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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

The “Early Six” and “Five Word Friday”

Our discussion of the best children’s books of 2020 leads up to a Mock Newbery discussion and vote, where the not-yet-formed Heavy Medal Award Committee (HMAC) chooses a winner from a list of 12-15 titles. The schedule for how we’ll get there appears in this post from late October. At this point, though, it’s time to develop the Heavy Medal Book List (HMBL). 

We can’t pick the final list yet. There are still more books we need to read and discuss, and of course we still need our December nominations.

Steven and I discussed the titles for the Early Six and factors we kept in mind were:

  • nominations from Heavy Medal readers.
  • rich discussion potential (and already on Heavy Medal)
  • buzz beyond this blog.
  • variety in forms of genre, format, age level, and uniqueness.

If you’re thinking you might volunteer for the HMAC, or want to take an active part in the discussions, this can give you a head start on your reading. (I tried to make all six picture book titles, but Steven said that defied the point). Without further ado, the 2022 Heavy Medal “Early Six” titles are:

We’ll continue to discuss more potential titles for the final list, and of course have fun too, starting with “Five Word Friday” where I attempt to describe the new November nominations in five word summaries. October Five Word Friday is here. Please let us know your guesses (or other five word summaries) in the comments.

  • hidden drawings and happy horrors
  • curse, chicken, or saving the family?
  • respecting and remembering past cruelties
  • discovering truth with a bit of haunts
  • using fears as a power
  • from here to there to everywhere
  • Life remembered before he says goodbye
  • Futuristic speculation while stories save
  • mystery, art, grief, and growing pains
  • the mammal views grief and life
  • wellbeing of unloveable, magical creatures
  • reimagine, rethink, reframe the universe
  • war & tragedy connects together
  • When you really are alone
  • sacrifice love, save the family
  • Throughout tragedy, strong roots prevail
  • Mission: save dad and the resistance

Have a good weekend everyone!

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. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says

    I’ll try a few alternate five word summaries (hoping I got Emily’s right):
    – Hidden drawings and happy horrors: Second-hand gum and ballet lessons.
    – Discovering truth with a bit of haunts: Finding eleven with ghostly help
    – Wellbeing of unloveable, magical creatures: Young activists fight for screechers

  2. Rox Anne Close says

    Mission: save dad and the resistance: RESCUE
    Throughout tragedy, strong roots prevail: SURVIVOR TREE
    Sacrifice love, save the family: BLOOD LIKE MAGIC
    When you really are alone: ALONE
    War & tragedy connects together: GROUND ZERO
    Wellbeing of unloveable, magical creatures: WILLODEEN
    Mystery, art, grief, and growing pains: MANY POINTS OF ME
    Life remembered before he says goodbye: GONE TO THE WOODS
    Hidden drawings and happy horrors: THE GENIUS UNDER THE TABLE
    Respecting and remembering past cruelties: WE ARE STILL HERE

    • Emily Mroczek says

      10 for 10 Rox Anne!!

    • Leonard Kim says

      Wait, I did read one more of these. Since Rox Anne already guessed Emily’s version for this book, I won’t put it alongside hers. Also I am going to cheat and claim my hyphenation is one word.

      Mixed-up files of Hank Rosenbloom

  3. *curse, chicken, or saving the family? – Cece Rios & Desert of Souls
    *from here to there to everywhere – Unsettled
    *Futuristic speculation while stories save – Last Cuentista
    *the mammal views grief and life – Wolf’s Curse
    *reimagine, rethink, reframe the universe – Milo Imagines the World
    *discovering truth with a bit of haunts – Almost There and Almost Not
    *using fears as a power – List of Unspeakable Fears
    *growing-up is hard work, perhaps – Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey

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