June 26, 2016

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Great Expectations

It’s been a banner year for nonfiction yet again.  Since we’ve been saying that every year for the past several years maybe it’s time to start speaking of a Golden Age of Nonfiction?  In any case, many of the most excellent titles this year are published for ages 12 and up, what many people would […]

Graphic Novels

Nina opened our running annual text vs. images conversation with THE MARVELS.  Last year, EL DEAFO made history by being the first graphic novel recognized by the Newbery committee.  Nina discussed it here and here, but my voice was noticeably absent as I was on the Caldecott committee; thus, we didn’t put it on our shortlist. […]

My Seneca Village

I know this book hasn’t published yet–November 1–but this is to serve notice that Nina and I are both extremely enamored of it, so much so that we have decided to put in on our shortlist despite the late publication date.  We encourage you to put your holds on the book, or better yet buy […]

The Hired Girl

I have always admired the work of Laura Amy Schlitz, but I have never been in love with it.  Until now.  Not only am I pulling for Newbery recognition for this one, I’d love to see it join THE HOUSE OF THE SCORPION and LIZZIE BRIGHT AND THE BUCKMINSTER BOY as only the third book […]

Listen, Slowly (and Carefully)

I typically read one book at a time, occasionally two books at a time, but when I read for an award committee, I feel the pressure to always be reading, and so I will often have three to four books going on at the same time, constantly picking up books and putting them down throughout […]

The Popcorn Astronauts

THE POPCORN ASTRONAUTS by Deborah Ruddell is an excellent poetry collection, definitely one of the best of the year, perhaps the best Newbery eligible collection, especially if we think of Marilyn Nelson’s MY SENECA VILLAGE as more of a narrative work of poetry. All of the poems in THE POPCORN ASTRONAUTS are about food, as the subtitle […]

Lost in the Sun

Lisa Graff appeared on our Newbery radar with the publication of A TANGLE OF KNOTS which was long listed for the National Book Award, then came another strong book with great reviews (ABSOLUTELY ALMOST), and now she delivers what is arguably her best novel to date, LOST IN THE SUN. I am not the ideal reader […]

Hey, Old Friends: Part 2

When I started my list of sequels this year, it grew so rapidly that I decided to focus on sequels of Newbery-winning books, but there are some other high profile sequels as well, and a couple of them have already creeped into our discussion. COMPLETELY CLEMENTINE by Sara Pennypacker . . . This is the […]

Hey, Old Friends

We know the odds of repeat Newbery recognition are slim (the percentage of repeat winners in the past 5 years ranges from 20%-50%) and the odds of repeating for a sequel are slimmer still–in fact, limited only to Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper, Robin McKinley, Cynthia Voigt, and Richard Peck.  And yet we cannot help but […]

George and the Question of Didactic Intent

Given our conversations so far, I think GEORGE is the perfect next book to discuss because (a) it is indeed serious work, and (b) it is also didactic (an issue we’ve been exploring in our discussion of ECHO). Now the Newbery Medal is expressly NOT given for didactic intent.  Throwing the D-word at a book, however, […]

Echo

What’s not to love about this book?  All the storytelling elements–plot, character, setting–are superb, while the elegant simplicity of the language belies the thematic depth that resonates on every page.  Seems like a Newbery Medal winner to me! The structure of this novel is ambitious, from the double stories that frame the three interior ones to […]

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 […]