World Rat Day by J. Patrick Lewis
Illustrated by Anna Raff


Today I would like to wish a happy birthday to J. Patrick Lewis. Among the many things Pat and I share in common is a Hoosier childhood; he grew up with a twin brother in Gary, Indiana, and attended Indiana University and Ohio State, where he received his doctorate in economics. But Pat left the […]

Animals, Holidays, Poetry
Featured on May 5

Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet

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For more than eighty years, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has entertained Americans. For many households the viewing of the parade is as essential as eating turkey. But how did such an event come about? In Balloons Over Broadway, author and illustrator Melissa Sweet takes readers behind the scenes of the parade as she presents […]

History, Holidays, Humor, Thankgiving, Toys
Featured on November 22

A New Year’s Reunion by Yu Li-Qiong
Illustrated by Zhu Cheng-Liang


Today begins the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Dragon. Certainly over the years many American publishers have offered titles appropriate for this holiday. But a few months ago, a book that first appeared in Taiwan in 2008 was released and it’s one of the finest I have ever seen. A New Year’s Reunion […]

Asian American, Family, Holidays, Multicultural, New Year's
Featured on January 23

The Money We’ll Save by Brock Cole


In December many hunt for books both to read and to give as gifts. Well, if you are hunting for a picture book for four- to eight-year-olds and could use a good laugh, I recommend the book of the day, Brock Cole’s The Money We’ll Save. I laughed so much the first time that I […]

19th century, Animals, Birds, Christmas, History, Holidays
Featured on December 11

Bone Dog by Eric Rohmann

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Tonight we celebrate All Hallows Eve, or Halloween, a time of carved pumpkins, parties, or door-to-door canvassing in costume for treats. In my childhood the latter activity was quite casual, and costumes often consisted only of sheets with eye holes. But in more recent years Halloween costumes have become elaborate, often prepared with great care. […]

Animals, Dogs, Halloween, Holidays
Featured on October 31

11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass


Today marks Best Friends Day, a time to celebrate the BFF in your life. Nothing can be so wonderful in the life of a child as a best friend. And, conversely, nothing can be more terrible than a rift between them. I still wince with pain when I think about my “breakup” with my BFF in […]

Birthdays, Family, Holidays, School
Featured on June 8

Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by DuBose Heyward
Illustrated by Marjorie Flack


The celebration of Easter contains both religious and secular components. Today many children will search for Easter eggs, candy baskets, and the various treats that have become associated with the holiday. Although hundreds of books have been published for Easter, for me the best was published seventy-two years ago: DuBose Heyward’s The Country Bunny and […]

Animals, Easter, Holidays, Rabbits
Featured on April 24

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

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

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Today begins the celebration of Kwanzaa, extending through the first of January. Honoring African culture, Kwanzaa was created in 1966 to “give Blacks an alternative to the existing holidays.” Today, December 26, marks the day to strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race. But if you wanted to explain to […]

African American, Civil Rights, History, Holidays, Kawanzaa, Multicultural
Featured on December 26

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg


In 1985 a book appeared by Caldecott-winning artist Chris Van Allsburg that would immediately become a bestseller and over the years establish itself as a picture book ritually read and enjoyed by families during the Christmas season: The Polar Express. Chris came to his career as a children’s book writer through his work as a […]

Adventure, Christmas, Holidays, Magic, Trains, Transportation
Featured on December 25

Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon
Illustrated by Henri Sorensen


On December 24, 1818, a Christmas carol with a beautiful melody and words of peace—one created by an Austrian priest and a headmaster—was first performed in the Church of St. Nicholas in Oberndorf, Austria. Of all my own childhood memories, the ones of singing this song, known in English as “Silent Night,” remain the most […]

Christmas, History, Holidays, Music, Social Conscience, World War I
Featured on December 24

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs


When this time of year comes around, I always think of one of my favorite books first published in 1978, which truly captures the joy of playing in the snow. Although comic-book format picture books and graphic novels rule today, when Raymond Briggs used the wordless, comic-book format in The Snowman, he broke with the […]

Adventure, Christmas, Holidays, Imagination, Magic, Seasons, Winter
Featured on December 23

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

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When Charles Dickens set out to write A Christmas Carol in 1843, both his fortune and his reputation had hit an all-time low. “Boz [Dickens’s pen name] is going down,” the gossips declared, and Dickens financial problems were known all over London. During this time the celebration of Christmas traditions in England were, as the […]

Christmas, Ghosts, Holidays
Featured on December 19

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson


Around this time of year, many families, some who do not even regularly attend church, find themselves in one, supporting the local Christmas Pageant. This event, acted out in communities across America, allows children to play starring roles in the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. Sometimes even local animals make debut appearances in […]

Christmas, Family, Holidays, Humor
Featured on December 13

Happy Hanukkah


The celebration of Hanukkah, which takes place this year from December 1–9, has generated a number of fine books for children. Today I’d like to look at two picture books that I particularly admire, one classic and one newer title. Trina Schart Hyman won a Caldecott Honor for her spirited artwork in Hershel and the […]

Award Winning, Caldecott, Hanukkah, History, Holidays, Revolutionary War
Featured on December 6

1621: A New Look At Thanksgiving by Catherine O’Neill Grace & Margaret Bruchac
Illustrated by Sisse Brimberg & Cotton Coulson

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Today Americans worship those twin pastimes of indulging in food and football. How did this day, Thanksgiving, become a holiday? In searching for the best book on the topic, I discovered that there aren’t as many Thanksgiving books as you might think. Certainly the most intriguing on the subject is 1621: A New Look at […]

Colonial America, History, Holidays, Multicultural, Native American, Thankgiving
Featured on November 25

Pop-up Books by Robert Sabuda


Today we celebrate the birthday of one of the most original creators of children’s books, Lothar Meggendorfer, born in Munich in 1847. Meggendorfer did not want the images of a book to lie flat on the page—he thought they should move. Decades before motion pictures or interactive computer graphics, he experimented with paper engineering to […]

Featured on November 6

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.