September 21, 2017

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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 […]

The Best Man

We are heading towards picking our final list and I’m feeling the pressure.  There are just so many amazing books, and so little time!  So for today,  THE BEST MAN.  It came up in a couple of people’s lists, and I think it has a deserved place in our conversation. Richard Peck is pretty much the […]

Ms. Bixby’s Last Day

This blog may be as divided as our nation is when it comes to this book, but I gave MS. BIXBY’S LAST DAY a read and it just doesn’t rise to the top for me.   Don’t get me wrong, I like this book very much, but it doesn’t scream Newbery to me.  It is […]

When the Sea Turned to Silver

First, a confession.  I haven’t read the previous Grace Lin books in this series!  Unforgivable, maybe, but I think that makes it easier for me to try to read and evaluate her new novel without letting my feelings about her other work get in the way.  I don’t have to worry about it standing alone, about […]

PW’s Best Books of 2016

As the end of the year approaches, Best Of lists appear!  Publisher Weekly’s list came out today and it shares a lot of titles in common with this blog.  Their list is divided into Picture Books, Middle Grade, and Young Adult and books from any of these lists could potentially be Newbery contenders.  So, what’s not […]

Wolf Hollow

***SPOILER WARNING*** This review and subsequent comments are sure to spoil the ending of this book as well as various plot points throughout.  If you don’t like spoilers and haven’t read it yet, read it and then come back and join the discussion.   “The year I turned twelve, I learned how to lie.” This […]

Jason Reynolds and Comparing Author’s Works

Jason Reynolds has two books this year that I think are worth discussing.  Usually we talk about not comparing a book to an author’s previous work.  Well, in this case we absolutely can compare as they are both eligible titles and both quite wonderful. Of course, we still have to compare them to all of the […]

Ghosts

Let’s dig into GHOSTS a bit, as promised in my last post.  There is a lot to discuss here. First, let’s start with the easy stuff.  Did I like the book?  Yes.  I really liked the book.  Raina Telgemeier writes relatable, lovable characters.  The relationship between sisters Catrina and Maya feels so genuine that it is almost […]