Hidden by Loie Dauvillier
Illustrated by Marc Lizano


Last week was Children’s Book Week, when kids around the country celebrated the books they love to read. I’d like to continue the conversation this week with a topic always on my mind. How does an author create a book that will really make a difference in the life of a child, one that will […]

20th Century, History, Jewish, Multicultural, World War II
Featured on May 11

Krabat & the Sorcerer’s Mill by Otfried Preussler

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September is Library Card Sign Up Month, and I hope everyone who reads the Almanac has such a card. I personally owe the Westwood (MA) Public Library an invaluable debt; every book I have written would have been impossible without them. For several years, our book of the day—Krabat & the Sorcerer’s Mill by Otfried […]

History, Religion/Spirituality, World War II
Featured on September 29

The Pilot and the Little Prince by Peter Sís


Antoine de Saint-Exupery was born in Lyon, France, on June 29, 1900. Called the Sun King by his family because of his golden hair, the young boy truly had his eyes on the sky. At the age of twelve he made his first flying machine from a bicycle. In The Pilot and the Little Prince, […]

History, Planes, True Story, World War I, World War II
Featured on June 29

There Goes Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived by Matt Tavares


I grew up in the state of Indiana, where basketball stood as the supreme sport, and moved to a city Boston, where baseball reigns. Consequently, like most Bostonians, I know that today the Red Sox play their first game in spring training. So I thought I would use this occasion to talk about one of […]

20th Century, Baseball, History, Sports, World War II
Featured on February 27

The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin

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February has been designated Black History Month since 1976, and this observance has allowed for both the acquisition and publishing of many fine children’s and young adult books. But although there are so many stories from Black American history to be told, these books often focus on the same subject areas or heroes. Hence I […]

20th Century, African American, History, Multicultural, World War II
Featured on February 10

How I Learned Geography by Uri Shulevitz


November has been designated Life Writing Month, dedicated to the idea that each person has a story to tell from his or her own history. Next week, we celebrate National Geography Week. Our book of the day, Uri Shulevitz’s How I Learned Geography, can be used for both occasions. This powerful picture book, perennially popular […]

Geography, History, World War II
Featured on November 12

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
Illustrated by Trudy White

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May serves as both Personal History Awareness Month and Jewish American Heritage Month. When I saw these events, I immediately thought of one of the most amazing novels of the last ten years, Marcus Zusak’s The Book Thief. Although Zusak grew up in Australia, his mother had lived in Munich during the reign of Hitler […]

Award Winning, History, Jewish, Multicultural, Printz, World War II
Featured on May 27

Monsieur Marceau by Leda Schubert
Illustrated by Gerard Dubois

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December has been designated Read a New Book Month. During this month many hunt for new books to give as gifts. If you are one of those people, take a look at the picture book biography, Monsieur Marceau, written by Leda Schubert and illustrated by Gerard Dubois, winner this year of NCTE’s Orbis Pictus Award. […]

History, Theater, World War II
Featured on December 10

Shadow on the Mountain by Margi Preus

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September has been designed Read a New Book Month. Certainly those headed back to school, whether teachers or students, will probably encounter some new titles in the next few weeks. I’d like to highlight a book just published in 2012: Shadow on the Mountain by Margi Preus. Margi Preus has published two stellar books in […]

History, World War II
Featured on September 10

A Nation’s Hope by Matt de la Peña

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December has been designated Read a New Book Month, and this week we are celebrating Kwanzaa. The book of the day, A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis, fits for both holidays and combines the talents of Matt de la Peña and Kadir Nelson in one of the best new offerings of […]

African American, Boxing, History, Multicultural, Sports, World War II
Featured on December 27

Eleanor Roosevelt by Russell Freedman

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Today marks the birthday of both Russell Freedman and Eleanor Roosevelt. Originally a West Coaster, Russell was born in San Francisco and studied at the University of California at Berkeley. Russell’s long-time editor Dorothy Briley once said that he made the most perfect dinner guest she had ever encountered. He could make intelligent conversation about […]

Great Depression, History, Social Conscience, World War I, World War II
Featured on October 11

Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac

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In 1982 the United States Senate designated August 14 as National Code Talkers Day. In his address that day, Dennis DeConcini, an Arizona Senator, said, “Since the Code Talkers’ work required absolute secrecy, they never enjoyed the national acclaim they so much deserved. I do not want this illustrious yet unassuming group of Navajo marines […]

History, Multicultural, Native American, Politics, World War II
Featured on August 14

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

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On August 1, 1944, a fifteen-year-old girl wrote what would be the last entry in a diary she had been keeping since June 14, 1942. Her outpourings in this diary over the course of more than two years were remarkable. In this final entry, she talked about her character, striving to become a better human […]

History, Jewish, Multicultural, World War II
Featured on August 4

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

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Seventy-six years ago on July 30, 1935, the modern paperback revolution began when Sir Allen Lane published the first Penguin paperback. I have always been grateful that he was knighted for this achievement—and that in the United States, beginning in the sixties, paperback books for children became a staple of publishing lists. Although I love […]

Award Winning, History, Jewish, Multicultural, Newbery, Politics, Social Conscience, World War II
Featured on July 30

Anne Frank: Her Life in Words and Pictures by Menno Metselaar and Ruud van der Rol, translated by Arnold J.Pomerans

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On June 12, 1929, a young German girl was born. Had history played out differently, she might well have been celebrating her 82nd birthday today. Anne Frank lived in extraordinary times—and in recording those times, she ultimately became the world’s most famous young writer. Scores of books providing supplementary reading for The Diary of Anne […]

Award Winning, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, History, Jewish, Multicultural, Social Conscience, World War II
Featured on June 12

Curious George by H. A. Rey and Margret Rey

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Seventy years ago in 1941, three days before Hitler’s army marched into Paris, two German Jews who had come to the city on a honeymoon and stayed for a couple of years, found themselves trapped in Paris. Although Hans and Margret Rey had secured railroad tickets, the trains stopped running. So Hans scoured bicycle stores, […]

Animals, History, Humor, Imagination, Monkeys, World War II
Featured on June 11

Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki
Illustrated by Dom Lee


Executive order 9066: On February 19, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt sent 110,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of them U.S. Citizens, to concentration camps in remote desert areas. Not allowed to return to their homes until January 2, 1945, these families lost an estimated $400 million worth in property—not to mention their own freedom and sense of […]

Asian American, Baseball, History, Multicultural, Sports, World War II
Featured on February 19

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr


For two and a half weeks, through November 11, we celebrate World Origami Days. Why not try your hand at the Japanese folk art of paper folding that originated in the seventeenth century? During World Origami Days, I’m going to take a look at two novels that explore paper folding—one classic and one cutting edge. […]

History, Origami, True Story, World War II
Featured on October 25

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.