Reader’s Poll Mock Newbery Results
STARFISH makes a clean sweep of the three different Mock Newbery polls we’ve held here on Heavy Medal. Both the Heavy Medal Award Committee and the Viewers of our their live Zoom discussion on Friday selected Lisa Fipps’ novel from among our Final 5. Meanwhile nearly 150 ballots were cast in our Reader’s Poll, in which participants ranked their top three choices from among the 15 titles on our Heavy Medal Book List. Our final results:
Mock Newbery Winner
- STARFISH by Lisa Fipps
Mock Newbery Honor Books
- AMBER AND CLAY by Laura Amy Schlitz
- THE BEATRYCE PROPHECY by Kate DiCamillo
Selecting the Winner
We tabulated the ballots following the procedure of the real Newbery Committee:
- 4 points for each 1st place vote
- 3 points for each 2nd place vote
- 2 points for each 3rd place vote
The results provide a pretty good example of how that weighted scale can fall out:
STARFISH received 29 first place votes in the Reader’s Poll, just ahead of AMBER AND CLAY, which was ranked highest by 28 participants. However, STARFISH received more second and third place votes, resulting in a point total of 186. THE BEATRYCE PROPHECY actually topped the point total of AMBER AND CLAY because it appeared on more total ballots. AMBER had more first place votes (28 to 18) but only a combined 19 second and third place votes, compared to 38 for BEATRYCE.
The real Newbery procedures require that the Medal book receive half of the first place votes (which comes to 8 in the 15 member Committee). In our ballot, STARFISH received just under 20% of the total first place ballots. The procedures also state that the winning book “must have an 8 point lead over the book receiving the next highest number of points.” STARFISH did manage that, but that 8 points is calculated based on a Committee of 15…149 participants widely skews that requirement. For the purposes of this Reader’s Poll, though, STARFISH is a solid winner.
Selecting the Honor Books
The real Committee typically selects Honor Books in one of two ways:
- Look at the point distribution of the final vote and identify the strongest titles on that list. Or…
- Take the Medal book away and re-ballot for Honor Books.
The Newbery Manual (p 37) provides more details of how Honor Books may be selected (or may not be selected; choosing zero Honor Books is an option).
For our purposes with the Reader’s Poll, we use that first option rather than re-balloting. We selected these two Honors because there’s a fairly large gap in total points between AMBER AND CLAY (163) and the next highest totals: GENIUS UNDER THE TABLE and THE LAST CUENTISTA both had 129. One could make a case, though, that both CUENTISTA and GENIUS should also be Honor books because they match and almost match the 18 first place votes of BEATRYCE (GENIUS – 18; CUENTISTA – 15) as THE BEATRYCE PROPHECY – 18).
Other Titles with Strong Support
The Reader’s Poll also offered an option to name a book that wasn’t in our Final 15 as the Newbery choice. 30 titles were named, and five of those received multiple mentions:
- 4 votes: PONY by R. J. Palacio
- 3 votes: DA VINCI’S CAT by Catherine Murdock
- 3 votes: A PLACE TO HANG THE MOON by Kate Albus
- 3 votes: THE SHAPE OF THUNDER by Jasmine Warga
- 2 votes: AMARI AND THE NIGHT BROTHERS by B. B. Alston
- 2 votes: THE LION OF MARS by Jennifer Holm
Here are the full point totals for the Reader’s Poll:
|Title||1st place||2nd place||3rd place||Points|
|AMBER AND CLAY||28||13||6||163|
|THE BEATRYCE PROPHECY||18||21||17||169|
|THE GENIUS UNDER THE TABLE||18||13||9||129|
|HARRY VS. THE 1ST 100 DAYS OF SCHOOL||1||7||6||37|
|JUST LIKE THAT||11||18||8||114|
|THE LAST CUENTISTA||15||13||15||129|
|THE LEGEND OF AUNTIE PO||1||5||9||37|
|MILO IMAGINES THE WORLD||0||5||7||29|
|RED, WHITE, AND WHOLE||4||11||12||73|
|TOO BRIGHT TO SEE||9||8||12||84|
Thanks to everyone who participated in any or all of our polls. You can check the results of many other Mock Newbery elections around the country here on the ALSC Blog. And tomorrow we’ll finally find out who the actual Newbery winner is; the ALA Youth Media Awards webcast starts at 9:00 am EST on Monday.
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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