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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
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Reader-Character-Author Connections: Autiobiographical Possibilities for the Newbery Medal

Three excellent authors revisit events from their own childhoods, which include the complications of 8th grade in the 1980s, a young artist’s life in the USSR, and a combustible case of sibling rivalry. All three books could be worthy additions to this year’s Mock Newbery discussion.

Ghostly Appearances in the Newbery Conversation

2021 may be the year of the ghost in children’s literature. Several of the year’s best books prominently feature supernatural elements that are employed in highly original ways that lead to fresh explorations of racism, gender identity, self esteem and other topics that we don’t often play a part in ghost stories…though we might expect them in Newbery Medal contenders.

Nice, But Not For Newbery…or Are They?

In every Newbery year there are a handful of books that I thoroughly enjoy, yet don’t consider award-worthy. It’s possible that some or all of these deserve a closer look…

October Mock Newbery Nominations: Share your top three

It’s time to nominate! Select your top three children’s books of the year and add them to our October nominations list. The nominations list will reveal which books Heavy Medal readers support most strongly as Newbery Medal contenders. We’ll add to the list in November and December, but for now, submit your October three by October 9th.

War and Conflict in Fact and Fiction: FALLOUT and GROUND ZERO

FALLOUT traces the key events of the beginning of the Cold War with a wide cast of historical figures. GROUND ZERO presents two suspenseful fictional stories, one from 9/11/01 and the other in Afghanistan eighteen years later. Both titles have earned a place in our 2022 Mock Newbery discussion. Will either rise to the top?

HARRY, BILLY, and MARISOL: Can these early chapter books contend for the Newbery Medal?

Short chapter books don’t often fare well in the Newbery, but this year might be different. Here are three books for younger readers that may have all of the literary qualities required to emerge as the most distinguished children’s book of the year.

How are we doing? What are we missing?

59 books have been suggested so far and it’s no surprise that most titles are middle grade. Here we take a look at Heavy Medal suggestions by the numbers.

Standing Up to Bullies and Racism: three possible Newbery contenders

Join our Mock Newbery discussion as we look at three middle school novels explore themes of racism and bullying, utilizing a variety of forms including free verse, dual narratives, and an eclectic collection of short stories.

Sokrates, Leonardo, Greek Gods, and a Time-Traveling Cat: Historical Fiction Newbery Contenders

The Mock Newbery discussion begins with two unusual historical fiction novels whose characters include Sokrates, a time-traveling cat, the ghost of a young girl, Renaissance painters, and several Greek gods. Do AMBER AND CLAY and DA VINCI’S CAT have the qualities of true Newbery contenders?

Early Favorites: the Mock Newbery contenders we’re most excited about

As we start our Mock Newbery discussion on Heavy Medal, we have some early favorites we’re keeping an eye on. Let us know what you’re thinking about the top contenders so far.