Mock Newbery 2019

July 11

Are you ready to mock?

It's time to start taking a closer look at the children's books of 2018. Participating in the Mock Newbery is an opportunity to read the newest children’s books and to discuss them with other passionate readers. A letter certifying participation is available for those applying the Mock Newbery program towards professional development.

Program registration:

Mock Newbery webpage:

Please read at least 10 books for the first meeting. Books that have not been read by half the number of participants at the meeting will not be discussed and will be removed from subsequent lists.

Books that have already been discussed through the Goodreads group will not be added to Reading Lists #1 & #2, but may be added to Reading List #3 to be eligible for voting in January.

Reading List #1

      1. Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018)
      2. Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol. (First Second, 2018)
      3. Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead. (Feiwel & Friends, 2018)
      4. The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. (Greenwillow, 2018)
      5. Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam by Elizabeth Partridge. (Penguin Young Readers, 2018)
      6. Breakout by Kate Messner. (Bloomsbury, 2018)
      7. Chasing King’s Killer: The Hunt for Martin Luther King Jr.’s Assassin by James L. Swanson. (Scholastic, 2018)
      8. Checked by Cynthia Kadohata. (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 2018)
      9. Front Desk by Kelly Yang. (Scholastic, 2018)
      10. Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes. (Little, Brown, 2018)
      11. Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson. (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2018)
      12. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert. (Flatiron Books, 2018)
      13. A House that Once Was by Julie Fogliano. (Roaring Book Press, 2018)
      14. Just Like Jackie by Lindsey Stoddard. (HarperCollins, 2018)
      15. The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani. (Dial Books, 2018)
      16. Out of the Wild Night by Blue Balliett. (Scholastic, 2018)
      17. The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang. (First Second, 2018)
      18. Rebound by Kwame Alexander. (HMH Books, 2018)
      19. Sunny by Jason Reynolds. (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 2018)
      20. The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor. (Katherine Tegen Books, 2018)
      21. You Go First by Erin Entrada Kelly. (Greenwillow, 2018)

      Looking at the First List: Graphic Novels

      Checking out the first list and don't know where to start? Try a graphic novel/memoir!

      With Be Prepared, Vera Brosgol (2017 Caldecott Honor winner for Leave Me Alone!) has crafted a retelling of her own summer camp experiences that is both cringeworthy and laugh out loud funny.

      The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang (anyone else love In Real Life?) has been described on Goodreads by author Mackenzi Lee as "the anachronistic 19th century French fairytale meets Project Runway but with cross dressing and deconstruction of gender norms of my dreams."

      While not a graphic novel, Kate Messner's Breakout's mixed media format includes letters, newspaper clippings, text message and audio transcripts, comics, and poems that come together to tell the story of two inmates' escape from a town's maximum security prison.

      Another buzzy 2018 graphic novel not on our list is The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell, et al. Could this collaboration between 10 authors be medal worthy? Or perhaps the spare, early reader Peter & Ernesto: A Tale of Two Sloths by Graham Annable?

      Is it a stretch?

      While our idea of what a "typical" Newbery book looks like has been evolving (hello El Deafo and Last Stop on Market Street) the 2018 Newbery Honor books pushed us to really examine the award's age range as a picture book and two YA books took home the silver. The criteria states:

      A “contribution to American literature for children” shall be a book for which children are an intended potential audience. The book displays respect for children’s understandings, abilities, and appreciations. Children are defined as persons of ages up to and including fourteen, and books for this entire age range are to be considered.

      So if we're to cast our net a little further to think beyond the typical MG books that historically win, what pops out?

      Our first list includes the YA fairytale The Hazel Wood and the picture book A House that Once Was. Long shots? Maybe, but worth a look.

      Other 2018 books that stretch our understanding of the award's age range may include:

      The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian's Art Changed Science by Joyce Sidman

      They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki

      A Thousand Beginnings and Endings by Ellen Oh, et al.

      Hello old friend!

      2018 has been a great year for new releases from some of our favorites! We get to check in with our Track friends in Jason Reynold's Sunny and learn more about the Bell family in Kwame Alexander's Rebound. Jacqueline Woodson is back too, with the brilliant, beautiful, and heartrending Harbor Me. (A little spoiler: Jacqueline Woodson shows up in Breakout in one of the best homages!) Also on our first list are the latest books from Newbery winners Cynthia Kahohata and Erin Entrada Kelly. Will the 2019 awards recognize some familiar names?

      Also new or forthcoming from previous winners:

      Louisana's Way Home by Kate DiCamillo

      Copyboy by Vince Vawter

      Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories by Kelly Barnhill

      The Third Mushroom by Jennifer Holm

      Jazz Owls: A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots by Margarita Engle

      Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech

      The Boggart Fights Back by Susan Cooper

      Newbery Criteria

      The Newbery Medal is awarded annually to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children published in the United States during the preceding year. The Award is restricted to authors who are citizens or residents of the United States.

      1. In identifying "Distinguished Writing" in a book for children,

      a. Committee members need to consider the following:
      • Interpretation of the theme or concept
      • Presentation of information including accuracy, clarity, and organization
      • Development of a plot
      • Delineation of characters
      • Delineation of setting
      • Appropriateness of style

      Note: Because the literary qualities to be considered will vary depending on content, the committee need not expect to find excellence in each of the named elements. The book should, however, have distinguished qualities in all of the elements pertinent to it.

      b. Committee members must consider excellence of presentation for a child audience.

      2. Each book is to be considered as a contribution to American literature. The committee is to make its decision primarily on the text. Other components of a book, such as illustrations, overall design of the book, etc., may be considered when they make the book less effective.

      3. The book must be a self-contained entity, not dependent on other media (i.e., sound or film equipment) for its enjoyment.

      Note: The committee should keep in mind that the award is for literary quality and quality presentation for children. The award is not for didactic content or popularity.

      Adopted by the ALSC Board, January 1978. Revised, Midwinter 1987. Revised, Annual 2008.

      Mock Newbery Discussion #1

      Tuesday, Oct. 2nd, 4:30-6:15pm

      140 Sockanosset Cross Road

      Cranston, RI


      It's time to start taking a closer look at the children's books of 2018. Please read 10 of the 20 books on the discussion list for the first meeting. Participating in the Mock Newbery is an opportunity to read the newest children’s books and to discuss them with other passionate readers. Voting for a Rhode Island winner and honor books will take place on January 15, 2019 using the balloting procedures of the real committee.

      The first discussion list and information about future meetings will be available July 11 at

      Mock Newbery Discussion #2

      Tuesday, Dec. 4th, 4:30-6:15pm

      140 Sockanosset Cross Road

      Cranston, RI


      We’ll continue our discussion of the best children’s books of 2018. Please read at least half the books on the second discussion list. Voting for a Rhode Island winner and honor books will take place on January 15, 2019 using the balloting procedures of the real Newbery committee. The second discussion list will be available on October 9 at

      Mock Newbery Discussion #3 - Voting

      Tuesday, Jan. 15th 2019 at 4:30-6:15pm

      140 Sockanosset Cross Road

      Cranston, RI


      It’s time to vote for a Rhode Island Mock Newbery winner and honor books! Please read all the titles from the third reading list and come prepared to defend your top picks before we vote using the balloting procedures of the real Newbery committee. The third discussion list will be available on December 7 at