FIND A BOOK

The Real Boy by Anne Ursu
Illustrated by Erin McGuire

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Continuing in the spirit of Read a New Book Month, today marks the publication of a book that I’ve been eager to share with Almanac readers: Anne Ursu’s The Real Boy. I thought Anne’s Breadcrumbs was a spectacular book. But I am ever more impressed with her storytelling abilities in The Real Boy. Oscar, an […]

Adventure, Magic, Quest
Featured on September 24, 2013

Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

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In May, the Association of American Publishers celebrates Get Caught Reading Month—publicity for the event includes posters of famous people  each absorbed in a good book. Certainly, any book featured on the Almanac over the past year would be great to be caught reading. But I’d like to showcase a series that not only engages […]

Adventure, Dystopia, Survival
Featured on May 20, 2013

The Wreckers by Iain Lawrence

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Today marks the birthday of Canadian writer Iain Lawrence. He was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Canada, called simply “the Sault,” which is pronounced to rhyme with zoo. Once a year his brother would sing, “Happy Birthday to you. You were born in the Sault.” Possibly this early nonsense verse encouraged Lawrence to seek a […]

Adventure, England, History, Survival
Featured on February 25, 2013

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud

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July marks Audio Book Month, a perfect time to listen to a title that will entertain the entire family. I owe the audio of the day to Alison Morris of Scholastic Book Clubs, who raved about Simon Jones’s rendition of The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud for Listening Library. How right she was. Now […]

Adventure, London, Magic
Featured on July 16, 2012

The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds

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According to Eratosthenes, a Greek mathematician and poet, on June 11, 1184 BC the city of Troy was sacked and burned by the Achaeans, ending the Trojan War. Although throughout the years, the very existence of Troy itself has been debated by scholars, one truth remains: Whether real or fabled, these events form the backdrop […]

Adventure, Ancient, History, Quest
Featured on June 11, 2012

The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer

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Around this time of year many school children find themselves on summer vacation, often with an assignment to read a number of books over the summer.  I myself was never so happy as a child as when I had unlimited time to read and a pile of new offerings by my chair. Well, if you […]

Adventure, London
Featured on June 9, 2012

The White Mountains by John Christopher

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On April 16, 1922, John Christopher was born as Samuel Youd in Lancashire, England. Leaving school at sixteen, Christopher began writing adult science fiction novels, but then a British publisher asked Christopher if he would try his hand at a science fiction novel for young readers. Quite naively Christopher believed that writing a book for […]

Adventure, Dystopia, Quest
Featured on April 16, 2012

Alabama Moon by Watt Key

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As the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War continues from March 21-23 in Jackson County, Alabama, one of the largest reenactments of the war takes place. The Siege of Bridgeport attracts thousands of people for this annual event with period music, encampments, and vendors. I myself have never attended a reenactment that I didn’t love […]

Adventure, Survival
Featured on March 23, 2012

City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

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March has been designated Write a Letter of Appreciation Month. I always say that the Children’s Book-A-Day Almanac is my daily love letter to an author. So today I want to write an almanac letter of appreciation to Jeanne DuPrau for her magnificent novel, The City of Ember. At the beginning of The City of […]

Adventure, Dystopia
Featured on March 5, 2012

Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson
Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes

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Last weekend Carnival took place  in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. One of the last great folk festivals, the event continued until Shrove Tuesday. If, like me, you’d love to attend but missed it this year, pick up the book of the day, Eva Ibbotson’s Journey to the River Sea, to celebrate Brazil and its people. […]

20th Century, Geography, Survival
Featured on February 17, 2012

The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson

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January has been designated Book Blitz Month, a great time  to indulge in the books of your favorite author. For me the perfect author to pick up in January during the long, cold New England nights, would be Eva Ibbotson. She wrote so many different kinds of books—all of them combining literary excellence with child […]

Adventure, Geography
Featured on January 17, 2012

The Borrowers by Mary Norton
Illustrated by Beth and Joe Krush

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On January 4, 1838, Charles Sherwood Stratton, the most famous small person in history, was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. After being discovered by another resident of the city, P. T. Barnum, Stratton received a new name, General Tom Thumb. Our book of the day, Mary Norton’s The Borrowers, celebrates General Tom Thumb—and little people in […]

Adventure, Imagination
Featured on January 4, 2012

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
Illustrated by Erin McGuire

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December is Read a New Book Month; many are hunting for new books not only to read but to buy for the holidays. Because of the robust young adult market, those authors who write books for fourth through sixth graders have been a bit overlooked. Fortunately, this is not true of our book of the […]

Adventure, Family, Friendship, Multicultural, School
Featured on December 21, 2011

Blood on the River by Elisa Carbone

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On December 20, 1606, three small ships, Susan Constant, Goodspeed, and Discovery departed from London, England, to America. When they landed on May 14 of the next year, the passengers, sent by the Virginia Company, established what would become the first permanent settlement in the United States: Jamestown, Virginia. The characters of this early-American drama—Captain […]

Adventure, History, Pioneer, Survival
Featured on December 20, 2011

Annotated Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie with notes by Maria Tatar

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On November 23, 1903, an already popular writer and playwright began the first draft of a play entitled “ANON” and set in the night nursery of the Darling family. A few years later, in 1911, he extended the script ideas of that play, Peter Pan, into a longer novel for children, Wendy and Peter. In […]

Adventure, Survival
Featured on November 23, 2011

The Goats by Brock Cole

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Today for Young Readers Week I am going to look at one of the most powerful books ever written for twelve- to fourteen-year-olds. Like all books that change us and make us a different person, I remember exactly where I was and how I felt the first time I read it. I was Editor of […]

Adventure, Seasons, Summer, Survival
Featured on November 10, 2011

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

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On September 21, 1937, a children’s book appeared in England that, like other English classics such as Stevenson’s Treasure Island, Potter’s Peter Rabbit, or Grahame’s Wind and the Willows, began as a story told to a specific child. Actually, the idea of the book came when the author, correcting 286 school exams, found a blank […]

Adventure, Quest
Featured on September 21, 2011

Larklight by Philip Reeve

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I have been waiting for September 19 all year. It’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day! What an inspired idea for a celebration. Last year, all my Facebook friends went nutty with this one!  I can hardly wait to see “Pirate speak” twitters this year. Pirate lore for children, however, tends to be a bit formulaic. […]

Adventure, Pirates
Featured on September 19, 2011

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

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Today we are merely preparing for tomorrow, one of the best days on the calendar—International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Because before you can talk like a pirate, you have to read about them. Pirates remain fascinating for children, and in Treasure Island R. L. Stevenson brings together pirates, maps, and one-legged seamen with parrots […]

Adventure, Pirates
Featured on September 18, 2011

Amos and Boris by William Steig

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“On the sixth of September, with a very calm sea, he waited till the high tide had almost reached his boat; then, using his most savage strength, he just managed to push the boat into the water, climb on board, and set sail.” Who is our sailor with savage strength? A mouse named Amos; his […]

Adventure, Animals, Mice
Featured on September 6, 2011

The Magic School Bus by Joanna Cole
Illustrated by Bruce Degen

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Children around the country have either headed back to school or are about to do so. Much of the drama of these first days centers on the teacher: Who will he or she be? Will the teacher be nice or mean? Easy or hard? The best I can wish for these children is that they might […]

Adventure, School, Science
Featured on August 27, 2011

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

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August has been designated Audio Book Appreciation Month. Certainly one of the great changes in children’s book publishing during my career has been the increase in superb audio recordings of novels. Since in August many families spend time in the car going to and from vacation spots, I am going to talk about my two […]

Adventure, London, Magic
Featured on August 17, 2011

Hidden by Helen Frost

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Around this time of year families and children start wrapping up summer activities and begin to prepare for a new school year. All those summer camps, weeklong or month-long, come to an end. In 2011 Helen Frost published Hidden, a novel that will make me look at those summer camps in a slightly different way. […]

Adventure, Friendship, Seasons, Summer, Survival
Featured on August 10, 2011

Comet in Moominland by Tove Jansson

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If you spent your childhood in Europe, particularly Scandinavia or England, you will be more familiar with the books of the day than if you grew up in the United States. Unfortunately, these gems have never gained the popularity in America that they enjoy abroad. And American children are poorer because of that. Born on […]

Adventure, Geography, Politics
Featured on August 9, 2011

The Rescuers by Margery Sharp
Illustrated by Garth Williams

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This year, from July 28 through August 3, the Norway Cup took place. More than fourteen hundred international youth soccer teams traveled from different countries to compete. Well, our book of the day doesn’t have much to do with soccer. But it begins when Nils, one of the book’s three heroes, has to be fetched from […]

Adventure, Animals, Humor, Mice
Featured on August 5, 2011

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

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“If you had to choose only one children’s book, which one would it be?” I am often asked that difficult question. Fortunately, I have not yet been marooned on a desert island with only one book to last me for the rest of my life. But I do have a book to offer up as […]

Adventure, Seasons, Summer
Featured on August 1, 2011

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

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Today marks the birthday of the world’s best-known literary character. He has taken his place along with Sherlock Holmes and Winnie the Pooh as a household name. And he’s only been around since 1998. If you guessed that his name is Harry Potter, you are correct. Harry emerged in the mind of his creator J. […]

Adventure, Friendship, Magic
Featured on July 31, 2011

Whales on Stilts by M. T. Anderson

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It is amazing how many holidays exist, and what strange ones some of them are. Today is National Walk on Stilts Day. According to those who observe this day, walking on stilts allows you to build coordination and have a lot of fun at the same time. The holiday organizers want you to get out, […]

Adventure, Humor, Imagination
Featured on July 27, 2011

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

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Today marks the birthday of  Jean Craighead George. In a life filled with travel and adventure, she wrote two beloved classics—My Side of the Mountain and Julie of the Wolves—and scores of other great books. Admittedly, her family gave her a good start. As she wrote, “I was lured into natural history by my father.” […]

Adventure, Animals, Survival
Featured on July 2, 2011

Camp Babymouse by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

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June has been designated the Great Outdoors Month, to celebrate our nation’s natural beauty and renew our commitment to protecting the environment. In June many people and families head to the great outdoors, often to camp out. Many children go to camp for a week or two, giving them experiences that they might not have […]

Adventure, Seasons, Summer
Featured on June 27, 2011

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

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Around this time of year we celebrate the longest day of the year, the summer solstice. This date looms large for the hero of our featured book, a kid who just can’t get a break. He’s never seen his father and lives with an odious and repellent stepfather when not away at boarding school for […]

Adventure, Magic, Mythology, Seasons, Summer
Featured on June 21, 2011

Daily children’s book recommendations and events from Anita Silvey.

Discover the stories behind the children’s book classics . . .

The new books on their way to becoming classics . . .

And events from the world of children’s books—and the world at large.