September 4 – Newspaper Carrier Day

Happy Newspaper Carrier Day!

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT! Today is the anniversary of the day the very first newspaper carrier, Barney Flaherty, was hired by the New York Sun in 1833. In a day when most of us get our news online, on the radio, or on television, the newspaper is becoming a thing of the past. And what newspaper carriers we have left are usually adults with cars and massive routes. Before we say good-bye to the newspaper boys like Barney Flaherty, let’s take a look at some picture books about newspapers and newspaper carriers.

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 Paperboy written by Mary Kay Kroeger and Louise Borden, illustrated by Ted Lewin (2001)

Willie Brinkman, one of eight children in his family, is a paperboy on Hunt and Main in Cincinnati, Ohio. He only makes a few cents a day, but all of his money goes into his mother’s coffee mug on the counter to help with the family budget. Willie always stands taller when his mother drops the coins into the mug. Hunt and Main isn’t a very busy corner in a working class neighborhood and Willie wishes for a busier corner downtown, but the older boys have those corners. But Willie works hard and shows up early, even the night after the big Dempsey-Tunney fight in Chicago. His hero, and the hero of the working class, Jack Dempsey lost the fight to Gene Tunney, the new heavyweight champion of the world. That night, Willie was the first boys to pick up the newspapers reporting the big fight. Willie couldn’t sell a single paper on his corner. But the next day when Willie went to work after school, his boss, Mr. Schmidt, handed him over two hundred newspapers and gave him one of the busiest corners in Cincinnati because he was such a hard worker. Now on the corner of Ninth and Main, Willie sold every paper to lawyers, bankers, and people passing by on the streetcars!

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Kitty Princess and the Newspaper Dress written by Emma Carlow and illustrated by Trevor Dickinson (2003)

Kitty is a very rude princess. She only shouts orders and never says ‘please’ or ‘thank you’. On the morning of Prince Quince’s ball, Kitty Princess shouts an order for the prettiest dress in the world to her fairy godmouse. Well, Fairy Godmouse had just about had enough and she refused to obey the order until Kitty Princess asked nicely. But instead of asking nicely, Kitty Princess stormed into town to get her own dress. Now, Kitty Princess had never been shopping before and made very bad choices. She demanded shoes from the fruit and vegetable vendor, jewelry from the waitress at the cafe, and a dress from the news stand. When she picked up her vegetable shoes, dinner jewelry, and newspaper dress, she was horrified. Having nothing else to wear, she wore her strange new outfit to the ball. The guard at the door just laughed at her and refused to let her in. Finally, Kitty Princess broke down and cried for her Fairy Godmouse. She apologized for her rude behavior and asked for new clothes. But it wasn’t until she apologized to the fruit and vegetable vendor that her shoes turned into beautiful shoes, and when she apologized to the waitress her necklace turned into beautiful jewels, and when she apologized to the news salesman her dress turned into a gorgeous gown. Now she was able to enter the ball and she was the most beautiful creature there. And when Prince Quince demanded to dance with her, Fairy Godmouse turned him into a frog!

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The Paperboy written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey (1996)

The paperboy and his dog wake up before anyone else in the neighborhood. They wrap up all the newspapers and put them in the red bag. The cycling through the streets, the paperboy delivers all the papers in the cold dawn while his dog chases after him sniffing trees and growling at cats. At last when the final paper is delivered, the paperboy and his dog return home and go back to his still warm bed while the rest of the neighborhood is waking up.

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