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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

Looking Ahead to the 2022 Newbery Medal

With the announcement of the 2021 Newbery Medal, this season of Heavy Medal comes to a close. We’ll return in September to look at the most likely (and maybe some unlikely) contenders for the 2022 Newbery Medal.

Between now and then, we’ll build a reading list of the top 2021 title by asking readers to contribute monthly “suggestions.” We’ll do this during the first week of every month from March through September.

A quick look at early 2021 publications includes some intriguing possibilities. For example, the list below includes nine authors who have earned a combined fifteen Newbery Honors and two Medals in past years:

  • GONE TO THE WOODS by Gary Paulsen (January)
  • JUST LIKE THAT by Gary Schmidt (January)
  • LION OF MARS by Jennifer Holm (January)
  • HELLO EARTH by Joyce Sidman (February)
  • LOVE IS A REVOLUTION by Renée Watson (February)
  • UNSPEAKABLE by Carole Boston Weatherford (February)
  • AMBER AND CLAY by Amy Laura Schlitz (March)
  • THE ONE THING YOU’D SAVE by Linda Sue Park (March)
  • BILLY MILLER MAKES A WISH by Kevin Henkes (April)

I’m sure there must be other forthcoming titles that we should be looking out for, as well, some by authors we may not have even heard of yet. If there are possible contenders you’re looking forward to, please share in the comments below, and we can start reading during this 100th Anniversary year of the Newbery.

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. Agree with Just Like That and Unspeakable being at the top of the list both are outstanding.
    I would also include Traci Sorell’s upcoming WE ARE STILL HERE (my early pick for Sibert) and David Levithan’s THE DISAPPEARANCE OF AIDEN S. because it will make for some outstanding discussion.

  2. Julie Corsaro says:

    Of the titles I’ve read so far, I think BEING CLEM (Lesa Cline-Ransome), THE LION OF MARS and JUST LIKE THAT merit discussion. Kate DiCamillo has a fall title, THE BEATRYCE PROPHECY, which sounds intriguing, as does Justina Ireland’s middle-grade book, OPHIE’S GHOSTS.

  3. Leonard Kim says:

    Also looking forward to Linda Urban’s ALMOST THERE AND ALMOST NOT.

    • Meredith Burton says:

      I am very excited for Amber and Clay as Laura AMy Schlitz is one of my favorite authors. Gary D. Schmidt is wonderful, too, and I am excited to read Just Like That, even though teh audible sample has already made me cry. Oh, how could he do such a thing? THat’s a brave and confident writer, I suppose.

      I also saw that Christina Soontornvat has another book releasing this year.

      Elana K. Arnold’s THe House that Wasn’t There and Correy Ann Haydu’s One Jar of Magic intrigue me as well. I have come to the conclusion that fantasy books dealing with abuse have a slim chance of being considered, but Haydu’s book has already received four starred reviews, so I am eager to read it.

      Another book that intrigues me is Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids, edited by Cynthia Smith.

      SOunds as if it will be another outstanding year for children’s books, and I am eager for the adventures.

  4. ESE Librarian Bob says:

    Hope 2021 finds y’all well!

    I am currently reading an ARC for SISTERS OF THE NEVERSEA, It’s an Indigenous retelling of Peter Pan (Lily and Wendy are the MCs) by Cynthia Leitich Smith. It’s not out till June, but it keeps winding up in my daughter’s bedroom. The cover art by Floyd Cooper is irresistible.

    I enjoyed Chrystal D. Giles TAKE BACK THE BLOCK and Eden Royce’s ROOT MAGIC is marvelous. Keeping my eye out for Kyle Lukoff’s TOO BRIGHT TO SEE. I appreciate Laura Amy Schlitz, but a book (even in verse) that’s 500+ pages just isn’t for my group. I suppose we’ll have the MG- YA debate again.

    My students were thrilled that SHOW ME A SIGN won the Schneider Medal as some here predicted. We’re excited for the companion book SET ME FREE and Kate DiCamillo’s (with Sophie Blackall) THE BEATRYCE PROPHECY. We have a wait till September for those, so I’ll catch up with your suggestions now.

  5. Susan Northsea says:


  6. Anonymous says:

    I’m looking forward to Jasmine Warga’s (author of the Newbery honor book OTHER WORDS FOR HOME) newest book THE SHAPE OF THUNDER.

    My dad has also just started reading JUST lIKE THAT to me (we loved THE WEDNESDAY WARS), and so far it’s wonderful.

    Some others that I’m excited about are AMBER AND CLAY, WHILE I WAS AWAY, and WE BELONG. Also, note that THANKS A LOT, UNIVERSE, which is on the Mock Newbery list, is actually by a Canadian author and is not eligible.

  7. Sam Leopold says:

    MILO IMAGINES THE WORLD is , so far, the one picture book that I will be cheering on as both a Caldecott and Newbery contender. Matt De La Pena and Christian Robinson paired up for the book and they already have one Newbery Gold for Last Stop on Market Street—and I like the MILO book a lot more.

  8. MrsHughesReads says:

    Also excited about AMBER AND CLAY! Eager to read Jasmine Warga’s THE SHAPE OF THUNDER and Elana K. Arnold’s THE HOUSE THAT WASN’T THERE. Very much enjoyed Linda Sue Park’s THE ONE THING YOU’D SAVE, as well as Rebecca Caprara’s WORST-CASE COLLIN, both poignantly written in verse.

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