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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
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It’s the FINAL BOOKLIST: Heavy Medal Mock Newbery List of 15

We discussed, we voted, we analyzed, we cried (well not quite)- but we narrowed it down and the Heavy Medal Booklist is now complete.

The 15 titles below will be discussed here on Heavy Medal, beginning on Monday, December 27th. We’ll do them in alphabetical order by title, but we don’t have a day-by-day schedule just yet. The Heavy Medal Award Committee will be announced soon and our live Zoom discussion will take place on Friday, January 21.

With apologies to all of the excellent books that didn’t make the list, here is the Heavy Medal Book List for 2022:

  • AMBER AND CLAY by Laura Amy Schlitz
  • FALLOUT by Steve Sheinkein
  • THE GENIUS UNDER THE TABLE by Eugene Yelchin
  • HARRY VS. THE FIRST 100 DAYS OF SCHOOL by Emily Jenkins
  • JUST LIKE THAT by Gary Schmidt
  • THE LAST CUENTISTA by Donna Barba Higuera
  • THE LEGEND OF AUNTIE PO by Shing Yin Khor
  • MILO IMAGINES THE WORLD by Matt de La Pena
  • OPHIE’S GHOSTS by Justina Ireland
  • PITY PARTY by Kathleen Lane
  • RED, WHITE, AND WHOLE by Rajani LaRocca
  • STARFISH by Lisa Fipps
  • TOO BRIGHT TO SEE by Kyle Lukoff
  • WATERCRESS by Andrea Wang

I look forward to discussing all these books in-depth in our quest to determine the Heavy Medal Mock Newbery Winner for 2022.

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. Emily Smith says

    True story: I teared up reading MILO IMAGINES THE WORLD to my Mock Newbery 4th- & 5th-graders. If I issued a heartstrings award, that one would win with flying colors!

  2. Excellent list! I, too, got teary-eyed with Milo Imagines the World. THe list is well-rounded and encompasses a broad and unique array of books. I’m excited to see which book is ultimately chosen for the mock Newbery.

  3. Colby Sharp says

    A lot of great books on this list!

  4. Rox Anne Close says

    Well rounded list of great books.

  5. Windy Hunter says

    Interesting list! I gave 3 of them 5 stars, 3 of them 2 stars, and 3 I haven’t gotten to read yet. The rest all got 4 stars. Maybe I need to reread those 2 star ones. I’m super sad A Place to Hang the Moon didn’t make the list. I’m kicking myself for not voting for it in the survey, as I thought Ground Zero needed more support. Oh well, my very top choice made the list so I am happy (Red, White, and Whole). I am looking forward to all the discussions!

    • Emily Mroczek-Bayci says

      Well now I want to know what your two star books are Windy!!

      • Windy K Hunter says

        The ones that I gave 2 stars were Pity Party, Too Bright to See, and Auntie Po. With Pity Party and Too Bright to See I cannot tell you why I gave them 2 stars. I read them a while ago, and I really do not remember anything about Too Bright to See. The only thing I remember about Pity Party was that it annoyed me, but I am not sure why. I’m hoping when we discuss these it will remind me and give me inspiration to reread them. For now, I feel like there are so many contenders that I haven’t read yet, so I am trying to get as much read before I start rereading. I just read Auntie Po and I tried to give it a chance, but I really struggle with most graphic novels for Newbery as I believe they typically do not have the sentence structure to bring them to a Newbery level. (Although I did love When Stats are Scattered because the story was so beautiful and authentic) Auntie Po, like most graphic novels, felt to choppy for me. Sorry, I feel bad for being so negative!!!

  6. I’m about halfway through Amber and Clay and really looking forward to discussing! I have So Many Thoughts.

  7. Julie Williams says

    While I liked Milo Imagines the World I don’t feel that the text stands alone without the pictures – especially at the end.

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