Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge - a John Newbery story 4.12.17

Every Wednesday I join Alyson Beecher from kidlitfrenzy and other
kidlit bloggers to share wonderful nonfiction picture books.
The intention of today's blog post is to give professionals that work in the
education field new nonfiction reading material and ideas to use 
with students to promote a love of reading nonfiction materials.

For the past three years we have held a Mock Newbery Club at school.  I know the award is for most distinguished contribution to children's literature for that publishing year, but who is the man behind the award?

Balderdash! by Michelle Markel
John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children's Books
written by Michelle Markel
illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
published by Chronicle Books

I was excited to hear about this book, first in the fall of 2016.  I was lucky to be able to thumb through a copy of the book in the Chronicle booth at NCTE 2016.  Now, I'm holding my copy in my hands and I can't wait to share this book with our future Mock Newbery Committee Members!  I think this book is going to be used annually to kick off our future meetings.

Why?  Because this book gives readers an understanding of John Newbery's contribution to children's literature.  Today, we talk about how important choice is when reading.  Back in the 1700s, adults had a choice in reading material, but children had to stick with a very thin diet of religious books and literature that taught them deportment rules.  Not fun.  Thank goodness for John!  His love for literature, changed how books were published for young readers.  Until John got into publishing, bookshops and libraries not only sold literature for youngsters, but parents did not allow for choice in reading.  So John started publishing his own material.  Not only did children enjoy the little books, they sold extremely well!  Catering to what children liked, John continued to publish, branching out to magazines and then novels!

While the book does not go into how the American Library Association came up with the award (there is a quick mention of it in the end notes), we have a much better idea of the man behind the medal, and what his own contributions were to children's literature.  I wonder what he would think of our current award winners??


  1. I can't wait to read this. Adding this to my Goodreads list.

  2. Did you see the Fuse #8 post about biographies of children's book writers? She is worried we're getting too many of them. It's interesting to me that you already have in mind a way you'll use this book with kids.

  3. I was going to mention the Fuse #8 post, too, but this certainly looks interesting to me. When I was just starting to get books from the bookmobile (no library near) the rule was only children's books. My mother had to give permission for me to look at adult books, too! This book will be interesting to read to see what Newbery has to say! Thanks, Michele.