Current Mock Newbery Nomination Result and a Brief Discussion of DiCamillo, Henkes, and Reynolds
Newbery Committee guidelines dictates that once a book is officially nominated, even if it’s a single nomination from just one of the 15 members, it must be read by all members and placed on the “discussion table” in January. Last week, 49 readers (thank you all) nominated total of 46 titles. I did some math and discovered that every 3 (3.2 rounded down) Heavy Medal nominations would equal 1 Newbery nomination (roughly 1/15 of total readers who participated in the Heavy Medal nominations process) and to be considered viable for . Those that meet this criterium are listed below — with a link for a detailed tally sheet for all the titles and the number breakdown.
|Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise||11|
|Queen of the Sea||10|
|Pay Attention, Carter Jones||8|
|Lalani of the Distant Sea||7|
|Sal and Gabi Break the Universe||6|
|Other Words for Home||5|
|Genesis Begins Again||4|
|Place to Belong, A||4|
|This Promise of Change||4|
|Beverly, Right Here||3|
|Bridge Home, The||3|
|Look Both Ways||3|
|Planet Earth is Blue||3|
|Sweeping Up the Heart||3|
Please click on this link if you’re curious about all the titles and the # of nominations each received: Detailed Tally Sheet.
Out of the five 3-nomination titles, three are from previous Newbery honorees: Beverly, Right Here (DiCamillo,) Look Both Ways (Reynolds,) and Sweeping Up the Heart (Henkes.) Perhaps you have not felt compelled to nominate any of them. Perhaps you have not even read them because you’re busy discovering new authors and new voices. If you’re on the Newbery Committee, seeing these titles nominated by a fellow committee member would mean that you must now carefully examine or re-examine them for merits and reasons that excite other readers.
All three books are relatively short – 196 to 256 pages. All three authors are masterful in constructing sentences with distinctive cadence and fine-tuned imagery. The flavors are different, but each begs to be savored.
All are realistic fiction and all the main characters interact with the adults around them. Beverly and Amelia both have inadequate parents. Both discover more reliable adults and friends their own age who help them cope with sorrowful circumstances. On the other hand, the many adults in the ten middle school student stories: teachers, parents, grandparents, a janitor, and a crossing guard, are responsible, caring, supportive, or endearing.
Thematically, DiCamillo and Henkes explore parental failings, while Reynolds presents reliable and healthy adult-child relationships. How successful each author presents their adult characters would be one of several aspects be investigated and debated.
Of course, whether readers would feel strong connections to the main characters would also be explored by the Committee members. By nature, it is harder for readers to fully invest in short story characters: since each story presents mere snippets of the characters’ experiences. Reynolds, however, manages to give us vividly memorable portraits: The Low Cuts and their elaborate scheme to bring joy to a friend’s gravely ill mother; Bryson, who defends his friend against the rumor mill; Cynthia and her stand-up comedy routines and loving relationship with her grandfather, just to name three.
Short stories that are only loosely connected to each other seldom garnered Newbery recognition — will Look Both Ways defy history? It is, after all, short-listed for the National Book Award!
Both Beverly, Right Here and Look Both Ways are fall publications and might not have made their way to many readers’ hands by our October nomination deadline. Will more nominations come through for them in the November nomination round (11/14 to 11/20)? If you have read them, please comment and let us and others know your opinions and whether to place them in the serious contenders pool!
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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