Dead End in Norvelt, predicting Newbery, Mock Newbery, predicting Caldecott

Predicting 2011 Caldecott and Newbery Winners

Picking 2011 Newbery and Caldecott Winners

I think Fuse #8  Production is one of the best children’s lit blogs around. Her predictions for Caldecott and Newbery Winners is usually dead on and I use her list to buy Christmas and birthday books for my kids because the timing of the actual awards comes in early January which is not perfect timing for the holiday season gift buying. Last year based on her list, I bought my oldest a stack of chapter books from her list, and my youngest, a stack of picture books. These are the chapter books my (at the time) 5th grade daughter LOVED:

These she did not care for but I read them and thought they were great:

The reasons were myriad. One Crazy Summer (she doesn’t tend to like historical fiction), As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth (too boyish; saving for my son), Countdown (historical fiction the issue again), The Dreamer (she read most of it but it was so sad), and The Heart of a Samurai (sadly, I do not know a single kid interested in Feudal Japan).

Finally, Newbery Winner When You Reach Me was terrific for me but for my 5th grade daughter, the plot was confusing and she did not have the patience to wait for the plot to sort out the space/time continuum time travel aspect which took nearly the entire book to resolve. When it comes to Newbery books, these are books that are wonderful true, but getting them into the right hands of a child is another story! And they tend to skew on the older side of Middle Grade Fiction which is a shame because quality books for grades 2-4 are desperately needed.

For my (at the time) 6-year-old son, I bought him these picture books:

The first two books I bought on my then new Color Nook. How Rocket Learned to Read is great on the Nook but we either got a bum download for Flora’s Very Windy Day or it’s just not really well done for the Nook. The pages are spreads on the Nook which makes the words too small to actually read. When I am very lazy, I let the author Tad Hills read the book to my son as there is a “Read to Me” button. Art and Max is a huge hit and I need to buy all of David Weisner’s books for my kids.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee is a wonderfully sweet book and the pencil renderings of the Amos’ face is truly outstanding. I think the combination of delicately rendered weathered “old man” faces and block print mixed media is what makes this book a Caldecott winner. I find Fuse #8 Prodution’s predictions to be great even if these books don’t win the coveted awards, because they always turn out to be great reads.

This year, she made Spring and Summer predictions. I was able to read a few of her picks and I’ll leave my two cents on those. I also plan to buy most of her picks so I’ll keep updating as I get the books and read them with my kids.

Fuse #8 Production’s Newbery Predictions

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall I love the Penderwicks series but I have to say that I was a little disappointed by the 3rd installment. I actually thought the second book was the best so far. The plot is a little predictable and unrealistic; I had issue with the big “surprise” neighbor coincidence plus the fact that this revelation wasn’t noticeable until the very end of the book. The book feels like a set up for the last two books in the series.

The Mostly True Story of Jack by Kelly Barnhill I can see this book winning as it’s along the lines of The Dark is Rising series which had two nods for The Grey King and The Dark is Rising  and The Chronicles of Prydain series with winners The Black Cauldron and The High King. This book weaves in magical realism with a Twin Peaks vibe; there is something dark and wrong about a seemingly idyllic farm town that has to do with magic split into two halves (good versus bad) that has been manipulated by a ancestor of  the town for evil commercialism but at a high cost.  I could not get my daughter to read the entire book. I think middle school kids who like The Lord of the Rings,  The Dark is Rising and The Chronicles of Prydain would love this book. My daughter loves Harry Potter, Charlie Bone, Maximum Ride, Savvy, and other fantasy adventure series that involve magic, but I think this was too dark for her and she did not like The Dark is Rising or The Black Cauldron.

Lunch-Box Dream by Tony Abbott

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente

Here are additional  2012 Possible Newbery Winners are from Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Award

Small Persons With Wings by Ellen Booream

Alexander Hamilton: The Outsider  by Jean Fritz

Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition by Karen Blumenthal

Chime by Franny Billingsley

Dogtag Summer by Elizabeth Partridge

Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and its Legacy by Albert Marrin

Hurricane Dancers: The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck by Margarita Engle

The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin

Young Fredle by Cynthia Voight

Bless This Mouse by Lois Lowry

Finally, here are additional possible Newbery Winner not already mentioned from 100 Scope Notes, another fine children’s literature blog.

Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy

The Trouble with May Amelia by Jennifer L. Holm

Fuse #8 Production’s Caldecott Predictions

Me … Jane by Patrick McDonnell

Jonathan and the Big Blue Boat by Philip Stead

The Secret River by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon

Blue Chicken by Deborah Freedman

Perfect Square by Michael Hall

Queen of the Falls by Chris Van Allsburg

A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka

A Nation’s Hope by Matt de la Pena, illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Heart & Soul by Kadir Nelson

Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beth Krommes

Here are additional Caldecott Possible Winners from 100 Scope Notes.

Little White Rabbit by Kevin Henkes

Where’s Walrus by Stephen Savage

A Pet for Petunia by Paul Schmid

To view any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. “Okay for Now” by Gary Schmidt certainly stands a chance at the Newbery, but you can’t overlook “Between Shades of Gray” by Ruta Sepetys. This book has won many awards, has been printed in multiple languages, and was number 8 on the New York Times Children’s best seller list. The only thing that makes its Newbery shoo-in iffy is the fact that it’s YA; however, so was “The Graveyard Book.”


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