It’s Time to Nominate!
As part of our Mock Newbery process on Heavy Medal, we follow the real Committee’s practice of nominating the titles that we feel are most distinguished to this point. Newbery members must nominate a total of seven books: three in October, two in November, and two in December. Along with the titles, Committee members submit a written “justification” for each selection.
The Newbery Manual describes the functions of the nominations:
They serve as a focus for all suggestions made during the year.
The written justifications serve as preparation for oral discussion at Midwinter and provide practice in stating clearly and succinctly your ideas about books that seem distinguished.
Finally, they make each committee member aware of which books require their closest scrutiny and which they need to re-read. (29)
Committee members have been reading intensely for months, but except for a short “practice discussion” session at the ALA Conference in the summer, they do not talk about the books with other members until the final discussion sessions that occur during the Midwinter Conference. So making the nomination, and then seeing what others have nominated, can be very exciting. Reading the justifications helps you see what others have identified as distinguished qualities. Looking at the number of nominations per books can give some indication of the stronger contenders. That can be deceptive, though, especially in October, when members haven’t even read some Fall publications. It’s the Nominated books that will be on the table when the the Committee’s discussion begins at Midwinter.
On Heavy Medal, we’ll follow along with the real Committee in some, but not all ways. Here’s how we’ll do nominations, starting today with the October round:
- Select three titles for your October nomination. Committee members are required to name exactly three, and we’ll keep to that practice.
- You can also share a bit about why you chose any or all of your books…but that’s not required. Just listing the three titles is fine; adding some justification is also allowed.
- Enter your nominations in the comments below by Saturday, October 10th. I’ll total them up and share results on the 11th. The other nomination periods will start on the first Mondays of November and December.
- In December, we’ll announce the Heavy Medal Mock List: this is the list of titles that we’ll discuss and vote as part of the Mock Newbery process. That list won’t necessarily be a straight list of the books that have received the most nominations, but the nominations we get from readers will be a major factor in the selection.
We discussed some of the strategies involved in Committee nominations on HM a couple years ago, which you can read here. If you have any questions about the nomination process, either here on HM or within the real Newbery Committee, feel free to ask them in the comments. Nominations are now open….
About Steven Engelfried
Steven Engelfried was the Library Services Manager at the Wilsonville Public Library in Oregon until he retired 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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