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Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate

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During National Poetry Month, I have been featuring some of the best single poetry volumes of recent years. But today I want to take a look at a free-verse novel, Home of the Brave, by Katherine Applegate. She is best known for her Newbery novel The One and Only Ivan, which was published in 2007. […]

African American, Animals, Cows, Multicultural, Politics
Featured on April 20

The Cure For Dreaming by Cat Winters

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Around this time of year, I like to alert Almanac readers to some new titles, ideal for holiday gift-giving, that they might have missed. Today I want to sing the praises of the second novel by Cat Winters, The Cure for Dreaming. Now, I have been an active part of the children’s book world since […]

20th Century, History, Politics, Social Conscience, Women, Women's Suffrage
Featured on October 29

Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell
Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

Today I’d like to wish a very happy birthday to Helen Oxenbury, one of our most accomplished children’s book illustrators. Helen turned to illustration as a second career when her own child was born. An accomplished set designer for theater, television, and film, she had already observed the pleasure her husband, John Burningham (whom she […]

Animals, Ducks, Politics, Social Conscience
Featured on June 2

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

Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss by Philip Nel

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Today is National Comic Book Day. Certainly comic books and graphic novels have become the hottest commodity in children’s publishing in the last few years. Last year I looked at one of the towering historical figures in that world: Crockett Johnson and The Carrot Seed. If you are a fan of Crockett Johnson, then Philip […]

History, Politics
Featured on September 25

Bomb by Steve Sheinkin

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From my point of view, author Steve Sheinkin is one of the most interesting young writers of narrative nonfiction today. Like most who choose to write nonfiction, he has an obsession, a passion, for history. But he excels in making history exciting for young readers, in bringing them into the action and adventure of whatever topic […]

20th Century, History, Politics, Science
Featured on September 17

Witches! by Rosalyn Schanzer

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The end of February can be brutal in New England. Certainly more than one inhabitant of the region has felt that powers of darkness have seized the barren land. And during the end of February 1692, the Reverend Samuel Parris and other ministers in Salem, Massachusetts, grilled two children, nine-year-old Betty Parris and her eleven-year-old […]

Award Winning, Colonial America, History, Politics, Religion/Spirituality, Sibert
Featured on February 29

Bootleg by Karen Blumenthal

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On September 28, 1839, Frances Elizabeth Caroline Willard was born in Churchville, New York. She would become the first corresponding secretary of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union; later as its president she became one of the most effective crusaders for two Constitutional amendments: the 18th (Prohibition) and the 19th (Women’s Suffrage). Willard is only one […]

Great Depression, History, Politics, Prohibition, Women, World War I
Featured on September 28

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

Comet in Moominland by Tove Jansson

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If you spent your childhood in Europe, particularly Scandinavia or England, you will be more familiar with the books of the day than if you grew up in the United States. Unfortunately, these gems have never gained the popularity in America that they enjoy abroad. And American children are poorer because of that. Born on […]

Adventure, Geography, Politics
Featured on August 9

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

Lost & Found by Shaun Tan

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Over the last week we have been exploring superb books about our furry friend, the bunny rabbit. This year a book by Shaun Tan, Lost & Found, takes an entirely original look at this beloved creature. Containing three separate books that were previously unavailable in the United States, Lost & Found presents The Red Tree, […]

History, Politics, Social Conscience, Trendsetting
Featured on July 20

Rex Zero and the End of the World by Tim Wynne-Jones

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Around this time of year, for almost forty years, the annual Kimberly International Oldtime Accordion Championships took place in Kimberley, B.C., Canada. Family dances, jam sessions, and pancake breakfasts marked a festival that distinctly reminded me of my childhood. I was once forced to take accordion lessons; my mother had visions of her daughter performing […]

Canada, Cold War, Family, Geography, History, Politics
Featured on July 5

The Rise and Fall of Senator Joe McCarthy by James Cross Giblin

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On June 9, 1954, a lawyer from Boston, Joseph Welch, confronted the most feared man in the United States with the cry “Have you left no sense of decency?” These words marked the beginning of the end of Senator Joe McCarthy, a man who had ruined the careers and lives of countless Americans, and his […]

Cold War, History, Politics
Featured on June 9

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

You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer! by Shana Corey
Illustrated by Chesley McLaren

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On May 27, 1818, Amelia Jenks was born in Homer, New York. She married an attorney named Dexter Bloomer, who encouraged her to write for his paper, the Seneca Falls Country Courier. Amelia became a strong voice for both temperance and women’s rights. She also had the good fortune of having a piece of clothing […]

History, Politics, Women's Suffrage
Featured on May 27

Imogene’s Last Stand by Candace Fleming
Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

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In England, May has been designated Local and Community History Month to “increase awareness of local history, promote history in general in the local community, and encourage all members of the community to participate.” This is such a great concept that I want to advocate that we celebrate local history month in America as well. […]

History, Politics, Social Conscience
Featured on May 22

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

Tintin by Hergé

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On March 3, 1983, one of Belgium’s most famous citizens, Hergé, died at the age of seventy five. Over the years his adventure stories have been translated into more than thirty languages and have made the brave and resourceful snub-nosed reporter Tintin and his fox terrier Snowy popular with both adults and children around the […]

Art, Geography, History, Politics
Featured on March 3

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

The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter

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February has been set aside as Library Lovers Month to celebrate school, public, and private libraries of all types. In my case, without libraries this website would not exist. My early exposure to a variety of books came at a small school library in Village Elementary School in Fort Wayne, Indiana. An enormous amount of […]

21st Century, Geography, History, Politics
Featured on February 17

Starry Messenger by Peter Sís

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Born on February 15, 1564, Galileo Galilei, Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher, has often been called the man responsible for the birth of modern science. Even his name indicates his rock star status in the scientific world—he’s known by a single name only, just like Cher or Madonna. In 1996, Peter Sís, an artist […]

Astronomy, Award Winning, Caldecott, History, Politics, Science
Featured on February 15

Black Duck by Janet Taylor Lisle

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On January 16, 1919, the ratification of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution was certified. The 18th Amendment forbids the manufacture and sale of alcohol in the United States. In many areas of the country, people felt justified breaking this particular law. I myself have Ohio ancestors who made and transported illegal liquor during this […]

Adventure, History, Politics, Prohibition
Featured on January 16

Nothing But the Truth by Avi

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On December 18, 1956, one of the most popular long-running television shows, To Tell the Truth, premiered. Truth, of course, is a slippery thing. What seems true to one person does not appear that way to another. One of our best novels for ten- to fourteen-year-olds, published in 1991 and already a classic, explores the […]

Award Winning, Newbery, Politics, School
Featured on December 18

So You Want to Be President? by Judith St. George
Illustrated by David Small

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It’s November when Americans vote in national elections. November is also Picture Book Month, a time set aside to celebrate the need for picture books in the lives of children. Both causes merge in our book of the day, which both educates and entertains young people — just as good picture books should. Winner of the 2001 Caldecott Medal for David […]

Award Winning, Caldecott, History, Humor, Politics
Featured on November 2

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.