Heavy Medal’s 2023 Mock Newbery: A Look Ahead
Year 15 of Heavy Medal begins this week! We have been gathering title suggestions for our annual Mock Newbery blog since March, and now we shift gears. For the next five months, we’ll be looking very closely at dozens of books as we move towards the selection of the Heavy Medal Mock Newbery winner. Here’s a rough summary of what our blog season will look like:
About Heavy Medal
Every year the Heavy Medal bloggers and a large number of children’s book readers look at titles that are eligible for the Newbery Medal. In our “mock” version, we try to follow the process of the actual Newbery Committee where we can. Along with the book discussions and eventual selection of a winner, we also share background and some history about the Award.
About the Bloggers
This is my sixth year of blogging for Heavy Medal, and I’m joined again this year by Emily Mroczek. We’ll share a little more about ourselves in a separate post very soon.
We’ll discuss dozens of books on this blog in the next few months. Emily and I will typically introduce one or more titles in a post, then invite readers to share their own reactions. We cover many titles from our cumulated list of suggestions and we’ll include new titles as the fall progresses. Since we’re trying to replicate the work of an actual Newbery Committee, we will build discussions around the official Newbery Terms and Criteria as much as we can.
Suggestions and Nominations
Since March of this year we’ve been collecting “suggestions” from Heavy Medal readers, resulting in a list of 85 possible Mock Newbery titles so far. This roughly mirrors the process followed by the real Newbery Committee. They’ll continue with monthly suggestions through the end of the year, but here on this blog we’ll hold off on suggestions from this point forward.
We will, however, take up the “nominations” process that’s so important in the real Committee’s work. In October, November, and December we will invite readers to name their top seven titles of the year. We’ll use those nominations to help create our Heavy Medal Book List in mid-December.
Heavy Medal Award Committee
In early-mid December, we’ll form the Heavy Medal Award Committee. The HMAC is a group of volunteers who will read and discuss all of the books on our Book List. This group will lead online discussions of the titles over several weeks in January. We’ll share information on how to take part in the HMAC later in the fall.
Choosing the Mock Newbery Winner
We’ll select the Heavy Medal Mock Newbery winner in two ways: The HMAC will participate in a live Zoom event in which they discuss the finalists and vote for a winner following the official Newbery procedures. That same week, we’ll invite all readers to participate in an online poll to select a winner.
More Plans for the Year
At least once a month, Emily and I will step back from this year’s titles and discuss the Newbery Experience. We’ll share memories of our own Newbery years and also invite others to share thoughts, stories, and questions (as far as the confidentiality rules allow, at least).
All of this leads up to the always exciting announcement of the actual Newbery Medal, which takes place on January 30, 2023 in New Orleans!
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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