Mock Newbery Favorites So Far: Take our “Beginning of the Year Check-In” Survey and join the discussion of current front-runners
As co-bloggers, Emily and I have never met, but we email regularly, talk on the phone now and then, and sometimes write posts together on a shared file. To start off our Heavy Medal Mock Newbery season, we wrote back and forth about the books we’ve read and the books we’re looking forward to reading. Please join us with your own thoughts in the comment section below, and also be sure to take our Beginning of the Year Check-In survey as well, where you can vote for your own early favorites by genre…the link is at the bottom of this post.
STEVEN: Now that we have a sizable list (85 titles!) of suggestions from Heavy Medal readers, it’s time to start identifying front-runners. Emily, I know you’ve read a ton of the suggested books already. Any favorites?
EMILY: I’ve definitely been enjoying everybody’s suggestions, but I will say there’s nothing I’m really advocating for or am convinced is a winner. AFRICAN TOWN by Irene Latham & Charles Waters is the book that’s stuck with me the most this year… but we’ll see what happens, the year is young.
STEVEN: I’m in that same place. Lot of books I’ve liked a lot this year, including some excellent fantasies and realistic fiction, but nothing stands above the rest so far. If I have to pick an early favorite it will be Pamela S. Turner’s HOW TO BUILD A HUMAN, an informative (and also funny) book about evolution.
EMILY: Steven, anything you’re looking forward to that is yet to be published?
STEVEN: Gail Carson Levine’s SPARROWS IN THE WIND (Oct 25 pub date) is one. I don’t always love Greek myth retellings, but we had a really good one last year (AMBER AND CLAY) and I’m curious to see what she does with the Trojan War. UNDERGROUND FIRE by Sally M. Walker (Oct 11) is the non-fiction one I’m especially eager for; not a happy story I know, but I bet she tells it in a fascinating way. I’d love to hear what fall titles Heavy Medal readers are hearing about. What’s on your coming-soon list, Emily?
EMILY: For coming soon, I’m all about the retellings! That’s my favorite sub genre! On a picture book standpoint GOLD by David Shannon, actually came out last week: King Midas by David Shannon? Cool! Also THE THREE BILLY GOATS GRUFF by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen (Oct 18). Then, the retelling of The Secret Garden… WITH ROBOTS?! I’m intrigued: that’s MOONGARDEN (Plotting the Stars, Vol. 1) by Michelle Barry (Nov 1).
STEVEN: Jon Scieszka’s THE REAL DADA MOTHER GOOSE (Oct 11) might be a good fit for your retellings list too.
EMILY: Definitely not on the retellings, Alan Gratz has a new one, TWO DEGREES (Oct 4), which looks promising? Oh my goodness I thought I was caught up with my reading…
STEVEN: Have you noticed any other particular trends from this year’s books? Last year it was ghosts in fiction, but that seems to have died and without coming back this year. How about pandemic fiction? It plays a big role in some 2022 titles (AIN’T BURNED ALL THE BRIGHT, NEW FROM HERE…) but also kind of looms in others: in an earlier comment, Leonard Kim noted that THE OGRESS AND THE ORPHANS and OSMO UNKNOWN can be seen as “fantasy born of pandemic-fueled feelings.”
EMILY: Interesting thoughts… definitely seeing the pandemic trend; there’s also one more, which I’m forgetting the name with the teenagers at the juvenile detention center…AT THE END OF EVERYTHING. Yep, that’s totally our trend. We’d love to hear everyone else’s thoughts in the comment and in our Beginning of Year Check-In Survey which will help us see what titles to highlight as we begin book discussions. Please fill out the survey by Thursday (we’ll share results Friday) and get ready for our first discussion post on Wednesday! #letsdothis
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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