Welcome to Heavy Medal, 2024 Edition
After compiling suggestions for the past six months, now is the time to finally start year 16 of Mock Newbery Discussions. Here’s a rough summary of what’s in store on this blog for the next five months:
About Heavy Medal
Heavy Medal was started by Nina Lindsay and Sharon McKellar in 2008. Every year since then, various bloggers and countless readers have engaged in in-depth discussions of the current year’s Newbery contenders. As much as possible, the process follows the process of the real Newbery Committee, though that can never be exactly replicated. This is my third year blogging and Steven’s seventh. We’ll share more about ourselves in a post this Friday.
We discuss dozens of 2023 books on this blog from our cumulated list of suggestions and we’ll include new titles as the fall progresses. Posts range in topics from set exercises or Newbery “ice breakers” to evaluations by categories, to general discussion. In efforts to mimic an actual Newbery Committee, we will build discussions around the official Newbery Terms and Criteria as much as possible.
You Asked, We Listened
Steven and I valued reading all the responses to our survey at the end of last year. We are trying to streamline our posts more, have more partner posts, surveys and a rough schedule (details below). Throughout the year if you have feedback or ideas, we would love to hear it.
Suggestions and Nominations
Since March of this year we’ve been collecting “suggestions” from Heavy Medal readers, resulting in a list of 86 possible Mock Newbery titles so far. This roughly mirrors the process followed by the real Newbery Committee. The actual committee continues with monthly suggestions but on Heavy Medal we transfer strictly to nominations.
The nominations process is crucial important in the real Committee’s work (and ours on Heavy Medal). 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.
This Years Features
After reading survey results, we have a few new features we are introducing this year. Fridays will have “Newbery exercises” encouraging you to answer a specific prompt about this years books, and on Wednesdays we will focus on specific categories (outlined below), Mondays are the “wildcard day.” The last Friday of each month we will feature surveys and results revisiting multiple decades of Newbery winners. Steven will introduce that and the first survey at the end of the month. We look forward to your comments and engagement.
We have a very casual e-mail list that features blog updates and alerts you when new surveys or nominations are posted. If you want to join in, please comment below.
Starting September 20, Each Wednesday we will feature a different category of books and focus our discussions on those books. Here are the categories in advance if you want to prioritize your reading:
September 20- Nonfiction
September 27- Graphic Novels
October 4- Poetry
October 11- Easy Reader/ Short Chapter Books
October 18- Picture Books
November 1- Almost YA (ages 13-14)
This was a LOT of information, so please let us know any and all questions. We welcome all the comments! Talk to you soon!
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 email@example.com.
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