Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Cover Reveal for Balderdash!: John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books

Hello, Michelle Markel! As a member of the 2014 Newbery committee and as someone who has read every book that won a Newbery Medal, I am SOOOO EXCITED to reveal the cover for Balderdash!: John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books. Thank you for stopping by to share the cover and finish my sentences. I greatly appreciate your time! 

Michelle Markel: It’s a pleasure to be here, Mr. Schu!



The cover for Balderdash!: John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books makes me smile. It captures the humor of the book, and shows the connection Newbery had with children. He understood their tastes and interests, and offered them an incredible gift: an extensive line of books that would establish the kid lit industry.


Did you know John Newbery made itty bitty books kids could carry in their pockets? His Little Pretty Pocket Book cost 6 pence, but for 2 pence more, he threw in a ball, or a pincushion. 


Nancy Carpenter’s illustrations are full of sweetness, verve, old-timey color and details that bring the mid 1700’s to life.  I love how fictional characters show up, and that John Locke, enlightenment philosopher, gets to have a cameo.

One of my favorite Newbery traits was his sense of playfulness- at a time when most literature for kids was preachy and serious. His first book included a letter from Jack the Giant Killer, along with rhymes about popular children’s games.



Nonfiction picture books should offer “instruction and delight” which was Newbery’s motto. I’d love to take John to a modern children’s bookstore. I think he’d be pleased and astounded by his legacy.

Reading is liberation. It frees you from the limitations of your singular life, and lets you experience other worlds, other sights, other ways of seeing and being.



Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about The History of Little Goody Two Shoes, Newbery’s blockbuster hit. You might think a do-gooder heroine would be a bore, but her story was inspirational. Goody (aka Margery Meanwell) starts off as a raggedy orphan with only one shoe, and ends up in a coach and six- a bit like Cinderella. She rescues animals and educates them- including a raven who sits on her shoulder and recites poems. How cool is that?





Michelle Markel writes informative, enjoyable children’s books at her home in Los Angeles. She’s the author of Tyrannosaurus Math (a CCBC Choices reading list selection), The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau (a PEN/Steven Kroll Award for Picture Book Writing winner, Parents’ Choice Gold Award winner, Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year, and a Storytelling World Resource Honor Award winner), Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909 (a Jane Addams Children’s Book Award winner, a Bank Street College of Education Flora Stieglitz Straus Award winner, and an NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children Honor Award winner), and Dreamer from the Village (a Notable Children's Book of Jewish Content and a New York Public Library Title for Reading and Sharing).




Look for Balderdash!: John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books on April 4, 2017. 

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