May 2, 2016

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The End

It’s been a privilege to co-blog with Nina these past several years at Heavy Medal.  I would like to think that we’ve elevated the conversation about the Newbery Medal on a national level, and that we have constantly pushed each other and our audience to consider what we mean by literary excellence. This past season, […]

2017 Newbery Reading List

The 2016 winners have been announced.  Hope you had time to catch your breath.  Let’s start reading again! FREEDOM ON CONGO SQUARE by Carole Boston Weatherford . . . Fresh on the heels of the first Newbery Medal picture book, I offer you this one to consider.  It’s got three starred reviews so far, and […]

The Last Stop on Market Street

CJ’s journey with his Nana is not just a simple bus ride; it is a multi-sensory experience through which he discovers that beautiful music, nature and people surround him.  CJ’s questions are familiar, and Nana answers him with gentle wisdom.  Right up until their arrival at the last stop on Market Street, Nana guides CJ […]

Everything Is Awesome!

Everything is awesome!  To find out–and discuss–just how awesome, check back here later in the morning . . . Link to live webcast is here.  

Also Truly Distinguished

From time to time, we have talked about the process for selecting honor books.  There is always great interest in why the number of honor books varies from year to year, and that was especially true this past year when the Newbery committee selected 2 honor books, while the Caldecott selected 6 honor books.  I’d […]

Online Mock Winners!

MEDAL                   HONOR                   HONOR                   HONOR                   Here is the point breakdown.  You can see that ECHO actually had more 1st place […]

Online Mock Newbery

Something weird happened.  Knowing I was going to be out of town during the holidays, I wrote my last couple of posts and scheduled them.  I wrote one about picture books, specifically THE SKUNK and IT’S ONLY STANLEY, that should have posted this morning.  Try as I might, I cannot figure out what happened to […]

Newbery Nonfiction

We’ve already discussed some nonfiction titles in depth already, namely our shortlisted titles MOST DANGEROUS, DROWNED CITY, and RHYTHM RIDE.  We also briefly discussed THE BOYS WHO CHALLENGED HITLER (although I think it’s worthier of an extended conversation). However, those are far from the only worthy nonfiction titles to consider this year.  The additional titles […]

The War That Saved My Life

If there’s any book that we’ve given short shrift to this past year, then perhaps it’s THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE, a popular favorite–it dominated our Top Five Tally and is ranked second on the Goodreads Poll–has also generated great buzz (three starred reviews translated into three best of the year lists), and just […]

San Diego Mock Winners!

We had a small turnout–just five people–but nevertheless managed a spirited and engaging discussion of our nine shortlisted titles. We also accomplished something I’ve never encountered in all my years of mock Newberys: We had a unanimous winner. All five people voted for ECHO with their 1st place vote. But it gets better! We were […]

Goodbye Stranger and Rhythm Ride

Okay, here’s a second look at our last pair . . . GOODBYE STRANGER When I read all the overwritten books that got published this past year–and they are legion!–I just wanted to make GOODBYE STRANGER required reading for their authors.  Stead uses a minimum amount of description, allowing the dialogue to carry plot and […]

Mock Newbery Update

While Nina and I announced the dates for our respective Mock Newberys, we didn’t give you the additional details. The San Diego County County Library and the San Diego County Office of Education are co-sponsoring mine.  It will be held on Wednesday, December 16 at 6:30 pm in the evening at Miguel’s Cocina (10514 Craftsman […]

Seneca Village Redux

Am I the only person that dreams my dreams? Does anybody else on this planet think my thoughts? Are my ideas like darting lights I’ve caught? Is my mind a net sieving through thought-filled streams? I know when we first posted about this book it was a bit under the radar.  It had a couple […]

Crazy About Gone Crazy

UNPACKING THE BAGGAGE As you well know, if you’ve followed this blog long enough, I am an unabashed plot-driven reader.  I most enjoy those types of books where the plot drives the action of the book and where I can anticipate the events to come.  For example, even before I picked up HARRY POTTER AND […]

Orbiting Jupiter

Then Pastor Ballou prayed again, and he said that Joseph had put himself in danger to save others, and then he said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend.” And that’s when I started crying.  Crying like a kindergarten kid in front of everyone.  Crying […]

What’s Wrong With the Printz?

Debbie Reese recently noted that ALSC had added language in support of diversity to their committee manuals, but YALSA has had that language in the Policies and Procedures since the inception of the Printz Award: “Librarianship focuses on individuals, in all their diversity, and that focus is a fundamental value of the Young Adult Library […]

Curse of the Three Star Book, Part 2

On Friday, we talked about a pair of three star books that I’ve read.  Here are a whole heap–seven!–that have either languished in my to-be-read-pile or I’ve started them but not finished them (not for lack of interest, but lack of time).  So I present them here, leaning on the reviews to provide some insights […]

Curse of the Three Star Book, Part 1

We don’t necessarily create our shortlist with the intention of predicting the winners, but it’s nice when that works out.  I’ve noticed that we’ve been especially prone to missing or underestimating the winner if the book has three starred reviews.  We missed MOON OVER MMANIFESTANIFEST and DEAD END IN NORVELT entirely and while THE ONE […]

Top Five

In the past couple years we’ve checked in with our readers at various points in the year to see what they would nominate.  Due to the shorter timetable this year–the YMAs are on January 11th–we’re consolidating those into a single post.  I’ll go first.  In alphabetical order . . . DROWNED CITY ECHO THE HIRED […]

Shortlist!

After much reading and deliberation, Nina and I have decided on the following nine–nine!–titles: DROWNED CITY . . .             ECHO . . .             GONE CRAZY IN ALABAMA . . .             GOODBYE STRANGER . . .     […]