Yesterday, thirteen of the smartest, most articulate, most passionate people in all of Northern California gathered at the Rockridge branch of the Oakland Public Library for the annual Mock Newbery. The discussion was stimulating, the snacks yummy, and the results surprising. I’m having a hard time making both the book covers and the ballot tables behave in this post, so I’m going very low tech with these results because I thought you’d want them in a more timely manner.
WINNER: AMELIA LOST by Candace Fleming
HONOR: A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness
HONOR: I BROKE MY TRUNK! by Mo Willems
Here’s how the voting went . . .
THE ADVENTURES OF SIR GAWAIN (1 2nd, 1 3rd = 5)
AMELIA LOST (5 1st, 4 2nd, 2 3rd = 36)
HEART & SOUL (no votes)
I BROKE MY TRUNK! (1 1st, 4 2nd, 4 3rd = 24)
A MONSTER CALLS (4 1st, 4 2nd, 2 3rd = 32)
THE MONEY WE’LL SAVE (no votes)
OKAY FOR NOW (1 1st, 1 3rd = 6)
THE PENDERWICKS AT POINT MOUETTE (1 1st, 3 3rd = 10)
THE TROUBLE WITH MAY AMELIA (1 1st = 4)
WONDERSTRUCK (no votes)
Clearly, three books dropped off with no votes, AMELIA and MONSTER found themselves in a two horse race with I BROKE MY TRUNK! in good position for an honor book.
THE ADVENTURES OF SIR GAWAIN (2 3rd = 5)
AMELIA LOST (6 1st, 4 2nd, 2 3rd = 40)
I BROKE MY TRUNK! (1 1st, 5 2nd, 4 3rd = 27)
A MONSTER CALLS (3 1st, 3 2nd, 4 3rd = 29)
OKAY FOR NOW (1 1st =4)
THE PENDERWICKS AT POINT MOUETTE (1 1st, 1 2nd, 1 3rd = 9)
THE TROUBLE WITH MAY AMELIA (1 1st =4)
While this is not true consensus because AMELIA needs another first place vote, we decided to do one more ballot to see if we could achieve it, but agreed that if it muddied rather than clarified the situation we would revert back to this as the winning ballot (something the real Newbery committee would never do, by the way).
THE ADVENTURES OF SIR GAWAIN (2 3rd =4)
AMELIA LOST (6 1st, 4 2nd, 3 3rd = 42)
I BROKE MY TRUNK! (1 1st, 4 2nd, 5 3rd = 26)
A MONSTER CALLS (6 1st, 2 2nd, 1 3rd = 32)
OKAY FOR NOW (no votes)
THE PENDERWICKS AT POINT MOUETTE (3 2nd, 1 3rd = 11)
THE TROUBLE WITH MAY AMELIA (no votes)
Now AMELIA and MONSTER both had six, but even with a seventh first place vote, MONSTER wouldn’t have had a seven point spread over AMELIA. Thus, we reverted to the second ballot, and declared our winners accordingly. We didn’t achieve true Newbery consensus and A MONSTER CALLS may have ultimately emerged as our winner. I also think if the votes hadn’t been so clustered around three titles from the outset that PENDERWICKS may have worked its way into a third honor slot. Lots of love for that book. OKAY FOR NOW is the other big surprise. We found it distinguished, but flawed, and struggled with how to evaluate it against something like AMELIA or MONSTER which didn’t seem to have any in our estimation.
I’m sure the participants may be contributing their thoughts and impressions throughout the next couple days. Feel free to weigh in with your own opinions and questions.
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About Jonathan Hunt
Jonathan Hunt is the Coordinator of Library Media Services at the San Diego County Office of Education. He served on the 2006 Newbery committee, and has also judged the Caldecott Medal, the Printz Award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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