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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, 2014

Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper

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This week we celebrate Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators week, and I’d like to use the day to talk about an author whom I have admired for more than forty years. As a young Horn Book assistant editor, I read the galleys of the second children’s book by Susan Cooper, The Dark Is Rising, and […]

Colonial America, History, Multicultural, Native American
Featured on February 5, 2014

The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by E. B. Lewis

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Today, many in the blogging community will be celebrating multiculturalism in children’s books. For a list of those participating, check pragmaticmom and Jump Into a Book. In a society where our children come from a variety of racial backgrounds, the plea for high-quality content, featuring characters of all races, has never been more important. On […]

African American, Civil Rights, History, Multicultural
Featured on January 27, 2014

The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

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September has been designated Read a New Book Month. But for me, rereading a book I haven’t picked up for decades often seems like reading a new one. At the beginning of every school year, I ask my graduate students to talk about the book they most loved as a child. Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s The […]

Ancient, Award Winning, History, Multicultural, Newbery
Featured on September 16, 2013

Salt by Helen Frost

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On September 5, 1812, the siege of Fort Wayne, Indiana, began, one of the incidents in the War of 1812. As a child growing up in Fort Wayne, I always thought that important American events happened elsewhere, in towns like Boston. And I believed that the Miami people, who had lived for centuries in the […]

History, Multicultural, Native American, War of 1812
Featured on September 5, 2013

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, 2013

Diego Rivera: An Artist for the People by Susan Goldman Rubin

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May 1, International Workers Day, is celebrated in more than eighty countries around the world The observance originated in the United States in the 1880s as workers mobilized to secure an eight-hour workday. The Association of American Publishers has designated May as Latino Book Month. So today seems like a perfect time to look at […]

History, Latino, Multicultural, Politics
Featured on May 1, 2013

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

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Today marks the birthday of Clara Lemlich, born in 1886 in Ukraine to a Jewish family. Following a pogrom in 1903, Clara and her family immigrated to the United States. She stood a mere five feet tall, but as Brave Girl, our book of the day, tells us, she had grit and was going to […]

20th Century, Clothing, History, Jewish, Multicultural, New York, Women
Featured on March 28, 2013

Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin

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In January we celebrate National Folklore Month. Folklore collections and retellings have tended to be Euro-Centric in books for children, whether retellings from Grimm, Perrault, or the Lang Fairy Books. But after American-born Grace Lin traveled to the land of her ancestors, Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan, she began incorporating the folklore of this land […]

Asian American, Folktale, Multicultural
Featured on January 28, 2013

Chickadee by Louise Erdrich

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November has been designated Native American Heritage Month.  A perfect book for this month is Louise Erdrich’s fabulous new novel for young readers ages eight through twelve, Chickadee. Several years ago, Erdrich, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of the Chippewa, began a series of books set in the same region as Laura Ingalls […]

19th century, History, Multicultural, Native American
Featured on November 12, 2012

Mom, It’s My First Day of Kindergarten! by Hyewon Yum

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Although some schools began in August, this week many children are headed back to school and some are headed there for the first time. Starting kindergarten is a topic so well covered by children’s books that I sometimes mistakenly think no one can come up with an original approach. But then creative people always find […]

Asian American, Family, Multicultural, School
Featured on September 5, 2012

Carver by Marilyn Nelson

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August has been designated National Inventor’s Month. Possibly because my engineer father held many telecommunications patents, as a child I always felt that invention was something exciting and possible. Certainly in the book of the day, Marilyn Nelson’s Carver, George Washington Carver emerges as a figure any child would want to emulate. Marilyn Nelson has […]

19th century, African American, Award Winning, History, Newbery, Science
Featured on August 6, 2012

The Wall by Eve Bunting
Illustrated by Ronald Himler

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Today marks the anniversary of the Tet Offensive in 1968. After calling a cease-fire during the Tet holiday celebration, North Vietnam launched a major offensive throughout South Vietnam. A milestone in the Vietnam War, after the Tet Offensive the U.S. Government began to seek a way out of their involvement in the Vietnamese War. Certainly […]

Family, Grandparents, History, Multicultural, Vietnam War
Featured on January 30, 2012

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

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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, 2012

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, 2011

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
Illustrated by Erin McGuire

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December is Read a New Book Month; many are hunting for new books not only to read but to buy for the holidays. Because of the robust young adult market, those authors who write books for fourth through sixth graders have been a bit overlooked. Fortunately, this is not true of our book of the […]

Adventure, Family, Friendship, Multicultural, School
Featured on December 21, 2011

Morning Girl by Michael Dorris

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Today we celebrate Columbus Day. Every now and then a book not only educates you but changes the way you view history. Once you have read it, you cannot see things quite the way you once did. That is how I think about the book of the day, Michael Dorris’s Morning Girl.  Published in 1992, […]

History, Multicultural, Native American
Featured on October 10, 2011

Octavian Nothing by M. T. Anderson

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Today I’m looking at another audio book, like The Golden Compass created by Listening Library, for Audio Book Appreciation Month. M. T. Anderson’s The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: The Pox Party has had a profound effect on good seventh and eighth grade readers, although it may be most appreciated by high school students and […]

African American, History, Multicultural, Revolutionary War, Science
Featured on August 26, 2011

The People Could Fly by Virginia Hamilton
Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon

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August 23 of each year has been designated by UNESCO as the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition. This date was chosen because from August 22–23, 1791, an uprising began on the island of Saint Domingue, now Haiti, which helped bring about the end of the slave trade. If […]

African American, Folktale, History, Multicultural, Slavery, Social Conscience
Featured on August 23, 2011

Sally Goes to the Beach by Stephen Huneck

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August has been designated National Beach Month and during this time people are encouraged to make one more trip to their local beach and enjoy the scenery and warm weather before it vanishes. As a landlocked child in Indiana, I envied people their ocean beaches—although we did have beautiful sand dunes bordering Lake Michigan. If […]

Animals, Asian American, Dogs, Family, Multicultural, Seasons, Summer
Featured on August 21, 2011

Clemente! by Willie Perdomo
Illustrated by Bryan Collier

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On August 18, 1934, one of the most revered National League baseball players of all times, Roberto Clemente, was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico. Considered something of a saint in his native land, Clemente made his fame in America, after being drafted in 1954 by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He brought new life to the team […]

Baseball, History, Latino, Multicultural, Sports
Featured on August 18, 2011

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, 2011

Bad Boy by Walter Dean Myers

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Today marks the birthday of a man who calls his autobiography Bad Boy. But for the past forty years the children’s book field has considered Walter Dean Myers a “Good and Great Man.” Possibly that should be the title for the second volume of his autobiography. Myers initially made his mark when he entered the […]

African American, Family, History, Multicultural, New York
Featured on August 12, 2011

Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! by Grace Lin

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From August 5–7 in Twinsburg, Ohio, twins from around the world have come for festivities that include contests, talent shows, and fireworks. In years past this assembly has made the Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest gathering of twins at one time. Well, twins have always fascinated children, and literature for children […]

Asian American, Award Winning, Family, Multicultural
Featured on August 6, 2011

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, 2011

Paddle-to-the-Sea by Holling C. Holling

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Today marks the birthday of one of America’s greatest author and illustrators. Holling Clancy Holling worked on developing his signature style for forty years before the release of his classic, Paddle-to-the-Sea, in 1941. For this book he drew on his years as a Michigan farm boy, a sailor on the Great Lakes, an anthropological researcher […]

Geography, History, Multicultural, Native American, Nature
Featured on August 2, 2011

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, 2011

Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold

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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, 2011

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary Schmidt

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I live in New England. During the month of July many of us in the region, as well as those from far away, seek out the beauty of the Maine coast—canoeing or kayaking in coves, sunlight on the water, baseball games, lobster, and fresh blueberry pie. These are just some of the images we all […]

20th Century, African American, Award Winning, History, Multicultural, Newbery, Printz, Religion/Spirituality
Featured on July 22, 2011

Words to My Life’s Song by Ashley Bryan

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Today marks a very special birthday: the 88th of author and illustrator Ashley Bryan. Born in Harlem and raised in the Bronx, Ashley has lived on an island off the coast of Maine for years. He gets to stay there less than he might like, because he is in so much demand as a speaker. […]

20th Century, African American, Art, Award Winning, History, Multicultural
Featured on July 13, 2011

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

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July has been designated both Family Reunion Month and National Black Family Month. We all need to take time to celebrate the strengths and virtues of our families. For some writers, their family and their family stories provide the necessary ingredients for great books. Such is the case of our author of the day, Mildred […]

African American, Award Winning, Family, History, Multicultural, Newbery
Featured on July 3, 2011

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.