Balderdash! John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books

Welcome to Perfect Picture Book Friday and the story of the man who got the whole children’s literature thing rolling!

IMG_1414Title: Balderdash! John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books
Written by: Michelle Markel
Illustrated by: Nancy Carpenter
Chronicle 2017, biography
Suitable for ages: 6-10

Themes/topics: children’s books, John Newbery

This book’s for you.
Every page, every picture, every word, and even its letters are designed for your pleasure.
Lucky, lucky reader.
Be glad it’s not 1726.

Brief synopsis (from
This rollicking and fascinating picture book biography chronicles the life of the first pioneer of children’s books—John Newbery himself. While most children’s books in the 18th century contained lessons and rules, John Newbery imagined them overflowing with entertaining stories, science, and games. He believed that every book should be made for the reader’s enjoyment. Newbery—for whom the prestigious Newbery Medal is named—became a celebrated author and publisher, changing the world of children’s books forever. This book about his life and legacy is as full of energy and delight as any young reader could wish.

Activities and Resources:
Nominate books and vote for your picks for the Newberry Award.
Teacher’s Guide 

Why I like this book:
I never knew anything about Newbery beyond the shiny sticker that appears on children’s books. The telling is lively and entertaining, and the illustrations and graphic design are totally engaging. Learning how the field of children’s literature came to be is fascinating. This book is everything a children’s book should be! Newbery would have loved it!

Another PPBF review HERE

Visit author Michelle Markel, HERE.

Visit author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books for a plethora of picture books listed by title and topic/theme, each with teacher/parent activities and resources.

16 thoughts on “Balderdash! John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books

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