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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

Hidden by Loie Dauvillier
Illustrated by Marc Lizano

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Last week was Children’s Book Week, when kids around the country celebrated the books they love to read. I’d like to continue the conversation this week with a topic always on my mind. How does an author create a book that will really make a difference in the life of a child, one that will […]

20th Century, History, Jewish, Multicultural, World War II
Featured on May 11

Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate

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During National Poetry Month, I have been featuring some of the best single poetry volumes of recent years. But today I want to take a look at a free-verse novel, Home of the Brave, by Katherine Applegate. She is best known for her Newbery novel The One and Only Ivan, which was published in 2007. […]

African American, Animals, Cows, Multicultural, Politics
Featured on April 20

El Deafo by Cece Bell

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From March 13 through April 15, we celebrate Deaf History Month. Until last year, I had difficulty finding a book that I could recommend for this period of time. But Cece Bell’s El Deafo, one of the best books of 2014, won me over from the first time I picked it up. The funny, smart, […]

Autobiography, Deafness, Newbery, Special Needs
Featured on April 6

The Right Word by Jen Bryant
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

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March has been designated Women’s History Month and the Almanac features many titles, such as Laurie Halse Anderson’s Independent Dames that address the topic of women and history. But while hunting for a different slant on an author study for the elementary level, I realized there might be another way to approach Women’s History Month. […]

19th century, Art, Award Winning, Caldecott, History
Featured on March 11

Josephine by Patricia Hruby Powell
Illustrated by Christian Robinson

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Black History Month encourages the sharing of books about African American history with children. And although there has always been a certain predictability to the titles authors and publishers offer for young readers on this topic, we have recently seen some unique and unexpected titles, such as Steve Sheinkin’s Port Chicago 50. Such is the […]

20th Century, African American, Dance, History, Multicultural, Paris
Featured on February 17

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen
Illustrated by Mark Teague

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The first week of February has been set aside to celebrate children’s authors and illustrators. I’ve already written about the author of the book of the day, How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? Jane Yolen. Today I would like to sing the praises of illustrator Mark Teague. I recently had the pleasure of sharing an […]

Bedtime, Dinosaurs
Featured on February 4

The Iridescence of Birds by Patricia MacLachlan
Illustrated by Hadley Hooper

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As all who closely follow the children’s books world know, around this time of year the major children’s book awards (Newbery and Caldecott) get announced at the annual ALA meeting. Many enjoy the process of Mock Caldecott or Newbery award events, a way to get everyone involved. In my case I sit down every year […]

Art
Featured on January 19

I’m My Own Dog by David Ezra Stein

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Today we celebrate National Dress Up Your Pet Day. But not my dog Lancelot. Like many Bernese Mountain Dogs, he possesses an incredible sense of dignity. The only item he has ever allowed added to be added to his already regal appearance is a jingle-bell collar at Christmas. For all who are thinking about dressing […]

Animals, Dogs, Humor
Featured on January 14

Rain Reign by Ann Martin

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December has been designated Read a New Book Month, and today I want to talk about my favorite new book of 2014, Ann M. Martin’s Rain Reign. For some time Ann Martin has qualified as one of the heroines of the 20-something crowd I teach in various graduate programs. Always, when I ask my students […]

Animals, Autism, Dogs, Special Needs
Featured on December 22

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

The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming

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On November 7, 1917, a revolution began in Russia that would change the twentieth century. In what is sometimes called the October Revolution, Bolshevik Revolution, or the October Uprising (because at the time Russia used the Julian or Old Style calendar), Bolshevik Red Guards began to seize buildings in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and the Winter […]

20th Century, History, World War I
Featured on November 10

The Doll People by Ann M. Martin
Illustrated by Brian Selznick

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Tomorrow marks the publication of the fourth installment of Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin’s The Doll People series, The Doll People Set Sail. Since, for some inexplicable reason, I have not talked about the original book, published in 2000, on the Almanac, today seemed appropriate to sing its praises. Many consider The Doll People […]

Dolls, Family, Toys
Featured on October 13

Krabat & the Sorcerer’s Mill by Otfried Preussler

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September is Library Card Sign Up Month, and I hope everyone who reads the Almanac has such a card. I personally owe the Westwood (MA) Public Library an invaluable debt; every book I have written would have been impossible without them. For several years, our book of the day—Krabat & the Sorcerer’s Mill by Otfried […]

History, Religion/Spirituality, World War II
Featured on September 29

The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang
Illustrated by Sonny Liew

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September has been designated a month to be kind to editors and writers, which is always good advice. One of the writers and artists I have not mentioned enough on the Almanac, Gene Luen Yang, is our hero of the day. Those who have had a chance to meet this charismatic and charming creator in […]

Asian American, History, Imagination, Multicultural
Featured on September 22

Brave Chicken Little by Robert Byrd

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August has been designated Get Ready for Kindergarten month, so this month’s Almanac entries focus on books that discuss the kindergarten experience. When I think about what reading heritage all kindergarten-bound children should be familiar with, I think of folklore and fairy tales. Robert Byrd’s Brave Chicken Little, a variation on the familiar tale, was […]

Animals, Fairy Tale
Featured on August 28

Seven Stories Up by Laurel Snyder

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Recently I came across an excellent summer reading list pulled together by teacher extraordinaire Mike Lewis. It made me reflect on how some books just beg to be read in the summer. I hope that Laurel Snyder’s new book Seven Stories Up graces many future summer reading lists. In a compelling opening, readers encounter Annie […]

Family, Grandparents, Great Depression, History, Time Travel
Featured on July 28

Half A Chance by Cynthia Lord

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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

The Pilot and the Little Prince by Peter Sís

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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

Coaltown Jesus by Ron Koertge

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June has been designated Rebuild Your Life Month. In Ron Koertge’s extraordinary book Coaltown Jesus, the protagonist, fourteen-year-old Walker, who lives in Coaltown, Illinois, does indeed need to rebuild his life. Two months ago his brother Noah died at age seventeen, and his mother hasn’t stopped crying. Walker struggles with guilt, believing that he might […]

Poetry, Religion/Spirituality
Featured on June 16

Our Solar System by Seymour Simon

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On May 19, 1961, Venera 1 became the first man-made object to fly by another planet, Venus, as part of the ongoing exploration of Earth’s solar system. May not only marks this occasion but is also the month we celebrate Get Caught Reading Month . Together these two facts make me think of Seymour Simon and […]

Science
Featured on May 19

Ira Sleeps Over by Bernard Waber

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This week we celebrate the annual observance of Children’s Book Week. In April, an exhibit of the work of Bernard Waber opened at the Eric Carle Picture Book Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts. About a hundred people attended the opening, including a roster of writers and illustrators who had known and loved Bernie Waber. Meeting Bernie’s […]

Family, Toys
Featured on May 12

World Rat Day by J. Patrick Lewis
Illustrated by Anna Raff

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Today I would like to wish a happy birthday to J. Patrick Lewis. Among the many things Pat and I share in common is a Hoosier childhood; he grew up with a twin brother in Gary, Indiana, and attended Indiana University and Ohio State, where he received his doctorate in economics. But Pat left the […]

Animals, Holidays, Poetry
Featured on May 5

What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms and Blessings by Joyce Sidman
Illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski

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All month we have been celebrating National Poetry Month. As I mentioned in the essay on Firefly July, a large number of quality poetry picture books have started to appear over the last year or so. My mentor once told me that publishing trends are like sunspots—things come and go for no earthly reason. Well, […]

Feelings, Poetry
Featured on April 28

Pug and Other Animal Poems by Valerie Worth
Illustrated by Steve Jenkins

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April is National Poetry Month; on the Almanac site I have already talked about one of my favorite books of poetry, Valerie Worth’s All the Small Poems and Fourteen More. Today let’s look at a picture book of Worth’s poems illustrated by Steve Jenkins, Pug and Other Animal Poems. A graduate of Swarthmore who worked […]

Animals, Poetry
Featured on April 21

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

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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

The Glassblower’s Children by Maria Gripe
Illustrated by Harald Gripe

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This week, from April 8-10, marks the London Book Festival, a huge international gathering of publishers who exchange rights for books. At the end of March, children’s book publishers gathered in Bologna, Italy, for the Bologna Book Festival, where the Hans Christian Andersen Medal was announced. In honor of international book exchange I’d like to […]

Folktale
Featured on April 7

Calvin Coconut #9: Extra Famous by Graham Salisbury
Illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers

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March has been designated Humorists Are Artists Month. I totally agree with this sentiment. So often, when children are asked what kind of book they want to read, they respond, “a funny book.” And yet the craft of making this type of book often gets overlooked and is rarely awarded. So today I’d like to […]

Humor
Featured on March 24

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

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

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This week has been designated Write a Letter of Appreciation Week. Consequently, I will use this essay to send a note to Rebecca Stead about her novel When You Reach Me. Many of my readers have probably already picked up this Newbery Medal­–winning book, which is clearly on its way towards becoming a classic. But […]

Award Winning, Newbery, Science
Featured on March 6

There Goes Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived by Matt Tavares

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I grew up in the state of Indiana, where basketball stood as the supreme sport, and moved to a city Boston, where baseball reigns. Consequently, like most Bostonians, I know that today the Red Sox play their first game in spring training. So I thought I would use this occasion to talk about one of […]

20th Century, Baseball, History, Sports, World War II
Featured on February 27

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.