The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang
Illustrated by Sonny Liew

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September has been designated a month to be kind to editors and writers, which is always good advice. One of the writers and artists I have not mentioned enough on the Almanac, Gene Luen Yang, is our hero of the day. Those who have had a chance to meet this charismatic and charming creator in […]

Asian American, History, Imagination, Multicultural
Featured on September 22

The Bear’s Song by Benjamin Chaud

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From January 19–25, we celebrate Hunt for Happiness Week. A perfect book for this week has been sitting on my shelf for months: Benjamin Chaud’s The Bear’s Song. A large picture book at 14 ½ inches tall by 9 ¾ inches wide, The Bear’s Song first appeared in France and has been published in the […]

Animals, Bears, Imagination
Featured on January 20

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


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


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

Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld


This week has been designated World Communication Week to remind us that computer access has made worldwide communication possible. Even this blog, read around the globe, and my national and international friendships on Facebook and Twitter would not be possible without all the technological breakthroughs that have sustained the Internet. If Twitter were a country, […]

Featured on November 4

Stories 1 2 3 4 by Eugène Ionesco
Illustrated by Etienne Delessert


Today illustrator Etienne Delessert celebrates his birthday—he has been creating children’s books for more than fifty years. When I was a young critic in the 1970s, the avant guard of illustration consisted of Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are), Tomi Ungerer (No Kiss for Mother), Edward Gorey (The Shrinking of Treehorn), and Etienne Delessert, […]

Art, Bedtime, Imagination, Trendsetting
Featured on January 4

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
Illustrated by Jon Klassen


During August many individuals visit one of the hundreds of arts and crafts fairs held around the country. Whether you are going to the Festival of the Hills in St. Louis or looking forward to the Minnesota State Fair for its crafts exhibits, you should pick up one of the best celebrations of the art […]

Art, Clothing, Imagination
Featured on August 13

The Borrowers by Mary Norton
Illustrated by Beth and Joe Krush


On January 4, 1838, Charles Sherwood Stratton, the most famous small person in history, was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. After being discovered by another resident of the city, P. T. Barnum, Stratton received a new name, General Tom Thumb. Our book of the day, Mary Norton’s The Borrowers, celebrates General Tom Thumb—and little people in […]

Adventure, Imagination
Featured on January 4

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

Grandpa Green by Lane Smith

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Since 1978 the first Sunday after Labor Day has been celebrated as National Grandparents Day to encourage grandchildren to tap into the wisdom and heritage of their grandparents. Encapsulating both the spirit and the intent of this holiday, our book-of-the-day is Grandpa Green by Lane Smith. As editor of The Horn Book Magazine I watched the […]

Art, Gardening, Imagination
Featured on September 11

Kindergarten Diary by Antoinette Portis

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Our book of the day yesterday, Wemberly Worried, has been around for a decade. But last year, Antoinette Portis added a new book to read during Get Ready for Kindergarten Month. Kindergarten Diary explores what a young child might think and experience each day in a new school. Portis, the very creative inventor of Not […]

Humor, Imagination, School
Featured on August 20

Whales on Stilts by M. T. Anderson


It is amazing how many holidays exist, and what strange ones some of them are. Today is National Walk on Stilts Day. According to those who observe this day, walking on stilts allows you to build coordination and have a lot of fun at the same time. The holiday organizers want you to get out, […]

Adventure, Humor, Imagination
Featured on July 27

Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold


July has been designated National Black Family Month, a month for Black Americans “to invest in their families as well as themselves.” The organizers hope that participants will have family reunions, dinners, or network with each other. Today I want to focus on one of the most magical family dinners ever portrayed. Faith Ringgold created […]

African American, Family, Food, Imagination, Multicultural, New York, Seasons, Summer, True Story
Featured on July 25

Skellig by David Almond

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July has been designated Make a Difference in the Life of a Child month. The right book for the right child at the right time always has and always will change lives. The book of the day is one that can be very powerful when it gets in a child’s hands at the right moment. […]

Imagination, Magic, Religion/Spirituality, Science
Featured on July 24

The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog by Mo Willems

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Today is National Hot Dog Day, and July is National Hot Dog Month. So it seems a good time to focus on hot dogs, one of America’s favorite and “most patriotic” foods according to promoters. Although the book of the day seems like a natural for publication, Mo Willems’s first book about the pigeon, Don’t […]

Animals, Birds, Food, Humor, Imagination
Featured on July 23

The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrated by Clement Hurd

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For National Rabbit Week, we’ll look at several books, starting with two bunny books ideal for preschoolers.  We have a bumper crop of rabbits in my neighborhood this year, and my Bernese Mountain Dog Lancelot is obsessed with them. Possibly he is a candidate for both books of the day. A graduate of Bank Street […]

Animals, Family, Imagination, Rabbits
Featured on July 17

My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann

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July 15–21 has been designated National Rabbit Week to pay tribute to this animal for being such a great companion for humans. What is it about rabbits that so inspire children’s book authors and illustrators? Ever since Peter Rabbit went lippety, lippety down the road, rabbits have multiplied like—well—bunnies in children’s books. I’ll be talking […]

Animals, Award Winning, Caldecott, Humor, Imagination, Rabbits
Featured on July 16

Stuart Little by E. B. White
Illustrated by Garth Williams


On July 11, 1899, Elwyn Brooks White, known to his friends as Andy and the literary world as E. B., was born in Mount Vernon, New York. He would eventually become a Maine man, where he lived with his wife Katharine. White published his first article in The New Yorker in 1925 and continued to […]

Animals, Family, Humor, Imagination, New York
Featured on July 11

The BFG by Roald Dahl
Illustrated by Quentin Blake

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On July 9, 1982, Queen Elizabeth II woke up in Buckingham Palace to find a stranger sitting at the end of her bed. Wearing jeans and a T-shirt, the intruder had actually planned to commit suicide in the queen’s bedroom, but then decided that wasn’t “a nice thing to do.” Instead he simply wanted to […]

Humor, Imagination, London
Featured on July 9

June 29, 1999 by David Wiesner


Today is June 29 and even saying that phrase makes me think of our most awarded children’s book illustrator, three-time winner of the Caldecott Medal, David Wiesner. David began his work at Rhode Island School of Design, a student of David Macaulay. Even as a boy, David knew that he wanted to be an artist, […]

Imagination, Science
Featured on June 29

Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot
Illustrated by Edward Gorey


In the 1930s, an author who called himself “Old Possum” sent his godchildren (Tom Faber, Alison Tandy, Susan Wolcott, and Susanne Morley) a series of poems about cats. Playful, irreverent, and brilliantly written, these fourteen poems (a fifteenth “Cat Morgan Introduces Himself” appeared in 1952) were published in England by Faber and Faber in September […]

Animals, Cats, Humor, Imagination
Featured on June 28

Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present by Charlotte Zolotow
Illustrated by Maurice Sendak


Today marks the birthday of Charlotte Zolotow, legendary publisher, editor, and writer. Sometime in the late seventies I first met Charlotte; Bill Morris, Harper’s devoted head of Marketing, adored her and wanted us to get to know each other. From that day on, I suddenly had a new goal—I wanted to grow up to be […]

Animals, Award Winning, Caldecott, Imagination, Rabbits
Featured on June 26

My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
Illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett


Around this time of year we celebrate Father’s Day. Now, as a rule, children are not particularly excited to read a book about an adult, even if they love their father. They would rather read about children they want to hang out with. But one of the best children’s books of all times (perfect for […]

Adventure, Animals, Imagination
Featured on June 19

The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss


For many years, 2 Park Street in Boston served as the headquarters for Houghton Mifflin Publishers. In this Beacon Hill landmark, overlooking the Old Granary Burial Ground, a rickety brass elevator cage took employees up and down to their appointed floors, shuddering and whining as it did. This Otis elevator required the care of an […]

Animals, Cats, Humor, Imagination
Featured on June 18

His Shoes Were Far Too Tight by Daniel Pinkwater
Illustrated by Calef Brown


This week, on June 10, in Australia, Belieze, Cayman Islands, and Fiji they celebrated the “Queen’s Official Birthday.” Queen Elizabeth II actually was born on April 21. Celebrating the Queen’s Official Birthday on a day when she wasn’t born would be just the kind of corkscrew logic that our English author of the day, Edward Lear, […]

Animals, Humor, Imagination
Featured on June 13

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

Maurice Sendak by Maurice Sendak


Today marks the birthday of someone who might best be described as the father of the American picture book—or, probably today, its grandfather. When Maurice Sendak published his masterpiece, Where the Wild Things Are, in 1963, he changed the scope and the possibilities of the picture book for every artist to come after him. He […]

Adventure, Award Winning, Caldecott, Family, Imagination
Featured on June 10

Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg


June 4 has been designated Drawing Day or Pencil Day. Today we are encouraged to create art and to remember the joy we had when we first picked up a pencil and drew. If I ask myself what is the most amazing book I ever watched being published that was created by a pencil, the […]

Animals, Award Winning, Caldecott, Family, Games, Imagination
Featured on June 4

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Illustrated by Jules Feiffer

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Today marks the birthday of Norton Juster, a man who should be named the patron saint of all who put pen to paper. One of the things that all writers do, on almost a daily basis, is avoid writing. If most of us put as much energy into writing as we put into not writing, […]

Adventure, Cars, Games, Humor, Imagination, Transportation
Featured on June 2

Half Magic by Edward Eager
Illustrated by N. M. Bodecker


“It began one day in summer about thirty years ago, and it happened to four children.” So begins the book of the day, a perfect story about summer. This book holds a unique place in the children’s book canon. It is the only one I know where the author admitted to copying, shamelessly, from another author […]

Adventure, Humor, Imagination, Magic, Seasons, Summer
Featured on May 31

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
Illustrated by Carson Ellis

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Today for RIF’s Reading Is Fun week, I’d like to look at a recent novel. When I ask young readers what books they adore reading, one title keeps coming up—Trenton Lee Stewart’s The Mysterious Benedict Society. During the last five years, end-of-the-world, dystopian novels have started to dominate publishing lists and children’s reading lists. All […]

Adventure, Imagination
Featured on May 14

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.