FIND A BOOK

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

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

Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper

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This week we celebrate Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators week, and I’d like to use the day to talk about an author whom I have admired for more than forty years. As a young Horn Book assistant editor, I read the galleys of the second children’s book by Susan Cooper, The Dark Is Rising, and […]

Colonial America, History, Multicultural, Native American
Featured on February 5

The Abominables by Eva Ibbotson
Illustrated by Fiona Robinson

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January has been designated National Book Blitz Month, which is a month-long campaign that aims to encourage reading. If you are hunting for an author who will make your worries disappear and who will allow you to cuddle up with one good book after another, then look no further than the British writer Eva Ibbotson. […]

Humor
Featured on January 13

Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe
Illustrated by Alan Daniel

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Around this time of year, I prepare myself for Halloween madness. I’ve never enjoyed scary nights or stories. So today my recommendation is for anyone who wants a quasi-horror story that uses the elements of horror but blends them with a lot of humor. First published in 1979, Deborah and James Howe’s Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale […]

Animals, Humor, Rabbits
Featured on October 28

Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
Illustrated by K.G. Campbell

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October is National Reading Group Month, and our author of the day, Kate diCamillo, has always been one of my favorite choices for reading groups. Now, I admit I am a sucker for a Kate DiCamillo story. From the beginning of her first book Because of Winn Dixie to the last page of Flora & […]

Animals, Squirrels
Featured on October 8

The Real Boy by Anne Ursu
Illustrated by Erin McGuire

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Continuing in the spirit of Read a New Book Month, today marks the publication of a book that I’ve been eager to share with Almanac readers: Anne Ursu’s The Real Boy. I thought Anne’s Breadcrumbs was a spectacular book. But I am ever more impressed with her storytelling abilities in The Real Boy. Oscar, an […]

Adventure, Magic, Quest
Featured on September 24

Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney

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June has been designated Audio Book Appreciation Month. It’s the time of year when many families hit the road—and turn to an audio book in the car. The right audio can save countless repetitions of that familiar question: Are we there yet? One of the best audio books that I have listened to lately, the […]

Ghosts
Featured on June 24

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud

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July marks Audio Book Month, a perfect time to listen to a title that will entertain the entire family. I owe the audio of the day to Alison Morris of Scholastic Book Clubs, who raved about Simon Jones’s rendition of The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud for Listening Library. How right she was. Now […]

Adventure, London, Magic
Featured on July 16

The Boggart by Susan Cooper

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On May 23, 1935, Susan Cooper was born in England. While at Oxford, she listened to lectures by J.R.R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, who had set up the curriculum in English Literature and Language. Although this meant as a student that she didn’t read much written past 1832, it did give her a lot […]

England, Magic, Technology
Featured on May 23

The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson

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January has been designated Book Blitz Month, a great time  to indulge in the books of your favorite author. For me the perfect author to pick up in January during the long, cold New England nights, would be Eva Ibbotson. She wrote so many different kinds of books—all of them combining literary excellence with child […]

Adventure, Geography
Featured on January 17

The Borrowers by Mary Norton
Illustrated by Beth and Joe Krush

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On January 4, 1838, Charles Sherwood Stratton, the most famous small person in history, was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. After being discovered by another resident of the city, P. T. Barnum, Stratton received a new name, General Tom Thumb. Our book of the day, Mary Norton’s The Borrowers, celebrates General Tom Thumb—and little people in […]

Adventure, Imagination
Featured on January 4

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
Illustrated by Erin McGuire

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December is Read a New Book Month; many are hunting for new books not only to read but to buy for the holidays. Because of the robust young adult market, those authors who write books for fourth through sixth graders have been a bit overlooked. Fortunately, this is not true of our book of the […]

Adventure, Family, Friendship, Multicultural, School
Featured on December 21

Bigger than a Bread Box by Laurel Snyder

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December has been designated Read a New Book Month. One of the best books of the last couple of years, Laurel Snyder’s Bigger than a Bread Box, features twelve-year-old Rebecca. Her life is suddenly torn in two when her mother takes Rebecca and her little brother, Lew, to live at her grandmother’s home in Atlanta, leaving […]

Family, Magic
Featured on December 16

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

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On October 12, 1797, Napoleon signed the Treaty of Campo Formio, handing Venice over to Austria. In one of the best children’s books of the last decade, the city of Venice comes so alive that it almost seems like a character itself. In the The Thief Lord, the first novel by German author Cornelia Funke […]

Geography, History
Featured on October 12

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

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On September 21, 1937, a children’s book appeared in England that, like other English classics such as Stevenson’s Treasure Island, Potter’s Peter Rabbit, or Grahame’s Wind and the Willows, began as a story told to a specific child. Actually, the idea of the book came when the author, correcting 286 school exams, found a blank […]

Adventure, Quest
Featured on September 21

Larklight by Philip Reeve

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I have been waiting for September 19 all year. It’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day! What an inspired idea for a celebration. Last year, all my Facebook friends went nutty with this one!  I can hardly wait to see “Pirate speak” twitters this year. Pirate lore for children, however, tends to be a bit formulaic. […]

Adventure, Pirates
Featured on September 19

Theodosia by R. L. LaFevers

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Many states observe Archaeological Month during September, with activities for children to think about this profession as a career. Even to me as an adult, the lure of going on an archaeological dig remains one of my unfulfilled fantasies. The book of the day R. L. LaFevers’s Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos definitely flames […]

Ancient, Archeology, History, London, Science
Featured on September 9

Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

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On September 4, Joan Aiken (1924-2004) was born in Rye, East Sussex, England, the newest member of a family of authors. Her father, Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Conrad Aiken, was just one of the creative people in Joan’s life. Homeschooled by her mother, Joan Aiken decided at age five that she, too, wanted to be a […]

19th century, History, London
Featured on September 4

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

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August has been designated Audio Book Appreciation Month. Certainly one of the great changes in children’s book publishing during my career has been the increase in superb audio recordings of novels. Since in August many families spend time in the car going to and from vacation spots, I am going to talk about my two […]

Adventure, London, Magic
Featured on August 17

The Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkoski

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Today marks National Relaxation Day. We are encouraged to leave our stress-filled lives, kick back, put our feet up, and enjoy something. To me that sounds like an invitation to read an engrossing book. For a relaxing day, I would recommend picking up Marie Rutkoski’s series ideal for ten- to fourteen-year-olds that begins with The […]

History, London, Magic
Featured on August 15

Comet in Moominland by Tove Jansson

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If you spent your childhood in Europe, particularly Scandinavia or England, you will be more familiar with the books of the day than if you grew up in the United States. Unfortunately, these gems have never gained the popularity in America that they enjoy abroad. And American children are poorer because of that. Born on […]

Adventure, Geography, Politics
Featured on August 9

The Rescuers by Margery Sharp
Illustrated by Garth Williams

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Around this time of year the Norway Cup takes place, and more than fourteen hundred international youth soccer teams traveled from different countries to compete. Well, our book of the day doesn’t have much to do with soccer. But it begins when Nils, one of the book’s three heroes, has to be fetched from Norway […]

Adventure, Animals, Humor, Mice
Featured on August 5

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

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“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

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

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Today marks the birthday of the world’s best-known literary character. He has taken his place along with Sherlock Holmes and Winnie the Pooh as a household name. And he’s only been around since 1998. If you guessed that his name is Harry Potter, you are correct. Harry emerged in the mind of his creator J. […]

Adventure, Friendship, Magic
Featured on July 31

Skellig by David Almond

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July has been designated Make a Difference in the Life of a Child month. The right book for the right child at the right time always has and always will change lives. The book of the day is one that can be very powerful when it gets in a child’s hands at the right moment. […]

Imagination, Magic, Religion/Spirituality, Science
Featured on July 24

Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson

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Today for National Rabbit Week, we’ll look at one of our timeless classics. The Newbery winner Rabbit Hill has been much loved from the time it was published in 1944, during the height of World War II, at least in part because it seems very contemporary in its concerns. Robert Lawson was one of those […]

Animals, Award Winning, Newbery, Rabbits
Featured on July 19

Stuart Little by E. B. White
Illustrated by Garth Williams

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On July 11, 1899, Elwyn Brooks White, known to his friends as Andy and the literary world as E. B., was born in Mount Vernon, New York. He would eventually become a Maine man, where he lived with his wife Katharine. White published his first article in The New Yorker in 1925 and continued to […]

Animals, Family, Humor, Imagination, New York
Featured on July 11

The BFG by Roald Dahl
Illustrated by Quentin Blake

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On July 9, 1982, Queen Elizabeth II woke up in Buckingham Palace to find a stranger sitting at the end of her bed. Wearing jeans and a T-shirt, the intruder had actually planned to commit suicide in the queen’s bedroom, but then decided that wasn’t “a nice thing to do.” Instead he simply wanted to […]

Humor, Imagination, London
Featured on July 9

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

My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
Illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett

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Around this time of year we celebrate Father’s Day. Now, as a rule, children are not particularly excited to read a book about an adult, even if they love their father. They would rather read about children they want to hang out with. But one of the best children’s books of all times (perfect for […]

Adventure, Animals, Imagination
Featured on June 19

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.