The “Early Six”: Creating the list for our Mock Newbery Medal discussion
Our discussion of the best children’s books of 2020 is leading up to an eventual Mock-Newbery vote, where the not-yet-formed Heavy Medal Award Committee (HMAC) will choose a winner from a list of 12-15 titles. The schedule for how we’ll get there appears in this post from late October. At this point, though, it’s time to start developing that Heavy Medal Book List (HMBL).
We can’t pick the final list yet. There are still more books we need to read and discuss, including three Guest Blogger posts coming up soon. And we haven’t even done our December nominations yet! But we have discussed many worthy titles in the past few months. We built a list of suggestions from March through September. And have a compiled nominations list from the first two rounds. And I’m hoping there are other titles that folks are considering for the next round of nominations. From all that, we’ll make a list of six books that should definitely be on the final list. For those of you who are considering volunteering for the HMAC, that “Early 6” list can give you a good head start on the reading, since HMAC members will need to read all of the books on the full HMBL.
In past years, the HM bloggers have chosen those Early 6. Last year’s list is here. This year, though, it’s only me, so I’d love some help. Please share any thoughts you have about what titles clearly need to be on our list, and why. This isn’t really a ranked vote kind of thing, but rather a discussion about what should be on the Early 6 list and why. Some possible reasons to include a book:
- It has a lot of nominations from Heavy Medal readers.
- It’s generated especially rich discussion.
- It has a lot of buzz beyond this blog.
We’ll also want the Early 6 to have some variety in terms of:
- Genre: Fiction, nonfiction, and the genres within fiction, for example.
- Format: We’ll probably want at least one graphic novel.
- Age level: But we won’t include any short books, like picture books or early readers, on this first list. One reason for posting this list now is so people can get a good chunk of reading done, so we’ll wait until December to add any of the shorter stuff.
- Uniqueness: A book that stands out not only for quality, but for something that just sets it apart from the others.
Any titles can be put forward, including ones that haven’t been discussed much on HM yet (which allows me to make a pitch for EVERYTHING SAD IS UNTRUE). This won’t be a ranked vote kind of thing…we kind of have that already with the nominations to date. So we’re looking for good reasons why individual books should be “sure things” on a 2021 Mock Newbery list. Add your thoughts in the comments below. If there’s not a clear consensus, I’ll make the final decision based on the discussion and share the results in a week (November 23rd).
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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