The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes


For Read a New Book Month, today I recommend one of 2013’s real gems, Kevin Henkes’s The Year of Billy Miller. Henkes has always shifted between picture books that delight young readers, such as Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse and novels for readers grades five and up like Olive’s Ocean. But in The Year of Billy […]

Family, Humor, School
Featured on December 23

Princess Posey and the First Grade Parade by Stephanie Greene
Illustrated by Stephanie Roth Sisson


Around this time of year, many children head back to school—often feeling anxious and as though they are unequal to the task. Scary teachers or buildings may await them. What if they are not grown up enough to enter a new grade? Such is the dilemma of our heroine of the day, Posey, entering first […]

Family, School
Featured on August 26

Lulu and the Duck in the Park by Hilary McKay
Illustrated by Priscilla Lamont


During the week of August 11–17 a relatively new cause is celebrated: feeding the pets of the homeless. The philosophy behind the Give a Dog a Bone campaign is that “No pet should go hungry or suffer.” In a book of the day, Lulu and the Duck in the Park by Hilary McKay, the heroine […]

Animals, Ducks, School
Featured on August 12

A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban


Today I am recommending a book to chase the holiday blues away. Sometime during this joyous, or not so joyous, season, people find themselves a bit depressed. When that feeling comes upon you, make sure you have a copy of Linda Urban’s A Crooked Kind of Perfect nearby. Urban’s first novel, published in 2007, provides […]

Family, Humor, Music, School
Featured on December 17

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


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

Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree by Lauren Tarshis

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Around this time of year, many children have already headed back to school or are in the process of doing so. If you are hunting for a book that might make middle school sound more interesting than the child in your life thinks it will be, pick up the book of the day, Lauren Tarshis’s […]

Family, School
Featured on August 27

Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff

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Today marks the birthday of American author Virginia Euwer Wolff. She grew up on her family’s fruit ranch in Oregon’s Cascade Mountains. Her father died when she was five—she would later create many fatherless children in her novels. A violinist, Wolff attended Smith College, and then traveled with her husband and two children. In the […]

Family, School, Women
Featured on August 25

My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian
Illustrated by Jake Tashjian

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Lazy July days—perfect for summer reading. But what if you don’t like to read; what if you actively avoid reading? Such is the dilemma of our protagonist of the day, twelve-year-old Derek, who begins his saga in My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian with these bold words: “I DON’T WANT TO READ THIS […]

Family, Humor, School
Featured on July 9

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

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On June 15, 1836, Arkansas became the 25th state admitted to the Union. Hence today marks Arkansas Admission Day. Certainly in the last part of the twentieth century, Arkansas has loomed large in American politics: It’s the home state of President Bill Clinton and also the site of the highly contested 1957 attempt to integrate […]

Civil Rights, History, School, Social Conscience
Featured on June 15

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

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April 12 marks a day that I am very fond of: Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R.) Day. It reminds us to put aside whatever we are doing and take time to enjoy a book. Since Beverly Cleary’s birthday also falls on this day, families can find no better place to go than Cleary’s books. Today […]

Family, School, Special Needs
Featured on April 12

The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney

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Today marks a new holiday, Take Your Child to the Library Day. Patterned after Take Your Child to the Bookstore Day, the holiday emphasizes one of the most important trips that can occur for any child: going to a library, securing a library card, and learning to feel comfortable in a library. No matter how extensive your home […]

Animals, Hamster, School
Featured on February 4

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

Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick

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The second week of November we celebrate National Young Readers Week. I wish that all young readers had access to the books we celebrate every day on the Almanac. Today we’ll look at one, published in 1993, which I consider a contemporary classic, Rodman Philbrick’s Freak the Mighty. When I first read this book about […]

Humor, School, Special Needs
Featured on November 7

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh


On October 21, 1964, a book appeared that critics consider the beginning of modern fiction for children. Before that day, it had been controversial in its own publishing house, causing disagreement among the members of Harper & Row’s children’s book department. The gatekeepers of children’s books wanted to keep it out of the hands of […]

Family, New York, School
Featured on October 21

Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarret J. Krosoczka


This week America celebrates National School Lunch Week. And as that old ditto goes: “Teachers come and teachers go,/It’s the lunch lady who you get to know.”  But how well do you really know the lunch lady? Do you know what she does when she leaves the school? In our book of the day, an […]

Humor, School
Featured on October 13

The Agony of Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

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From September 22 through September 28, the American Library Association celebrates Banned Books Week. Often your local public library will display some famous banned books. I am always surprised to see what makes list of “top banned/challenged books” of the decade. Harry Potter leads the list—possibly Harry Potter is going to lead all lists (sales, censorship, […]

Family, Humor, School
Featured on September 26

Punctuation Takes a Vacation by Robin Pulver
Illustrated by Lynn Rowe Reed


What if we had the English language as we know it, but no punctuation had been invented? The sentences you are reading now would be nearly impossible to comprehend. The importance of punctuation in communication lies at the heart of today’s holiday, the annual National Punctuation Day. For the organizers, today serves as a “celebration of […]

Humor, School
Featured on September 24

Joey Pigza by Jack Gantos

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September has been designated Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Month to educate everyone about effective treatments for the disease. In 1998 Jack Gantos published a book called Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key that not only became a National Book Award finalist but also goes a long way in educating young readers about ADHD. Joey Pigza […]

ADHD, Award Winning, Humor, National Book Award, School, Special Needs
Featured on September 14

David Goes to School by David Shannon


Over the last two months, we’ve been looking at some optimistic books about a child going back to school. Whether it is The Magic School Bus or Kindergarten Diary, these books end happily with their protagonists very satisfied to be in school. But for some children, school may be a bit more of a challenge. […]

Humor, School
Featured on September 8

The Library by Sarah Stewart
Illustrated by David Small


Over the years I have collected a list of titles, shared by teachers and librarians, to use for the beginning of school. Many, of course, started classes in August, but some schools still begin after Labor Day. So I’m going to focus on two more crowd pleasers that adults love to share. I’d be happy […]

Featured on September 7

Miss Nelson Is Missing! by Harry Allard and James Marshall


As August comes to a close, many children head back to or have already started school. Today I’m recommending one of my favorite stories about school, one that some teachers like to use at this time. It not only tells a great story, but also sends a subtle message. By the time James Marshall created […]

Humor, School
Featured on August 31

The Magic School Bus by Joanna Cole
Illustrated by Bruce Degen

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Children around the country have either headed back to school or are about to do so. Much of the drama of these first days centers on the teacher: Who will he or she be? Will the teacher be nice or mean? Easy or hard? The best I can wish for these children is that they might […]

Adventure, School, Science
Featured on August 27

Kindergarten Diary by Antoinette Portis

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Our book of the day yesterday, Wemberly Worried, has been around for a decade. But last year, Antoinette Portis added a new book to read during Get Ready for Kindergarten Month. Kindergarten Diary explores what a young child might think and experience each day in a new school. Portis, the very creative inventor of Not […]

Humor, Imagination, School
Featured on August 20

Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes

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For some children, the end of August means preparing to go to school for the very first time. For them August has been designated Get Ready for Kindergarten Month. If you are hunting for a book that might help the very young overcome some of their anxieties about school, today we’ll look at Kevin Henkes’s […]

Animals, Humor, Mice, School
Featured on August 19

Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann


June has been designated National Safety Month to promote safety at work, at home, on the road, and in our communities. Safety might seem a bit dull as a topic for a book for children, but the book of the day, Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann, demonstrates that highly creative people can make […]

Award Winning, Caldecott, Humor, School
Featured on June 30

11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass


Today marks Best Friends Day, a time to celebrate the BFF in your life. Nothing can be so wonderful in the life of a child as a best friend. And, conversely, nothing can be more terrible than a rift between them. I still wince with pain when I think about my “breakup” with my BFF in […]

Birthdays, Family, Holidays, School
Featured on June 8

The Schwa Was Here by Neal Shusterman

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Get out your party clothes! Today those in the know celebrate National Paper Clip Day. The modern version of this lowly but extremely useful object was patented on November 9, 1899 by William D. Middlebrook of Waterbury, Connecticut. But during World War II the paper clip became the symbol of national unity in Norway. Forbidden […]

Animals, Award Winning, Blindness, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Dogs, Humor, School, Special Needs
Featured on May 29

Lilly’s Plastic Purple Purse by Kevin Henkes


This week  Reading Is Fundamental celebrates an important concept: Reading Is Fun Week. Nothing will guarantee the reading success of children more than if they find enjoyment in reading. Today I’m going to look at a picture book that is sure to delight young readers. In Kevin Henkes’s Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, a young mouse absolutely […]

Humor, School
Featured on May 13

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
Illustrated by Louis Slobodkin

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Born on May 9, 1906, in West Haven, Connecticut, Eleanor Estes worked in the New York Public Library until her first book, The Moffats, was published in 1941. Although she won the Newbery Award for Ginger Pye in 1951, Estes’s earlier book, The Hundred Dresses, has emerged as one of our most unusual and powerful […]

School, Social Conscience
Featured on May 9

Miss Spitfire by Sarah Miller


The first week in May has been earmarked Teacher Appreciation Week—to celebrate some of the most important work going on in our society. In preparation for the week, you might want to pick up our book of the day. Perfect for sharing with third through fifth grades, Sarah Miller’s Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller chronicles […]

19th century, History, School, Special Needs, True Story
Featured on May 4

Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park
Illustrated by Denise Brunkus


Today we celebrate Kindergarten Day, observed on the birth of Friedrich Froebel, who founded the first kindergarten in Blankenburg, Germany, in 1837. Froebel believed that play, toys, and music formed the building blocks of children’s education. Certainly the most famous kindergartner in the canon of children’s books, Junie B. Jones, does not initially believe that […]

Featured on April 21

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.