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October Nomination Results

Our first round of nominations on Heavy Medal is now closed. The results are below. 36 readers submitted nominations for a total of 36 unique titles (I can’t make this up). RED WHITE AND WHOLE leads the way with 12 nominations, followed by AMBER AND CLAY with 10 nods, and then JUST LIKE THAT and STARFISH with nine each. THE BEATRYCE PROPHECY rounds out the top five- and I feel the need to say it was JUST PUBLISHED last month!

Cover of Red White and Whole by Rajani LaRocca, the leading book in nominations.

On the actual Newbery committee, if a book is nominated it is officially on the table for consideration. This isn’t quite feasible on Heavy Medal because we have an infinite number of “committee members,” and things could get a little crazy. however I make a formal commitment to FINISH every nominated title (please don’t make me regret this). So, on the Newbery committee, if a book is already nominated you might choose to nominate something else in future months (or nominate it again to show significant support). Feel free to ask questions about this if it doesn’t make sense- I love talking strategy!

Thank you to those who put their justification for books nominated. Some highlights for me were:

Meredith on HARRY AND THE FIRST 100 DAYS OF SCHOOL

The tight plotting and engaging character dynamic made this one stand out to me.

David on RED WHITE AND WHOLE,

It checks all the Newbery boxes, including what I call the “Newbery voice.” It is timely… but I do think it surpasses this and has the capacity to be timeless and univeral.

and KALEIDOSCOPE

I know we think of Selznick as an illustrator, but his writing truly outshines his art in this book. His style is rich, haunting, and deep, and even when I was in the midst of confusion, trying figure what was going on, I kept reading for the sheer pleasure of enjoying the writing itself.

Feel free to continue justifying in the comments, (or asking legitimate questions) it can help your books cause!

Without further ado (ok DUN DUN DUNNNNN) Here’s the list so far:

RED, WHITE, AND WHOLERajani LaRocca12
AMBER AND CLAYLaura Amy Schlitz10
JUST LIKE THATGary Schmidt9
STARFISHLisa Fipps9
THE BEATRYCE PROPHECYKate DiCamillo7
TOO BRIGHT TOO SEEKyle Lukoff6
A PLACE TO HANG THE MOONKate Albus5
LION OF MARSJennifer L. Holm5
THE SHAPE OF THUNDERJasmine Warga5
FALLOUTSteve Sheinkin4
FINDING JUNIE KIMEllen Oh3
HARRY VS. THE FIRST 100 DAYS OF SCHOOLEmily Jenkins3
AMARI AND THE NIGHT BROTHERSB.B. Alston2
BEING CLEMLesa-Cline Ransome2
BILLY MILLER MAKES A WISHKevin Henkes2
DAVINCI’S CATCatherine Gilbert Murdock2
ONE JAR OF MAGICCorey Ann Haydu2
ROOT MAGICEden Royce2
UNSPEAKABLE: THE TULSA RACE MASSACRECarole Boston Weatherford2
WHILE I WAS AWAYWaka T. Brown2
365 DAYS TO ALASKACathy Carr1
FLIGHT OF THE PUFFINAnn Braden1
FRANKIE & BUGGayle Forman1
HEALER OF THE WATER MONSTERBrian Young1
KALEIDOSCOPEBrian Selznick1
OPHIE’S GHOSTSJustina Ireland1
PITY PARTYKathleen Lane1
PONYR.J. Palacio1
RACONTEUR’S COMMONPLACE BOOKKate Milford1
RUNAWAY: THE DARING ESCAPE OF ONA JUDGEAnthony Shepard1
SISTERS OF THE NEVERSEACynthia Leitich Smith1
STAMPED (FOR KIDS)Sonja Cherry Paul1
THE LEGEND OF AUNTIE POShing Yin Kor1
THE TROUBLED GIRLS OF DRAGOMIR ACADEMYAnne Ursu1
WATERCRESSAndrea Wang1

Books we featured that WEREN’T nominated include most of the picture books, MAYBE MAYBE MARISOL RAINEY, GROUND ZERO, and ALMOST THERE AND ALMOST NOT.

Along with hearing additional justifications and questions, I’d love to hear what book you ALMOST nominated but didn’t and why! And if you didn’t get to nominating, have no fear November nominations for two titles open up on the first of the month!

Own Monday Own the Week, Own early nominations, Own Mock Newberying!

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About Emily Mroczek-Bayci

Emily Mroczek (Bayci) is a freelance children’s librarian in the Chicago suburbs. She served on the 2019 Newbery committee. You can reach her at emilyrmroczek@gmail.com.

Comments

  1. Emily Mroczek-Bayci says

    I’m here to add that nominations serve as a good time to:
    1. Go back to a book you didn’t finish (yes, I’m looking at myself here)
    2. Reread a book (Rereading is SUCH A BIG PART OF THE PROCESS!
    Actually Red, White and Whole is the one I almost nominated! I loved the book, but it hit a lot of personal chords for me so it was really hard to separate myself from that and to be unbiased.

  2. Leonard Kim says

    I read KALEIDOSCOPE yesterday and think it would pair really well in discussion with THE RACONTEUR’S COMMONPLACE BOOK. I have to say I don’t think KALEIDOSCOPE is a book for children. But I felt that way last year about Everything Sad Is Untrue, and that won the Heavy Medal Mock Newbery.

  3. I mistakenly wrote Unspeakable when I intended to nominate the free verse novel Unsettled by Reem Faruqi, so I want to draw attention to the book and will plan to reread it in preparation for the next nominations window. I am a big fan of free verse writing because it is not confined to any poetry forms but can add a level of emotional intensity and immediacy to the speaker’s voice. I have now read several, starting with Red, White and Whole, which was very poignant and heartfelt but then was even more awed by the wit and intelligence of Starfish (my almost-nomination) and finally still more moved by the lesser-known Unsettled, which has gorgeous imagery and lyricism – absolutely stunning and beautiful writing, yet also very relatable for kids adjusting to a new setting, working towards a goal (in her case, swimming), or facing any kind of discrimination. What all three novels have in common is that they are autobiographical, so the authors all bring an incredible array of unique voices and sensitivities. Any of them, in my opinion, could earn an award.

    • Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says

      I also think UNSETTLED is a strong book. We’ve got at least a few autobiographical “novels” in verse this year. Also autobiography/memoirs in graphic novels (FRIENDS FOREVER, BAD SISTER), regular fiction (THE BOY WHO FAILED SHOW AND TELL) and more conventional nonfiction (GENIUS UNDER THE TABLE, GONE TO THE WOODS). I’ll post on at least a couple of those soon…

    • Wow thank you so much Beth! That means so much! I’m so happy you liked UNSETTLED and thank you for nominating it!

  4. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says

    Nomination numbers are always interesting. STARFISH led the suggestions pretty comfortably, but drops back a bit in nominations. We’ve had some STARFISH discussion here, and haven’t featured RED, WHITE, AND WHOLE yet. Sometime that close scrutiny can really shift opinions…and that can go either way.
    It’s also good to keep publication date in mind, since some of us don’t get to read just-published titles right away. That makes THE BEATRYCE PROPHECY’s strong showing impressive, since it just came out in late September.

  5. Julie Ann Corsaro says

    I also like JUST LIKE THAT, THE LION OF MARS, BILLY MILLER and BEING CLEM. But I know there are more nominations to come. I just finished Veera Hiranandani’s HOW TO FIND WHAT YOU’RE NOT LOOKING FOR. While I’ll have to think on it a bit (it did put me in mind of Erin Entrada Kelly’s WE DREAM OF SPACE), it certainly merits discussion.

  6. Meredith BUrton says

    I am so thrilled that A Place to Hang the Moon received several nominations! I just read it a week ago and adored it, but I wasn’t sure it had much of a chance. I am considering nominating it in either NOvember or December. I’m looking forwardc to reading Frankie & Bug, too, as the premise sounds very intriguing.

    THe books I thought about nominating but ultimately did not were:
    1. Amber and Clay. I loved it my first reading but had a bit more trouble my second read. I do think the book is impressive and extensively researched, (as are all Schlitz’s works), but I just felt that pacing and some of the characterization was not as strong as other reads this year). Perhaps I just felt a bit removed from the story in places, which might have been the author’s intention.
    2. Starfish. I adore this book so much and loved it even more on a reread. I just still feel that some of the characters are not as dynamic as they could have been. I did gain a bit more sympathy for the mother on my second read but still find her to be one dimensional. I disliked the brother even more.
    3. TOo Bright to See, by Kyle LuKoff. This was such a unique and creative novel of self-discovery. I simply had problems with the ghost aspect. WHile it’s very unique and a nice plot device to have the uncle trying to help Bug discover who he truly is, I couldn’t helpp but feel as if Bug was being forced or scared into admitting his feelings. THe haircut scene in particular bothered me. THat would traumatize a child, I would think. It made me wonder if Bug had somehow done this himself. I just felt a bit disturbed. I was also disturbed when Moira cut her foot on the nail polish bottle. Uncle Rodric wasn’t malevolent, but I was just uncomfortable with some of his actions. ALso, I felt that the accepting of Bugs’s decision, (while refreshing), was a bit too easy. Seems like there’d be more opposition by some people. I did like how kind his friends were and the supportive actions of his mother.

    Please note that I might decide to nominate any of these titles in the future. I’ll just have to wait and see.
    I am excited to see how nominations progress as the year continues.

  7. Rox Anne Close says

    I almost nominated JUST LIKE THAT by Gary Schmidt, but I had not quite finished reading it by the deadline for nominations. Now that I finished it, I think it is a strong contender for a Newbery. In my opinion it checks all the boxes, especially strong characterization, setting, plot, and theme.

  8. Kate McCue-Day says

    Someone might have already asked but is Black Boy Joy eligible? Its definitely one of my favorites of the year. But not sure if maybe some of the stories were released somewhere else before 2021. Or if for some other reason it isn’t eligible.

    • Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says

      I just checked my copy of BLACK BOY JOY and it should be eligible. All seventeen stories have a copyright date of 2021. I assume that means each author would receive a Medal? That would be something new…
      If some of the stories had been published earlier, the Newbery Manual provides some leeway for the Committee to work with: “If a portion of a book was previously published elsewhere – for instance, in a magazine, a collection of short stories or in electronic format – then the amount of previously published material must be a minor portion of the entire work. The substantial majority of the book must be wholly new, original and previously unpublished.” That’s applied in the past to A LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO and THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, where individual chapters had been previously published as short stories, but fit that “minor portion of the entire work” description…

      • Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says

        ANCESTOR APPROVED also fits. LIke BLACK BOY JOY, it’s a collection of stories by different authors, all copyright 2021, so should be Newbery-eligible.

      • Julie Ann Corsaro says

        Since the proceedings are confidential, I don’t think we can presume anything about what a committee may have known, discussed or rationalized in regards to original publication. For instance, the physical book of THE GRAVEYARD BOOK says absolutely nothing about portions being previously published.

      • Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says

        Great point, Julie. I hadn’t realized that about THE GRAVEYARD BOOK. I guessed wrong about THE UNDEFEATED a couple years ago too, thinking it would be ineligible because of an earlier version on a website. Since then, I’ve felt like we should err on the side of “eligible” here on Heavy Medal. It’s always fun to have more books to discuss, rather than fewer, anyway. So since at least for now I can’t say the BLACK BOY JOY or ANCESTOR APPROVED are definitely ineligible, they’re fair game for nomination and/or discussion.

  9. Carol Arlene Edwards says

    But in Ancestor Approved some of the authors are Canadian. How does that affect eligibility?

    • Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says

      Great point, Carol. I hadn’t thought about the citizen/resident requirement as well when it comes to multiple authors. The Criteria state: “The Award is restricted to authors who are citizens or residents of the United States.” Does that mean if one co-author out of seventeen was not a citizen or resident, the book would be disqualified? Or could the book win, but only the citizen/resident contributors would get a medal? Neither of those seem right to me, but I have no idea. If I were Chair, this would definitely be a time where I would want some guidance from ALSC…
      It looks like this could come into play with BLACK BOY JOY, as well, since I believe Dean Atta is a British citizen and resident.

  10. Emily Mroczek-Bayci says

    ugh all these eligibility questions make my head SPIN! I definitely thought the Undefeated was ineligible in 2020 and it won an honor! the committee has a lot of “power of interpretation” which makes Julie’s point so important!

    in my Newbery class, KT Horning talked about how she tried to get past information about voting and discussions after a certain time period (it really would be interesting from a research perspective!!)

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