BOOKS CAN WIN A
Each spring and autumn,
hundreds of new books are published for young readers. In bookstores and on library shelves all over
the USA, picture books, "easy readers" and novels appear. There are mysteries, adventure stories, folktales,
and stories about ordinary people. How can we know which of these nearly 2000 new books are the best?
More than fifty
different prizes and medals are given in the United States to the best author
or designer of children's books.
Did you think there were
always books in the USA written just for children? There weren't. Before 1744,
children had only two types of reading materials.
One was the hornbook.
This was a thin board on which a sheet of
paper had been sticked. A school lesson of some kind was on the paper.
It was covered with a clear sheet of horn, which protected it and also gave it
The only other reading materials were adult books, which were often dry and
difficult. Reading in those days had not been much fun. Of course, no one
thought about fun at all.
John Newbery changed all
that. In 1744 he published the first of many books for children "A Little
Pretty Pocket-Book". It was small, with funny illustrations, and in bright
covers. Inside there were tales, games, rhymes, and moral lessons signed by
"Jack the Giant Killer," The book was a big success and was followed
by many more. Newbery also published ! the first English edition of
"Mother Goose Stories".