Early Heavy Medal Mock Newbery Picks and September Suggestions
We are so excited to be able to offer even more perspectives this year here at Heavy Medal! Annisha, welcome welcome welcome!
Roxanne: Now that we’ve had been reading the many reader suggestions (more than 60 titles!), perhaps we could each pick 2 or 3 that we would love to see advance far in the 2020 HM Mock Newbery roster? Steven, do you have some top picks and why are they your top choices?
Steven: This has been a fascinating year because so far I haven’t read a book that reaches that “most distinguished” level we’re looking for. NEW KID is very strong in terms of plot, themes, and character…it’s just that process of evaluating the text in a graphic novel that continues to challenge me. When I re-read I hope to pay more attention to that without getting so caught up in the story. QUEEN OF THE SEA will also require another read with a notepad and the Newbery Criteria handy. A PLACE TO BELONG is my top novel so far: strong narrative voice and unique characters in a historical setting that will be new to most readers. Usually I have a handful of top nonfiction picks by now, but nothing really stands out so far. Is that just me?
Roxanne: Steven, I hear you. And agree with you that NEW KID and QUEEN OF THE SEA (both Graphic Novels) are strong — and to me, it’s not difficult to consider them distinguished: both have successful character development, clear and multi-layered theme, vivid delineation of setting, etc. I am about to read BEST FRIENDS (sequel to REAL FRIENDS) by Shannon Hale to see if I am going to champion for it again! For non-Graphic Novel titles, the ones that are most memorable for the first half of 2019 are: THIS PROMISE OF CHANGE, LINE TENDER, and HOW HIGH THE MOON, the last being probably my current top pick for the Heavy Medal Award. I eagerly anticipate much discussion around the use of multiple voices and the dark historical event lurking through the story.
Roxanne: Annisha, you?
Annisha: It’s never easy after you have read so many books to select titles as Steven mentioned that reaches “most distinguished” level. With that being said, there are some books that I may not have considered as one of my picks until I re-read it. On my second reading, I made the decision to select THE REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF COYOTE SUNRISE. First, this book has so much heart and soul. Eccentric characters, a strong narrative voice and a genuine coming of age story that deals with grief, love and friendship. GENESIS BEGINS AGAIN deals with many issues and one that is rarely discussed in children’s literature. It is a moving, extremely powerful story that continues to stay with me. I will second Roxanne’s pick and also add HOW HIGH THE MOON. This book is one of those under the radar gems.
Heavy Medal readers, do you agree with our personal picks at this early stage? What are your top 2 or 3 titles? And what are some new titles that everyone should pay attention to? Please let us know — and keep those suggestions coming!
About Roxanne Hsu Feldman
Roxanne Hsu Feldman is the Middle School (4th to 8th grade) Librarian at the Dalton School in New York City. She served on the 2002 and 2013 Newbery Committees. Roxanne was also a member of 2008-2009 Notable Books for Children, 2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults, and the 2017 Odyssey Award Committees. In 2016 Roxanne was one of the three judges for the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards. You can reach her at at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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