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 poll here and would love your suggestions and comments.
Heavy Medal won’t return until September 2018, but the books will keep coming. Between now and then we plan to do a monthly Title Update post…no discussion, just a chance for you readers to let us know what’s on your radar and what you hope will be considered for discussion later in the fall. Look for those around the first of each month, starting in March.
For now, here’s a handful of titles that look like they should be worth keeping an eye out for. I’ve only read a few of the books below so far, but the rest are ones that I’m especially eager to read. What else should we all be on the lookout for?
THE HAZEL WOOD by Melissa Albert (January)
Multiple starred reviews already, plus a bunch of holds at my library PW calls it “a tantalizing tale of secret histories and magic.” I liked it less than others, and it could be too old for Newbery, but I can see its strengths and appeal.
THE JOURNEY OF LITTLE CHARLIE by Christopher Paul Curtis (January)
The Newbery Medal and two-time Honor winner’s latest involves the pursuit of a runaway slave. “A thought-provoking book from a master storyteller” according to SLJ.
LOVE by Matt de la Pena & Loren Long (January)
A new picture book by the last author to win a Newbery for a picture book. Kirkus says: “Timely, timeless, and utterly necessary.”
A SKY FULL OF STARS by Linda Williams Jackson (January)
Sequel to Midnight without a Moon, her debut novel that we discussed on Heavy Medal. Horn Book: “ an insightful historical novel.”
CHASING KING’S KILLER by James L. Swanson (January)
Swanson’s Chasing Lincoln’s Killer (2009) was excellent, but ineligible for Newbery because it was adapted from an adult book. This one’s all new, though. Kirkus calls it: “page-turning nonfiction that captures the tenor of the times with meticulous research and a trove of photographs.” I just finished this one and liked it a lot.
THE BOOK OF BOY by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (February)
A medieval adventure with a pilgrim, a hunchback boy, and some very cool plot twists. Kirkus says: “filled with charismatic characters, daring deeds, and more sinister duplicity than a certain serpent in the Garden of Eden.” I just finished it and it’s my early favorite.
BABY MONKEY, PRIVATE EYE by Brian Selznick & David Serlin (February)
PW describes it as “A nearly 200-page chapter book for emerging readers.” Kirkus says the authors “reinvent” the early reader. And it’s Brian Selznick. So yes, we need to see this.
THE GIRL WHO DREW BUTTERFLIES: HOW MARIA MERIAN’S ART CHANGED SCIENCE by Joyce Sidman (February)
The Newbery Honor winning poet presents a biography of a 17th century German naturalist. Booklist: “A vibrant, wonderfully rounded biography.”
THE WILD ROBOT ESCAPES by Peter Brown (March)
Sequel to an excellent and popular 2016 novel. Booklist calls it a “stellar sequel.”
IN THE PAST: FROM TRILOBITES TO DINOSAURS TO MAMMOTHS IN MORE THAN 500 MILLION YEARS by David Elliott (March)
Elliott’s Bull was one of my 2017 favorites, but too mature for Newbery according to most. This one’s has poetry about prehistoric life in picture book format, so we should be okay with age level (but could still face a words/pictures debate). Kirkus: “infused with humor and wonder.”
THE PARKER INHERITANCE by Varian Johnson (March)
Historical fiction mixed with mystery and modern times, by the author of The Great Greene Heist. SLJ: “Part historical fiction, part critical problem-solving exercise, part suspenseful mystery.”
REBOUND by Kwame Alexander (April)
A prequel about the father of the twins from The Crossover, which won the 2015 Newbery Medal.
YOU GO FIRST by Erin Entrada Kelly (April)
Friendship, problems, and online Scrabble, by the Newbery winning author of Hello, Universe. SLJ calls this one: “Heartfelt and hopeful.”
SUNNY by Jason Reynolds (April)
The third book in the “Track” series. The author just won a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor for Long Way Down. Patina was a long list finalist in last year’s Heavy Medal.
THE PENDERWICKS AT LAST by Jeanne Birdsall (May)
The fifth, and it sounds like the last, book in a consistently excellent series.
ON THE COME UP by Angie Thomas (June)
The Hate U Give was a short list finalist on Heavy Medal, and just won several awards: William Morris Award, Odyssey Award (audiobook), Printz Honor, and Coretta Scott King Honor. This isn’t a sequel, but takes place in the same neighborhood.
ECHO’S SISTER by Paul Mosier (August)
Mosier’s debut novel Train I Ride had some strong support on Heavy Medal, so his second book should be worth looking at.
THE DREAM OF AMERICA by Jacqueline Woodson (August)
The first middle grade novel in six years by four time Newbery Honor winner and current National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Plus she just won the Wilder Award!
Have you read any of these? What else are you looking forward to?
Filed under: Intro
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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