Greenglass House by Kate Milford
Illustrated by Jaime Zollars

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On November 29, many authors will head to one of their favorite bookstores to become booksellers for a day. Indies First was the brainchild of author Sherman Alexie, who wanted to celebrate what every author knows: that without independent bookstores and booksellers to carefully select books and support authors, our lives would be so much […]

Seasons, Winter
Featured on November 24

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart


During the summer months, I often look at books that conjure up summer vacations and settings. Our book of the day, E. Lockhart’s recently published We Were Liars, does exactly this. Exploring the world of the extremely rich, this realistic novel is set on a privately held island off the coast of Massachusetts where four friends, […]

Family, Seasons, Summer
Featured on August 11

Half A Chance by Cynthia Lord


One of my most cherished summer memories centers on reading. In it, I’m nine years old, and I have just returned from the Marietta, Ohio, public library with my grandmother and a pile of books. As I settle into a favorite chair to read, I know I will have days of uninterrupted time to go […]

Family, Friendship, Seasons, Summer
Featured on July 14

Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems by Paul B. Janeczko
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet


April is, of course, National Poetry Month, and there is good news to report this year. For a period of time, well-chosen and well-illustrated poetry compilations were as rare as hen’s teeth in the children’s book world, mainly because of the costs of poetry permissions. But recently, thanks to the success of poetry picture books, […]

Poetry, Seasons
Featured on April 14

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

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

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This week the International Cemetery, Cremation, and Funeral Association holds its annual convention. I once took care of the Houghton Mifflin booth during a convention held in a small hotel complex where funeral directors took up the other half of the hall. I couldn’t think of a book that I might bring over to them. […]

20th Century, Award Winning, History, Newbery, Summer
Featured on April 8

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

The Mitten by Jan Brett

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December 6 marks Mitten Tree Day; to celebrate everyone is encouraged to decorate a Christmas tree with mittens (the tree and mittens can be real or cut out from brightly colored paper). As I write this, I am packing to travel to Canada and Seattle to present a workshop on children’s classics. One of the […]

Animals, Clothing, Folktale, Seasons, Winter
Featured on December 6

The Goats by Brock Cole


Today for Young Readers Week I am going to look at one of the most powerful books ever written for twelve- to fourteen-year-olds. Like all books that change us and make us a different person, I remember exactly where I was and how I felt the first time I read it. I was Editor of […]

Adventure, Seasons, Summer, Survival
Featured on November 10

Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell
Illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell

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For years I have admired Anne Rockwell’s ability to render the complex simple in her picture books for the very young. Rockwell was one of the pioneers in the area of books for very young readers, ages birth to three. She studied art at Pratt Institute and began to write and illustrate picture books after […]

Fall, Food, Seasons
Featured on October 23

The Summer I Learned to Fly by Dana Reinhardt

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Some books just begged to be discussed with others, and our book of the day for Reading Group Month is perfect for mother/daughter groups: Dana Reinhardt’s The Summer I Learned to Fly. When we first meet the protagonist of the book, she tells us that some smells draw us back to childhood—like her grandfather’s aftershave […]

Food, Romance, Seasons, Summer
Featured on October 16

Midnight Fox by Betsy Byars


For our last book for Great Books Week, I will look at a classic by Betsy Byars, published in 1968, The Midnight Fox. In her career, Betsy wrote picture books, easy readers, historical fiction, and fantasies; she won the Newbery Award for The Summer of the Swans. But The Midnight Fox, a book about a […]

Animals, Foxes, Seasons, Summer
Featured on October 8

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

Sally Goes to the Beach by Stephen Huneck


August has been designated National Beach Month and during this time people are encouraged to make one more trip to their local beach and enjoy the scenery and warm weather before it vanishes. As a landlocked child in Indiana, I envied people their ocean beaches—although we did have beautiful sand dunes bordering Lake Michigan. If […]

Animals, Asian American, Dogs, Family, Multicultural, Seasons, Summer
Featured on August 21

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall


As the Almanac has evolved, frequently I get ideas, directly or indirectly, from the readers of this column. Every year John Schumaker, @MrSchuReads, takes a character from a beloved children’s book, travels with it, and takes photos that he shares on his website. You can see his video of his trip with year on Read, […]

Family, Humor, Seasons, Summer
Featured on August 16

Hidden by Helen Frost

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Around this time of year families and children start wrapping up summer activities and begin to prepare for a new school year. All those summer camps, weeklong or month-long, come to an end. In 2011 Helen Frost published Hidden, a novel that will make me look at those summer camps in a slightly different way. […]

Adventure, Friendship, Seasons, Summer, Survival
Featured on August 10

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt


“If you had to choose only one children’s book, which one would it be?” I am often asked that difficult question. Fortunately, I have not yet been marooned on a desert island with only one book to last me for the rest of my life. But I do have a book to offer up as […]

Adventure, Seasons, Summer
Featured on August 1

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

Camp Babymouse by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

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June has been designated the Great Outdoors Month, to celebrate our nation’s natural beauty and renew our commitment to protecting the environment. In June many people and families head to the great outdoors, often to camp out. Many children go to camp for a week or two, giving them experiences that they might not have […]

Adventure, Seasons, Summer
Featured on June 27

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

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Around this time of year we celebrate the longest day of the year, the summer solstice. This date looms large for the hero of our featured book, a kid who just can’t get a break. He’s never seen his father and lives with an odious and repellent stepfather when not away at boarding school for […]

Adventure, Magic, Mythology, Seasons, Summer
Featured on June 21

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

Half Magic by Edward Eager
Illustrated by N. M. Bodecker


“It began one day in summer about thirty years ago, and it happened to four children.” So begins the book of the day, a perfect story about summer. This book holds a unique place in the children’s book canon. It is the only one I know where the author admitted to copying, shamelessly, from another author […]

Adventure, Humor, Imagination, Magic, Seasons, Summer
Featured on May 31

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

Henry and Mudge by Cynthia Rylant
Illustrated by Suçie Stevenson

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April 1 marks a lot of holidays. It begins Laugh at Work Week and International Pooper Scooper Week and has been designated Reading is Funny Day and National Fun Day.  April has been set aside to celebrate National Humor, Pets Are Wonderful (PAW), and Dog Appreciation. When I saw all of these events, I had […]

Animals, Dogs, Family, Seasons
Featured on April 1

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

Blizzard by Jim Murphy

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On March 11, 1888, a record blizzard hit the East Coast. Although parts of the country have seen record snow falls this year, most areas have snow-removal equipment and constant weather monitoring to lessen the impact of Mother Nature. But such was not always the case, as Jim Murphy relates in his compelling story about […]

History, New York, Seasons, Winter
Featured on March 11

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

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 Snowman by Raymond Briggs


When this time of year comes around, I always think of one of my favorite books first published in 1978, which truly captures the joy of playing in the snow. Although comic-book format picture books and graphic novels rule today, when Raymond Briggs used the wordless, comic-book format in The Snowman, he broke with the […]

Adventure, Christmas, Holidays, Imagination, Magic, Seasons, Winter
Featured on December 23

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.