Posted by Venus on Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Although some may argue that John Newbery has a name that everyone knows, I think that they know the Award not the author. Born in 1714, John Newbery, English publisher and author, was the first person to make children's literature a sustainable and profitable part of the literary market. He also supported and published the works of Christopher Smart, Oliver Goldsmith, and Samuel Johnson. In honor of his achievements in children's publishing, the Newbery Medal was named after him. (this year's winner was When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead) Although he was a publisher, Newbery was also credited with the whole or part authorship of Mother Goose's Melody, A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, The Renowned History of Giles Gingerbread, the History of Little Goody Two-Shoes, and A Little Pretty Pocket Book intended for the Amusement of Little Master Tommy and Pretty Miss Polly with Two Letters from Jack the Giant Killer. The last one (the one with the very long title) is generally considered the first children's book and consists of simple rhymes for each of the letters of the alphabet. To market the book to the children of the day, the book came with either a ball or a pincushion, depending on which gender the child is. The book was very popular, and earned Newbery much fame. The book includes a woodcut of stoolball and a rhyme entitled "Bade-ball." This is the first known instance of the world baseball in print.