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

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

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

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

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.