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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco

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In April of 2011 the five-year-long Sesquicentennial of the Civil War began; the Civil War Trust has an excellent website of resources. Over this period of time, we’ll be given hundreds, probably thousands, of new resources to use with children to explore the War Between the States. But if I were going to start observing […]

African American, Civil War, History, Multicultural, True Story
Featured on June 22, 2011

Tom Feelings by Tom Feelings

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On May 19, 1933, Tom Feelings was born in Brooklyn, New York. An African-American, he chose to spend many years of his adult life in Africa, seeking to understand his heritage. As an artist and picture book illustrator, he presented what he discovered about African culture and history. While in Africa in the 1960s, Feelings […]

African American, Award Winning, Caldecott, History, Multicultural, Slavery
Featured on May 19, 2011

Marching for Freedom by Elizabeth Partridge

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On March 21, 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. began the five-day protest march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama—a triumphant event in the Civil Rights Movement. A few months later the Voting Rights Act was signed into law, outlawing literacy tests and other measures used to keep African Americans from registering to vote. A remarkable […]

African American, Award Winning, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Civil Rights, History, Multicultural, Politics, Social Conscience
Featured on March 21, 2011

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

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In 1963 when Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time won the Newbery Award, an artist who had struggled a long time to find his voice received the Caldecott Medal. Born in Brooklyn, Ezra Jack Keats was the son of Polish immigrants. Although his mother encouraged him to create art, something he delighted in doing, his […]

African American, Multicultural, Seasons, Winter
Featured on March 15, 2011

Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill
Illustrated by Bryan Collier

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March has been designated Arts and Crafts Month. History, as the saying goes, is written by the winners. The disenfranchised, those who struggled for recognition, left few clues for those who read the record of history. That is one of the reasons why Laban Carrick Hill’s Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave is such an important […]

African American, Art, Award Winning, Caldecott, Multicultural
Featured on March 8, 2011

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

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In February we celebrate Black History Month, and today I want to present one of the finest debut novels of the 1990s, The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963. Although Christopher Paul Curtis has emerged as one of the most brilliant and beloved writers of his era, he did not immediately find a publisher. I know two […]

African American, Civil Rights, Family, History, Humor, Multicultural
Featured on February 26, 2011

Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine
Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

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Since 1976 Black History Month has been celebrated in the United States during February. We’ll look at a couple of superb titles this month, beginning with one of the best picture information books of the decade, Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine, illustrated by Kadir Nelson. Ellen is […]

African American, Award Winning, Caldecott, Civil War, History, Multicultural, True Story
Featured on February 10, 2011

Julius Lester by Julius Lester

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On January 27, 1939, Julius Lester was born in Saint Louis, Missouri. Son of a Methodist minister, he lived in Kansas City and Nashville, where he attended Fisk University. Later Lester embraced the Jewish religion, which he wrote about in Lovesong: Becoming a Jew. One of those rare multi-talented individuals who can do many things […]

African American, Award Winning, Caldecott, Folktale, Multicultural
Featured on January 27, 2011

Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport
Illustrated by Bryan Collier

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Today marks Martin Luther King Day. When we come to the third Monday in January, I am often reminded that I did not celebrate this holiday as a child. But I did have an opportunity to witness the incredible life and amazing accomplishments of Dr. King. When I was a student in rhetoric at Indiana […]

African American, Award Winning, Caldecott, Civil Rights, Coretta Scott King, History, Multicultural, Social Conscience
Featured on January 17, 2011

Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T. R. Simon

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Born on January 7, 1891, Zora Neal Hurston become one of the most renowned Black writers of the twentieth century, part of the Harlem Renaissance, and pioneer of collecting regional black folklore. During her lifetime she was often compared to, and sometimes competed against, Richard Wright, but for a period of time her work vanished, […]

African American, Civil Rights, History, Multicultural, True Story
Featured on January 7, 2011

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, 2010

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.