February 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Heavy Medal Mock Newbery Fifteen – 3rd Ballot Results

After a second round of discussion with additional clarification and examples from the books, our Heavy Medal Mock Newbery Fifteen cast their secret votes again. At this point, 10 out of the original 18 titles received votes.  Many members have shifted their choices so that we could potentially have a winner. Sharon, Steven, and I […]

2nd Ballot Results — Good Work!

The field has been further narrowed. The opinions have been weighed and considered. The votes are more concentrated. But… we still do not have a WINNER! The front runner is I’m Just No Good at Rhyming with SIX 1st Place Votes and total of 31 points. However, it still has not received the necessary EIGHT 1st Place Votes.  […]

2nd Ballot – In Progress…

This post will be updated once all our votes are in.  We’ve received nine out of fifteen as of 3:30 p.m. EST.
Stay tuned…

Presenting: The Heavy Medal Mock Newbery Fifteen

Heavy Medal Mock Newbery Fifteen members, thank you all so much for having read all the long listed titles and for volunteering to take part in the Heavy Medal Mock Newbery Committee!  Your ballot will be emailed to you tonight. When serving on the real Newbery committee, all members would know each other’s age/age range, […]

Heavy Medal Finalist – The War I Finally Won

Long List Title:  THE WAR I FINALLY WON (Titles on our long list will be included in our online conversation and balloting, alongside the short list titles.) As sequels go, The War I Finally Won stands alone quite nicely.  There are brand new characters, intensified situations, and different concerns that make this not just a rehash of the first book […]

Heavy Medal Finalist – Vincent and Theo

Short List Title: VINCENT AND THEO (Titles on our short list will be included in the live Mock Newbery in Oakland.) Vincent and Theo is not a book that I would casually pick up or leisurely read as entertainment.  It would have been the book that makes me slightly groan, “Oh, really? Now I MUST read it all the way […]

Calling the Newbery 15 (or more)!

Dear Readers of Heavy Medal, If you would have read all 18 of our long listed titles by February 1st, 2018, please comment below to register for an additional balloting poll that will closely mimic the Newbery Committee voting process. Here are the 18 titles to be voted on by the Heavy Medal Newbery 15 (the number […]

Heavy Medal Finalist: Loving vs. Virginia

Long List Title: LOVING VS VIRGINIA ( (Titles on our long list will be included in our online conversation and balloting, alongside the short list titles.) The book is subtitled: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case — a “documentary” “novel,” not a “verse novel” and not a nonfiction.  So, I read it […]

Heavy Medal Finalist: I’m Just No Good At Rhyming and Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups

Short List Title:  I’M JUST NO GOOD AT RHYMING AND OTHER NONSENSE FOR MISCHIEVOUS KIDS AND IMMATURE GROWN-UPS (Titles on our short list will be included in the live Mock Newbery in Oakland.) I often distrust the age-designation “For All Ages” on recommended book lists. For, no doubt, each book must have a target audience: by the author’s choices […]

Heavy Medal Finalist – Her Right Foot

Short List Title:  HER RIGHT FOOT (Titles on our short list will be included in the live Mock Newbery in Oakland.) In Steven’s previous post about this short listed title “The Message of Ms Liberty’s Foot,” the many strengths of this informative and inspirational picture book were mentioned.  I want to especially echo Steven’s assessment that […]

Let the Discussion Begin…Again…Soon!

Now that we are ready to discuss and compare the 18 Heavy Medal 2018 Mock Newbery candidates, it seems to be the optimal time to go over some basic meeting procedures and discussion guidelines. On Heavy Medal, bloggers and readers have the luxury of getting into detailed and sometimes lengthy explanation of our opinions. In the actual Newbery committee meeting, time […]

At Long Last — the 2018 Heavy Medal Long List for Balloting

Given that each year more than 3,000 children’s books eligible for the Newbery are published, each of the 70 titles receiving even a single nomination from the Heavy Medal readers already signifies certain distinctive qualities.  We thank you all for sharing with us what you have loved this year. After compiling reader nominations and considering discussion potentials, we […]

Alligators, Curses, A Swamp – Oh My!

In 19th century England, a fictional child reader asked, “and what is the use of a book without pictures or conversations?” In 20th century Taiwan, a non-fictional child reader pondered, “and what is the use of a book without magic or something completely made up?”  Indeed, when this Taiwanese young reader grew up and studied Children’s Literature in the United States, she […]

Jade & Patina: Two Admirable Young Women

One of our short listed titles this year is The Hate U Give, with a teenaged black protagonist attending a predominantly white school away from her own neighborhood.  At least two other titles in 2017 feature  similar situations.  Jason Reynolds’ Patina and Renée Watson’s Piecing Me Together (both received four starred reviews from major review journals.) If two or all three are nominated by […]

Refugee: the Undoubtedly Relevant, but Is It Distinguished?

In the comment section of Sharon’s YA? Why Not? (October 18th) post, some readers discussed the timeliness of titles and whether a book’s thematic relevance increases its winning chances.  Many considered the manual and emphasized that the committee members are not to make their decisions based on the chosen theme but how successful such theme is literarily presented. […]

The Glorious Ineligibles

Being on the Newbery Committee means devoting almost all your reading time (and time to do other things in the past) to the year’s output of American Children’s Books. I know that my husband definitely felt the impact of being a Newbery Committee Spouse. Evenings that were family times — watching TV together or playing […]

Music to the Mind and Salve to the Soul

Grief and complicated family relationships are treated with impeccable prose construction, musical sentences, and deep compassion by Rita Williams-Garcia. It is a love song to the Blues and a tribute to life’s “blues” as experienced by a young child so’s to become a wiser, deeper soul.  Williams-Garcia also offers a forensic examination of the failed relationship between a child and her father and its lingering effects. Yes, this story […]

Give Riordan a Chance? Popularity IS “Quality Presentation”

At the end of the Newbery Criteria document, there is a Note: “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.” (I have always wondered what propelled the addition of this particular statement to the Manual.) We […]

A Newbery Dream… in the Sky

This week, all three of us will be posting about titles that are probably considered “too old” to even dream about being nominated for, let alone winning, the Newbery. And yet, when a book features a godly dreamer, a citadel floating in the sky, and characters accomplishing the impossible, its contribution to the young reader’s […]

For All That’s Real and Fair(e): Two Outstanding MG GNs

As  the Newbery Committee manual dictates, the “committee is to make its decision primarily on the text” and “[o]ther components of a book, such as illustrations, overall design of the book, etc., may be considered when they make the book less effective.” In other words, good designs and fabulous illustrations that enhance the overall reading experience, theoretically, should not […]