Redwoods by Jason Chin

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October 2, 1968 marks the establishment of California’s Redwood National Park, which protects slightly less than half of the remaining coast redwoods. Unfortunately, I have never personally seen one of these beauties, but hearing about the raging fires in Yosemite National Park in August and September led me to return to one of my favorite […]

Ecology, Nature, Science
Featured on October 2

Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Bryan Obed
Illustrated by Barbara McClintock


Today I would like to wish happy birthday to one of the loveliest ladies in the children’s book world, illustrator Barbara McClintock. Born in New Jersey, Barbara drew constantly as a child. By the time she reached seven, she knew she wanted to be an artist when she grew up—although she also had designs on […]

Nature, Seasons, Winter
Featured on May 6

Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Animals by Ed Emberley

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Today marks the birthday of Ed Emberley. Ed was born in Malden, Massachusetts, graduated from the Massachusetts School of Art, and then painted signs for the army and worked in commercial illustration. In the late fifties he began publishing books with the then-Boston firm of Little Brown and Company. For Ed Emberley, working on books […]

Animals, Art, Nature
Featured on October 19

Step Gently Out by Helen Frost
Illustrated by Rick Lieder

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In April we’ve been celebrating Poetry Month. I actually wish every day were Poetry Day for children and that a poems were part of their daily literary diet. In the last couple of years, single poetry volumes for children ages two through eight—the work of Joyce Sidman and books like Marilyn Singer’s Mirror Mirror—have increased. […]

Animals, Insects, Nature
Featured on April 24

Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger


April has been designated School Library Media Month and Gardening Month. Since both causes are dear to my heart, I set aside this day early in April to celebrate both so that the party can continue through the rest of April. I believe that school libraries, or media centers, have done more to help children […]

Ecology, Gardening, Nature, Spring
Featured on April 4

And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano
Illustrated by Erin E. Stead

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It has been an unusually difficult winter in New England this year, with several feet of snow arriving in the region. Although my Bernese Mountain Dog Lance has enjoyed every flake, I find myself longing for the first day of spring. That sense of joy, of the brown, dry earth coming to life has been […]

Animals, Nature, Seasons, Spring
Featured on March 20

Bats at the Beach by Brian Lies


As I mentioned yesterday, August serves as National Beach Month, reminding us to get out and enjoy this environment before the summer season ends. When I think of beaches, dogs instantly come to mind. But what if creatures we don’t normally associate with it inhabited the beach? Incongruity, of course, can be one of the most […]

Animals, Bats, Food, Nature, Seasons, Summer
Featured on August 22

The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

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Today we celebrate the birthday of a writer who had no intention of crafting a book for children—nor was her classic published as one. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’s The Yearling appeared on the Scribner adult list in 1938. Edited by the legendary Maxwell Perkins, who also worked with Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Thomas Wolfe, The Yearling became […]

Animals, Family, Nature
Featured on August 8

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


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

America the Beautiful by Katharine Lee Bates
Illustrated by Wendell Minor


Today we celebrate Independence Day in the United States with fireworks and patriotic songs. The best-loved melody about America does not happen to be our national anthem, which even trained singers perform with difficulty. Most Americans prefer an easier and more haunting song, first published over a hundred years ago: “America the Beautiful.” The words […]

Geography, History, Nature
Featured on July 4

Zoo-ology by Joëlle Jolivet

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On July 1, 1874, the first zoo in the United States opened its doors to visitors in Philadelphia. A quarter for adults and a dime for children allowed visitors to view 813 animals housed there. Three thousand people traveled by foot, horse and buggy, or steamboat to look at the wonders. Thousands of books about […]

Art, Nature, Science, Zoology
Featured on July 1

Alvin Ho by Lenore Look
Illustrated by LeUyen Pham


During the month of June, the National Wildlife Federation has been promoting the joys of camping. They advocate camping on any day in June and want everyone to participate in the pleasures of singing songs around an open fire, toasting s’mores, looking at the stars at night, and experiencing the joys of camping. The hero of […]

Featured on June 25

One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey


“I scream, you scream, we all scream, for ice cream,” goes the old ditty, and today marks National Chocolate Ice Cream Day. What a wonderful idea—two of the world’s most popular foods, chocolate and ice cream, celebrated together. For me, chocolate ice cream in June conjures up wonderful summer days, the ocean, sea gulls wailing, […]

Award Winning, Caldecott, Geography, Nature, Seasons, Summer
Featured on June 7

First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

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May has been designed Egg Month—dedicated to the versatility, convenience, and good nutrition of “The incredible edible egg.”TM Children’s book writers and illustrators have always been bullish on eggs—at least as the subject matter for books. Just think of classics like Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hatches the Egg or Oliver Butterworth’s The Enormous Egg. But my […]

Animals, Award Winning, Caldecott, Nature
Featured on May 25

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney


Starting tomorrow, we celebrate National Wildflower Week (May 6-12th), created by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, to “encourage the observations, cultivations and study of native wildflowers.” Today’s book, Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, completely embodies the spirit of this week. In this story a spinster librarian travels around the world and eventually returns to […]

20th Century, Gardening, History, Nature
Featured on May 5

Red-Eyed Tree Frog by Joy Cowley
Illustrated by Nic Bishop

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April 29 has been designated Save the Frogs Day, a day of amphibian education. Although there will be an event in Washington, D.C., the third annual Save the Frogs Day organizers encourage people to recognize the day in their own communities. Their website contains lesson plans and activities that can be adapted by teachers and […]

Animals, Award Winning, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Frogs, Nature
Featured on April 29

Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt

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On April 26, 1795, John James Audubon, naturalist and painter, was born on his father’s sugar plantation in Haiti. He would become famous in his adopted country, the newly formed United States, for setting out to paint, catalogue, and gain an encyclopedic understanding of its winged creatures. A copy of Audubon’s Birds of America recently […]

Art, History, Nature
Featured on April 26

In the Small Pond by Denise Fleming

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Since 1970 Earth Day has been celebrated worldwide on April 22. With an emphasis on the resources of the planet and renewable energy, Earth Day reminds us to take a closer look at the world around us. Suggested activities and local events can be found at the Earth Day Network. Today I’d like to take […]

Animals, Award Winning, Caldecott, Nature, Seasons
Featured on April 22

All the Small Poems and Fourteen More by Valerie Worth
Illustrated by Natalie Babbitt


For Poetry Month, we’ve looked at some great poets—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Jack Prelutsky, and Joyce Sidman—and some individual volumes like Sharon Creech’s Love that Dog. I’d like to conclude the festivities of this month by celebrating one of the twentieth century’s finest poets for children, Valerie Worth. After graduating from Swarthmore College, Worth moved to […]

Animals, Nature, Seasons
Featured on April 20

Brown Bear Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr.
Illustrated by Eric Carle

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Born on March 20, 1916, in Hiawatha, Kansas, Bill Martin Jr. served as a teacher and textbook editor before he became a children’s book writer. Growing up in Kansas, he struggled with reading, but adored listening to his grandmother, who was a storyteller. Also, he was saved from a lifetime of hating books by a […]

Animals, Nature
Featured on March 20

Wendell Minor by Wendell Minor

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Today illustrator Wendell Minor celebrates his birthday. Both Wendell and his wonderful wife Florence, one of the great teams in children’s books, happen to be good friends of mine. Normally, that would stop me from writing this post because it is hard for me to be objective. But I think Wendell has worked so hard […]

Animals, History, Nature, Penguins, Revolutionary War, Trains, Transportation
Featured on March 17

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

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On February 22, 1819, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams signed the Florida Purchase Treaty, making the Spanish territory part of the United States. When I think of recent books set in Florida, Carl Hiaasen’s Newbery Honor Book Hoot, an exciting, page-turning mystery, immediately comes to mind. Roy Eberhardt, new kid in town, has arrived […]

Animals, Award Winning, Ecology, Nature, Newbery, Politics, School, Science, Social Conscience
Featured on February 22

A Nest for Celeste by Henry Cole

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In February of 1896 the Massachusetts Audubon Society was founded, the beginning of the current national organization. It was established to protect birds and to discourage the women of the era from wearing bird plumes in their hats. The man honored by the name of the organization, John J. Audubon, has been the focus of […]

19th century, Animals, Art, History, Mice, Nature, Science, Zoology
Featured on February 11

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Illustrated by Mary Azarian

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On February 9, 1865, close to the end of the Civil War, Wilson Bentley was born in Jericho, Vermont. As a young boy he loved snow and began to keep a record of the weather. Studying snow crystals under a microscope, he discovered that each one was unique, with its own shape and design. He […]

Award Winning, Caldecott, Nature, Science, Seasons, Winter
Featured on February 9

The Race to Save the Lord God Bird by Phillip Hoose

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Today marks a relatively new holiday on the calendar, National Bird Day–set aside to think about the birds people keep as pets and how owning them affects the bird population on earth. Our attitudes toward animals and birds and how we treat them has changed dramatically over time. No one has ever captured the changing mores […]

Animals, Birds, History, Nature, Science, Social Conscience, Zoology
Featured on January 5

Hachet by Gary Paulsen

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The second week of November we celebrate National Young Readers Week, an event created in 1989 by the Center for the Book of the Library of Congress to help schools recognize the joys and benefits of reading. To go along with the activities this year, I recommend two books, one a classic and the other […]

Adventure, Award Winning, Nature, Newbery, Survival
Featured on November 8

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.