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

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

Bringing you back to the 1700s, Balderdash! illuminates the life of John Newbery. John was a boy growing up in an England without children’s literature, or at least not children’s literature as we know it today. Written by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter, this is a book that held up to its expectations. It will keep you entertained while also providing you with a healthy amount of new vocabulary, information about book printing in the mid-1700s, and beautiful illustrations to keep your eyes entertained. Check it out at your local library!

I was especially fond of the marbling in the end pages for giving a nod to classic book printing. This is a book that would fit in well with any elementary classroom learning about the John Newbery award, the history of books, or simply wanting an enjoyable, quality picture book to lay their eyes on. Best of all, after the story there is a history of John Newbery, additional information about the books mentioned in the book, and a bibliography including suggested further reading.

While I would read this book to any elementary-aged students, it would be especially fun with upper elementary students given the amount of projects that could accompany the text. Therefore, I’ve made an extension activities packet aimed at students in grades 3-6 including a menu of project-based assessments as well as one-page activities. It’s accessible to you, for free, just for reading this post. These activities would be best for 4th-6th but I have included third because it would fit in well as an enrichment activity for high-achieving learners.

Balderdash PBA & Extras

If you’d like to purchase the resources you can also find it on Teachers Pay Teachers at:

Balderdash! PBA & Extras on TPT

Additionally, Chronicle Books has provided a teacher’s guide filled with activities to complete prior, during, and after reading. Check it out at:

Teacher’s Guide (Common Core Aligned) 

Thank you for reading!

Your librarian,

Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez