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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

Crossover Redux


Josh Bell   is my name. But Filthy McNasty is my claim to fame. Folks call me that ‘cause my game’s acclaimed, so downright dirty, it’ll put you to shame. My hair is long, my height’s tall. See, I’m the next Kevin Durant, Lebron, and Chris Paul.   On our Top Five post, THE CROSSOVER […]

Top Seven

Because of the holidays, this is traditionally a slow week here at Heavy Medal.  And that makes it a perfect time for us to trade our final set of nominations, which is a thread that typically has a longer life.  The real committee trades three in October, two in November, and two in December–but since […]

The Family Romanov Redux


In the original post on this title, Jonathan and Leonard Kim got into a little back and forth comparing it to REVOLUTION, so it seems apt to take this one up next.   How does it compare in prose, in structure and context setting?  Each book of course has a different ultimate goal:  Wiles’s is […]

Revolution Redux


First of all, you should know that I am simply not the audience for this book.  I find the plot too slow and the characters uninteresting, and the whole thing was kind of a slog to get through–and I always feel that way about Deborah Wiles’s books.  For me, the history in this story was […]

Off the radar?


We’ll continue over the next few weeks to review books from our shortlist and talk about the Newbery process as we ramp up to our Mock Newberies on January 11th (Oakland) and 15th (San Diego), but I wanted to take a moment to address Rosanne’s recent comment about whether we’ve noticed small/indie press Newbery contenders […]

Transitional Chapter Books


Since traditional chapter books have spot illustrations, and since some people might consider them picture books instead of illustrated books, I’m going to quote from some of the reviews and read your comments below about their literary merit. DORY FANTASMAGORY by Abby Hanlon Kirkus;  Often just on the edge of out of control, this inventive child […]

Port Chicago 50 Redux

Port Chicago 50

As Jonathan and I start revisiting each of the titles on our mock discussion shortlist (and please do keep commenting on JOEY PIGZA), it seems time to jump back to one of the first titles we introduced this season, Steve Sheinkin’s THE PORT CHICAGO 50: DISASTER, MUTINY, AND THE FIGHT FOR CIVIL RIGHTS, which has since made […]

The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza


This is the only book on our shortlist that we have not previously discussed, and while that may have made it something of a surprise, it really shouldn’t have been: the book got five starred reviews and was a Kirkus Prize finalist.  This is the fifth and final book in the Joey Pigza series and […]

How we think we read


Over the course of last week, my mind was mostly occupied with the Ferguson decision, and some of the resulting protests here in Oakland. Between that and Tamir Rice, I purposefully limited my exposure to the fallout over Handler’s remarks at the National Book Award, but I took some time over this weekend to catch […]

It’s a Small World After All (The Prose Edition)


Cynthia Kadohata won the National Book Award last year for THE THING ABOUT LUCK, and she follows that up with another strong book.  Lightning didn’t strike twice, however.  She doesn’t have the most memorable character of the year; that honor would go to Gregory Maguire for Baba Yaga in EGG & SPOON. But it’s still […]