FIND A BOOK

Calvin Coconut #9: Extra Famous by Graham Salisbury
Illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers

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March has been designated Humorists Are Artists Month. I totally agree with this sentiment. So often, when children are asked what kind of book they want to read, they respond, “a funny book.” And yet the craft of making this type of book often gets overlooked and is rarely awarded. So today I’d like to […]

Humor
Featured on March 24

The Abominables by Eva Ibbotson
Illustrated by Fiona Robinson

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January has been designated National Book Blitz Month, which is a month-long campaign that aims to encourage reading. If you are hunting for an author who will make your worries disappear and who will allow you to cuddle up with one good book after another, then look no further than the British writer Eva Ibbotson. […]

Humor
Featured on January 13

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

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Today we celebrate a little-recognized holiday, “Thank Goodness It’s Monday,” and an event that lasts for all of January, The Celebration of Life. These two seemingly incongruous observances remind me of one of my favorite picture books of 2013, Peter Brown’s Mr. Tiger Goes Wild. Now, for want of a better term, I am a […]

Animals, Humor
Featured on January 6

The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

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For Read a New Book Month, today I recommend one of 2013’s real gems, Kevin Henkes’s The Year of Billy Miller. Henkes has always shifted between picture books that delight young readers, such as Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse and novels for readers grades five and up like Olive’s Ocean. But in The Year of Billy […]

Family, Humor, School
Featured on December 23

How Tom Beat Captain Najork and His Team of Hired Sportsmen by Russell Hoban
Illustrated by Quentin Blake

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Today on the Almanac, I send birthday greetings to Sir Quentin Blake, born outside of London. While still a teenager, he began contributing to Punch magazine. After studying English at Cambridge, he took life-drawing classes at the Chelsea Art School and, in 1960, began a glorious career as a children’s book illustrator—one that has resulted […]

Humor, Imagination, Sports
Featured on December 16

Mr. Wuffles! by David Wiesner

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December has been designated Read a New Book Month. Often in December, we hunt for something recently published that will make the perfect gift. Now, I admit that I favor dog books. And my readers have been patient with me as I rhapsodize over titles like Love that Dog or Homer, month after month. But […]

Animals, Cats, Humor, Imagination, Technology
Featured on December 2

Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe
Illustrated by Alan Daniel

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Around this time of year, I prepare myself for Halloween madness. I’ve never enjoyed scary nights or stories. So today my recommendation is for anyone who wants a quasi-horror story that uses the elements of horror but blends them with a lot of humor. First published in 1979, Deborah and James Howe’s Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale […]

Animals, Humor, Rabbits
Featured on October 28

Let’s Do Nothing! by Tony Fucile

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For some reason, although it is summertime, things seem busier than ever during the month of July. I suppose I always secretly long for the summers I remember from my youth—with long periods of unstructured time. New Englanders tend to cram six months of living into the days of sunshine. But when I feel frantic, […]

Humor
Featured on July 1

Amelia Bedelia: Fiftieth Anniversary Edition by Peggy Parish
Illustrated by Fritz Siebel

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This week we celebrate Children’s Book Week, a great time to look at old classics and new favorites. A couple of years ago for Scholastic Book Clubs, I worked with more than twenty children’s book experts to identify the best books to include in their offerings. When we took our original ballot, before discussion, one […]

Humor
Featured on May 13

A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban

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Today I am recommending a book to chase the holiday blues away. Sometime during this joyous, or not so joyous, season, people find themselves a bit depressed. When that feeling comes upon you, make sure you have a copy of Linda Urban’s A Crooked Kind of Perfect nearby. Urban’s first novel, published in 2007, provides […]

Family, Humor, Music, School
Featured on December 17

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

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass

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The first entry of our book of the day, Wendy Mass’s Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life occurs on July 22, and so today seemed an appropriate time to look at this beloved book by one of today’s most popular writers for children. Our hero Jeremy beings his saga with words that grab readers’ […]

Family, Humor
Featured on July 22

My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian
Illustrated by Jake Tashjian

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Lazy July days—perfect for summer reading. But what if you don’t like to read; what if you actively avoid reading? Such is the dilemma of our protagonist of the day, twelve-year-old Derek, who begins his saga in My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian with these bold words: “I DON’T WANT TO READ THIS […]

Family, Humor, School
Featured on July 9

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klasssen

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Today we celebrate International Hat Day.  I personally love, wear, buy, and covet hats—all kinds of hats. Since the book of the day I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen was published last year, it has already gained an enormous number of fans. Klassen is a master of the minimalist form. Starting with sumptuous […]

Animals, Bears, Humor, Rabbits
Featured on November 25

Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick

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The second week of November we celebrate National Young Readers Week. I wish that all young readers had access to the books we celebrate every day on the Almanac. Today we’ll look at one, published in 1993, which I consider a contemporary classic, Rodman Philbrick’s Freak the Mighty. When I first read this book about […]

Humor, School, Special Needs
Featured on November 7

Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss

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In October 1940 a new children’s book author and illustrator published his fourth book, one destined to become a classic. Admittedly since he had been rejected some twenty times for his first book, and then only been picked up by a small press, Vanguard, he did not necessarily seem to be poised to become America’s […]

Animals, Elephants, Humor
Featured on October 19

Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff

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October is International Dinosaur Month. Except for cats and dogs, few creatures seem as appealing to children as dinosaurs. In fact, to have a dinosaur as a pet must be one of the great childhood fantasies, an idea explored by Oliver Butterworth in The Enormous Egg. Well our dinosaur of the day isn’t exactly a […]

Dinosaurs, Humor
Featured on October 18

Gregory, the Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat
Illustrated by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey

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October has been designated Vegetable Awareness Month and today also marks National Dessert Day. Certainly, I embrace both causes. The book of the day, Gregory, the Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat, brings these two holidays together in a humorous and totally satisfying story. Like many children, Gregory was a fussy eater; he wants only fruits, […]

Food, Humor
Featured on October 14

Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarret J. Krosoczka

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This week America celebrates National School Lunch Week. And as that old ditto goes: “Teachers come and teachers go,/It’s the lunch lady who you get to know.”  But how well do you really know the lunch lady? Do you know what she does when she leaves the school? In our book of the day, an […]

Humor, School
Featured on October 13

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka
Illustrated by Lane Smith

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Just when I think I can’t be surprised about the existence of a holiday, one comes along that amazes me. Today we celebrate Moldy Cheese Day. Molds play an important part in the production of delicious—but often stinky—blue cheeses like Roquefort and Gorgonzola. Even the milder Brie and Camembert get created by the introduction of […]

Fairy Tale, Humor
Featured on October 9

Arthur’s Nose by Marc Brown

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Today for Great Books Week (October 6-12) , I’d like to look at a modest picture book that launched an empire: Marc Brown’s Arthur’s Nose. In 1976 a failed television weatherman, Marc Brown, published his first picture book under the astute guidance of Emilie McLeod of Atlantic Monthly Press. Emilie, one of those most respected […]

Animals, Friendship, Humor
Featured on October 7

Encyclopedia Brown by Donald Sobol

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Born on October 4, 1924, in New York City, Donald Sobol served in the Army Corps of Engineers in World War II and then attended Oberlin College. There he became interested in writing and worked as a reporter for the New York Sun and the New York Daily News. In the late fifties Sobol began […]

Humor
Featured on October 4

Lyle, Lyle Crocodile by Bernard Waber

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Today is the birthday of one of the nicest human beings I ever had the chance to work with, Bernie Waber. A quiet, unassuming man, Bernie had a gentle sense of humor—one that he relied on for books like Ira Sleeps Over and Lyle, Lyle Crocodile. Born in Philadelphia, Bernie moved frequently during his childhood […]

Animals, Humor
Featured on September 27

The Agony of Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

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From September 22 through September 28, the American Library Association celebrates Banned Books Week. Often your local public library will display some famous banned books. I am always surprised to see what makes list of “top banned/challenged books” of the decade. Harry Potter leads the list—possibly Harry Potter is going to lead all lists (sales, censorship, […]

Family, Humor, School
Featured on September 26

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

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September 25 has been designated National Comic Book Day. From Jennifer L. and Matthew Holm’s Babymouse series to Jeff Kinney’s Wimpy Kid offerings, comic books (sometimes called graphic novels) have been the hottest publishing phenomena of the past few years—including in books for children. Entire imprints, like First Second, have been established to explore what […]

Humor, Imagination
Featured on September 25

Punctuation Takes a Vacation by Robin Pulver
Illustrated by Lynn Rowe Reed

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What if we had the English language as we know it, but no punctuation had been invented? The sentences you are reading now would be nearly impossible to comprehend. The importance of punctuation in communication lies at the heart of today’s holiday, the annual National Punctuation Day. For the organizers, today serves as a “celebration of […]

Humor, School
Featured on September 24

Go, Dog. Go! by P. D. Eastman

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The heroes of our book of the day do not even have names. But the canines in P. D. Eastman’s Go, Dog. Go!, an offering for National Dog Week, which takes place the last week of September, are some of the fastest, and funniest, dogs to appear in a children’s book. After the success of […]

Animals, Dogs, Humor
Featured on September 20

Bad Kitty Gets a Bath by Nick Bruel

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September has been designated Happy Cat Month. But the cat featured in our book of the day isn’t really happy. In fact, her owners have found a way to make her extremely miserable—by giving Bad Kitty a bath. I believe, however, that Nick Bruel, Bad Kitty’s creator, must certainly be laughing as he works on […]

Animals, Cats, Humor
Featured on September 17

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

Joey Pigza by Jack Gantos

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September has been designated Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Month to educate everyone about effective treatments for the disease. In 1998 Jack Gantos published a book called Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key that not only became a National Book Award finalist but also goes a long way in educating young readers about ADHD. Joey Pigza […]

ADHD, Award Winning, Humor, National Book Award, School, Special Needs
Featured on September 14

Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik
Illustrated by Maurice Sendak

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Born in Denmark on September 13, 1920, Else Holmelund Minarik came to the United States when she was four. At first she hated English, the new language that she had to learn, but she became devoted to it—and to teaching first graders how to read words that had once perplexed her. As she observed her […]

Animals, Bears, Family, Humor
Featured on September 13

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.