Monday, November 21, 2016

Heavy Medal Shortlist

This morning, Heavy Medal released their Mock Newbery shortlist. The list is:

  1. FULL OF BEANS by Jenni Holm
  2. GHOST by Jason Reynolds
  3. JUANA & LUCAS by Juana Medina
  4. PAX by Sara Pennypacker
  5. SAMURAI RISING by Pamela Turner
  6. SOME WRITER: THE STORY OF E.B. WHITE by Melissa Sweet
  9. WOLF HOLLOW by Lauren Wolk
I have read four of these titles (FULL OF BEANS, PAX, WHEN GREEN BECOMES TOMATOES, and WOLF HOLLOW). PAX remains my personal favorite but WOLF HOLLOW contains the best writing. I am still blown away by the poetry in WHEN GREEN BECOMES TOMATOES and find myself cheering that title on.

These Mock Newbery groups are great because you can really get a sense for how difficult it is to build consensus around a title. For that reason, I am betting that PAX falls. Its early hype has simmered and the discussion around it on Heavy Medal was surprisingly divisive. The initial conversation around SAMURAI RISING proved to illicit divisive feelings as well. Age appropriateness seemed to be an issue with WOLF HOLLOW

GHOST seems to be gaining hype among kidlit types online and everyone seems to love WHEN GREEN BECOMES TOMATOES. As a Jenni Holm fan, I'm excited for the conversation to begin on FULL OF BEANS because my initial instinct was that it was okay. Grace Lin always seems to have a fan base and I've read some positive thoughts about Melissa Sweet's E.B. White book. I haven't heard much about JUANA & LUCAS.

I would have loved to see Adam Gidwitz's THE INQUISITOR'S TALE or Kelly Barnhill's THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON make the list, but Jonathan noted that their long length makes it a challenge to include them on a list of this nature. 

For now, my money is on GHOST or WHEN GREEN BECOMES TOMATOES. 


  1. I'm still not sure where all the praise is coming for Ghost. I found the writing merely okay and the plot slightly contrived and uninteresting. I'm looking forward to your opinion once you read it. You have an excellent critical eye, and maybe you'll be able to convince me of something I'm just not seeing.

    If I were on the committee, When Green Becomes Tomatoes would get first place. I've never loved a volume of poetry as much as I love this one, and I think it'll be loved by all types of kids in the age range of the Newbery. I'd award my second choice to Wolf Hollow and my third choice to The Girl Who Drank the Moon (which I just finished this weekend and loved).

  2. I am about halfway through reading The Girl Who Drank the Moon. Wow! It's climbing my list fast! I'm obsessed with it actually...

    Great minds think alike!