The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper

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Today we celebrate the winter solstice. On the solstice, one of the most appealing characters in classic children’s fantasy celebrates his eleventh birthday. The seventh son of a seventh son, he will be in for some pretty big surprises this holiday season. He learns that he is the last of the Old Ones, the Sign […]

Adventure, Magic, Other Worlds
Featured on December 21

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

The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène du Bois


On December 14, 1782, the Montgolfier brothers’ first balloon lifted off on its first test flight. Later they would conduct public demonstrations, taking a thirty-three-foot diameter balloon aloft for about ten minutes. From this humble beginning, humans sailing the skies in a hot-air balloons became a possibility. William Waterman Sherman, the protagonist of the Newbery […]

Adventure, Award Winning, Humor, Newbery, Technology
Featured on December 14

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

C. S. Lewis by C. S. Lewis

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We are going to end the month with two birthday celebrations—one a writer, the other an illustrator. C. S. Lewis, today’s celebrant, was born on this day in 1898 in Belfast, Ireland. But he would live and write in Oxford, England, where he taught on the English faculty with his good friend and fellow author, […]

Adventure, Animals, Magic, Other Worlds
Featured on November 29

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

Savvy by Ingrid Law

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We all have at least one talent. November 24, Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day, allows all of us to acknowledge our own individual abilities. Whatever you do best, take some time today to recognize that talent. What if you knew that on a certain birthday, your thirteenth, you would be given a special talent or […]

Adventure, Award Winning, Family, Magic, Newbery
Featured on November 24

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren


Born on November 14, 1907, Astrid Lindgren grew up on a farm just outside Vimmerby, Sweden. Pippi Longstocking, the book for which she became world-renowned, published in the United States sixty years ago, arose from stories she told her seven-year-old daughter. Sick in bed with pneumonia, the young girl asked for a story about Pippi […]

Adventure, Animals, Humor
Featured on November 14

Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers


On November 13, 1926, a short story appeared in a New Zealand newspaper, the Christchurch Sun, by a young writer, who had emigrated to England from Australia. It recounted the saga of an “underneath nurse” age seventeen, and her charges Jane, Michael, Barbara, and John. On a day out, she puts on gloves, tucks a […]

Adventure, Humor, Magic
Featured on November 13

Masterpiece by Elise Broach
Illustrated by Kelly Murphy

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Today I’m focusing on another book for National Young Reader’s Week, one of the relatively new titles I think is destined to become a classic. A mystery and suspense novel, it also presents the work of Albrecht Durer, painter and printmaker, to young readers in grades three through six. Precocious as a child because of […]

Adventure, Animals, Art, Insects
Featured on November 12

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

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.