Calling all Mock Newbery Enthusiasts: Join the 2023 Heavy Medal Award Committee
Do you love children’s literature? Is Heavy Medal bookmarked on your computer Do you dream of being on the Newbery Committee one day? If you answered yes to any of those questions, consider joining the 2023 Heavy Medal Award Committee!
After nearly a year of reading, months of discussion, and 68 strong nominations, it’s time to form the 2023 Heavy Medal Award Committee (HMAC).This committee is made up of volunteers who are serious about reading and critiquing Newbery eligible titles.
- Read the 12- 15 titles on the Heavy Medal Book List (HMBL). There are 6 titles at this point; the final list goes live on Wednesday, December 14th.
- Write an introduction blog post for at least one of the titles.
- Actively participate in online discussions of these books between January 2nd and January 20th.
- Select 5 books as the Heavy Medal Finalists in late-January.
- Participate in a live ZOOM discussion of the 5 Finalists on Friday, January 27th at 1 p.m. EST. finishing with a ballot to decide the Heavy Medal Award winner. This part is not required of all HMAC members (but we hope most take part). Similar to last year, School Library Journal hosts the Zoom discussion and the idea is to replicate the live committee discussions. This session will be open for interested viewers, unlike the actual committee.
Have questions? Here are at least some of the answers:
How many members are on the HMAC? We aim for 15. This year, there is a signup deadline (Friday December 16 at 5 p.m.) and will select members over the weekend. We hope to create a well-rounded and diverse committee.
Can I just read some of the books and post about those? No. Just like on the real Newbery Committee, we expect participants to read all 15 books and be prepared to discuss them online. If there’s a reason which will prevent you from reading one or two titles, though, such as access, please volunteer anyway and we’ll talk.
Do I have to post comments on the online discussions at certain times of the day? No. You can fit posts around your schedule. But you will need to find ways to discuss as many books as you can. The only “live” element is the Zoom discussion.
Can I volunteer for the HMAC if I’ve already done it in past years? Yes. Returnees are welcome and so are first-timers. We will keep your number of times on the committee in mind as we select members.
Can I still participate in discussions if I don’t volunteer for the HMAC? Yes. We invite all Heavy Medal readers to participate in the book discussion, even if you can’t commit to joining the Committee. Only HMAC members will participate in the actual balloting, though, which happens as part of the Zoom discussion. If you can’t make it, we’ll figure out a plan so you can still vote.
Am I able to vote for the winner if I’m not on the HMAC? Yes. In addition to the live balloting during the Zoom discussion, we will hold a separate Reader’s Poll, where anyone can cast a vote. That will happen around the same time as the Zoom discussion.
How will the HMAC choose the 5 finalists for the Zoom discussion? The HMAC members will decide upon the method, based on how the online discussion has gone. It may be possible to choose the 6, or most of the 6, by consensus. Polls may also be part of the process.
If I’m not on the HMAC, how do I watch and participate in the Zoom discussion? We’ll have a link to free sign-ups available soon.
How do I volunteer? Fill out this Heavy Medal Committee Volunteer Form by Friday, December 16 at 5 p.m. We’ll need some basic information to help us select a well rounded committee. We’ll send a request for a biography information and optional photos once committee members are finalized.
If you still have questions about the HMAC, feel free to ask them in the comments below. Or you can contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Thanks for your consideration and we are looking forward to creating our committee!
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About Emily Mroczek-Bayci
Emily Mroczek (Bayci) is a freelance children’s librarian in the Chicago suburbs. She served on the 2019 Newbery committee. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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