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March 2, 2015

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2016 Newbery Watchlist

2016 Newbery Watchlist

By this time of year, the YMAs have usually been announced and we’re signing off with some suggestions of what to read in the coming year.  So consider this an early version of that post (if you’re attending ALA make sure you grab these galleys), and then we’ll culminate with some responses to real Newbery […]

Online Winners!

Online Winners!

Here are the results.  We had 67 voters, and although BROWN GIRL DREAMING had less than a quarter of those first place votes, it still has almost double the next highest book.  It’s much closer on the point spread; it’s got 31 points more than the second book, and it has 31.  It’s our clear […]

Results for the San Diego Mock Newbery

Results for the San Diego Mock Newbery

I’m sorry for posting these results late, but here they are. We had seven participants, but only five voters so we had a much smaller group than Nina. We decided on co-winners and one honor book! Newbery Medal THE FAMILY ROMANOV and WEST OF THE MOON Newbery Honor BROWN GIRL DREAMING On our second ballot, […]

Online Mock Newbery

Online Mock Newbery

Okay, you know the drill by now.  I need your top three clearly labeled first, second, and third so that I can assign the correct point values (i.e. 1st=4 points, 2nd=3 points, 3rd=2 points).  You need to have your votes posted by the end of the day on Monday, January 19th and I will post […]

2014 Best Books Overlap

2014 Best Books Overlap

From the following review journals: Booklist, Bulletin, Horn Book, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal. Six lists— BROWN GIRL DREAMING THE FAMILY ROMANOV THIS ONE SUMMER Five lists— THE FARMER AND THE CLOWN FIREFLY JULY RAIN REIGN THE RIGHT WORD WEST OF THE MOON Four lists— BEYOND MAGENTA EL DEAFO GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE GLORY O’BRIEN’S […]

The Madman of Piney Woods

The Madman of Piney Woods

Our final book to reconsider is THE MADMAN OF PINEY WOODS.  The first time around Nina rightly noted that despite a leisurely pace, the storytelling elements–plot, character, setting–make this a worthy book to discuss.  We only had three comments, but they were all packed with good insights. Is this book too heavy-handed or didactic? Are […]

Brown Girl Dreaming

Brown Girl Dreaming

BROWN GIRL DREAMING has six starred reviews, presumably six best of the year lists (where are you Bulletin?), the National Book Award, and it’s placed the highest through our two rounds of unofficial nominations.  It’s a shoo-in for the Newbery Medal, right?  I’d like to think it has a very good chance.  Personally, I find […]

Crossover Redux

Crossover Redux

Josh Bell   is my name. But Filthy McNasty is my claim to fame. Folks call me that ‘cause my game’s acclaimed, so downright dirty, it’ll put you to shame. My hair is long, my height’s tall. See, I’m the next Kevin Durant, Lebron, and Chris Paul.   On our Top Five post, THE CROSSOVER […]

Top Seven

Top Seven

Because of the holidays, this is traditionally a slow week here at Heavy Medal.  And that makes it a perfect time for us to trade our final set of nominations, which is a thread that typically has a longer life.  The real committee trades three in October, two in November, and two in December–but since […]

Revolution Redux

Revolution Redux

First of all, you should know that I am simply not the audience for this book.  I find the plot too slow and the characters uninteresting, and the whole thing was kind of a slog to get through–and I always feel that way about Deborah Wiles’s books.  For me, the history in this story was […]

Transitional Chapter Books

Transitional Chapter Books

Since traditional chapter books have spot illustrations, and since some people might consider them picture books instead of illustrated books, I’m going to quote from some of the reviews and read your comments below about their literary merit. DORY FANTASMAGORY by Abby Hanlon Kirkus;  Often just on the edge of out of control, this inventive child […]

The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza

The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza

This is the only book on our shortlist that we have not previously discussed, and while that may have made it something of a surprise, it really shouldn’t have been: the book got five starred reviews and was a Kirkus Prize finalist.  This is the fifth and final book in the Joey Pigza series and […]

It’s a Small World After All (The Prose Edition)

It’s a Small World After All (The Prose Edition)

Cynthia Kadohata won the National Book Award last year for THE THING ABOUT LUCK, and she follows that up with another strong book.  Lightning didn’t strike twice, however.  She doesn’t have the most memorable character of the year; that honor would go to Gregory Maguire for Baba Yaga in EGG & SPOON. But it’s still […]

Top Five

Top Five

For the past several years, we’ve surveyed you about your “nominations” at various points in the fall, mirroring the process that the real committee follows.  We skipped October and are late here in November. The reason that I’ve dragged my heels here is that (a) for me, THE FAMILY ROMANOV and BROWN GIRL DREAMING remain […]

It’s a Small World After All (And in Verse, No Less!)

It’s a Small World After All (And in Verse, No Less!)

Over at Calling Caldecott, they recently took time out to consider international picture books that are ineligible.  We could probably do something similar here, as there seems to be quite a few translated books for middle grade and young adults: AS RED AS BLOOD, MARINA, NINE OPEN ARMS, VANGO, WHY WE TOOK THE CAR–not to […]

Looking Back: 2007

Looking Back: 2007

Last year, we began a retrospective series where we revisited the 2005 Newbery crop.  This year, we’re going to turn our attention to the 2007 Newbery picks. WHAT WON Susan Patron won for THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY.  You’ll remember there was a big fuss made in some quarters about the use of the word […]

Whither Fantasy?

Whither Fantasy?

If you’ve read the blog long enough, you probably know that when push comes to shove, I’m going to advocate for nonfiction and fantasy if there are viable contenders from those genres.  We’ve already covered the various possibilities in the former genre, and while Nina recently brought up EGG & SPOON as the most likely […]

Nonfiction Contenders

Nonfiction Contenders

If Nina and I have anointed THE PORT CHICAGO 50 and THE FAMILY ROMANOV as the most likely Newbery nonfiction candidates there is a bevy of wonderfully written books that may also get a look from the committee. ANGEL ISLAND by Russell Freedman has four starred reviews and while it dovetails nicely with the fourth […]

The Family Romanov

The Family Romanov

First of all, you need to know something about me as a reader to understand why I find this one quite possibly the most distinguished contribution of American literature for children this year.  I like biography, but it can often feel too claustrophobic for me to inhabit a single viewpoint with a very linear narrative […]

Spring Contenders

Spring Contenders

Earlier Nina asked us to glance ahead and talk about some of our Fall Favorites, but we’re not done with the spring season yet either.  What about this trio of contenders? ABSOLUTELY ALMOST by Lisa Graff I haven’t read this anywhere, but does anybody else get a slightly WONDER-ish vibe from this one?  New York […]