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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

And the Newbery Winner Is…: WHEN YOU TRAP A TIGER

Share your reactions to the Newbery announcement (and other awards) in the comments below. Below are highlights from the awards, just listing titles that were discussed on Heavy Medal this year. The complete list of award winners is here.

6:50 (PST): John Newbery Medal: WHEN YOU TRAP A TIGER won the Medal!  Five(!) Honor Books: ALL THIRTEEN, BOX, FIGHTING WORDS, WE DREAM OF SPACE, and A WISH IN THE DARK.

6:49 (PST): Randolph Caldecott Medal: WE ARE WATER PROTECTORS won the Medal.

6:47 (PST): Theodor Seuss Geisel Award:  SEE THE DOG won! 

6:44 (PST):   Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award: The Winner is HONEYBEE! ALL THIRTEEN is an Honor Book. 

6:40 (PST):   Pura Belpré Awards:  In the Children’s Category, EFRÉN DIVIDED is the winner.

6:35 (PST):   Michael L. Printz Award: EVERYTHING SAD IS UNTRUE is the Winner! DRAGON HOOPS was awarded an Honor.

6:32 (PST):   YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults:  THE RISE AND FALL OF CHARLES LINDBERGH is the winner.

6:28 (PST): Odyssey Award:  KENT STATE won this award for best audiobook.

6:20 (PST):   Coretta Scott King Award:  The Author Award went to BEFORE THE EVER AFTER. KING AND THE DRAGONFLIES won an Honor.

6:14 (PST):   Schneider Family Book Award:  Middle Grade Category: SHOW ME A SIGN IS the winner!  WHEN STARS ARE SCATTERED is an Honor book.

6:10 (PST):   Sydney Taylor Book Award:  In the Middle Grade category. THE BLACKBIRD GIRLS is an Honor choice.  The Young Adult winner is DANCING AT THE PITY PARTY! (one of my favorites of the year!)

6:05 (PST):   The Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature:   WHEN YOU TRAP A TIGER is the winner! PRAIRIE LOTUS won the Honor.

5:40 (PST): The webcast of the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards starts in about 20 minutes. I’ll share some reactions here as the individual awards are announced.

I’ve read with Newbery in mind so much this year that I haven’t given a ton of thought to other awards, but they’re always fascinating too. Here a handful of titles we discussed on Heavy Medal that might have a chance to get recognized at some point this morning:

Sydney Taylor Book Award (books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience): I have high hopes for A CEILING MADE OF GLASS and CHANCE. Also THE WAY BACK, which we didn’t give enough time on Heavy Medal.

Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature (promotes Asian/Pacific American culture and heritage): WHEN YOU TRAP A TIGER, AN ALMOST AMERICAN GIRL, and ANY DAY WITH YOU seem like possible contenders. I’d love to see A WISH IN THE DARK get something too.

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults: ALL THIRTEEN and THE RISE AND FALL OF CHARLES LINDBERGH are among the five finalists.

Theodor Seuss Geisel Award (most distinguished beginning reader book): I think SEE THE CAT is the only reader we looked at here, and I would be very happy if it was chosen.

Stonewall Book Award (books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience): KING AND THE DRAGONFLIES is a standout. RICK could contend as well.

Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award (most distinguished informational book): Nonfiction books that got some praise here include THE RISE AND FALL OF CHARLES LINDBERGH and ALL THIRTEEN, but we never got to a bunch of others that could have a chance.

Pura Belpré Awards (children’s books [that] best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience]: EFRÉN DIVIDED and MAÑANALAND are excellent books that we should have spent more time on. Maybe SAL AND GABI FIX THE UNIVERSE? CLAP WHEN YOU LAND may be too old.

Schneider Family Book Award (books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience): SHOW ME A SIGN would be a popular choice here for many Heavy Medal readers. RETURN OF THE THIEF is probably a long shot, but you never know.

Michael L. Printz Award (excellence in literature written for young adults): We didn’t go too far into the YA realm in our discussions, but books like EVERYTHING SAD IS UNTRUE and KENT STATE could break through.

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award (recognizes an African-American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults): Lots of possibilities from our months of discussion, including CLASS ACT, FROM THE DESK OF ZOE WASHINGTON, BLACK BROTHER, BLACK BROTHER, LEAVING LYMON, and WAYS TO MAKE SUNSHINE. And OVERGROUND RAILROAD could contend in both the author and illustrator categories.

Randolph Caldecott Medal (most distinguished American picture book for children): When we look at picture books on Heavy Medal we focus on the words, not the illustrations. But I could see WE ARE WATER PROTECTORS, OVERGROUND RAILROAD, or HONEYBEE having a chance here.

John Newbery Medal (most outstanding contribution to children’s literature): The one we’ve been waiting for…

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. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says

    WHEN YOU TRAP A TIGER is the Medal Winner. Excellent choice! The Honor for FIGHTING WORDS (our Reader’s Poll winner) is very nice. I was especially pleased to see A WISH IN THE DARK, ALL THIRTEEN and WE DREAM OF SPACE as Honors. And they picked a picture book! (BOX).

  2. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says

    No Newbery recognition for the book that won our Heavy Medal Award Committee Mock, but EVERYTHING SAD IS UNTRUE won the Printz!

  3. Oh. My. Goodness. I love When You Trap a Tiger but did NOT expect to see it win. I’m in a state of disbelief, but not unhappy. I was sure that the announcer would say “Everything Sad is Untrue” (which I just read yesterday and was blown away by, so I’m thrilled that it won a Printz). And the same author won two honors in one year – has that ever happened?! Really, the only Newbery I expected was Fighting Words! I’m almost too happy! (Even though I’m very disappointed Everything Sad didn’t win at least an honor).

    • A double honor happened in 1954 when Meindert Dejong received honors for two books and then, in 1968 E.L. Konigsberg won the medal itself and also received an honor. Still, that’s a very small group that Soontornvat joins!
      I also loved When You Trap a Tiger and was delighted to see it win.

      • Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says

        Candace Fleming is kind of in that rare company too, though it’s two different awards: h a Sibert Medal for HONEYBEE and the Young Adult Nonfiction Award for THE RISE AND FALL OF CHARLES LINDBERGH.

      • Also, this year Kacen Callender has two honors. A Stonewall Honor for FELIX EVER AFTER and a Coretta Scott King honor for KING AND THE DRAGONFLIES.

  4. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says

    I really liked the SIBERT choices too, especially HONEYBEE and ALL THIRTEEN. We didn’t feature HOW WE GOT TO THE MOON on Heavy Medal, but it’s also an excellent book.

  5. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says

    Several HM readers mentioned SHOW ME A SIGN as a great candidate for the Schneider Award, and they were correct!

  6. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says

    WHEN YOU TRAP A TIGER won the Asian-Pacific Award along with the Newbery Medal. KIRA KIRA is the only other book to achieve that.

  7. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says

    Interesting to see how THE RISE AND FALL OF CHARLES LINDBERGH and EVERYTHING SAD IS UNTRUE did in the YA vs. Children’s awards. In Heavy Medal discussions some expressed concerns about both books in terms of the child audience. LINDBERGH winning the YA Nonfiction award and EVERYTHING SAD taking the Printz Medal may make the most sense for both of those books.

  8. I was surprised that Echo Mountain didn’t get any recognition.

  9. What interesting choices, and I loved the surprises. Now I need to reread When you Trap a Tiger. I am proud for A Wish in the Dark as I thought it was a good book. So interesting that Soontornvat was recognized twice. I look forward to reading All Thirteen.

    I am a bit saddened about A Game of Fox & Squirrels receiving no recognision, but I will always treasure it as a courageous and beautiful book. Perhaps it will receive an Andre Norton award.

    I’m super excited for Everything Sad is Untrue, too!

  10. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says

    Yes, I guess ECHO MOUNTAIN and A GAME OF FOX AND SQUIRRELS are probably the two books that got the most support here on Heavy Medal and did not get mentioned this morning.

  11. Julie Corsaro says

    It was a strong year and this is a strong line-up. It wasn’t so long ago that there was a lot of hand-wringing about the dearth of high quality, stand-alone middle grade fiction. Yet, there were many books as noted that could have also claimed a spot as some did with other awards. It’s a strong sign for the field that benefits young readers.

  12. One thing that the librarians and teachers in my circle often complain about is how frequently the Newbery winners skew on the older end of the age range. My dad was a 4th grade teacher for many years, and when I was young, he recommended Newbery books to his students often. By the time he retired, he was convinced the books were always too old for his students. I think this year, they did a nice job really falling in the middle of the age range with all their choices. I’d give any one of them to a 4th or 5th grader!

  13. Amanda Bishop says

    Great choices for all the winners! My students and I read When You Trap a Tiger last spring during our virtual book club and they all loved it. I can’t wait to read the honors books I missed out on reading last year.

  14. We still have the Notables list to look forward to….that’s where all the wonderful books that didn’t win medals land!