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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
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November Mock Newbery Nominations: Add Two More

We are back in action for our second month of nominating titles for the Heavy Medal Mock Newbery.

We nominated three titles in October for a total of 35 titles and have two more now, and our final two in December.

The Newbery Manual notes that the nominations “make each committee member aware of which books require their closest scrutiny and which they need to re-read.” Members include “written justifications” with each nominated title, and this is typically the first chance they have to share specific the rest of the Committee, beyond a “practice discussion” that takes place in the summer. The nominated titles are the ones that will be on the table when the Committee meets to discuss and select the Newbery winner in January.

Here’s the Heavy Medal nomination process:

  • Nominate two titles in the comments below. Like the real Committee, we’ll require two exactly.
  • Listing the two titles is fine, but if you would like to share a bit about why any of them made your list, or any strategic rationale, that’s fine.
  • Nominations will stay open through the end of Saturday, November 6th. We’ll post the totals on the 8th.
  • The nominations list helps Steven and I decide which books to feature in future posts and develop the Heavy Medal Book List. It also helps force me to actually finish books. (Yes I promised to read and finish every nominated title)

Add your titles to the list below. And feel free to strategize. Yes, you can nominate something that’s already nominated, some argue that it adds weight to the title, others would rather not waste a precious nomination.

This is also a good time to think about what books are being overlooked, what outside of the box books should be considered for the Newbery? There were a whole lot of middle grade chapter books in our first nominations…

If you have any questions about our nomination process or about how it works on the real Committee feel free to ask those in the comments below as well.

Now Own Monday and nominate!

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


  1. Amanda Bishop says

    The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera
    The Legend of Auntie Po by Shing Yin Khor

  2. Many Points of Me by Caroline Gertler

    The List of Unspeakable Fears by J. Kasper Kramer

  3. Katrina (T.) says

    I missed October, so here are my five:

    Just Like That
    Ground Zero
    Raconteur’s Commonplace Book
    DaVinci’s Cat
    The List of Unspeakable Fears

  4. Julie Ann Corsaro says

    JUST LIKE THAT by Gary D. Schmidt

  5. Aryssa Damron says

    AH! November already? Emily–I’ll also commit with you to reading every nominated title!

    My two would be Da Vinci’s Cat and The Lion of Mars are my two nominations! Both different, by well-loved authors, but they both REALLY stood out to me this year in a sea of good stories that weren’t stellar writing, and a lot of books that felt otherwise underwhelming by the end.

  6. Meredith Burton says

    1. Milo Imagines the World, by Matt De La Pe~na. This brief but profound picture book offers a microcosm of a child’s perspective of the world. THe presentation of material is subtle but strong. As Milo rides with his sister on the subway, he draws pictures of the people around him and wonders what their lives are like. We do not know where Milo and his sister are going until the climax, and the writing is immersive, keeping us fully engaged in Milo’s thoughts. THe theme are clearly presented. THe use of personification, illiteration and metaphor are spot-on. I especially love how Milo is described as a “shook up soda,” and how the train is described as tired. RIveting and unforgettable.
    2. Frankie & Bug, by Gayle FOrman. This novel is written in the third person but keeps the reader squarely in Bug’s head. THe historical setting is brought vividly to life, and social issues are part of the story, not in a didactic way but in a way that melds with the action and is unforced. THe climax is realistic and well done.

  7. Louie Lauer says

    Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood by Gary Paulsen. I was reminded once again of a brilliant storyteller and writer he was. I was instantly drawn in to this “origin story” and loved being able to make the connections between Paulsen’s own experience and his books.
    Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey by Erin Entrada Kelly. Early readers like this one have not always received attention by the Newbery committee. I believe that this one is expertly crafted and shows a similar level of skill as to the Kelly’s other titles.

  8. I’m still behind on my reading, but I’d like to suggest TROUBLED GIRLS OF DRAGOMIR ACADEMY by Anne Ursu. The characters, setting, and presentation of theme were excellent, in my opinion, and the whole package sucked me in.

  9. Carol Arlene Edwards says

    My two are:
    The Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga
    Mostly because the language felt fresh and new.
    Pity Party by Kathleen Lane
    This is the most distinctive entry. Solidly appealing and yet intricate enough to reward rereading.

  10. Courtney Hague says

    I think I missed the October nominations, but here are mine for November:

    1) ALONE by Megan E. Freeman — I think the verse structure of this novel works really well to keep the tension of an admittedly kind of boring situation (for the most part) high. This is an novel that would be near the upper end of the age range for Newbery consideration.

    2) PITY PARTY by Kathleen Lane – This book is just so unique in its structure and content.

  11. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says

    THE GENIUS UNDER THE TABLE. An easy call, since this is a top three book for me so far.
    THE RACONTEUR’S COMMONPLACE BOOK. This got one nomination the first round, so it’s tempting to let that be enough and add a newer title. And some of the comments on Heavy Medal make me wonder if this will go far. But if this was the real committee, I wouldn’t know how anyone feels about this book (except for the person who nominated it and would have shared the reasons for their support). And by adding my own written nomination, I would get the chance to point out the strengths that I think others might have overlooked. And I think this book might need an extra push…

  12. Rox Anne Close says

    JUST LIKE THAT by Gary Schmidt. In my opinion it checks all the Newbery boxes, especially strong characterization, setting, engaging plot and strong theme.

    THE GENIUS UNDER THE TABLE by Eugene Yelchin. Yelchin’s delivery is deceptively casual, full of dark humor and irony, yet shows the harshness of living in the USSR in the 1970s, without overwhelming the reader. The characters are well developed, and the setting and places are vividly descriptive.

  13. Sarah Stout says

    The Wolf’s Curse by Jessica Vitalis
    Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury

  14. Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera
    Unsettled by Reem Faruqi

  15. Harry Versus the First 100 Days of School by Emily Jenkins
    Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DeCamillo

  16. Like someone else who posted, I also missed October. Is it okay if I nominate 5?

    One Jar of Magic by Corey Ann Haydu
    Starfish by Lisa Fipps
    Red, White, and Whole by Rajani LaRocca
    The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera
    Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

  17. Kate Mccue-Day says

    My Two are:
    The Beatryce Prophecy
    Too Bright to See

  18. My nominations are:

  19. I missed October as well, so I’ve got a couple extra. I’m going to go with

  20. Rescue by Jennifer A. Nielsen

  21. Has anyone read Pony by RJ Palacio? Just watched a webinar about it and thought it sounded like a likely possibility? I have not read it myself so wondered…

  22. Laura Harrison says

    The Genius Under the Table by Eugene Yelchin
    The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo

  23. Pony by RJ Palacio received one nomination in October. Since it was only released on September 28, probably a lot of people have not been able to read it yet.

  24. Kate Mccue-Day says

    I read Pony and really loved it. It didn’t catch me right away but then all of a sudden I started absolutely loving it. It was one of my picks last time around. It is beautifully written.

  25. Amber and Clay
    Red, White, and Whole

  26. Matthew Bowers says

    Beatryce Prophecy by DiCamillo
    Survivor Tree by Colleen

  27. Ellen Peterson says

    1. Red white and whole. I think this book could totally win feels very much like a newbery. Almost picked it for October after further consideration decided to pick it for November.
    2. Ground Zero Was very riveting the whole way through. I listened to the audio which was great. Gave me a new perspective on 9/11 and Americas involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. Very relevant book to today’s current events.

  28. Lisa Cederbaum says

    My top two:

  29. Emily Mroczek-Bayci says

    OK I’m here:
    Milo Imagines the World by Matt de la Peña, ill. Christian Robinson (I couldn’t decide between this and Watercress for my picture book nomination last month)
    and We are still here by Sorell, Traci/ Lessac, Frane.. (haven’t talked about this a ton, but think it’s excellently done!!)

  30. 1. Unsettled by Reem Faruqi – as promised, though I’m glad that someone else nominated it as well
    2. The Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga – a favorite of mine which seems to need a boost in this round

  31. Leonard Kim says


    I’ve waited until the last day, because I was hoping to finish something that would be a new favorite rather than effectively nominating my 4th and 5th-place choices from earlier in the year. I had hopes for ONCE UPON A CAMEL, which reminds me stylistically of True Blue Scouts, which I loved. It is very good, but for whatever reason took longer to read than it should have. Same with SISTERS OF THE NEVERSEA which intellectually I also greatly admired while feeling it was bit of a chore.