Books Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books

[Nonfiction Wednesday] All Books Considered: The Stories of John Newbery and Andrew Carnegie

...I have with me stories of two bibliophiles whose love for books was so great they had to share it with the world...


We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2018 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.



a person who collects or who has a great love for books

In keeping with our current theme on love, I have with me stories of two bibliophiles whose love for books was so great they had to share it with the world. The prestigious Newbery and Carnegie medals are awarded annually to recognize the most distinguished books for children and young adults.

John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books

Written by Michelle Markel
Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
Published by Chronicle Books (2017)
ISBN-10: 0811879224
ISBN-13: 9780811879224
Copy provided by Wayne County Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

Michelle Markel and Nancy Carpenter take readers back in 1726, a time in which books were not meant for children. Instead of stories about monsters and tales of adventures, children had to read preachy poems and religious texts. Back then, John Newbery was just a young boy.


John grew up on a farm but enjoyed the company of books more than anything. Young as he was, he set off to work as an assistant to a man named William Carnan and learned the ins and outs of publishing. When Carnan died, John inherited a share of the business. He traveled to the big city of London where bookselling flourished.

The grand design in the nurture of children is to make them strong, hardy, healthy, virtuous, wise, and happy.
— John Newbery


Unlike mums and dads in those days who thought that books would turn their children into wild beasts, John believed that children should have access to books. This idea was influenced by philosopher John Locke who said: “Reading should be a treat for children.” John Newbery published many books for children. He would later be known as the “Father of Children’s Literature.”

nfpb0124dThe Man Who Loved Libraries
The Story of Andrew Carnegie

Written by Andrew Larsen
Illustrated by Katty Maurey
Published by Owlkids (2017)
ISBN-10: 1771472677
ISBN-13: 9781771472678
Copy provided by Medina County District Library. Book photos taken by me.

This picture book collaboration by Andrew Larsen and Katty Maurey tells the inspiring story of Andrew Carnegie. Unlike Balderdash!, The Man Who Loved Libraries has a more straightforward approach to its biographical narrative.

“Andrew Carnegie was born in a tiny stone cottage in a small Scottish village. A large wooden loom took up most of the ground floor. Andrew and his family lived, ate, and slept upstairs in the attic.”


At the age of twelve, Andrew joined his family and they sailed across the sea to build a new life in America. They settled in Pittsburgh where Andrew worked as a bobbin boy at a factory. He worked twelve hours a day. Tough times for a twelve-year-old.

With the help of a local businessman who opened the doors to his own private library, Andrew read and read. At 17, he worked as a telegraph operator. Eight years later, he became one of the bosses at the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. Andrew earned so much money by the time he was 35.


“Andrew Carnegie used his own money to build public libraries so others could have the same opportunity…”

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5 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] All Books Considered: The Stories of John Newbery and Andrew Carnegie

  1. I loved Balderdash and hearing Newbery’s story, will look for the one about Carnegie, Fats. Both clearly worked hard early in their lives, interesting to think about considering the youth of today. We owe a lot to both. Thanks!


  2. Thanks for reminding about the Carnegie book!


  3. annettepimentel

    I loved the rollicking voice in Balderdash. I heard the editor who acquired it talk about receiving it in the mail. She saw in the cover letter that it was about John Newbery and expected something boring, dry, and dusty. But then she opened the manuscript…


  4. I really enjoyed Balderdash, such a fascinating man who I knew little about, even though the award that shares his name is a library standard!


  5. I really enjoyed both of these books, especially Balderdash. Such a great way to bring history alive for kids!


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