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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
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Newbery Suggestions: A Tight Early Race

Heavy Medal readers have suggested 24 books as possible early contenders for the 2021 Newbery Medal. At this point last year there was a clear early leader, and that book (Jerry Craft’s NEW KID) went on to win the Newbery Medal as well as our ballot here on Heavy Medal. So far this year, though, the votes are pretty well spread out, with a couple of previous Newbery honorees, Linda Sue Park and Pam Muñoz Ryan, at the top. The tallied list so far this year is below. Keep reading, and we’ll open up another round of Suggestions on the first Monday of May.

Prairie LotusPark6
King and the DragonfliesCallender4
List of Things That Will Not ChangeStead4
Show Me a SignLezotte4
Black Brother Black BrotherRhodes3
From the Desk of Zoe WashingtonMarks3
When You Trap a TigerKeller3
Rise and Fall of Charles LindberghFleming3
Almost American Girl: A MemoirHa2
Here in the Real WorldPennypacker2
When Stars are ScatteredJamieson2
Efrén DividedCisneros1
Great UpendingKephart1
Home for Godesses and DogsConnor1
Leaving LymonCline-Ransome1
Many Feathered ThingGerlits1
Only Black Girls in TownColbert1
Ordinary DayArnold1
Thief KnotMilford1
Voice Named ArethaRussell-Brown1
Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of DoomSachar1
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. I just wanted to let all of you know that I bought A VOICE NAMED ARETHA on Kindle for $2.10.I haven’t started reading it yet, but I thought that was a pretty good deal. With the libraries and the schools closed, it’s difficult to borrow these books. I’ve resorted to buying more of them than I normally would.

  2. Just a quick heads up that the book is called WHEN YOU TRAP A TIGER, not How to Trap a Tiger.

  3. Susan N. says:

    Another quick typo alert: Efrén Divided