If you love middle grade books, join the club! The Mock Newbery Club, that is.
The real Newbery Medal is awarded annually by The Association for Library Service to Children, to the ‘…author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.’ However, many of us have our own ideas as to which was the year’s best children’s book and would love to have a say! For this reason, many libraries and bookstores have started Mock Newbery clubs, with their own lists of this year’s favorite books which they feel are Newbery-worthy. Participants read the books and vote at the end of the year. Sometimes their picks match up to the real Newbery picks and sometimes they don’t, but either way, it’s a great way to get students and adults alike excited about some terrific middle grade books.
If your library or school doesn’t have a Mock Newbery club, consider starting one. Otherwise, you can check out these online lists, read the books and make your own predictions! You may also want to read the official list of criteria the Newbery committee must adhere to before choosing your own ‘winners.’
(NOTE: Not ALL books on these lists are middle grade – some are YA. The Newbery Award criteria specifies the intended reader shall be ‘persons of ages up to and including fourteen’ which does cross into YA territory;)
A FEW OF THE MORE WELL-KNOWN MOCK NEWBERY CLUBS AND BLOGS
The Wake County (North Carolina) Public Library has a club consisting of 25 6th through 9th graders who ask to join the club early each year. Although members have already been selected for this year’s club, they encourage everyone to read what they are reading and post comments on their blog, the Eva Perry Mock Newbery Book Club.
The Allen County (Indiana) Public Library has a club for teachers, librarians and interested adults. You may join at any time and are welcome to sign up to vote in their mock Newbery election, December 11th!
For the “Heavy Medal” blog on Newbery picks click here.
State of Rhode Island Mock Newbery has a list and blog geared towards librarians
There’s a library blog called Newbery Visionaries
And a list for librarians on Early Word.
Anderson’s Bookshop also hosts a Mock Newbery award for it’s local school children. Though this year’s list does not appear to be up yet, check back here for when it becomes public.
Lastly, if you’d like to start your own Mock Newbery club, this post should get you started!
I, for one, have a lot of reading to do!
Written by Beverly Patt, who is thrilled that her own book, BEST FRIENDS FOREVER: A WWII SCRAPBOOK, is on the Allen County Mock Newbery list and shown here, far right, with fellow authors Fran Cannon Slayton and Ellen Jensen Abbott with 2009 Newbery winner Neil Gaiman!