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 Newbery recognition. But of course we haven’t. Roxanne, Sharon, and I have chosen to highlight books that have caught our attention because of their high quality (as we see it) or the attention they’ve gotten from others (reviews, buzz, etc.). But we’ve all read books that we didn’t have time to highlight, or chose not to. And, speaking for myself, I have not read every book that I’d hoped to.
By my count we’ve written about 20 posts on single titles and covered another 20 or so in posts where we group more than one book in a related theme. So that’s 40+. Reader nominations have identified 60+ titles so far, with more to come for December, so we clearly left out many with strong support. And additional titles of interest have shown up in comments to posts. So there are a bunch of noteworthy books out there that we just haven’t had time or space to feature. And of course we have no idea at all what the real Committee has nominated.
Here are a few that I regret not getting to so far:
I read ME AND MARVIN GARDENS by Amy King fairly early in the year. It’s an intriguing first children’s novel (with three starred reviews) by one of the most interesting YA authors around (aka A. S. King). IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS by Karen English (four starred reviews) is a very strong historical fiction title, taking place during the Watts riots of 1965. I considered writing about SHORT by Holly Sloan early on (only one starred review), but chose WELL THAT WAS AWKWARD instead and never got back to it. And I worry that I haven’t looked hard enough at one prequel, THE PEARL THIEF by Elizabeth Wein (five stars), and one sequel, THICK AS THIEVES by Megan Whalen Turner (four stars).
Anything else that we’ve missed? Late publications, under-the-radar, small press titles? Others that haven’t been mentioned at all by readers or bloggers on Heavy Medal? Is there a book out there that has a chance to surprise everyone on February 12th when the awards are finally announced?
Filed under: Book Discussion
About Steven Engelfried
Steven Engelfried was the Library Services Manager at the Wilsonville Public Library in Oregon until he retired in 2022 after 35 years as a full-time librarian. He served on the 2010 Newbery committee, chaired the 2013 Newbery Committee, and also served on the 2002 Caldecott committee. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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