February 19, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

And the (Other) Winner is…

Wow, everyone!  Two hundred and eighty of you voted in our General Heavy Medal poll, choosing your top 3 favorite titles from our long list.  I’m really so pleased to see so much participation! So, what won? THE WAR I FINALLY WON took first place, and is crowned the winner, with 104 votes! Remember that […]

Oakland Results

What a wonderful afternoon of book discussion with these amazing people!  I’m excited to do a little bit of a recap for you, and all of the participants have been encouraged to chime in in the comments to share their perspectives, points of view, and any parts of the discussion they think the world should […]

Heavy Medal Finalist – All’s Faire in Middle School

Long List Title:  ALL’S FAIRE IN MIDDLE SCHOOL (Titles on our long list will be included in our online conversation and balloting, alongside the short list titles.) I’ve been a strong supporter of ALL’S FAIRE IN MIDDLE SCHOOL from the start. I found the plot more compelling, emotionally, than that of REAL FRIENDS, our other […]

Heavy Medal Finalist – Orphan Island

Short List Title:  ORPHAN ISLAND (Titles on our short list will be included in the live Mock Newbery in Oakland.) There is maybe no more controversial title on our list, and I really look forward to the discussion of this title, here, and in person in Oakland.  For the purposes of this post, I’m going to […]

Heavy Medal Finalist – Patina

Long List Title:  PATINA It is easy to look at Patina and compare it to other books this year.  How does Patina, as a character, compare to Starr?  To Malu?  To Imogene or Shannon in our two graphic novels?  I’d love to hear readers thoughts on this. As for me, I think she is an incredibly strong and […]

Heavy Medal Finalist – Patina

Long List Title:  PATINA It is easy to look at Patina and compare it to other books this year.  How does Patina, as a character, compare to Starr?  To Malu?  To Imogene or Shannon in our two graphic novels?  I’d love to hear readers thoughts on this. As for me, I think she is an incredibly strong and […]

Heavy Medal Finalist – Hello, Universe

Short List Title:  HELLO, UNIVERSE (Titles on our short list will be included in the live Mock Newbery in Oakland.) Before I go any further, I just want to give everyone a heads-up that I am writing this from Australia, where I am visiting for a couple of weeks.  This just means that, depending on where […]

Heavy Medal Finalists – Clayton Byrd Goes Underground and The First Rule of Punk

As Roxanne explained yesterday, we are going to start discussing our final long list of titles in a way as similar as possible to the way the real Newbery Committee discusses titles.  This is a great time to compare books to each other, and is also an opportunity for everyone to express both the things […]

December Nominations

In December, the real committee submits two more nominations and this is crunch time.  It’s the committee’s last chance to nominate titles (unless things come out later in the year) and each member’s last chance to ensure that their choices are on the table for discussion. Here at Heavy Medal we did nominations in October […]

It’s Here! Announcing the Short List and Oakland’s Mock Newbery!

We are so excited to announce our short list today!  But before we get to that, let me tell you a little bit about our plans for this list and some of our plans for the blog for the rest of the Newbery season. This short list will be used in the Mock Newbery discussion […]

Picture Book Possibiities

We haven’t talked too much about picture books yet this year, and I wanted to check in and see where everyone was in terms of picture books with potential. After LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET took the gold, I think we are all thinking even more about the text in picture books and how it […]

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 […]