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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
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Mock Newbery Discussion Starts January 2nd

It’s a new year and we’ll start celebrating 2020 Mock-Newbery-style tomorrow!  Each weekday from January 2-22 one of the sixteen Heavy Medal Award Committee members will introduce a new title from our list of finalists. Those sixteen HMAC members will discuss the books, applying the Newbery Terms and Criteria. A few things to know about the discussions:

The HMAC members’ official responsibilities are to discuss the books with each other. They’ll focus on talking and listening to the others who will be voting on the Mock-Newbery along with them. However, all Heavy Medal readers are invited to share opinions. It’s just that HMAC members may or may not respond to non-members.

Following the practice of most awards committees, we will start with positive comments first. This guides everyone to consider a book’s merits first, rather than jumping right into concerns. All of the books on our list have multiple strengths and we’ll want to highlight those initially.

Since not all HMAC members will be online at the same time, we’ll use a kind of arbitrary mechanism for moving from “positives-only” discussion into “anything goes.” We’ll look for at least five positive comments to start. After five positives have been posted, questions and concerns are welcome. Positive points can continue, of course. And if it takes too long to get up to five positives, Annisha, Roxanne, or me will jump in and officially invite concerns.  

The “positive comments first” guideline is part of the CCBC Book Discussion Guidelines, which most committees follow. All nine points on this invaluable document are very helpful for Newbery discussion. We won’t go over them all here, but highly recommend taking a look at these.

Our goal is to vote and choose the Heavy Medal Award winners and honor titles starting on January 23rd.  We may get to a winner that day, maybe not…if past history is a guide, it may require multiple re-ballots. We hope to hear from many of you in the next few weeks…please Heavy Medal with any other readers you know. The complete Book Discussion Schedule is here….And we’ll kick it off with Beverly, Right Here on Thursday, January 2nd!

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

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