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

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

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

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

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

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


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

The Goats by Brock Cole


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

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

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George


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

Holes by Louis Sachar

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For Get Caught Reading Month I want to talk about a book published in 1998 destined to become a classic. Whenever I ask audiences which book of the last fifteen years seems most poised for classic status, one title leads all the rest, Louis Sachar’s Holes. A rare winner of the Triple Crown in prizes […]

Adventure, Award Winning, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Humor, National Book Award, Newbery, Survival
Featured on May 3

Gertrude Chandler Warner by Gertrude Chandler Warner


Today we honor a writer who has inspired millions of children over the years to fantasize about living in a broken-down railroad boxcar. Born on April 16, 1890, in Putnam, Connecticut, Gertrude Chandler Warner lived across the street from the railroad station. Thirty freight trains might have passed by every day. Young Warner would talk […]

Adventure, Family, Survival
Featured on April 16

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg


Today in 1872 the Metropolitan Museum of Art opened its doors for the first time. Founded by a group of businessmen and financiers, the Met was established to bring art and art education to Americans. Over the years, many families, school classes, and children have visited the magnificent collection. But it wasn’t until 1967 that […]

Adventure, Art, Award Winning, Humor, Newbery, Survival
Featured on February 20

The Call of the Wild by Jack London
Illustrated by Wendell Minor


On January 12, 1876, Jack London was born in San Francisco, California. But the event that shaped London’s life occurred in 1896 when he was twenty. Three men who were fishing for salmon – Shookum Jim, Dawson Charlie, and George Carmack—found gold in Rabbit Creek, a small tributary of the Klondike River in Alaska. Because […]

Adventure, Animals, Dogs, Gold Rush, History, Survival
Featured on January 12

Robert C. O’Brien by Robert C. O’Brien


Today marks the birthday of one of the most reclusive children’s book authors of the 20th century. He was not so, however, because of his personality or because he did not want to engage with children. Robert Leslie Conly was born in Brooklyn in 1918; he studied English at the University of Rochester. Working for […]

Adventure, Animals, Award Winning, Mice, Newbery, Survival
Featured on January 11

Diamond Willow by Helen Frost


Today marks Alaska’s statehood day, when in 1959 Alaska became the forty-ninth state in the Union. Of the myriad books for children that have been set in Alaska, my favorite, Diamond Willow by Helen Frost, appeared recently in 2008. Frost lived and taught for three years in a small Athabascan community in interior Alaska. Many […]

Adventure, Animals, Dogs, Multicultural, Native American, Religion/Spirituality, Survival
Featured on January 3

Elizabeth George Speare by Elizabeth George Speare

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On November 21, 1908, Elizabeth George Speare was born in Melrose, Massachusetts. After finishing degrees from Boston University, she taught in the Massachusetts schools, then married and moved to Connecticut. When her children entered junior high school, she began writing articles and eventually books for children. One thing that distinguishes Speare from other writers is […]

Adventure, Award Winning, History, Newbery, Pioneer, Survival
Featured on November 21

Hachet by Gary Paulsen

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The second week of November we celebrate National Young Readers Week, an event created in 1989 by the Center for the Book of the Library of Congress to help schools recognize the joys and benefits of reading. To go along with the activities this year, I recommend two books, one a classic and the other […]

Adventure, Award Winning, Nature, Newbery, Survival
Featured on November 8

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.