Follow This Blog: RSS feed
Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

Early Favorites? The search for 2022 Newbery Medal contenders begins

2022 marks the 100th anniversary year of the Newbery Medal! And though it might seem too soon to start thinking about what might win, by this time last year the winning book, WHEN YOU TRAP A TIGER, had already been out for a month! So here on Heavy Medal we will kick off our search by asking for “suggestions” of possible Newbery contenders. We’ll do this on the first Monday of each month through August, then jump into book discussions in September.

The real Newbery Committee also uses monthly suggestions to help the group identify titles to seek out and read. Members aren’t discussing books yet, just sharing titles. We’ll follow that practice here. Here are the guidelines we use every year for the Heavy Medal monthly suggestions:

  • Suggestions are books that might have a chance to contend for the Newbery. They don’t have to be perfect, best-book-of-year type titles, but can include books that could possibly be in that discussion.
  • Suggestions must be eligible books. Eligibility is addressed in the Newbery Terms and Criteria. If you’re not sure if a book is eligible, go ahead and include it. We’ll make our best guess at eligibility later (and might be wrong: like we were with Undefeated, a 2020 Honor Book).
  • For Suggestions, just include title and author. We’ll save descriptions and critical analysis until September.
  • You can suggest up to 5 titles per month. Less is fine. The real Committee typically doesn’t have a Suggestions limit, but we’ll use one to make sure our list doesn’t get too long.
  • Suggest only books that you’ve read or listened to. Sometimes you hear that a book is great or you know from the author that it’s something we should all read…but you still can’t suggest it until you’ve read it yourself.
  • Suggestions should be books that are already published. If you read an advance copy, please hold off on suggesting until it’s actual release date. That keeps us roughly on the same time line.
  • If a book you’ve read is already on the list, go ahead and include it. We’ll post an update every month listing titles and numbers of Suggestions.  Those rankings aren’t necessarily that meaningful…they definitely favor early-year publications, for one thing. But it can be helpful to see what’s on the radar of multiple readers.
  • We’ll keep each month’s Suggestions open for about a week.

If you have questions about the process, just ask below or email me directly.  And if you have any Suggestions to start us off, post below (title and author only, remember). We’ll take suggestions through the end of the day on Sunday, March 7th, then post the totals shortly after that.

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. Leonard Kim says

    JUST LIKE THAT, Schmidt

  2. Amanda Bishop says

    The Lion of Mars by Jennifer L. Holm
    The Sea in Winter by Christine Day
    Red, White, and Whole by Rajani LaRocca

  3. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says

    JUST LIKE THAT by Gary Schmidt
    GONE TO THE WOODS by Gary Paulsen

  4. Matthew Bowers says

    GONE TO THE WOODS by Gary Paulsen
    UNSPEAKABLE by Carole Boston Weatherford

  5. Betsy Westlake says

    Lila and Hadley by Kody Keplinger

  6. Kate Todd says

    I think Lila & Hadley was published last year.

    • Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says

      Thanks for catching, Kate. LILA AND HADLEY was published in 2020, so it won’t be eligible for the 2022 Newbery Medal.

  7. Meredith Burton says

    1. One Jar of Magic, by Corey Ann Haydu.
    2. Just Like That, by Gary D. Schmidt.
    3. Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids, edited by Cynthia Smith.

  8. Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre
    Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance

  9. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says

    This isn’t part of the suggestions, but Travis Jonker has a comprehensive list of 2021 Book from Newbery Winners on “100 Scope Notes.” Many of these aren’t out yet, but it’s a great resource of titles to watch for.