FIND A BOOK

The Moon Jumpers by Janice May Udry
Illustrated by Maurice Sendak

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March 30th marks the New Moon, and moon cycles always remind me of a 1957 title by Janice May Udry, The Moon Jumpers, which won a Caldecott Honor for its illustrator, Maurice Sendak when he was just thirty years old. It has now been almost two years since Maurice’s death, and the outpouring of affection […]

Award Winning, Bedtime, Caldecott
Featured on March 27, 2013

Little Red Riding Hood by Trina Schart Hyman

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Born in Philadelphia on April 8, 1939, Trina Schart Hyman trained as an illustrator and spent over three decades creating beautiful books and artwork for children. Beloved by her editors, Trina, who was always a force to be reckoned with, delighted in making sure they actually studied what she had drawn. She usually wove in […]

Award Winning, Caldecott, Fairy Tale, Folktale
Featured on April 8, 2012

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig

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While I was vacationing in the Rangeley Lakes area of Maine in October a sign caught my eye: “Wilhelm Reich Museum.” Although I could not get in, I was intrigued to see the location of the laboratory of the radical psychoanalyst who worked with Sigmund Freud. While there I thanked him silently for his little-known […]

Animals, Award Winning, Caldecott, Magic
Featured on November 14, 2011

Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola

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On September 15, 1934, in Meriden, Connecticut, a boy who would become one of the world’s best storytellers was born. Tomie dePaola always credited his Irish and Italian family for providing him with the material for many of his sagas. I don’t know if he came out of the womb spinning tales, but he claims […]

Award Winning, Caldecott, Food, Humor, Magic
Featured on September 15, 2011

Swimmy by Leo Lionni

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September has been set aside as a month to “Be Kind to Authors and Editors.” On the Almanac, I could use that as my moto 365 days of the year. Authors and editors are the people who make our best books possible, who work to provide quality content for children, and they deserve kindness and […]

Animals, Award Winning, Caldecott, Fish, Social Conscience
Featured on September 10, 2011

Life Story by Virginia Lee Burton

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Her sons called her “Ginnee.” Every now and then, she might be, “Oh, Mom,” but she seemed, even in childhood, their best friend. And because of them, she became the best friend, or author, for millions of boys and girls over the years. Today we celebrate the birthday of an artist who created not only one […]

Award Winning, Caldecott, History, Science
Featured on August 30, 2011

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

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In August of 1941 a picture book appeared that has become synonymous with the city of Boston for millions of readers. While he was an art student there, Robert McCloskey got the idea for Make Way for Ducklings from a true story that appeared in the newspaper. However, he developed the book in New York […]

Animals, Award Winning, Boston, Caldecott, Ducks
Featured on August 28, 2011

My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann

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July 15–21 has been designated National Rabbit Week to pay tribute to this animal for being such a great companion for humans. What is it about rabbits that so inspire children’s book authors and illustrators? Ever since Peter Rabbit went lippety, lippety down the road, rabbits have multiplied like—well—bunnies in children’s books. I’ll be talking […]

Animals, Award Winning, Caldecott, Humor, Imagination, Rabbits
Featured on July 16, 2011

Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann

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June has been designated National Safety Month to promote safety at work, at home, on the road, and in our communities. Safety might seem a bit dull as a topic for a book for children, but the book of the day, Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann, demonstrates that highly creative people can make […]

Award Winning, Caldecott, Humor, School
Featured on June 30, 2011

Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present by Charlotte Zolotow
Illustrated by Maurice Sendak

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Today, Charlotte Zolotow, legendary publisher, editor, and writer celebrates her birthday. Sometime in the late seventies I first met Charlotte; Bill Morris, Harper’s devoted head of Marketing, adored her and wanted us to get to know each other. From that day on, I suddenly had a new goal—I wanted to grow up to be Charlotte […]

Animals, Award Winning, Caldecott, Imagination, Rabbits
Featured on June 26, 2011

The Wall by Peter Sís

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On June 17, 1969, in Prague, Czechoslovakia, ten months after the Soviet Union invaded the city with tanks, the Beach Boys gave a concert in Lucerna Hall. Although police with dogs waited nearby, in this dark time the American band provided “a glimmer of hope.” Peter Sís, recipient of a MacArthur genius grant, captured these […]

Autobiography, Award Winning, Caldecott, Cold War, History, Sibert
Featured on June 17, 2011

Maurice Sendak by Maurice Sendak

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Today marks the birthday of someone who might best be described as the father of the American picture book—or, probably today, its grandfather. When Maurice Sendak published his masterpiece, Where the Wild Things Are, in 1963, he changed the scope and the possibilities of the picture book for every artist to come after him. He […]

Adventure, Award Winning, Caldecott, Family, Imagination
Featured on June 10, 2011

One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey

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“I scream, you scream, we all scream, for ice cream,” goes the old ditty, and today marks National Chocolate Ice Cream Day. What a wonderful idea—two of the world’s most popular foods, chocolate and ice cream, celebrated together. For me, chocolate ice cream in June conjures up wonderful summer days, the ocean, sea gulls wailing, […]

Award Winning, Caldecott, Geography, Nature, Seasons, Summer
Featured on June 7, 2011

Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg

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June 4 has been designated Drawing Day or Pencil Day. Today we are encouraged to create art and to remember the joy we had when we first picked up a pencil and drew. If I ask myself what is the most amazing book I ever watched being published that was created by a pencil, the […]

Animals, Award Winning, Caldecott, Family, Games, Imagination
Featured on June 4, 2011

First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

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May has been designed Egg Month—dedicated to the versatility, convenience, and good nutrition of “The incredible edible egg.”TM Children’s book writers and illustrators have always been bullish on eggs—at least as the subject matter for books. Just think of classics like Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hatches the Egg or Oliver Butterworth’s The Enormous Egg. But my […]

Animals, Award Winning, Caldecott, Nature
Featured on May 25, 2011

Tom Feelings by Tom Feelings

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On May 19, 1933, Tom Feelings was born in Brooklyn, New York. An African-American, he chose to spend many years of his adult life in Africa, seeking to understand his heritage. As an artist and picture book illustrator, he presented what he discovered about African culture and history. While in Africa in the 1960s, Feelings […]

African American, Award Winning, Caldecott, History, Multicultural, Slavery
Featured on May 19, 2011

The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant
Illustrated by Stephen Gammell

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May 18 has been designated Visit Your Relatives Day. The idea of a trip to see family members can bring many different images to mind. When I was a child, one of my happiest times each year came during the month of July when my father, my mother, my two sisters, and I got in […]

Award Winning, Caldecott, Family, Humor
Featured on May 18, 2011

A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams

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Today we celebrate Mother’s Day, a time to remember all of the sacrifices and kindnesses of our mothers. As a body of stories, children’s books are probably kinder to fathers than mothers. But our Book-of-the-Day is about a memorable mother and a child who appreciates her. Vera Williams grew up in a household where her […]

Award Winning, Caldecott, Family, Multicultural, Women
Featured on May 8, 2011

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

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Born on April 27, 1898, Ludwig Bemelmans came to the United States when he was sixteen, after having been raised in Austria. As a child he lived in a hotel that his father ran; later he worked in a New York hotel to pay his bills. His true love, drawing and painting, had always been […]

Award Winning, Caldecott, Paris
Featured on April 27, 2011

In the Small Pond by Denise Fleming

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Since 1970 Earth Day has been celebrated worldwide on April 22. With an emphasis on the resources of the planet and renewable energy, Earth Day reminds us to take a closer look at the world around us. Suggested activities and local events can be found at the Earth Day Network. Today I’d like to take […]

Animals, Award Winning, Caldecott, Nature, Seasons
Featured on April 22, 2011

The Gardener by Sarah Stewart
Illustrated by David Small

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April has been designated National Gardening Month. The mere idea of gardening brings me joy. As I write the first draft of this essay in February, two feet of snow sit outside the window. Will I ever see my gardens again? Gardening month reminds me of that desperate plea from Mary Lennox in The Secret […]

Award Winning, Caldecott, Family, Gardening, Great Depression, History
Featured on April 19, 2011

Mr. Gumpy’s Outing

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Today,  I want to talk about two of our classic books for babies and toddlers. As Julie Roach, Manager of Youth Services of the Cambridge (MA) Public Library, has told me on many occasions, the best titles for this age group include a text with few words that encourages participation and simple images and plots […]

Animals, Award Winning, Caldecott, Trains, Transportation
Featured on April 11, 2011

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead
Illustrated by Erin E. Stead

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Today marks National Doctor Day, when we should show our personal doctor appreciation with a card or a gift. It commemorates March 30, 1933, the first use of anesthesia in surgery. If by any chance you want to give a book as a gift, for yourself or your doctor, I can think of no better […]

Animals, Award Winning, Bedtime, Caldecott
Featured on March 30, 2011

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein

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From March 22–28, we celebrate World Folk Tales and Fables Week, established to encourage children and adults to explore the lessons learned from folk tales and fables. Although folk and fairy tales form the basis of world literature and culture, adults have often questioned introducing them to children. After all, the material in these legends […]

Award Winning, Bedtime, Caldecott, Fairy Tale, Family, Folktale
Featured on March 23, 2011

Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill
Illustrated by Bryan Collier

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March has been designated Arts and Crafts Month. History, as the saying goes, is written by the winners. The disenfranchised, those who struggled for recognition, left few clues for those who read the record of history. That is one of the reasons why Laban Carrick Hill’s Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave is such an important […]

African American, Art, Award Winning, Caldecott, Multicultural
Featured on March 8, 2011

Starry Messenger by Peter Sís

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Born on February 15, 1564, Galileo Galilei, Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher, has often been called the man responsible for the birth of modern science. Even his name indicates his rock star status in the scientific world—he’s known by a single name only, just like Cher or Madonna. In 1996, Peter Sís, an artist […]

Astronomy, Award Winning, Caldecott, History, Politics, Science
Featured on February 15, 2011

Simms Taback by Simms Taback

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Today marks the birthday of one of our most innovative illustrators and Caldecott winners, Simms Taback. When Simms won the award in 2000 for Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, so many members of the illustration community delighted in this news not only because they had long admired his work but also because he had worked […]

Art, Award Winning, Caldecott, Humor, Jewish, Multicultural, Music
Featured on February 13, 2011

Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine
Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

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Since 1976 Black History Month has been celebrated in the United States during February. We’ll look at a couple of superb titles this month, beginning with one of the best picture information books of the decade, Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine, illustrated by Kadir Nelson. Ellen is […]

African American, Award Winning, Caldecott, Civil War, History, Multicultural, True Story
Featured on February 10, 2011

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Illustrated by Mary Azarian

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On February 9, 1865, close to the end of the Civil War, Wilson Bentley was born in Jericho, Vermont. As a young boy he loved snow and began to keep a record of the weather. Studying snow crystals under a microscope, he discovered that each one was unique, with its own shape and design. He […]

Award Winning, Caldecott, Nature, Science, Seasons, Winter
Featured on February 9, 2011

Julius Lester by Julius Lester

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On January 27, 1939, Julius Lester was born in Saint Louis, Missouri. Son of a Methodist minister, he lived in Kansas City and Nashville, where he attended Fisk University. Later Lester embraced the Jewish religion, which he wrote about in Lovesong: Becoming a Jew. One of those rare multi-talented individuals who can do many things […]

African American, Award Winning, Caldecott, Folktale, Multicultural
Featured on January 27, 2011

Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport
Illustrated by Bryan Collier

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Today marks Martin Luther King Day. When we come to the third Monday in January, I am often reminded that I did not celebrate this holiday as a child. But I did have an opportunity to witness the incredible life and amazing accomplishments of Dr. King. When I was a student in rhetoric at Indiana […]

African American, Award Winning, Caldecott, Civil Rights, Coretta Scott King, History, Multicultural, Social Conscience
Featured on January 17, 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.