Prediction Time: We share our picks for the Newbery Medal and other Youth Media Awards
Our Mock Newbery results will be revealed on Friday (sign up for the free live webcast here if you haven’t already). And the real Newbery, plus all of the other ALA media awards, are announced on Monday (here’s the link to watch live). But as of today… nobody knows anything. So it’s time for predictions. Emily and I will share our own thoughts and would love to hear what others are predicting.
Last year, neither one of our Newbery predictions came true: Emily had FARMHOUSE, mine was THE DOOR OF NO RETURN. The year before that was another miss for me: THE GENIUS UNDER THE TABLE. But Emily aced it: her picks were THE LAST CUENTISTA (Medal) and TOO BRIGHT TO SEE (Honor). So I’d better get something right this year….
HMAC Newbery Winner (16 HMAC members vote during live webcast; 5 books)
Emily: I went back and forth with this one. To be honest , I was surprised (but then it all made sense) by the final five. Now I’m thinking THE LOST YEAR with THE LABORS OF HERCULES BEAL and A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING as honor books.
Steven: For most of the year I thought this would be SIMON SORT OF SAYS…but it didn’t get enough support in the discussions and missed the Final 5. My guess now HERCULES BEAL, with LOST YEAR and THE SKULL for Honors.
Heavy Medal Zoom Viewers Poll Winner (Zoom viewers vote live during webcast; 5 books)
Emily: It’s interesting how this winner is often different from the Committee winner even though everybody is listening to the same comments. I’m going to go with THE LABORS OF HERCULES BEAL here with THE LOST YEAR as an honor.
Steven: I think/hope that this winner is strongly influenced by the live HMAC discussion. So I’m guessing that enough viewers will be surprised to learn how well a shorter book can fit the Newbery Criteria, and they’ll pick THE SKULL.
Heavy Medal Readers Poll Winner (Anyone can vote; here’s the link; 16 books)
Emily: Is it cheating if I look at who’s winning so far?
Steven: Yes.That is exactly what cheating is.
Emily: OK.. I promise, I didn’t cheat! I think our readers have been big SIMON SORT OF SAYS FANS so will stick to that. Then as honors THE LABORS OF HERCULES BEAL and THE LOST YEAR. Wait, I keep picking these three- I guess I’m just labeling them Heavy Medal favorites!
Steven: I’m going with SIMON too. And HERCULES for the Honor. They’ve just been so popular with HM readers from early in the year.
Emily: Ooo this is tough. I’ve been trying to grill my boss but she’s a brick wall. The biggest hint she told me is “they’re discussing books” and “the best books start with a letter.” Some help. I’m going to say Medal: THE LABORS OF HERCULES BEAL Honors: THE MANY ASSASSINATIONS OF SAMIR, MEXIKID, SIMON SORT OF SAYS, THE LOST YEAR
Steven: Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I’m predicting an off-year for regular old fiction. So I’m going with MEXIKID for the Medal, and THE MONA LISA VANISHES and THE SKULL as Honors. Then I’ll add one more straight fiction as an Honor: SIMON.
The One You Wish Would Win, But Probably Won’t
Emily: THE SUPERTEACHER PROJECT come on! AI, the future, time for Korman to finally win something. I’m waitinggggg and CHINESE MENU! That deserves some love!
Steven: I kind of want to see SUPERTEACHER win, just because it would make Emily so happy. But…no. For my own reading: It’s GATHER, for sure. I fear it won’t get enough broad support because it’s on the upper end of the age level…but just so well-written and original.
Books We Looked at on HM, but Might Win Another Award (Caldecott, Printz, Sibert, etc)
Emily: THE SKULL it better get glory! Geisel for sure. Maybe Caldecott? Printz too! ? (haha) I mean everyone’s saying they don’t know what age it’s for.. Just hand it all the medals!
Steven: I agree about THE SKULL. It’s so unique, it could get a bunch of awards, or get caught in between the cracks and get nothing. Let’s just run down the whole list of awards and see how many titles we discussed on HM could have a shot.
Steven: BIG does so much with illustrations and its themes, I’m picking it for the win. Even over two such amazing books as AN AMERICAN STORY and A WALK IN THE WOODS (my Honor picks)
Emily: AN AMERICAN STORY by Kwame Alexander Honors: A WALK IN THE WOODS, ONCE UPON A BOOK
Steven: GATHER…I hope it doesn’t get caught in between Prints and Newbery. My Honor pick is ENTER THE BODY…we didn’t discuss it on Heavy Medal, but I read it for the blog, and would have written about it if I thought it had any chance of slipping into the Newbery age-range…it doesn’t.
Emily: Clearly FOR LAMB by Lesa Cline-Ransome. I’m still thinking about that book. Honor: GONE WOLF because why not?! And STAR SPLITTER by Matthew Kirby.
Steven: THE MONA LISA VANISHES
Emily: IMPOSSIBLE ESCAPE! (really Steven you didn’t say that one?! Really!)
Steven: IMPOSSIBLE ESCAPE as a Sibert Honor for sure. And maybe MORE THAN A DREAM.
Emily: I’ll say it once, I’ll sat it again SKULL SKULL SKULL!
Steven: Emily, do you think maybe it should be THE SKULL? Me too.
Steven: I think we both have the same favorite here, too: MEXIKID?
Emily: MEXIKID for sure.
Emily: AN AMERICAN STORY
Steven: Yes, that seems so strong in this category. For older readers, I’m thinking GONE WOLF.
Steven: HENRY LIKE ALWAYS. Oh, maybe I should have put this one in for the Geisel too?
Emily: GOOD DIFFERENT
Steven: THE SONG OF US
Emily: I mean THE SONG OF US is the only title I can think of here….
Steven: Me too. Another reminder that maybe I didn’t read widely enough. But SONG is a really strong book.
Steven: YOU ARE HERE. We weren’t sure this meets the Newbery eligibility criteria, but this award is not an American Library Association one. The APALA criteria seem to allow for a many-authored work like this one.
Emily: Yes YOU ARE HERE, now I’m going to go back and add it to my above predictions. Because I can.
Steven: And I’ll add PARACHUTE KIDS as another strong contender.
Emily: I’ve got nothing. My apologies Sydney Taylor Committee, I hope you’re faring better in your decision process.
Steven: I also have no picks. Last year we discussed a bunch on HM: AVIVA VS. THE DYBBUK; ALIAS ANNA; BLACK BIRD, BLUE ROAD…is it just a different kind of publishing year, or did we just overlook some good books? I guess we’ll learn what we missed on Monday.
Steven: TWO TRIBES. Which could almost be a Sydney Taylor pick too, but probably won’t be.
Emily: TWO TRIBES. Also the only book that stuck with me in this category in 2023.
Steven: Since this is a biennial award, 2022 titles are also eligible. So maybe Joseph Bruchac’s VOICES OF THE PEOPLE from that year?
Emily: I probably say this in my final comments every year but I just love seeing all the books we talked about get recognized in different categories, but dang Steven having us predict for every category. You better not tally how well we did on these!!
Steven: The way I see it, the more predictions I make, the better chance I’ll have that at least one or two actually land. I might have added Emmy Award predictions too, if they didn’t just happen. But also, I love the build up during the live announcements. It’s very satisfying to see a book you looked at thinking Newbery receive another award. And then you wonder…could it get both? Emily and I will be watching live on Monday and will share our reactions on Heavy Medal that morning…
One thing I forgot to add: ALSC compiles Mock Election Results from all over and puts them on one handy page. You can see what other groups have selected in their Mock Newbery programs, as well as mock results for other rewards. So far there’s definitely no clear Mock Newbery consensus…
Now that we’ve shared way more predictions than we probably should have, let us know what you’re thinking. What do you think will win? What do you hope will win? We’d love your Newbery picks for sure, but (like us) feel free to speculate on any award….
Filed under: Heavy Medal Mock
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 email@example.com.
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