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April Suggestions: Adding to the Mock Newbery reading list

It’s time to share April suggestions as part of the Heavy Medal Mock Newbery process. A month ago, our first round of suggestions got us started with a beginning list of 10 titles. As the list of 2021 publications grows, we’ll continue to build that list by soliciting suggestions from readers every month. Details about how suggestions work can be found in this earlier post; here are a couple of key reminders:

  • Only books that have been published are eligible. If you’re read an Advanced Reader’s Copy, you will just need to wait until its publication date to suggest it for this blog. We open suggestions for one week on the first Monday of each month.
  • It’s okay to suggest titles that others have already selected. That gives us a good sense of which books are connecting with the most readers. But you can only suggest and individual title once during the year.
  • We limit suggestions to five titles per month. Less is fine too. The real Newbery Committee typically does not limit the number, but we’re doing it here just to keep things manageable.

The suggestions can work as a growing Mock-Newbery reading list through the year. Here are a couple of other resources to be aware of:

  • Good Reads Mock Newbery 2022: A list based on suggestions on the website.
  • Fuse #8’s Spring Predictions: Emily M. also mentioned this in an earlier comment. Betsy Bird shares her predictions for Newbery and Caldecott quarterly. Always interesting and entertaining, with reader comments that provide more possibilities.

Please add your suggestions for April in the comments below between now and Sunday, April 11th. We’ll publish the updated list on April 12th.

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. Julie Corsaro says:

    Gone to the Woods. Gary Paulsen
    Starfish. Lisa Fipps
    Amber and Clay. Laura Amy Schlitz

  2. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

    AMBER AND CLAY by Laura Amy Schlitz
    GROUND ZERO by Alan Gratz
    UNSPEAKABLE by Carole Boston Weatherford

  3. Leonard Kim says:


  4. Kate Todd says:

    LION OF MARS by Jennifer Holms
    UNPLUGGED by Gordon Korman

  5. Maura K says:

    STARFISH by Lisa Fipps

  6. RED WHITE AND WHOLE by Rajani LaRocca

  7. Meredith Burton says:

    1. Amber and Clay, by Laura Amy Schlitz.
    2. Starfish, by Lisa Fipps.

  8. Windy Hunter says:

    A PLACE TO HANG THE MOON by Kate Albus
    RED, WHITE, AND WHOLE by Rajani LaRocca
    AMBER AND CLAY by Laura Amy Schlitz
    PEACEMAKER by Joseph Bruchac

  9. RED, WHITE, AND WHOLE by Rajani LaRocca
    AMBER AND CLAY by Laura Amy Schlitz
    STARFISH by Lisa Fipps

  10. Forgot one!
    SEA IN WINTER by Christine Day

  11. Julie Corsaro says:

    Well, I didn’t use my five this month nor any last month, so I’ll add two more favorites:

    JUST LIKE THAT by Gary Schmidt
    THE LION OF MARS by Jennifer L. Holm

  12. emilyrmroczek says:

    UNSPEAKABLE by Carole Boston Weatherford
    SEA IN WINTER by Christine Day

    (I don’t have the five either, but I would like to echo Steven’s less is fine comment! When I was on the committee to we were also told “none is fine, just say that nothing you’ve read is jumping out at you!”)

    • Julie Corsaro says:

      Since you’ve been on the committee, Emily, you know that it’s also fine to show support for titles that other members like. I think the five titles I suggested merit discussion, as others seem to think, as well. Unlike the real committee, we can’t suggest titles here until they’ve been published, and there looks to be some strong contenders on the near horizon. There is a tendency for eager committee members to suggest titles early on that may not stand up over time. As a result, it’s wise of chairs to remind everyone that it’s okay not to suggest anything if they have nothing.

  13. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

    When I’ve been on the Committee, the number of suggestions certainly varied within the group. Some seemed to put forward a lot of titles; others none or zero. Overall, it just seemed to work out. Early in the year you do wind up reading more books that don’t hold up against the best of the year, but that’s not a bad thing. It helps to give members sort of a baseline, where you have a decent sized list of books that are fine, just not exceptional. When we’re trying to articulate what makes an book distinguished, it’s natural to compare it to others that are at that same level. But it can also be very useful to compare it with one of those pretty-good-but-not-distinguished books, especially when there are similarities in style or them or whatever. So as a member, I would sometimes get daunted by the number of good-but-not-great books that were suggested, but I do feel like being forced to read those helped me bet a full picture of what “distinguished” looked like in that year.