100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

If the Public Picked the Newbery…

…these are the books that would win.

People sometimes get irritated with me me when I bring up the mock Newbery list on Goodreads. It is certainly a popularity contest, when the real award is certainly not. Anyone can vote for a book for any reason on the Goodreads list. This is not the way things work on the real committee, where the Newbery criteria guides the way.

But here’s the thing – the lists are usually voted on by people who care deeply about children’s books. And sometimes they’re fairly accurate. And I like looking at them! So that’s what we’re going to do!


Sorry about that. To illustrate this whole “fairly accurate” thing, let’s take a look at the top seven books on the 2015 Mock Newbery list on Goodreads:

Newbery 2015 Goodreads

Boom: Honor, Honor, Medal. The top ten of the 2014 Goodreads Mock Newbery list also contained two Honors and the Medal-winning book (the two other 2014 honors were further down that list).

So, just for kicks, let’s have a look at the current top 10 this year. I’m not saying anything here. I’m just saying.

Mock Newbery 2016 Goodreads 1

Mock Newbery 2016 Goodreads 2

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Eric Carpenter says

    The goodreads lists usually slant towards books released earlier in the year. Since, as you say it is a popularity contest, books that more people have had a chance to read (i.e. Snicker of Magic, which had a February release) are going to end up with more votes.
    Where I find the lists useful is looking at the individual lists of people you know and respect to see what their favorites are, this helps when we reach this part of the year and you have to start making tough choices when staring at that much too tall stack of contenders to read.

    • Travis Jonker says

      Good point here, Eric. Looking at past lists, the trend of early in the year releases definitely shows.

    • Thank you, Eric for this suggestion. Recently, I checked Goodreads to see where The Hired Girl appeared in the ranking. I then reminded myself of exactly the point you made. That book was released only a short time ago. In time, it’s position may change dramatically.

      • I just finished “The Hired Girl” and loved it!! But I also agree with many other choices on this list.