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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
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Heavy Medal Is Back!

The 12th season of “Heavy Medal” officially starts today! We’ve been gathering “suggestions” of possible contenders for the 2020 Newbery Medal for several months, and you can see what HM readers have suggested here. Now we’re finally ready to jump into real discussion of selected contenders.

I’m Steven Engelfried, Library Services Manager at the Wilsonville Public Library in Oregon. Roxanne Feldman is the Middle School Librarian at the Dalton School in New York City. We’re both returning for our third year as HM bloggers. We both served on the 2013 Newbery (One and Only Ivan, Bomb, Splendors & Gloom, Three Times Lucky.) We’re very excited to be joined this year by Annisha Jeffries, Head of the Youth Services Department at the Cleveland Public Library. Annisha will introduce herself in a separate post on Monday. Meanwhile, here’s what’s coming up:

Book Discussion: Over the next few months we’ll introduce many 2019 titles that, for one reason or another, seem like possible Newbery contenders. While the three bloggers will start these discussions, we count on Heavy Medal readers to weigh in with your opinions and insights.

Suggestions: We will continue to call for “suggestions” from readers each month, adding to our running list.

Nominations: Following the practice of the real Newbery Committee, we will invite readers to officially “nominate” a total of seven titles: three in October, two in November, and two in December. We’ll provide details about nominations when those dates get closer.

Heavy Medal Award: In December we will announce a list of Heavy Medal finalists: 12 – 20 books that will be discussed and voted upon by the “Heavy Medal Committee.” The HMC will be made up of anyone willing to take on the challenge of reading all books on the list and discussing them as part of an online committee. Their vote will decide our official Heavy Medal Mock Newbery winner. More details about this will come later.

Newbery Criteria: Like the real Committee, book evaluation on this blog will be based on the official Newbery Terms and Criteria. We’ll refer to these often throughout the season.

Lists, Awards, and Surprises: Along the way, we’ll keep an eye on other news related to 2019 children’s books, including other awards, best-of-the-year lists, and other mock Newberys. We may even get some posts from a guest blogger or two…

Why We Do It: We hope that Heavy Medal readers will get a sense of what it’s like to be on the Newbery Committee and how the process works. We can’t exactly replicate that experience, but we try to bring elements of it into the blog wherever we can. Beyond the process stuff, though, this is a blog for readers. It’s a chance to read some of the year’s best books and then discuss, analyze, and sometimes argue about them with a bunch of other readers who share a deep appreciation for the wonder and power of excellent children’s literature. We’ll start next week!

Steven Engelfried About Steven Engelfried

Steven Engelfried is the Library Services Manager at the Wilsonville Public Library in Oregon. He served on the 2010 Newbery committee, chaired the 2013 Newbery Committee, and also served on the 2002 Caldecott committee. You can reach him at


  1. Yay!

  2. I can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks about this years many stellar titles!

  3. It’s good to see the gang swarming to the old stomping grounds. Can’t wait.

  4. Molly Sloan says:

    Hello everyone! I am looking forward to the conversation!

  5. Jennifer Schultz Angoli says:

    Very excited to see this back! I no longer do children’s/YA selection, so I am rather out of the loop. Planning to follow along so I’m not totally clueless come awards time.

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