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Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
Illustrated by Barry Moser

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Today we celebrate the birthday of an illustrator who can list among his many accomplishments creating art for The Bible. Barry Moser was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and then came East to teach. While living in western Massachusetts, he met and worked with Leonard Baskin, premier illustrator and printmaker. Moser himself became renowned […]

Animals
Featured on October 15, 2013

Robin Hood and His Adventures by Paul Creswick
Illustrated by N. C. Wyeth

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Born on October 22, 1882, in Needham, Massachusetts, Newel Convers Wyeth was raised on a family farm that dated from 1730. As a young man he fell under the tutelage of Howard Pyle, the great children’s book illustrator of his era, and became the advocate of the principles of book illustration taught at Pyle’s Brandywine […]

Art, England, History
Featured on October 22, 2011

The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Paul Galdone

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For the upcoming Great Books Week, I want to look at the work of Paul Galdone. In his lifetime, Paul received very little critical praise for his books, although he did garner two Caldecott Honors for Eve Titus’s Anatole and Anatole and the Cat. Beginning in the fifties, he illustrated the work of others for […]

Animals, Folktale
Featured on October 5, 2011

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

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Today we are merely preparing for tomorrow, one of the best days on the calendar—International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Because before you can talk like a pirate, you have to read about them. Pirates remain fascinating for children, and in Treasure Island R. L. Stevenson brings together pirates, maps, and one-legged seamen with parrots […]

Adventure, Pirates
Featured on September 18, 2011

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

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On July 15, 1868, an author who had been known for worthy adult writing—a novel called Moods and a Civil War memoir Hospital Sketches—finished the first half of a book that would secure her literary immortality. This was not an adult book but a girls’ story. Louisa May Alcott had actually bristled when her editor […]

Civil War, Family, History
Featured on July 15, 2011

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

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In June of 1908, Anne of Green Gables appeared on the list of a small Boston firm, L.C. Page and Company. Then-unknown Canadian author L.M. Montgomery had found it difficult to find a publisher in the United States—and so she did what so many new authors do today. She submitted to the Page brothers because […]

Family, Friendship, History, Humor
Featured on June 14, 2011

This Little Piggy by Jane Yolen
Illustrated by Will Hillenbrand

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April is National Poetry and later in the month we celebrate the Week of the Young Child (WOYC). More information and a handbook can be found at the National Association for Education of Young Children website. What are the books that introduce poetry to the young and that every young child should know? I am often […]

Animals, Pigs
Featured on April 10, 2011

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald

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On March 26, 1908, Betty MacDonald was born in Boulder, Colorado. Because her father worked as a mining engineer, she spent many years of her childhood traveling around the West. Eventually settling in Seattle, MacDonald attended the University of Washington and wrote The Egg and I, a funny account of her married life on a […]

Family, Humor, Imagination, Magic
Featured on March 26, 2011

The Story of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff

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Next week, from February 24-28 has been designated as Read Me Week by Reading Is Fundamental to celebrate the importance and fun of reading. All week long, local businesses and organizations who have adopted schools in their area will send out volunteers to read. The week culminates on Read Me Day in Nashville, Tennessee—where local […]

Adventure, Animals, Elephants, France, Humor
Featured on February 23, 2011

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, 2011

Maud Hart Lovelace by Maud Hart Lovelace

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The first week of February has been designated as a week to celebrate children’s authors and artists. Of course, at the Children’s Book-A-Day Almanac, we do that 365 days a year. But since there are some fabulous children’s book creators that I’ve not yet had a chance to talk about, I’ll focus on some of […]

19th century, Family, History
Featured on February 1, 2011

Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne
Illustrated by Ernest Shepard

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Today has been designated Winnie-the-Pooh Day. On October 14, 1926, a British playwright, who also liked to dabble in poetry and prose for children, published a book named after a stuffed toy bear: “Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin.” Milne’s son Christopher […]

Humor, Toys
Featured on January 18, 2011

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

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Today we celebrate National Hat Day. If you have ever met me, you know I am a hat fanatic. I began wearing them in the mid 1970s, when a bad haircut before a sales conference sent me into a tizzy. I stopped at a store on my way back to work and purchased a hat […]

Animals, Clothing, Hats, Monkeys
Featured on January 15, 2011

The Call of the Wild by Jack London
Illustrated by Wendell Minor

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On January 12, 1876, Jack London was born in San Francisco, California. But the event that shaped London’s life occurred in 1896 when he was twenty. Three men who were fishing for salmon – Shookum Jim, Dawson Charlie, and George Carmack—found gold in Rabbit Creek, a small tributary of the Klondike River in Alaska. Because […]

Adventure, Animals, Dogs, Gold Rush, History, Survival
Featured on January 12, 2011

Walter R. Brooks by Walter R. Brooks

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On January 9, 1886, Walter R. Brooks was born in Rome, New York. Orphaned at an early age, he was sent to a military academy and then attended the University of Rochester. An interest in homeopathic medicine brought him to New York City, where he worked for the Red Cross. He then turned his hand […]

Adventure, Animals, Humor, Pigs
Featured on January 9, 2011

The Story of Joan of Arc by Maurice Boutet de Monvel

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On January 6, or close to it, in 1412, a peasant girl destined to become a saint was born in Domrémy-la-Pucelle, France. As a teenager, Joan of Arc experienced visions, heard voices, and set out to save the King of France. She delivered Orleans from a siege during the Hundred Years War and paved the […]

History, Middle Ages, Religion/Spirituality
Featured on January 6, 2011

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

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On January 1, 1735, Paul Revere, patriot, silversmith, and engraver was baptized in Boston’s North End. Although made famous by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere,” our birthday boy’s story has attracted many fine writers over the years, including one of the descendants of Samuel Adams, the organizer of the Sons […]

Award Winning, History, Newbery, Revolutionary War
Featured on January 1, 2011

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Carroll Atwater
Illustrated by Robert Lawson

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Today marks the birthday of Richard Atwater, born in 1892. He graduated with honors from the University of Chicago, where he taught Greek. But for most of his career, Atwater worked as a journalist, book review editor, and columnist for newspapers. He dabbled in publishing—first he wrote an opera, then a children’s book Doris and […]

Animals, Award Winning, Newbery, Penguins
Featured on December 29, 2010

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

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When Charles Dickens set out to write A Christmas Carol in 1843, both his fortune and his reputation had hit an all-time low. “Boz [Dickens’s pen name] is going down,” the gossips declared, and Dickens financial problems were known all over London. During this time the celebration of Christmas traditions in England were, as the […]

Christmas, Ghosts, Holidays
Featured on December 19, 2010

Millions of Cats by Wanda Gág

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December 15 has been designated Cat Herding Day. Certainly, this impossible task deserves to be celebrated! Eighty-two years ago a classic children’s book demonstrated what a lot of herded cats might look like—although it left the way to accomplish this feat unexplained. In the history of picture books, men have created the vast majority of […]

Animals, Award Winning, Cats, Newbery
Featured on December 15, 2010

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham
Illustrated by Ernest H. Shephard

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Often, with classic children’s books, we remember both the writer and the illustrator. So Lewis Carroll brings to mind the illustrations of Sir John Tenniel. Contemporary readers appreciate Tenniel more than Lewis Carroll ever did—he was basically disappointed with the art for Alice in Wonderland. Fortunately, our birthday celebrant, Ernest H. Shepard, born 132 years […]

Adventure, Animals
Featured on December 10, 2010

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Illustrated by John Tenniel

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On November 26, 1865, a children’s book was published by Macmillan in England that has remained in print ever since: the longest standing and best-known of our classics, Lewis Carroll’s quirky and unforgettable Alice in Wonderland. Although it was clearly written and intended for children, its richness and complexity also make it appealing to adults. […]

Adventure, Other Worlds
Featured on November 26, 2010

The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
Illustrated by Garth Williams

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More than fifty years ago a down-on-his-luck, New York City playwright who had graduated from Yale wandered into the Times Square subway station late at night and heard a cricket chirp. It reminded him of his childhood in Connecticut when his life had been more optimistic and innocent. Because he knew how to write scenes […]

Animals, Award Winning, Cats, Classical, Insects, Mice, Music, New York, Newbery
Featured on October 30, 2010

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

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On October 29, 1924, England and America’s bestselling children’s book writer died in New York. After leaving her native land, she lived for years in the United States, and a New York Times obituary mourned the passing of this beloved figure. She was, by way of an easy comparison, the J.K. Rowling of her day; […]

Gardening, Magic
Featured on October 29, 2010

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.