eleven


There’s no doubt that P.S. BE ELEVEN is one of the best books of the year, and most of the criticisms that I’ve seen about this book (including one of my own) fall on the peccadillo side of the fence rather than the fatal flaw side of the fence.  Let’s consider a few of them [...]

Mock Newbery Discussions

Amy Martin Comics

It’s December, and finally feeling like award season!  If you’ve ever read through the Newbery manual, you have an idea of what the actual Newbery committee has in store for themselves the next couple of months. Shortly, they’ll complete their final round of nominations, and will be busy re-reading those several dozen titles in preparation [...]

The Animal Book


Can a reference book win the Newbery Medal? Well, yes, it can.  The criteria state that, “There are no limitations as to the character of the book considered except that it be original work.”  To me, this clause explicitly states that you cannot discount any kind of book just because it doesn’t seem like a [...]

San Diego Mock Newbery


Some of you may have noticed a new change in my bio statement recently, but if not then I’ll take this opportunity to mention that I took a new job at the beginning of October as the County Schools Librarian at the San Diego County Office of Education.  Which means that I will, unfortunately, not [...]