My pals Nina Lindsay and Jonathan Hunt are back stirring things up at their Heavy Medal blog. They’ve already brought up the issue of what is meant in the criteria by text, book obesity, Capital Magic, and weighed in on a number of highly lauded contenders. Their posts and the conversations in the comments by many thoughtful readers have been wonderful so far. That said, I recommend it only for those comfortable seeing favorites, friends’ books, and more being put out and examined in the bright lights of the Internet. It can be unsettling seeing books examined this closely and publicly and so is probably not for everyone. But do be aware that what Nina and Jonathan are doing is what the members of the actual Newbery Committee are doing (Nina was chair of my 2008 committee and Jonathan served on the 2006 one) — looking closely at every aspect of the serious contenders, teasing out flaws and questions, however picky they may appear to be. That is what you do when selecting the most distinguished children’s book of the year.