The Search for the 2021 Newbery Winner Begins
It seems like only yesterday that New Kid was announced as the first graphic novel to win the Newbery Medal. But, no, it was six weeks ago, and on Heavy Medal, that means it’s time to start gathering “Suggestions” from readers for the 2021 Mock-Newbery. We won’t begin to discuss books here until September, but the reading season is already in full swing. Following the practice of the actual Newbery Committee, we will call for Suggestions once a month from March through August and share compiled results as we go. This will give us a growing list of titles recommended by other readers. Some guidelines:
- Suggestions are books that might have a chance to contend for the Newbery. They don’t have to be perfect, best-book-of-year type titles, but can include books that could possibly be in that discussion.
- Suggestions must be eligible books. Eligibility is addressed in the Newbery Terms and Criteria. If you’re not sure if a book is eligible, go ahead and include it. We’ll make our best guess at eligibility later (and might be wrong: like we were with Undefeated, a 2020 Honor Book).
- For Suggestions, just include title and author. We’ll save descriptions and critical analysis until September.
- You can suggest up to 5 titles per month. Less is fine. The real Committee typically doesn’t have a Suggestions limit, but we’ll use one to make sure our list doesn’t get too long.
- Suggest only books that you’ve read or listened to. Sometimes you hear that a book is great or you know from the author that it’s something we should all read…but you still can’t suggest it until you’ve read it yourself.
- Suggestions should be books that are already published. If you read an advance copy, please hold off on suggesting until it’s actual release date. That keeps us roughly on the same time line.
- If a book you’ve read is already on the list, go ahead and include it. We’ll post an update every month listing titles and numbers of Suggestions. Those rankings aren’t necessarily that meaningful…they definitely favor early-year publications, for one thing. But it can be helpful to see what’s on the radar of multiple readers.
- We’ll keep each month’s Suggestions open for about a week.
If you have questions about the process, just ask below. And if you have any Suggestions to start us off, post below (title and author only, remember). We’ll take suggestions through the end of the day on Sunday, March 8th, then post the totals shortly after that.
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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