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Joyce Sidman by Joyce Sidman
Illustrated by Rick Allen

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Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month takes place in April. The Academy lists a variety of projects, including a Poem-A-Day, where new poetry is e-mailed to those who register. Like the rest of the country, we’ll be celebrating National Poetry Month on the Almanac and will recognize Poem in […]

Animals, Award Winning, Newbery
Featured on April 3

Rules by Cynthia Lord

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In 2007, April 2 was designated World Autism Awareness Day by the General Assembly of the United Nations, because of the prevalence and high rate of autism in children. In the past few years several notable children’s books have included a child with autism or a focus on autism. My favorite book on the topic […]

Autism, Award Winning, Family, Humor, Newbery, Special Needs
Featured on April 2

How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O’Connor

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Today I’d like to acknowledge two holidays. March has been designated Ethical Awareness Month, and today is National She’s Funny That Way Day, a time for people to list the five ways that the women in their lives make them laugh. When I thought about a funny, engaging character who faces an ethical dilemma, Georgina […]

Animals, Award Winning, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Dogs, Family
Featured on March 31

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

Clementine by Sara Pennypacker
Illustrated by Marla Frazee


March has been designated Exotic Winter Fruit Month and Leeks & Green Onions Month. When I think of winter fruit, my mind instantly conjures up one of the most engaging heroines developed in the past few years in children’s books—a very fresh and cheeky third grader named Clementine. She also has a baby brother, and […]

Award Winning, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Family, Humor
Featured on March 28

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

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Toward the end of March, World Folk Tales and Fables Week has been set up to encourage children and adults to explore the lessons learned from folk tales and fables. I’d like to finish our celebration with one of the most popular retellings of a folk tale published in the last fifteen years. Gail Carson […]

Adventure, Award Winning, Fairy Tale, Magic, Newbery, Quest
Featured on March 27

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein


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

Marching for Freedom by Elizabeth Partridge

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On March 21, 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. began the five-day protest march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama—a triumphant event in the Civil Rights Movement. A few months later the Voting Rights Act was signed into law, outlawing literacy tests and other measures used to keep African Americans from registering to vote. A remarkable […]

African American, Award Winning, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Civil Rights, History, Multicultural, Politics, Social Conscience
Featured on March 21

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

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March has been set aside to recognize the contribution of small presses to our literary heritage. After I had finished selecting books for 100 Best Books for Children, I went back to calculate the percentage that had originally been published by small or independent publishing houses. 10 percent! An amazing figure when you realize that […]

Adventure, Award Winning, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Quest
Featured on March 16

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin


On March 13, 1928, Ellen Raskin was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At first she pursued a career in fine arts, graduating from the University of Wisconsin. After she moved to New York, she began designing book jackets and created over one thousand of them. Raskin was lured into the field of children’s books to serve […]

Award Winning, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Games, Newbery
Featured on March 13

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

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On March 12, 1963, the New York Times wrote “A housewife and an artist today won the nation’s top awards for the most distinguished children’s book published in 1962.” This statement doesn’t even hint at the truth—that the most courageous committee in the history of the Newbery and Caldecott Awards had just announced its results. […]

Adventure, Award Winning, Newbery, Other Worlds, Science
Featured on March 12

Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill
Illustrated by Bryan Collier


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

Doctor De Soto by William Steig

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Today we celebrate National Dentist Day. Suggestions for the day include delivering a thank-you note to your dentist—although I would recommend giving them the book of the day instead. For me, the greatest book ever written about a dentist is also one of the best picture books of the twentieth century: Doctor De Soto by […]

Animals, Award Winning, Humor, Imagination, Mice, Newbery
Featured on March 6

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

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On March 4, 1791, Vermont became the 14th state admitted to the Union. Certainly at the time, the event did not seemed connected to the children’s book community. But by the beginning of the twenty-first century, Vermont had emerged as one of the best environments for those who create books for children and young adults. […]

Award Winning, Great Depression, History, Newbery
Featured on March 4

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

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On February 22, 1819, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams signed the Florida Purchase Treaty, making the Spanish territory part of the United States. When I think of recent books set in Florida, Carl Hiaasen’s Newbery Honor Book Hoot, an exciting, page-turning mystery, immediately comes to mind. Roy Eberhardt, new kid in town, has arrived […]

Animals, Award Winning, Ecology, Nature, Newbery, Politics, School, Science, Social Conscience
Featured on February 22

Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman


Today I feel sorry for George Washington. He is, after all, the father of the country, yet he has to share a birthday celebration with Abraham Lincoln on President’s Day. Of the two, Lincoln has received the best treatment in children’s books, so today we’ll celebrate his accomplishments. Of all the hundreds and thousands of […]

Award Winning, Civil War, History, Holidays, Newbery, President's Day
Featured on February 21

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

Smile by Raina Telgemeier

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February has been designated National Children’s Dental Health Month—to increase awareness and stress the importance of regular dental care. In 2010 New York Times bestselling author Raina Telgemeier published a graphic memoir, ideal for ten- to fourteen-year olds called Smile. In 214 pages Telgemeier presents the struggles of her protagonist, Raina, who has two front […]

Award Winning, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Family, Health, Humor, School
Featured on February 16

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

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

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

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

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell


For authors and artists week, I’d like to talk about the most impressive author I ever worked with, Scott O’Dell. Scott was in his mid seventies and I was in my late twenties when we first met. A tall man, large in body, spirit, and charisma, he could tell stories like no one I had ever […]

20th Century, Award Winning, History, Multicultural, Native American, Newbery, True Story
Featured on February 6

The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay


On January 31, 1930, 3M began marketing Scotch Tape, an invention of Richard Drew. The familiar plaid design, an adaptation of the Wallace tartan, did not come along for another fifteen years. But Scotch Tape, like so many other simple inventions, changed everyday life. If I were to recommend to parents a single reference source […]

Award Winning, Technology
Featured on January 31

Lloyd Alexander by Lloyd Alexander


On January 30,1924, Lloyd Alexander was born in Philadelphia. He knew from the age of fifteen that he wanted to be a writer, and for seventeen years he wrote for adults. Then in 1963, this charming, erudite author published his first children’s book, Time Cat, and 1964, his second, The Book of Three. His editor […]

Adventure, Award Winning, Magic, Newbery
Featured on January 30

Julius Lester by Julius Lester


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

Scaredy Squirrel by Mélanie Watt

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Today has been designated Squirrel Appreciation Day. Like many city dwellers, I don’t appreciate squirrels. My dogs, Lady and Lancelot, basically believe that all squirrels deserve to be driven up trees. The squirrels in my back yard retaliate by making fun of these lumbering, large dogs. I have liked these bushy-tailed creatures a great deal […]

Animals, Award Winning, Feelings, Squirrels
Featured on January 21

365 Penguins by Jean-Luc Fromental & Joëlle Jolivet


Today marks Penguin Awareness Day.  Who doesn’t love penguins? They look so wonderful in their tuxedos, so well turned out and charming. But, then, I must admit that I have never lived with any. If I did, possibly I’d feel differently—I’d be more circumspect about them, like the family in our book of the day, […]

Animals, Award Winning, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Family, Humor, Penguins
Featured on January 20

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

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

The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman

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In Greece January 8 has been designated Midwife’s Day or Women’s Day, to honor midwives. Midwifery, of course, has a long and important history throughout the world. Drawing on her extensive knowledge of medieval times, Karen Cushman chose the practice of helping women deliver babies as the subject for her second novel, The Midwife’s Apprentice, […]

Award Winning, History, Middle Ages, Newbery, Women
Featured on January 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.