Monday, January 2, 2017

2017 Newbery Predictions

The ALA awards will be handed out at the end of this month and the most popular among them, the Newbery and Caldecott Medals. I love making predictions!

To inform my predictions, I've studied the last seven years worth of Goodreads Mock Newbery lists, dating back to 2010. The Mock Newbery lists on Goodreads really informs my reading list each year because many of the contributors to the list are some of the most intelligent, voracious children's literature readers out there.

There was really no other reason to choose Goodreads to dive into, then because it's where I go often to get titles. To see what others are reading and suggesting. There is no correlation between the Goodreads lists and the actually Newbery committee within a given year. Every committee is different.

Having said that, I have noticed a few consistencies between the lists and the corresponding year's actual winners (Medal and Honors). For instance...

  • The top vote getter in a Goodreads mock list, has NEVER won the Newbery Medal. Ever.
  • In fact, in just two years (of the last seven), in 2016 and 2015, has the top vote getter in Goodreads even Honored (ECHO and BROWN GIRL DREAMING).  
  • This is misleading because of popular books like CATCHING FIRE and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, but never has the top rated book in the list won a Newbery Medal or Honor.
  • 2012 was the only year I studied where at least 2 Top 10 books from Goodreads wasn't a winner or Honor book. In 3 of the 7 years, at least 3 Top 10 books were recognized.
  • 6 times, a book just outside the Top 10 on Goodreads (11-16) has been recognized. 
  • Last year's LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET was ranked 66 on Goodreads Mock Newbery poll. As a picture book, I was impressed it was even on the list. Arguably, that wasn't the biggest upset. BREAKING STALIN'S NOSE in 2012 was 90th on the Goodreads list! And it received an Honor!
  • 29 books have been awarded in the last 7 years. 12 of them have come from the Top 5 of their year. 17 of 29 have come from the Top 10. 22 of 29 have come from the Top 15. 24 of 29 have come from the Top 20. Only 4 times out of 29 books, have outliers been rewarded. 
  • The numbers 2, 3, 5, and 11 are magic. That is, the books that are ranked those numbers on the Goodreads mock lists have medaled or honored three times! This year, that would be WOLF HOLLOW, RAYMIE NIGHTINGALE, GHOST, and SOME KIND OF COURAGE (Yay!)

If it looks like I'm stretching to find some correlation here, it's because I am! At least, it feels like I am. Some years, like 2015, were spot on. Three books (THE CROSSOVER, BROWN GIRL DREAMING, and EL DEAFO) were all in or near the top 5 in their Goodreads mock. 2014 saw the 3rd, 5th, and 6th ranked books recognized. 2010, in which WHEN YOU REACH ME was NOT the top vote getter in the Goodreads poll (CATCHING FIRE was), rewarded the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 11th Goodreads books. 

So I think it's pretty safe that 2-3 books sitting in the current Top 10 of the 2017 Mock Newbery list right now, will probably receive some Newbery recognition and if recent history has anything to say about it, my odds aren't on PAX (sadly, because I still love it). The current Top 10 on Goodreads are:
  1. PAX
  5. GHOST

I think it's pretty safe to assume that 3-5 books will be recognized. I'm going to go in the middle and pick one winner and 3 runner-ups. Of those 4 books, I think 3 of them will come from the current Top 10 on Goodreads and one wild card will come from outside the Top 10.

Here we go. My predictions. Not my favorites. Not the books I would necessarily choose, but the books I'm predicting will win. Drumroll.

Honor Book #1

By: Julie Fogliano

Currently sitting at #9 in Goodreads.

My reason for picking: Consensus building is often the key. I think this book will easily build consensus.

Honor Book #2:

By: Sara Pennypacker

Currently sitting at #1 in Goodreads.

My reason for picking: Beautiful writing.

Two years in a row, the #1 voted for book in Goodreads has received an Honor. Before that, zilch. I think PAX keeps up the trend but sadly, I find it being too divisive around the Newbery discussion table to win. The writing is too good to ignore though.

Honor Book #3:

By: Jason Reynolds

Currently sitting at #36 in Goodreads.

My reason for picking: Surprise! There's always some surprise in the picks. Sometimes it's in the winner. Sometimes it's in the Honors. Jason Reynolds has had a big year with TWO novels getting lots of buzz. GHOST seems to be getting most of the attention but I think AS BRAVE AS YOU will hold up better when being discussed.

And the Newbery Medal will go to...

By: Kate DiCamillo

Currently sitting at #3 in Goodreads.

My reason for picking: DiCamillo. Everyone loves DiCamillo. I wasn't the biggest fan of the novel, but her writing is as good as it's ever been and lots of others seem to love this. I think it could build consensus. This could be her third Medal, making history!

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