February 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

What to Watch for in 2018….Plus a Reader’s Poll

For this last post of the season, we’re looking ahead to next year’s Heavy Medal.  Some book possibilities are listed below, but we’re also interested in getting some feedback about this blog.  If you have a few minutes to share what you think, it will help us plan for next year.   We have a quick […]

And the Winner Is….

The Newbery Medal was  announced this morning!   We’ve posted the Newbery results here, and added any other awards won by books we’ve discussed on Heavy Medal in the comments below. Newbery Medal: HELLO UNIVERSE  Newbery Honor: LONG WAY DOWN Newbery Honor: PIECING ME TOGETHER Newbery Honor: CROWN: AN ODE TO THE FRESH CUT  (We didn’t feature this, […]

What’s Your Prediction?

We’ve spent the last several months discussing what we think SHOULD win Newbery recognition, and why.  For this post, let’s shift gears and talk about what we think actually WILL emerge as winners.  It’s not as easy as it looks. Though some of my predictions have won Honors over the years, I’m afraid that the […]

1st Ballot Results – Far from the End

The Heavy Medal 15 have cast their first ballots, and the results are below.  There is no winner at this point because a Medal winner needs to receive 8 first place votes (VINCENT AND THEO has 3) and the margin between 1st and 2nd place must be at least 8 (I’M JUST NO GOOD AT RHYMING leads […]

It’s Time to Vote

The announcement of the 2018 Newbery Medal is just 12 days away.  You can watch the announcements of all of the ALA Youth Media Awards on February 12th.  Meanwhile, here at Heavy Medal we have two separate mock-awards going on: As Roxanne announced yesterday, the Heavy Medal 15, consisting of 15 people who have read […]

Heavy Medal Finalist – Tumble & Blue

Long List Title:  TUMBLE & BLUE (Titles on our long list will be included in our online conversation and balloting, alongside the short list titles.) This is the last book we’ll be looking closely at before getting to our short list and long list balloting.  More about those processes is coming soon. TUMBLE & BLUE received […]

Heavy Medal Finalist: Wishtree

Short List Title: WISHTREE (Titles on our short list will be included in the live Mock Newbery in Oakland.) In Sharon’s earlier post on WISHTREE she writes:  “WISHTREE whispers its message of tolerance and hope.”  That sentence really captures the essence of this book.  The “whispering” is quite an accomplishment.  We have a lot of books […]

Heavy Medal Finalist – Beyond the Bright Sea

Long List Title:  BEYOND THE BRIGHT SEA (Titles on our long list will be included in our online conversation and balloting, alongside the short list titles.) Lauren Wolk’s BEYOND THE BRIGHT SEA seems to be one title that pops up almost every time I see or hear a list of likely Newbery contenders.  Not necessarily on […]

Heavy Medal Finalist – Real Friends

Short List Title:  REAL FRIENDS (Titles on our short list will be included in the live Mock Newbery in Oakland.) In our earlier discussion of REAL FRIENDS, I mentioned that I struggled to evaluate the book using Newbery criteria.  I was stuck on: “The committee is to make its decision primarily on the text.”  With my recent […]

Heavy Medal Finalist – Princess Cora and the Crocodile

Long List Title:  PRINCESS CORA AND THE CROCODILE ( (Titles on our long list will be included in our online conversation and balloting, alongside the short list titles.) PRINCESS CORA received three starred reviews and made one “Best Books of 2017” list (PW).  It’s been mentioned here on Heavy Medal, but not extensively.  I’m certainly glad to have […]

Heavy Medal Finalist – Refugee

Long List Title: REFUGEE (Titles on our long list will be included in our online conversation and balloting, alongside the short list titles.) Alan Gratz’s novel received six nominations on this blog, which puts in up near the leaders.  I find it especially strong in “presentation of themes.”  The three separate, but related stories all […]

Heavy Medal Finalist – The Hate U Give

Short List Title:  THE HATE U GIVE (Titles on our short list will be included in the live Mock Newbery in Oakland.) We started our posts on the Heavy Medal Short List and Long List titles on Wednesday; now we’ve decided to tweak the process a little bit.  Instead of discussing two books per post, we’re going to […]

What’s Missing?

The year’s almost over and the 2017 Heavy Medal has been going for three and a half months.   We’ll announce our “Long List” on Friday, which will include roughly 18 titles that we’ll use for our on-line voting in early February.  You’d think by now we’d have covered every book with a decent shot at […]

First Time a Charm?

In a comment from an earlier post, Genevieve said:  “I wish there was a Morris equivalent for children’s books.”  It’s an interesting idea.  YALSA started the Morris Award in 2009 to honor a “first time author writing for teens.”  ALSC doesn’t have a similar award at this point, and the Newbery Terms and Criteria tell […]

Disastrous Journey, but the Book’s Sure Good

BOUND BY ICE  by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace has a lot of qualities that I look for in narrative nonfiction.  It’s a highly absorbing survival story with lots of suspense.  The historical figures have distinct and engaging personalities.  And it’s a piece of history that most readers won’t know about already.  With a compelling true […]

So Much Nonfiction, So Little Time

I’ve thought about doing separate posts for some of these titles, and still may, but my list of nonfiction-books-I’d-really-like-to-discuss keeps getting longer.  So here’s sort of a catch-up post of a half-dozen titles (in Dewey Decimal order) that could be worthy of Newbery consideration: FAULT LINES IN THE CONSTITUTION:  THE FRAMERS, THEIR FIGHTS, AND THE FLAWS […]

Language and Length in The Glass Town Game

In THE GLASS TOWN GAME, four Bronte siblings (yes, those Brontes) travel to a magical world filled with characters and settings from the their own imaginative games.  I went back and forth on this book several times while I read it, and it shows in my thoughts below: The language is eloquent, imaginative, clever, often […]

November Nominations: Only Two This Time!

The real Newbery Committee members will submit two more Nominations in November.  They each select three books in October, then two each in November and December for a total of seven.  We collected nominations from 22 people in October, and the results are here.  Now it’s time to think about two for November. We’re also working […]

Novels in Verse: Two Out of Three Isn’t Bad

This week Roxanne and Sharon both introduced books for older readers with thoughtful arguments for why they should be considered possible Newbery contenders.  I’ll start this post on novels in verse with a title that falls clearly on the other side of the line for me.  David Elliott’s BULL is one of my favorite books […]

The Message of Ms. Liberty’s Foot

My county library system catalog lists 34 nonfiction books about the Statue of Liberty.  I think I’ve actually only read one (Lynn Curlee’s, which was excellent), but I’m pretty confident that none of them resembles HER RIGHT FOOT in terms of style, presentation of information, or interpretation of theme.  It starts out light and conversational:   […]