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The Pilot and the Little Prince by Peter Sís


Antoine de Saint-Exupery was born in Lyon, France, on June 29, 1900. Called the Sun King by his family because of his golden hair, the young boy truly had his eyes on the sky. At the age of twelve he made his first flying machine from a bicycle. In The Pilot and the Little Prince, […]

History, Planes, True Story, World War I, World War II
Featured on June 29

Locomotive by Brian Floca

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October has been designated National Reading Group Month. Usually, reading groups select novels. But today I recommend an unusual and brilliant work of narrative nonfiction published last month: Brian Floca’s Locomotive. With a career that began when Brian illustrated books for Avi in the early 1990s, the artist has continued to grow and get better […]

History, Science, Technology, Trains, Transportation
Featured on October 21

The Fire Cat by Esther Averill

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October happens to be Fire Pup Month. But even old dogs can learn new tricks—and today I will be writing about a cat, not a dog! This year I’ve been meeting with a group of children’s book experts and enthusiasts to choose a small library of the best children’s books. Through this project I have […]

Animals, Cars, Cats, Transportation
Featured on October 1

Backseat A-B-See by Maria van Lieshout


This week we celebrate Children’s Book Week. Our book of the day is one that Carol Rasco from Reading Is Fundamental—who should be given sainthood for her tireless efforts on behalf of children and reading—recommended to me. Although we know that children want reading to be fun, our preschool books for children often tend to inform […]

Featured on May 14

Wheels on the Bus by Paul Zelinsky

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Today marks the birthday of one of the most versatile and accomplished illustrators working today, Paul O. Zelinsky. My major problem in writing about Paul was deciding which of his many superb books to feature. Born in 1953 in Evanston, Illinois, Paul lived in several locations because his father was a college professor. He discovered […]

Cars, Transportation
Featured on February 14

The Sailor Dog by Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrated by Garth Williams


On October 1, 1942, a brave new experiment in publishing was launched as collaboration between Simon & Schuster and Western Printing and Lithograph Company. The project was described as “a new series of 25 cent books for children,” with an initial print run of 600,000 copies each. Carried in independent bookstores, these volumes also made […]

Animals, Dogs, Sailing, Sports
Featured on October 1

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Illustrated by Jules Feiffer

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Today marks the birthday of Norton Juster, a man who should be named the patron saint of all who put pen to paper. One of the things that all writers do, on almost a daily basis, is avoid writing. If most of us put as much energy into writing as we put into not writing, […]

Adventure, Cars, Games, Humor, Imagination, Transportation
Featured on June 2

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming


Today marks the 103rd birthday of British writer, journalist, and Naval Intelligence Officer, Ian Fleming. If his name sounds unfamiliar, you’re sure to know the character he created “Bond. James Bond,” who has become part of our cultural landscape, just like Sherlock Holmes. Like other authors who first distinguished themselves writing for adults – E. B. […]

Adventure, Cars, Family, Transportation
Featured on May 28

Mr. Gumpy’s Outing


Today,  I want to talk about two of our classic books for babies and toddlers. As Julie Roach, Manager of Youth Services of the Cambridge (MA) Public Library, has told me on many occasions, the best titles for this age group include a text with few words that encourages participation and simple images and plots […]

Animals, Award Winning, Caldecott, Trains, Transportation
Featured on April 11

Wendell Minor by Wendell Minor

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Today illustrator Wendell Minor celebrates his birthday. Both Wendell and his wonderful wife Florence, one of the great teams in children’s books, happen to be good friends of mine. Normally, that would stop me from writing this post because it is hard for me to be objective. But I think Wendell has worked so hard […]

Animals, History, Nature, Penguins, Revolutionary War, Trains, Transportation
Featured on March 17

The Daring Nellie Bly by Bonnie Christensen

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On January 25, 1890, stunt newspaper reporter Nellie Bly arrived in New Jersey, after managing to travel around the world in 72 days. She had set out to beat the record of Jules Verne’s imaginary hero, Phineas Fogg in Around the World in Eighty Days. This feat was only one of Bly’s accomplishments. In Nellie […]

Adventure, History, Transportation, Women
Featured on January 25

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg


In 1985 a book appeared by Caldecott-winning artist Chris Van Allsburg that would immediately become a bestseller and over the years establish itself as a picture book ritually read and enjoyed by families during the Christmas season: The Polar Express. Chris came to his career as a children’s book writer through his work as a […]

Adventure, Christmas, Holidays, Magic, Trains, Transportation
Featured on December 25

The Wright Brothers by Russell Freedman

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December 17 was declared Wright Brothers Day in 1963 by Presidential Proclamation. Certainly these two Buckeyes, who lived their lives in Dayton, Ohio, have inspired numerous books for children. But the best remains Russell Freedman’s The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane, a Newbery Honor book published two decades ago. Few in the history […]

Award Winning, Flight, History, Newbery, Planes, Technology, Transportation
Featured on December 17

To Fly by Wendie C. Old
Illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker

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In November we recognize National Aviation History Month. Flight and flyers have always appealed to children, and this month we’ll look at four superb books that chronicle the Age of Aviation. Let’s begin with the Wright Brothers because they made National Aviation Month possible. There have been endless treatments and biographies of the Wrights Brothers […]

Flight, History, Planes, Transportation
Featured on November 7

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.