Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales

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May has been designated both Personal History Month and Latino Book Month, and our book of the day, Yuyi Morales’s Viva Frida, could be used effectively for either celebration. In this passionate celebration of Frida Kahlo for very young readers, ages 2-8, Morales captures the spirit of an artist who has been her inspiration from […]

Art, Award Winning, Caldecott, Latino, Multicultural, Women
Featured on May 26

The Cure For Dreaming by Cat Winters

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Around this time of year, I like to alert Almanac readers to some new titles, ideal for holiday gift-giving, that they might have missed. Today I want to sing the praises of the second novel by Cat Winters, The Cure for Dreaming. Now, I have been an active part of the children’s book world since […]

20th Century, History, Politics, Social Conscience, Women, Women's Suffrage
Featured on October 29

Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? by Tanya Stone
Illustrated by Marjorie Priceman

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Since 1987, Women’s History Month has been celebrated in March—a time to look at all the unsung heroines and their contributions over the years. In 2013 the talented duo of Tanya Lee Stone and Marjorie Priceman teamed up to create a picture book perfect for Women’s History Month, Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? The […]

History, Science, Social Conscience, Women
Featured on March 10

Curse of the Blue Tattoo by L. A. Meyer

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June has been designated Audio Appreciation Month. Today I am going to talk about an audio series that was recommended to me by my two favorite audio experts: Ellen Myrick, who created the audio section of 500 Great Books for Teens, and Alison Morris of Scholastic. If you are headed out for a road trip […]

Colonial America, History, Women
Featured on June 10

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet


Today marks the birthday of Clara Lemlich, born in 1886 in Ukraine to a Jewish family. Following a pogrom in 1903, Clara and her family immigrated to the United States. She stood a mere five feet tall, but as Brave Girl, our book of the day, tells us, she had grit and was going to […]

20th Century, Clothing, History, Jewish, Multicultural, New York, Women
Featured on March 28

Little White Duck by Na Liu
Illustrated by Andrés Vera Martínez

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For our last selection for Read a New Book Month, I’d like to look at one of the most original graphic novels to appear in the last couple of years, Na Liu and Andrés Vera Martínez’s Little White Duck. When books for American children focus on other parts of the world, they tend to be […]

20th Century, History, Women, World History
Featured on December 27

Listening for Madeleine by Leonard S. Marcus

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On November 29 we celebrate the birth date of one of America’s most beloved authors. Madeleine L’Engle was born in 1918 and throughout her life faced many obstacles, including roughly twenty-seven rejections of the book that made her famous, A Wrinkle in Time. Her father was a troubled man—she frequently spoke of him in public […]

Award Winning, Family, New York, Newbery, Women
Featured on November 29

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

Girls Think of Everything by Catherine Thimmesh
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet


August has been designated National Inventors Month. So often when we think of inventors, we think of dead white men. But in 2000, writer Catherine Thimmesh and illustrator Melissa Sweet published a book that changed that perception for me: Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women. Catherine sets the stage in the […]

History, Inventors, Science, Women
Featured on August 20

Here Come the Girl Scouts! by Shana Corey
Illustrated by Hadley Hooper


On March 12, 1912, a new organization had its first meeting in Savannah, Georgia. Based on the Boy Scouts and the Girl Guides in England that were founded by Sir Robert Baden-Powell and his sister, Agnes Baden-Powell , the Girl Scouts began in the U.S. as a meeting of eighteen girls who were convened by […]

History, Women, Women's Suffrage
Featured on March 12

Bootleg by Karen Blumenthal

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On September 28, 1839, Frances Elizabeth Caroline Willard was born in Churchville, New York. She would become the first corresponding secretary of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union; later as its president she became one of the most effective crusaders for two Constitutional amendments: the 18th (Prohibition) and the 19th (Women’s Suffrage). Willard is only one […]

Great Depression, History, Politics, Prohibition, Women, World War I
Featured on September 28

Bread and Roses, Too by Katherine Paterson

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Today, on Labor Day, I want to highlight a work of historical fiction for children, Katherine Paterson’s Bread and Roses, Too, that will help young readers understand the historical background of the day. As a well-known poster proclaims, “The Labor Movement. The Folks Who Brought You the Weekend.” But almost nothing exists in books for […]

19th century, History, Women
Featured on September 5

Me . . . Jane by Patrick McDonnell

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September 1 has been set aside to celebrate International Primate Day. I can think of no better way to mark this day than look at the life of Jane Goodall, who has devoted herself to the study and the conservation of chimpanzees. In 2011 Patrick McDonnell published an exquisite picture book Me . . . […]

Animals, Monkeys, Science, Women, Zoology
Featured on September 1

Ballet for Martha by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan
Illustrated by Brian Floca

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On May 11, 1894, Martha Graham was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At the age of sixteen, she saw her first dance performance “and that night my fate was sealed.” In her early twenties Graham moved to Greenwich Village, New York, and joined the Follies, with assorted animal acts and chorus girls. In 1926 she started […]

20th Century, Dance, History, Women
Featured on May 11

The Stratemeyer Syndicate

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On May 10, 1930, Edward Stratemeyer, author and empire builder, died. He began his career as a ghostwriter for the Horatio Alger series, then fashioned his own adventures about the Rover Boys. In 1906 Stratemeyer began to hire freelance writers to develop his ideas. He created nothing less than a literary assembly line—in the end […]

Featured on May 10

A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams

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Today we celebrate Mother’s Day, a time to remember all of the sacrifices and kindnesses of our mothers. As a body of stories, children’s books are probably kinder to fathers than mothers. But our Book-of-the-Day is about a memorable mother and a child who appreciates her. Vera Williams grew up in a household where her […]

Award Winning, Caldecott, Family, Multicultural, Women
Featured on May 8

Like the Willow Tree by Lois Lowry

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In honor of Women’s History Month, the book of the day is a title by veteran writer Lois Lowry, Like the Willow Tree. After a hiatus, the Dear America series, a historical fiction series told in diary formats, has been revitalized with this one of the first volumes. Among its many accomplishments, the book presents […]

20th Century, History, Religion/Spirituality, Women
Featured on March 14

Independent Dames by Laurie Halse Anderson
Illustrated by Matt Faulkner

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March has been designated Women’s History month. Fortunately, in the last two decades we have been given scores of books that promote the role of women in history. For some great suggestions you can consult the Amelia Bloomer list compiled by the American Library Association. Today I’d like to focus on one of the exceptional […]

History, Revolutionary War, Women
Featured on March 10

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 Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman

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In Greece January 8 has been designated Midwife’s Day or Women’s Day, to honor midwives. Midwifery, of course, has a long and important history throughout the world. Drawing on her extensive knowledge of medieval times, Karen Cushman chose the practice of helping women deliver babies as the subject for her second novel, The Midwife’s Apprentice, […]

Award Winning, History, Middle Ages, Newbery, Women
Featured on January 8

Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone


Next for National Aviation Month, I’ve chosen a book honoring women who loved flying. When Lieutenant Colonel Eileen M. Collins became the first woman to command a spacecraft that orbited the earth, a group of women pilots had been invited by her to sit at the coveted VIP spots at Cape Canaveral. This group included […]

Award Winning, History, Sibert, Space, Women
Featured on November 18

Crossing Stones by Helen Frost

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On this day in history, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, World War I ended in 1918. America’s involvement came late in the conflict, and, in fact, most of the books written about World War I for young readers have originated in England. But Crossing Stones by Helen Frost, written entirely […]

Family, History, Women, Women's Suffrage, World War I
Featured on November 11

Molly Bannaky by Alice McGill
Illustrated by Chris Soentpiet

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On November 9, 1731, American astronomer, mathematician, clockmaker, and surveyor, Benjamin Banneker, called “the first black man of science,” was born in Elliott’s Mills, Maryland. Banneker published an almanac, becoming the first black man to do so. His life has been frequently presented in books for children, including Andrea Davis Pinkney’s Dear Benjamin Banneker. When […]

History, Immigration, Slavery, Women
Featured on November 9

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.