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The Giant and How He Humbugged America by Jim Murphy

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March has been designated Ethical Awareness Month. Really good books that allow children and adults to explore ethical issues are not that easy to come by, although both Wonder and How to Steal a Dog  can be used for this purpose. But a 2012 nonfiction book by Jim Murphy, The Giant and How He Humbugged America, […]

Civil War, History
Featured on March 18, 2013

Unspoken by Henry Cole

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December has been designated Read a New Book Month. I look forward to this celebration because I can present some new gems of the last couple of years. In 2012 Henry Cole published a remarkable wordless picture book, Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad. In artwork created only with charcoal, paper and pencil, Henry […]

Civil War, History, Social Conscience
Featured on December 5, 2012

The Lincolns by Candace Fleming

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On October 15, 1860, eleven-year-old Grace Bedell wrote to a candidate running for the presidency, Abraham Lincoln. She stated that her brothers would vote for him if he grew a beard. “You would look a good deal better for your face is so thin,” she advised. Lincoln wrote back, and then, as a reporter announced, […]

Civil War, History
Featured on October 15, 2012

The Battle of Bull Run

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From 2011-2015 the sesquicentennial of the Civil War will be celebrated. Although the war began 150 years ago, so many contemporary issues can be discussed with children using the Civil War as a starting place. So over the next year I will highlight some of the best books about this era for young readers. July […]

Civil War, History
Featured on July 21, 2011

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

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On July 15, 1868, an author who had been known for worthy adult writing—a novel called Moods and a Civil War memoir Hospital Sketches—finished the first half of a book that would secure her literary immortality. This was not an adult book but a girls’ story. Louisa May Alcott had actually bristled when her editor […]

Civil War, Family, History
Featured on July 15, 2011

Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco

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In April of 2011 the five-year-long Sesquicentennial of the Civil War began; the Civil War Trust has an excellent website of resources. Over this period of time, we’ll be given hundreds, probably thousands, of new resources to use with children to explore the War Between the States. But if I were going to start observing […]

African American, Civil War, History, Multicultural, True Story
Featured on June 22, 2011

Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson

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From the shadows, Powell and Herold watched Seward's doctors leave. The house was quiet now. They watched the gaslights go dim in several rooms, indicating that the occupants were settling in for the night. Powell handed his horse to Herold and walked across the street to the secretary's front door. He rang the bell. Herold scanned up and down the block as he stood watch, keeping their horses ready. On the first floor of the house, a black servant named William Bell hurried to answer the door.Late-night callers, mostly messengers, were not unusual. There was no reason why the servant should not open that door.

Civil War, History
Featured on April 13, 2011

Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman

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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, 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

The (Mostly) True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick

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On the third Saturday in November, the town of Gettysburg celebrates Remembrance Day with a parade of Civil War groups and organizations. One of the most dramatic events of the battle at Gettysburg occurred on the second day when Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Bowdoin College professor who commanded the 20th Maine, was sent to defend Little […]

Adventure, Award Winning, Civil War, History, Newbery
Featured on November 20, 2010

Abraham Lincoln by Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Audelaire

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On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln helped dedicate seventeen acres of the Civil War battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Orator Edward Everett delivered the main speech that day. He spoke for two hours; Lincoln’s short address lasted about two minutes. Although contemporaries thought little of the president’s address, today we consider “The Gettysburg Address” one […]

Award Winning, Caldecott, Civil War, History
Featured on November 19, 2010

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.