Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary


All 95th birthdays are special, but today marks this important milestone for one of America’s most beloved writers for children, Beverly Cleary. When Cleary’s characters are listed—Henry Huggins, Ramona Quimby, Ribsy, Ralph S. Mouse—they remind people of childhood favorites, even friends. Born in McMinnville, Oregon, on April 12, 1916, Beverly Alice Bunn lived for a […]

Animals, Dogs, Family, Humor, School
Featured on April 12

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

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Twenty-one years ago, in April 1990, Jerry Spinelli’s Maniac Magee was published. I first read an advanced reading copy of the book before it was published and then watched it sweep the prizes, including the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award and Newbery Medal. Still going strong, it has now become a classic, one of the books […]

Award Winning, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Family, Humor, Newbery, School
Featured on April 8

Love That Dog by Sharon Creech


April has been designated Poetry Month by the  Academy of American Poets. If I could make any single volume the book of the month, I would choose Sharon Creech’s Love That Dog, published by the Newbery-Award winner author in 2001. In a small volume of one hundred pages, Sharon uses free verse to celebrate poetry and the […]

Animals, Dogs, School
Featured on April 7

The Teacher’s Funeral by Richard Peck

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On April 5, 1934, Richard Peck was born in Decatur, Illinois. After training to be a teacher, he spent years working with students and did not write his first novel until he was thirty-seven. Then he made up for lost time! If ever there was a Renaissance figure in the field of children’s and young […]

Award Winning, Family, History, Humor, Newbery, School
Featured on April 5

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett
Illustrated by Brett Helquist


March has been designated Youth Art Month, set aside to promote art and art education in the United States. The perfect book to celebrate the month, Blue Balliett’s Chasing Vermeer, published in 2005, contains all the necessary elements to get young people thinking about art and artists. Set at the University School in Hyde Park, […]

Art, School
Featured on March 29

Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams

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The game’s afoot. For all Sherlock Holmes fans, from March 16-18 in Cape May, New Jersey, the Sherlock Holmes Weekend takes place. Everyone attending the event at the Inn of Cape May, preferably in Victorian attire, will be attempting to solve a mystery. Well, I wish I could be there—for no other reason than to […]

School, Theater
Featured on March 18

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

Smile by Raina Telgemeier

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February has been designated National Children’s Dental Health Month—to increase awareness and stress the importance of regular dental care. In 2010 New York Times bestselling author Raina Telgemeier published a graphic memoir, ideal for ten- to fourteen-year olds called Smile. In 214 pages Telgemeier presents the struggles of her protagonist, Raina, who has two front […]

Award Winning, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Family, Health, Humor, School
Featured on February 16

Stuck on Earth by David Klass

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If you live in New Mexico, today you can celebrate Extraterrestrial Culture Day—established by a congressman from Roswell, New Mexico, to celebrate and honor all past, present, and future extraterrestrial visitors. And if you don’t live in New Mexico, the day sounds so cool that you probably want to celebrate it anyway. No matter where […]

Featured on February 8

Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
Illustrated by Roberto Innocenti

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On February 7, 1940, RKO Radio Pictures released the second Walt Disney animated film, Pinocchio. As a child who fell under its spell, I remember many of its virtues—cutting edge animation, Academy Awards for the Best Original Score and Original Song, “When You Wish Upon a Star,” and the delightful Jiminy Cricket. Hence, imagine my […]

Dolls, Humor, Imagination, School, Toys
Featured on February 7

Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey

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Today is set aside to “Run it up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes.” The concept behind the day, and the phrase, is to get people to try out a new idea. But often for children, these sayings take on literal meanings, such as in Jerry Spinelli’s Who Ran My Underwear Up a Flagpole. […]

Adventure, Humor, Imagination, School
Featured on January 2

Nothing But the Truth by Avi


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

Frindle by Andrew Clements
Illustrated by Brian Selznick


On December 9, 1793, Noah Webster established his newspaper, American Minerva. In 1828 Webster published An American Dictionary of the English Language and became the father of the American dictionary. People often wonder how words get into this standard reference tool. For years I worked down the hall from the talented staff that produced The […]

Featured on December 9

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

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To celebrate World Origami Days (October 24–November 11) I would recommend one of my favorite books of the last five years. The ancient Japanese art of Origami does not seem an obvious premise for a trendy, very funny, and contemporary novel, but then great children’s writers always find new slants on old topics. In The […]

Origami, School
Featured on November 5

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.