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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

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

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

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

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

Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco


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

Anne Frank: Her Life in Words and Pictures by Menno Metselaar and Ruud van der Rol, translated by Arnold J.Pomerans

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On June 12, 1929, a young German girl was born. Had history played out differently, she might well have been celebrating her 82nd birthday today. Anne Frank lived in extraordinary times—and in recording those times, she ultimately became the world’s most famous young writer. Scores of books providing supplementary reading for The Diary of Anne […]

Award Winning, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, History, Jewish, Multicultural, Social Conscience, World War II
Featured on June 12

When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park

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Today Koreans celebrate Memorial Day — to pay tribute to those who died in war. Although very few books for children are set in Korea, Linda Sue Park’s extraordinary novel When My Name Was Keoko, published in 2002, explores World War II as seen by Korean citizens. For this powerful novel, Linda Sue Park, winner of the Newbery […]

Asian American, Family, History, Multicultural, Politics, World War I
Featured on June 6

Hurricane Dancers by Margarita Engle

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This month marks the beginning of the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico hurricane season. June also marks Caribbean-American Heritage Month. Both events are celebrated in the book of the day, Margarita Engle’s Hurricane Dancers. In a powerful, 145-page poetic novel, Engle presents a fresh and unusual look at Cuba, its history from 1509–1510, and […]

16th Century, History, Hurricanes, Latino, Multicultural, Weather
Featured on June 5

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

The Circuit by Francisco Jiménez

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May has been designated both Personal History Month and Latino Book Month. Both experiences can be found in one of the most remarkable autobiographies of the last twenty years, Francisco Jiménez’s The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child. Now a university professor, Jiménez began his journey toward United States citizenship as a […]

20th Century, Award Winning, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, History, Latino, Multicultural
Featured on May 16

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

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In an ongoing effort to promote books by Latinos, the Association of American Publishers has designated May as Latino Book Month. During May they hope booksellers, librarians, and teachers will encourage people in their communities to read Latino books in both English and Spanish. Later in the month we’ll look at a book by Francisco […]

Award Winning, Family, Great Depression, History, Latino, Multicultural, Pura Belpré
Featured on May 12

A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams

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Today we celebrate Mother’s Day, a time to remember all of the sacrifices and kindnesses of our mothers. As a body of stories, children’s books are probably kinder to fathers than mothers. But our Book-of-the-Day is about a memorable mother and a child who appreciates her. Vera Williams grew up in a household where her […]

Award Winning, Caldecott, Family, Multicultural, Women
Featured on May 8

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

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

Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill
Illustrated by Bryan Collier


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

Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner


Today the Iditarod, “the last great race on earth,” begins in Anchorage, Alaska. Dog teams and humans will travel 1,150 miles through Alaskan wilderness to Nome. Some families and classes like to encourage children to pick a team and follow it throughout the month, writing about its journey. And for a story to introduce dog […]

Adventure, Animals, Dogs, Multicultural, Native American, Seasons, Sports, Winter
Featured on March 5

Whiteblack the Penguin Sees the World by Margaret & H. A. Rey

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Today marks National Polar Bear Day, to celebrate the world’s largest carnivore. Although we have honored a lot of penguins on this website (Mr. Popper’s Penguins and 365 Penguins), polar bears have received scant notice. So today I’d like to honor a polar bear—although he happens to be the best friend of a penguin. In […]

Animals, History, Jewish, Multicultural, Penguins, World War I
Featured on February 27

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

Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki
Illustrated by Dom Lee


Executive order 9066: On February 19, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt sent 110,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of them U.S. Citizens, to concentration camps in remote desert areas. Not allowed to return to their homes until January 2, 1945, these families lost an estimated $400 million worth in property—not to mention their own freedom and sense of […]

Asian American, Baseball, History, Multicultural, Sports, World War II
Featured on February 19

Simms Taback by Simms Taback

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Today marks the birthday of one of our most innovative illustrators and Caldecott winners, Simms Taback. When Simms won the award in 2000 for Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, so many members of the illustration community delighted in this news not only because they had long admired his work but also because he had worked […]

Art, Award Winning, Caldecott, Humor, Jewish, Multicultural, Music
Featured on February 13

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

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell


For authors and artists week, I’d like to talk about the most impressive author I ever worked with, Scott O’Dell. Scott was in his mid seventies and I was in my late twenties when we first met. A tall man, large in body, spirit, and charisma, he could tell stories like no one I had ever […]

20th Century, Award Winning, History, Multicultural, Native American, Newbery, True Story
Featured on February 6

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

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The sixteen-day celebration of Chinese New Year, marking the year of the Wood Horse, began on January 31. If you want to prepare for this event there is a perfect book to read, published only a few years ago. What does it mean to be a Chinese-American, particularly if most traces of your native culture […]

Adventure, Asian American, Folktale, Multicultural, Quest
Featured on February 3

Julius Lester by Julius Lester


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

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

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


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

Diamond Willow by Helen Frost


Today marks Alaska’s statehood day, when in 1959 Alaska became the forty-ninth state in the Union. Of the myriad books for children that have been set in Alaska, my favorite, Diamond Willow by Helen Frost, appeared recently in 2008. Frost lived and taught for three years in a small Athabascan community in interior Alaska. Many […]

Adventure, Animals, Dogs, Multicultural, Native American, Religion/Spirituality, Survival
Featured on January 3

You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! by Jonah Winter
Illustrated by Andre Carrilho

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December 30, 1935, marks the birthday of Sandy Koufax, left-handed pitcher for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers. When inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972, Koufax became the youngest player to receive that honor. But 1972 happened in the dark ages if you are six to ten. How can a baseball player of that […]

Baseball, Jewish, Multicultural, Sports
Featured on December 30

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

All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor


For those hunting for a book about Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, today I want to remind some people of—and introduce others to—one of the most memorable books about Jewish life and customs ever written, All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor. When Taylor published this gem in 1951, books featuring religious Jewish children were hard to […]

Family, History, Immigration, Jewish, Multicultural
Featured on December 4

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.