Heavy Medal Mock Newbery Winner: “New Kid”
After weeks of intense book discussion and four tightly contested ballots, the members of the Heavy Medal Committee have chosen a Mock Newbery winner: New Kid by Jerry Craft. The final ballot left us with two clear Honor books: Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga and Torpedoed by Deborah Heiligman.
Official Newbery rules require that the Medal book receives 8 first place votes and holds an 8 point lead over the second place title. From the results below, you can see that we did not reach that. New Kid does hold a nine point lead over the second place title, but only received three first place votes. I felt comfortable declaring New Kid the winner, however, for several reasons:
- The real Newbery is announced on Monday and we want to announce our winner and allow time for response before we get the big news.
- Our HMC Committee has committed a huge amount of time and effort this week. Not only writing and reading the extensive comments on the blog, but also balloting and re-balloting on short notice, while keeping up with my frequent emails filled with procedures and reminders.
- New Kid’s nine point lead in points is impressive, and part of a steady rise in points for the book over each ballot.
- While New Kid had just three 1st place votes, it also received six 2nd place votes. No other title had more than three. Future ballots would have required some members to move some 2nd place votes to 1st place, and it seems very likely that it would be those New Kid 2nd places that would move.
- New Kid received a vote from 11 of 13 voters on the final ballot. It has clear support and would be a book that nearly everyone in the group rates highly.
- The only book with more 1st place votes than New Kid was Torpedoed. However, Torpedoed dropped from six 1st places to four 1st places with this ballot, while New Kid gained three. It seemed likely that the 1st place support would continue to shift away from Torpedoed and towards New Kid.
- Also, we did just have 13 of our 15 voters on this last ballot, and we didn’t want the number to dip further.
It would have been interesting to watch the voting trends noted above play out with more ballots, but we just ran out of time. As chair of this mock-eleciton, I decided to make this call. Time was also a factor in the Honor Book decision. I had intended to let the HMC weigh in on the option of doing a re-vote of the remaining titles to select Honor books. But this announcement is happening later than I’d anticipated. And more importantly, the 4th ballot results clearly identify the books that merit Honors. There’s a big nine-point gap between the 3rd and 4th place book. Also, that 4th place book is closer in points to the 5th and 6th place books than it is to the top three. Here are the 4th ballot results:
|Ballot #4||1st (4 pts)||2nd (3 pts)||3rd (2 pts)||Total|
|Other Words for Home||2||3||4||25|
|Pay Attention Carter Jones||2||1||2||15|
|The Remarkable Journey…||0||0||4||8|
|Genesis Begins Again||2||0||0||8|
|Lalani of the Distant Sea||0||1||0||3|
That’s enough of the methodology (though questions or criticism about the process are welcome). We’re much more interested in what you all (HMC members and everyone else) have to say about the results and the discussion that led up to it. Please share in the comments below:
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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