The Newbery Medal in children’s literature, another homage to the 18th-century English publisher, was inaugurated in 1922, and the winner that year – the first-ever Newbery Medal book – was Hendrik Willem van Loon’s The Story of Mankind, a book with wonderful illustrations but so popular with adults that a small paperback edition was issued for the grownups. In my opinion, however, it is the author’s illustrations as much as his lively story-telling that makes history come alive. The first van Loon book I ever found was at a yard sale in 1993, Van Loon’s Geography. I was charmed and intrigued but really fell in love over Van Loon’s Lives. One of my favorite illustrations from that book was of a man – I believe it was Descartes – walking against the wind, coattails streaming out behind him.
|First-ever Newbery Medal winner|
|Newbery Medalist Lynne Rae Perkins at Dog Ears Books|