Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows
Illustrated by Sophie Blackall


Today we celebrate National Babysitter’s Day. Almost every child has had the experience being taken care of by a babysitter—many later even become one themselves—and that story has been played out again and again in children’s books. The protagonists of today’s book, two irrepressible seven-year-old girls, encounter that situation in Ivy + Bean Take Care […]

Family, Humor, Imagination
Featured on May 7

Shark vs. Train by Chris Barton
Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

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May has been designated Get Caught Reading Month, a campaign launched in 1999 by the Association of American Publishers. The month has been set aside to remind people how much fun it is to read; posters for the event show favorite children’s book characters or celebrities celebrating books and reading. I’m going to feature two […]

Humor, Imagination, Toys
Featured on May 2

Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen
Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes


This week we have been celebrating National Library Week. All kinds of libraries—school, public, and academic—participate in this annual event that celebrates the contributions of our nation’s libraries. If you haven’t registered a child for a library card recently, you will be pleasantly surprised about the offerings in children’s rooms of modern public libraries. Videos, […]

Animals, Humor, Imagination, Lions
Featured on April 15

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery


On April 6, 1943, one of the most unusual offerings in the children’s book cannon was published. Whether it was a book for adults or children or more appropriately “all ages” would become part of the ongoing debate about The Little Prince. Certainly some of the early reviewers like P. L. Travers and Anne Carroll […]

Imagination, Religion/Spirituality
Featured on April 6

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald

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On March 26, 1908, Betty MacDonald was born in Boulder, Colorado. Because her father worked as a mining engineer, she spent many years of her childhood traveling around the West. Eventually settling in Seattle, MacDonald attended the University of Washington and wrote The Egg and I, a funny account of her married life on a […]

Family, Humor, Imagination, Magic
Featured on March 26

Busy, Busy Town by Richard Scarry

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Today has been designated International Goof-Off Day—a day to relax, be yourself, and avoid what you are supposed to do. If you are in the position to celebrate International Goof-Off Day, you first might want to read Tony Fucile’s Let’s Do Nothing for tips. But I myself am happiest when working at something I like […]

Animals, Humor, Imagination
Featured on March 22

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

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On March 5th we celebrated a relatively new holiday, World Read Aloud Day. I’d like to continue this celebration by talking about my favorite recent read-aloud, written by Germany’s bestselling author for children, Cornelia Funke. Cornelia was brought to the attention of publisher Barry Cunningham by a devoted fan. The girl wrote to Cunningham, who had […]

Adventure, Geography, Imagination
Featured on March 9

Spoon by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrated by Scott Magoon

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Today marks National Cereal Day, so raise a glass of milk or a cup of coffee to your favorite brand. Americans are, as group, addicted to cereal. I recently a saw a Facebook post by someone overseas who lamented she could not get her favorite American cereal in this foreign country. Our book of the […]

Food, Humor, Imagination
Featured on March 7

Doctor De Soto by William Steig

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Today we celebrate National Dentist Day. Suggestions for the day include delivering a thank-you note to your dentist—although I would recommend giving them the book of the day instead. For me, the greatest book ever written about a dentist is also one of the best picture books of the twentieth century: Doctor De Soto by […]

Animals, Award Winning, Humor, Imagination, Mice, Newbery
Featured on March 6

And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss

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On March 2, 1904, Theodor Seuss Geisel was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. Seuss won a Pulitzer Prize for lifetime contribution, one of the few children’s book creators ever so honored, and his books have sold over 200 million copies. Like so many of our pivotal children’s book creators, Seuss struggled to get his first book […]

Humor, Imagination
Featured on March 2

Babe by Dick King-Smith


Today marks National Pig Day. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of pig books for me to choose from. Intelligent and humorous, pigs make a naturally intriguing subject for children. I first read the book of the day in 1984, and I have never fallen so hard or so fast for a new title for […]

Animals, Humor, Imagination, Pigs
Featured on March 1

Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
Illustrated by Roberto Innocenti

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On February 7, 1940, RKO Radio Pictures released the second Walt Disney animated film, Pinocchio. As a child who fell under its spell, I remember many of its virtues—cutting edge animation, Academy Awards for the Best Original Score and Original Song, “When You Wish Upon a Star,” and the delightful Jiminy Cricket. Hence, imagine my […]

Dolls, Humor, Imagination, School, Toys
Featured on February 7

Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown


In this age of the Internet, tweets, Facebook, and e-mail, we may not take time for today’s celebration: Thank the Mailman Day. Even titles like James Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice seem a bit arcane. Mine doesn’t even ring once. But there is at least one classic children’s book that owes everything to postal […]

Humor, Imagination
Featured on February 4

Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey

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Today is set aside to “Run it up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes.” The concept behind the day, and the phrase, is to get people to try out a new idea. But often for children, these sayings take on literal meanings, such as in Jerry Spinelli’s Who Ran My Underwear Up a Flagpole. […]

Adventure, Humor, Imagination, School
Featured on January 2

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

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.