November 22, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Moving On Up: Princesses, Capers, and Crocodiles

What do you call these books in your library?  Here, in Oakland, we call them “Moving Up” books.  More advanced than easy readers, but not as sophisticated as chapter books.  Featuring lots of pictures, but integrating more complex language.  In any case – they don’t tend to get a lot of Newbery love.  There are […]

The Awards U Win

Indulge me a little bit with this one, friends, and follow me into this thought experiment.  Let’s pretend that the quick arguement I’m about to give in terms of age range of Newbery and this book fully convinces you that the book is eligible.  I’m open to arguements that it’s not, but I’d love to […]

The Awards U Win

Indulge me a little bit with this one, friends, and follow me into this thought experiment.  Let’s pretend that the quick arguement I’m about to give in terms of age range of Newbery and this book fully convinces you that the book is eligible.  I’m open to arguements that it’s not, but I’d love to […]

Sometimes a Tree isn’t Just a Tree

Katherine Applegate is the master of a certain kind of quiet novel.  I’ll resist comparisons to her previous Newbery winning title, though, and stick to just this book and this year.  WISHTREE whispers its message of tolerance and hope With such slight text, Applegate manages to make characters that are real, believable, flawed, and honest.  […]

YA? Why Not?

So, what about YA?  We talked about this quite a bit in the comments of our post about the National Book Award Longlist, which was heavily Young Adult.  It’s come up in other places too, including in one of our very first posts this year, about VINCENT AND THEO.  There are quite a few titles […]

Amina and Auma

I’ve been thinking a lot about didactic content recently.  As the Newbery Criteria states: The committee should keep in mind that the award is for literary quality and quality presentation for children. The award is not for didactic content or popularity. So, what do we do with books that are important and what counts as didactic […]

The First Rule of Middle Grade Fiction: Be Yourselves

The first rule of punk, according to Malú’s dad, is to be yourself – as if yourself is a single, easy-to-define, tangible something.   But when you’re in middle school, figuring out who you are is a lot more complicated than that.   The First Rule of Punk has starred reviews from Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, and School Library […]

Eye on the Prize: The National Book Award Longlist

The 2017 National Book Award longlist of nominees was announced this week, and the Young People’s Literature list is exciting!                             Elana K. Arnold, What Girls Are Made Of (Carolrhoda Lab / Lerner Publishing Group) Robin Benway, Far from the Tree (HarperTeen / HarperCollins Publishers) Samantha Mabry, All the Wind in the World (Algonquin Young Readers / Workman […]

The People We Were Before

Well, I told you I would surely be back and talking about grief, and here I am.  Just the title of this book spoke to me, personally, as I’ve thought a lot recently about the time before vs the time after in terms of my own grieving process and all the changes that death has […]

It’s September!

It’s September, and that means it’s time for Heavy Medal to get started up again, and we could not be more excited to be here.  Roxanne, Steven, and I have been hard at work behind the scenes talking and organizing and learning about each other and most of all READING AND READING AND READING. It’s […]

I’m Still Here, and I’m Not Alone

Happy July!  Can you even believe it’s already approaching the end of July?  Well, I’m interupting your regularly scheduled summer of ignoring this blog to give you a little bit of an update about what’s happening with us. As you know, Jonathan has moved on from Heavy Medal and we will miss him dearly.  I’m happy, […]

Results!

I’m up at 5am watching!  Did you watch, in person, or online? Honor Books:     Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk Winner: The Girl Who Drank the Moon by […]

Oakland Mock Newbery Results

What a nice day I had discussing this batch of outstanding books with this gang of outstanding people!  Thanks to all who came out and thanks, especially, to those who helped to organize.  Look at this awesome crew!  I’m really sorry I jumped right in front of Melissa and blocked her face as my self-timer […]

Pax, Wolf Hollow and When the Sea Turned Silver

Well, today is the Oakland Mock Newbery, and as I’m looking over my notes I’m thinking a lot about all of the books I’ve read this year, and particularly about the books on our shortlist.  It’s been awhile since we’ve talked about Pax, Wolf Hollow or When the Sea Turned Silver – not since before we settled […]

How does a book Win? Part 3: Balloting

So, we’ve nominated our books and we’ve discussed them and discussed them and discussed them. Now, it’s time to vote!  But how does that voting work?  And how does the Committee decide what books are honor books? Let’s start with our Newbery winner.  In order to be selected as the Newbery winner, a book must […]

How does a book Win? Part 2: Discussion

We finished off with nominations over in Part 1 of this series, and now we find ourselves at Part 2, the discussion.  This is the biggest piece of the puzzle of how a book wins.  Hours and hours (and hours and hours) of discussion.  All day and into the night for two days, until a […]

How does a book Win? Part 1: Nominations

I’m going to end this year with a post that gets a little bit into process.  I know this will be review for a lot of you, but it’s nice to talk about and a reminder is always good!  So, how does a winner get picked?  And what about honor books?  What has the committee […]

Juana & Lucas

  JUANA & LUCAS is pure delight.  I’m really excited to be able to discuss a heavily illustrated early chapter book that has lovely art, but certainly also has text worth consideration.  We didn’t find a graphic novel this year that we felt belonged on our shortlist, so for me this is the closest we get […]

Oakland Mock Newbery

Hi everyone!  I’m excited to announce that we have a date, time and location for the Oakland in-person Mock Newbery.  It will be on Sunday, January 15th at the Rockridge Branch of the Oakland Public Library.  We’ll meet from 12:30 until 5pm with discussion starting promptly at 1pm.  An Evite has been sent to past […]

Hour of the Bees

HOUR OF THE BEES has been mentioned a couple of times in our comments section, but hasn’t gotten as much love as maybe it should.  It is definitely a book that has stuck with me over the months and one I think is worthy of a bit of discussion. I really enjoyed the story within […]