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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

The Virtual Mock Supercommittee Has Spoken!

With 59 voters, we have the following results . . .

BOMB . . . 14 (1st) + 12 (2nd) + 5 (3rd) = 125

SPLENDORS AND GLOOMS . . . 9 (1st) + 6 (2nd) + 9 (3rd) = 68

STARRY RIVER OF THE SKY . . . 3 (1st) + 11 (2nd) + 5 (3rd) =55

THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN . . . 4 (1st) + 7 (2nd) + 8 (3rd) = 53

LIAR AND SPY . . . 6 (1st) + 6 (2nd) + 5 (3rd) = 52

TWELVE KINDS OF ICE . . . 4 (1st) + 4 (2nd) + 8 (3rd) = 44

THE MIGHTY MISS MALONE . . . 3 (1st) + 4 (3rd) = 20

CHICKADEE . . . 2 (1st) + 2 (2nd) + 1 (3rd) =16

MR. AND MRS. BUNNY . . . 1 (1st) + 2 (2nd) + 3 (3rd) = 16

WONDER . . . 1 (1st) + 2 (2nd) + 3 (3rd) = 16

SUMMER OF THE GYPSY MOTHS . . . 3 (1st) = 12

SERAPHINA . . . 2 (1st) + 1 (3rd) = 10

CROW . . . 2 (1st) = 8

JAKE AND LILY . . . 1 (1st) + 1 (2nd) = 7

TITANIC . . . 2 (2nd) = 6

THE LIONS OF LITTLE ROCK  . . . 1 (2nd) + 1 (3rd) = 5

MOONBIRD . . . 2 (3rd) = 4

EACH KINDNESS  . . . 1 (2nd) = 3

NO CRYSTAL STAIR . . . 1 (2nd) = 3

THREE TIMES LUCKY . . . 1 (2nd) = 3

WOODEN BONES . . . 1 (2nd) = 3

BENEATH A METH MOON . . . 1 (3rd) = 2

CHILD OF THE MOUNTAINS . . . 1 (3rd) = 2

GOBLIN SECRETS  . . . 1 (3rd) = 2

JEPP WHO DEFIED THE STARS . . . 1 (3rd) = 2

WATER SINGS BLUE . . . 1 (3rd) = 2

These results offer up the opportunity for us to have a conversation about honor books.  I see three scenarios.

1.  We name SPLENDORS AND GLOOMS as the sole honor book.  This is truly the runner-up, but nobody likes only one honor book, especially in such a rich year.

2.  We could also take the next three titles clustered together–STARRY RIVER OF THE SKY, THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN, and LIAR & SPY.  This would mean four honor books, and it would make more people happy.

3.  We could reach even further down for TWELVE KINDS OF ICE.  Some people would feel like the prestige of the honor is significantly diluted with five honor books, but TWELVE KINDS OF ICE would give us a second outside-the-box title in our line-up.

What would you do?


Jonathan Hunt About Jonathan Hunt

Jonathan Hunt is the Coordinator of Library Media Services at the San Diego County Office of Education. He served on the 2006 Newbery committee, and has also judged the Caldecott Medal, the Printz Award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. You can reach him at


  1. I wouldn’t mind five honor books; I wonder a bit if how late in the year TWELVE KINDS OF ICE came out — and how impossible it was to get ARCs — affected its vote totals.

    Either way, great exercise, and thanks!

  2. Interesting results. I didn’t expect STARRY RIVER to fare so well, but I’m very happy to see it. Also didn’t expect BOMB to be quite so overwhelming – it almost got double S&G.

    As for honors, I’m firmly in the the more the better camp, and would vote to go all the way down to TWELVE KINDS OF ICE, especially given the large gap in total votes that starts there.

  3. I agree with Sam and Mark. TWELVE KINDS OF ICE is far closer to the other four than the books that follow it. It should be included. (And we definitely need more than one honor because dang this was on amazing year for books for this age range.)

  4. If you were to move LIAR & SPY above STARRY RIVER the above result echo our very small Mock in the top five. Very interesting indeed.

  5. Eric Carpenter says:

    Who says nobody likes one honor??? I think one honor years have been some of the best.

    Results here are interesting particularly that BOMB won by so much but got votes from just over half the voters (31 of 59).

    Things I’d love to know:
    How many of the 28 voters who didn’t include BOMB hadn’t read it. (unfortunately there’s no way of knowing this).
    Something that stood out to me was that LIAR & SPY received more first place votes (6) than both STARRY (3) and IVAN (4). I wonder if L&S would raise above these two if BOMB was given the medal and taken off the table for an honor vote.

    • Jonathan Hunt Jonathan Hunt says:

      I guess I should say that many people do not like one honor book. I do not mind them and I think you will find that many of the years where one honor book was chosen are years where the books have really stood the test of time–not always, but often.

      Would you vote for one honor book in this scenario, knowing that it wouldn’t be LIAR & SPY?

      • Eric Carpenter says:

        To see what a potential honor vote might look like I tabulated the results without BOMB, removing it from all ballots and moving the other titles up for anyone who voted for BOMB at first or 2nd place. After doing so the numbers of our potential honor titles didn’t shift much at all. I know that this is an imperfect method as in a real revote most would give up on their outliner choices and pick their favorites from the contenders.
        I thought this might help me decide how many honors seem appropriate. What sticks out most is that Splendors is still far ahead for top honor but both IVAN and L&S end up with the same number of first place votes as Splendors. So it looks like these along with STARRY which though less first places has enough total points to stay in the picture should get honors.

        I loved loved loved TWELVE KINDS OF ICE as much as i HATE HATE HATE actual cold weather and snow (a childhood in syracuse ny does not create good cold weather memories) but sadly when we look at the vote totals above we see ICE is so far behind SPLENDORS it really doesn’t seem to be have the same level of consensus as SPLENDORS. This seems unfair to SPLENDORS to be grouped in with ICE.
        I don’t think having another outside the box title in the honor list is a legitimate reason for inclusion. The committee is not tasked with considering the type of book or whether or not it is inside or outside the box. We wouldn’t want a committee to choose an honor title just to make sure there was a nonfiction, a poetry, a short story collection, a historical fiction novel, a realistic fiction novel, a picture book or what ever else. The ONLY agenda should be recognizing distinguished contributions of children’s literature regardless of genre or any other arbitrary category.
        So I guess I say either 1 honor or 4 honors unless there is a mathematical argument for ICE or at least some argument that isn’t related to it’s format.

  6. I read it but didn’t include it in my top 3, but I would definitely put it in my top 7 (i.e., I would have nominated it).

  7. Also, this means absolutely nothing at this point Jonathan, but you missed Seraphina – I voted it #1 and Ed voted for it, too.

    • Jonathan Hunt Jonathan Hunt says:

      Yikes! SERAPHINA had two first place votes and one third. I’ve amended the list above–and will double check my list again to make sure I didn’t omit another title in my rush to get the results up.

  8. Nina Lindsay Nina Lindsay says:

    I have to say that I lose steam finessing the honors here… Eric asks: “Things I’d love to know:
    How many of the 28 voters who didn’t include BOMB hadn’t read it. (unfortunately there’s no way of knowing this).” but we should really ask the same for all the titles on the list. There’s some line in there somewhere where books didn’t have a lot of votes because they didn’t have a lot of readers. Cutting it off at TWELVE KINDS OF ICE seems suitable as a way to show a nice slice of the most popular frontrunners.

  9. I can’t believe I missed your call to vote! *comes out of the cave, blinking* Anyway, I still haven’t read Bomb (Grrr), and my vote wouldn’t have made much difference. Would have given One and Only Ivan and probably Starry River a little boost.

    It will be fun to see who actually wins. From something one of the commenters said, I decided to open up our webcast viewing to the public, and see if we get any takers. Anyone reading this in northern Virginia? Come to City of Fairfax Regional Library to watch the webcast with me!

  10. I would vote for 5 honors. With the gigantic point spread between Bomb and 2nd place, it doesn’t make as much sense to me to only honor Splendors, especially since the rest of the vote is split into pretty distinct tiers, with those next 5 books being on the top.

  11. David Ziegler says:

    I would also vote for 5 honors. I particularly liked the 6 top vote getters, along with Wonder. It was a good year for children’s literature in my opinion.

  12. Eric, I think 12 kinds… belongs for a number of reasons. First of all, it may be well behind S&G in total number of votes, but if you go with 4 honors and don’t honor 12 kinds… it really doesn’t make much sense. L&S has 17 total votes, 12 kinds… has 16, the next highest point total has only 7 total votes. Also, this wouldn’t be a factor with the real committee – but let’s face it – we ain’t the real committee! – 12 kinds… came out pretty late, so a large number of folks didn’t even see it until well in to Heavy Medal season. That in and of itself doesn’t really warrant an honor, but when you couple it with the close point total to the next book ahead of it + the close total number of votes compared to the next book ahead of it, I think it belongs.

  13. Jonathan Hunt Jonathan Hunt says:

    Responding way down here to Eric’s comments above . . .

    There is another possibility. We can name BOMB the winner with no honor books since there is such a huge gap–57 points–between it and SPLENDORS AND GLOOMS.

    There is a 24 point spread between SPLENDORS AND GLOOMS at 68 and TWELVE KINDS OF ICE at 44–and there are five titles spread throughout that range. Then there is another 24 point gap before you get to THE MIGHTY MISS MALONE.

    So I think there is a perfectly reasonable mathematical argument for picking five honors. But there’s no doubt that it dilutes the prestige of SPLENDORS AND GLOOMS because when we announce these results to the world people will not understand that not all honor books are created equal–and that’s true for four honor books as well as five.

  14. I wouldn’t be surprised if many people had a hard time getting a hold of a copy of TWELVE KINDS OF ICE. From what I can gather almost none of the public libraries in our area have it in their collections as of now. Also, Amazon had it on back order last time I checked. It may have garnered more votes had it had more readers.

    (It has gone missing from my library. I’m ready to put a bounty on it.)

  15. Sara Ralph says:

    #2 of course because I voted for Starry River and Ivan. Talk about a landslide vote for Bomb!

  16. For this Mock I’ll vote for 5 honors. Took a look and it happened for real in 2003 and 1983…maybe in 2013 as well. I looked at the whole list from 1922 on and counted roughly 18 years with 5 or MORE honor books. (more represented in earlier decades) In reality, however, I prefer 3 or 4 Honor books. I did not have the opportunity to read Twelve Kinds of Ice, for reasons others have commented on, so would like to give it the benefit of rising to the top with the others.

  17. Either #2 or #3 makes sense to me.

  18. Becky Wilson says:

    I say to go with the 5 honor books. Although I didn’t vote for Twelve Kinds of Ice, I have read it and loved it. It didn’t make my top three, but I would love to see it as an honor book.

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