Introducing: The Heavy Medal Award Committee
I am very pleased to introduce the members of the 2021 Heavy Medal Award Committee. The fourteen readers below will be spending the next few weeks immersed in some of the best children’s books of the year. They will introduce and discuss the fifteen titles on our Heavy Medal Book List (HMBL) here on this blog, beginning December 28th. The schedule of titles is here.
In addition, most will also participate in a live Mock Newbery Zoom discussion on Friday, January 22nd from 1:00 – 2:30 pm EST. Registration details will be announced soon. The group will discuss 5-6 most highly rated books from the list of fifteen, then vote to decide our Heavy Medal Mock Award Winner. Registrants will also vote for a winner in a separate poll.
It’s a lot to take on, and we are lucky to have this group!
I am an elementary school librarian at an independent school in Oklahoma City.
Dr. Anna L. Nielsen
I am the Youth Services Librarian (children and teens) at Wellfleet Public Library on Cape Cod. My PhD is in Library Science from UIUC – my specialty is children’s and YA lot and services. I came home because I missed the sea. This is a very exciting opportunity! I’ll be reading (read most already) the books anyway, so I would love a chance to talk about them with other folks who love this stuff. Thank you!
(She/Her) I am the Assistant Youth Services Coordinator at a small/mid-sized library system in South Central / Eastern Ohio, and have been working with children all of my adult life. I studied history in college, and I love reading (especially graphic novels!), hiking, horseback riding, singing, eating, and martial arts. I live with two cats, a bedraggled fern, and several stubborn succulents.
I’m a second-year MLIS student at the University of South Carolina. Just aced my Children’s Literature course, collect children’s books, and would LOVE to be part of this process!
I am an Elementary Library Media Specialist at Barack Obama Elementary in Richmond, Virginia. A former classroom teacher, I made the jump into the library world seven years ago and I have not looked back! I love being able to find the “just right” books for reluctant readers and learning about all of the incredible titles that are released every year. It makes me so happy to see increased diversity in the children’s book world, especially because it helps me find books that truly reflect the experiences of my students.
I’m an MLIS student at UPitt in their school library program. I hold a PhD in Canadian Studies, and I currently work in the Morgantown Public Library System in Morgantown WV.
I have been working with children in public libraries for almost 10 years and am currently a Youth Librarian in a large suburban library. I live with my librarian husband, three year old son, and two cats outside of St. Louis, MO.
I am a 5-12 Library Director at an Independent school in CT. I LOVE children’s fiction — and look forward to a vibrant discussion on these book titles. I have served on the YALSA non-fiction award committee (2020).
Emily Mroczek-Bayci is a children’s librarian at the Naperville Public Library. She is passionate about technology literacy and shared learning in cultural competency. Emily was on the 2019 Newbery Committee and never has less than 100 books checked out at once!
I am a certified English teacher for grades 7-12, and I am able to teach on a volunteer basis. I am also a motivational speaker and Indie author. My favorite genres to read are fantasy, mystery and historical fiction. I am a graduate of the Tennessee School for the Blind and Middle Tennessee State University. I reside in Lynchburg, Tennessee.
Nadia Salomon is a pre-published author. Her debut picture book, GOODNIGHT GANESHA, is due out in August of 2021 with Philomel. She writes picture book, middle-grade, and graphic novel manuscripts with themes of South Asian and Caribbean culture, STEM concepts, non-fiction, and humor. Nadia is an avid reader and calls her local library her second home. When she is not reading, she’s spinning yarn, learning to illustrate, and reviewing and recommending books on her socials. @nadiasnook on Twitter, @nadias.nook on IG
Sara Beth West
Sara Beth West is a writer and reviewer, usually found at sarabethwest.com, and now returning to school for a second graduate degree, this time in Information Sciences. She lives in Chattanooga with her family, dogs, and a cat who always, always, always thinks it is time for dinner.
Tamara DePasquale is the Department Head for Youth Services and the Assistant Director at the Eldredge Public Library in Chatham, Massachusetts where she has shared her passion for children’s and young adult literature for the last nineteen years. When she is not reading…well, she is always reading and cannot wait until her library reopens. She is a big fan of Heavy Medal and other blogs that provide insight into running her library’s three mock award discussion groups. She hopes to one day drive a bookmobile or work at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
I am a public librarian, with background in YA literature, but read widely across age ranges and genres, and MG is quickly becoming as widely read as YA for me. I was on the 2020 Printz Committee and one day hope to be on the Newbery. I am currently obtaining my MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, so I am used to analyzing and discussing literature. I have two cats and one dog, and when I’m not reading or writing, I am binge watching something on Netflix or playing Animal Crossing.
I’m a Library Media Tech for an elementary school in the Sacramento area.
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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