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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

2018 Newbery Reading List

Here are some of the books on my radar for 2018 consideration.  Some of them already have great reviews; some of them are by favorite authors; many of them are nonfiction!  Please weigh in if you’ve read any of them already.  Please also feel free to recommend additional titles in the comments now and throughout the year.







































































































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. Leonard Kim says

    Very surprised UNDEFEATED isn’t here. I thought it was more effective than Most Dangerous and The Port Chicago 50. It also has some similarities to Ghost, I thought (though here a coach does notice and get a player properly equipped, though that player *is* Eisenhower…) I anticipate a lot of lively discussion about this one come fall.

    I’ve read LET’s CLAP, JUMP, SING, & SHOUT and doubt it will be considered because, as it says on the cover, it’s a collection. McKissack’s role is akin to, say, Katherine Paterson’s in Giving Thanks. There’s commentary and McKissack does her own retellings of a few parables and stories, but it doesn’t seem enough material for Newbery consideration.

    I’ve read ONE LAST WORD. I think Grimes puts herself in a tough spot juxtaposing her poems with those from the Harlem Renaissance. My feelings about this are similar to what you wrote about FREEDOM OVER ME – good idea and the art makes this attractive, but I wasn’t sold on the text, especially right there alongside her great predecessors’.

    Listening to THE WARDEN’S DAUGHTER now. My current reaction is that this is nothing to write home about, except that Spinelli is undeniably a good writer.

    • Jonathan Hunt Jonathan Hunt says

      Did I really forget UNDEFEATED? Yikes!

      LET’S CLAP is definitely folklore, but I think there’s enough of a contribution to merit consideration, but I’m sure it would have an upheaval lol battle.

  2. There’s also Elizabeth Wein’s THE PEARL THIEF. Loved it.

  3. Eric Carpenter says

    I eagerly anticipate reading Rita Williams Garcia’s Clayton Byrd Goes Underground which is next up on my pile (as soon as I finish Pearl Thief and Reynolds’ Miles Morales book).
    I agree that Undefeated is outstanding. Typical Sheinkin and therefore a must read. It’s amazing, fascinating, and brilliantly written.
    I’ve been checking the mailbox everyday for Kwame Alexander’s Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets. The poems I’ve heard from this collection are excellent.
    Finally I’ll put in a plug for Laurel Snyder’s Orphan Island as a likely candidate for most popular contender of 2017. I have zero ability to be objective about this book, but know it will be much loved. (Expect it to be near the top of Goodreads polls by the end of the year).

    • Jonathan Hunt Jonathan Hunt says

      Thanks for the heads up on the new RWG book . Didn’t know about that one.

      I did get an Alexander book already, but it was called THE PLAYBOOK. Glad to hear we can expect more from him this year.

      Will we see the next book in Reynolds’s Track series in the fall? Hmmm.

    • Michael Scott says

      I could see Wishtree vying for that top Goodreads spot as well. Has the Goodreads winner ever won the Newbery? My best guess would be Ivan, but no, even that year, I think Wonder won the popular vote.

      • No. It hasn’t. At least, not in the last 9 years.

        2009: The Hunger Games (Graveyard Book was #3)
        2010: Catching Fire (When You Reach Me was #2)
        2011: Out of My Mind (Moon Over Manifest was #20)
        2012: Okay For Now (Dead End in Norvelt was #14)
        2013: Wonder (One and Only Ivan was #2)
        2014: Counting By 7’s (Flora and Ulysses was #5)
        2015: Brown Girl Dreaming (The Crossover was #6)
        2016: Echo (Last Stop on Market Street was #67)
        2017: Pax (The Girl Who Drank the Moon was #12)

      • Plus – The Mock Newbery list on Goodreads is different than the decision made by the Mock Newbery Group. Our winner this year was Wolf Hollow – These were the points for the remaining top 6 books:

        Ghost -89 Points
        The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog -71 Points
        Pax -58 Points
        The Wild Robot -53 Points
        Some Kind of Courage -48 Points
        The Girl Who Drank the Moon -31 Points

      • DaNae C Leu says

        In absolutely no relevance to anything, except I just came from updating the page, here are my students’ choices since we began our Mock Newbery:

      • DaNae, that’s a mighty impressive prediction of wins ratio! Great job!

  4. Is PRINCESS CORA a picture book or early chapter book? Just wondering for my own amusement..I will read every thing Schiltz writes.

  5. I’ve read CORA AND THE CROCODILE and really enjoyed it. I would categorize it as an illustrated early chapter book, similar to DIVA AND FLEA or JUANA AND LUCAS.

    • DaNae C Leu says

      Excellent, that is a format I would love to see grow. I can’t keep Princess in Black or Mercy Watson on the shelves.

  6. THE GOLDFISH BOY by debut author Lisa Thompson sounds intriguing.

  7. I just picked up Gemeinhart’s Scar Island. I think it has at least a couple starred reviews, and I’ve been a fan of both of his previous works. Thanks for a fantastic year of reading and discussion!

  8. I’m eagerly awaiting Poison: Deadly Deeds, Perilous Professions, and Murderous Medicines by Sarah Albee.

  9. Totally happy to see ME AND MARVIN GARDENS on your list. I don’t think it’s going to win (sorry A.S. King!) but I think this book adds to the conversation of what you can write a children’s book about.

  10. Just finished THE SOMEDAY BIRDS by Sally J. Pla — her first novel. I thought her character development excellent and the plot quite well done.

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