FIND A BOOK

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, 2014

The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

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For Read a New Book Month, today I recommend one of 2013’s real gems, Kevin Henkes’s The Year of Billy Miller. Henkes has always shifted between picture books that delight young readers, such as Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse and novels for readers grades five and up like Olive’s Ocean. But in The Year of Billy […]

Family, Humor, School
Featured on December 23, 2013

On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer

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Today marks the seventy-fifth birthday of one of the loveliest ladies in the children’s book field, Marion Dane Bauer. I first met Marion, who has lived in Minneapolis most of her life, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, at Hattiesburg’s fabulous book festival. I already knew I loved her work; but after meeting Marion, I realized that the […]

Award Winning, Feelings, Friendship, Newbery
Featured on November 20, 2013

The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

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September has been designated Read a New Book Month. But for me, rereading a book I haven’t picked up for decades often seems like reading a new one. At the beginning of every school year, I ask my graduate students to talk about the book they most loved as a child. Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s The […]

Ancient, Award Winning, History, Multicultural, Newbery
Featured on September 16, 2013

Princess Posey and the First Grade Parade by Stephanie Greene
Illustrated by Stephanie Roth Sisson

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Around this time of year, many children head back to school—often feeling anxious and as though they are unequal to the task. Scary teachers or buildings may await them. What if they are not grown up enough to enter a new grade? Such is the dilemma of our heroine of the day, Posey, entering first […]

Family, School
Featured on August 26, 2013

Lulu and the Duck in the Park by Hilary McKay
Illustrated by Priscilla Lamont

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During the week of August 11–17 a relatively new cause is celebrated: feeding the pets of the homeless. The philosophy behind the Give a Dog a Bone campaign is that “No pet should go hungry or suffer.” In a book of the day, Lulu and the Duck in the Park by Hilary McKay, the heroine […]

Animals, Ducks, School
Featured on August 12, 2013

One-Eyed Cat by Paula Fox

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Today marks the ninetieth birthday of writer Paula Fox, born in New York City. Her memoir Borrowed Finery tells the haunting story of her childhood and her rejection by her mother who left her in an orphanage. Paula was initially raised by Reverend Elwood Corning and his bedridden mother; later Fox’s Cuban grandmother took care […]

Animals, Award Winning, Cats, Family, Great Depression, History, Newbery
Featured on April 22, 2013

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

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This week the International Cemetery, Cremation, and Funeral Association holds its annual convention. I once took care of the Houghton Mifflin booth during a convention held in a small hotel complex where funeral directors took up the other half of the hall. I couldn’t think of a book that I might bring over to them. […]

20th Century, Award Winning, History, Newbery, Summer
Featured on April 8, 2013

Road Trip by Gary Paulsen and Jim Paulsen

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February has been designated Responsible Pet Owners Month. The book of the day, Jim Paulsen and Gary Paulsen’s Road Trip, has been dedicated to “everyone who’s ever loved and been loved by a really good dog.” It was pressed into my hands recently by Carol Stoltz of Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when I […]

Animals, Dogs
Featured on February 11, 2013

Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin

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In January we celebrate National Folklore Month. Folklore collections and retellings have tended to be Euro-Centric in books for children, whether retellings from Grimm, Perrault, or the Lang Fairy Books. But after American-born Grace Lin traveled to the land of her ancestors, Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan, she began incorporating the folklore of this land […]

Asian American, Folktale, Multicultural
Featured on January 28, 2013

A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban

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Today I am recommending a book to chase the holiday blues away. Sometime during this joyous, or not so joyous, season, people find themselves a bit depressed. When that feeling comes upon you, make sure you have a copy of Linda Urban’s A Crooked Kind of Perfect nearby. Urban’s first novel, published in 2007, provides […]

Family, Humor, Music, School
Featured on December 17, 2012

The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson

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Unless you are living under a rock, you know today is Halloween. Either for nutritional or theological reasons, Halloween has not been as appreciated in recent years as when I was a child. But I think there is a better holiday to celebrate on October 31. In fact, I am sorry that it is not […]

Award Winning, Family, Newbery
Featured on October 31, 2012

The Fire Cat by Esther Averill

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October happens to be Fire Pup Month. But even old dogs can learn new tricks—and today I will be writing about a cat, not a dog! This year I’ve been meeting with a group of children’s book experts and enthusiasts to choose a small library of the best children’s books. Through this project I have […]

Animals, Cars, Cats, Transportation
Featured on October 1, 2012

Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree by Lauren Tarshis

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Around this time of year, many children have already headed back to school or are in the process of doing so. If you are hunting for a book that might make middle school sound more interesting than the child in your life thinks it will be, pick up the book of the day, Lauren Tarshis’s […]

Family, School
Featured on August 27, 2012

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, 2012

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass

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The first entry of our book of the day, Wendy Mass’s Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life occurs on July 22, and so today seemed an appropriate time to look at this beloved book by one of today’s most popular writers for children. Our hero Jeremy beings his saga with words that grab readers’ […]

Family, Humor
Featured on July 22, 2012

My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian
Illustrated by Jake Tashjian

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Lazy July days—perfect for summer reading. But what if you don’t like to read; what if you actively avoid reading? Such is the dilemma of our protagonist of the day, twelve-year-old Derek, who begins his saga in My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian with these bold words: “I DON’T WANT TO READ THIS […]

Family, Humor, School
Featured on July 9, 2012

The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies

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Yesterday we celebrated Memorial Day, a time to honor those who have defended us during wartime. But unofficially it also means the beginning of summer, a time to bring out the barbecue and plan for warmer days. If you have any industrious children ages seven through twelve looking for some summer inspiration, you might want […]

Family, Food
Featured on May 28, 2012

Tangerine by Edward Bloor

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On May 21, 1904, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was founded in Paris. Today the Fédération administers the World Cup. What the rest of the world calls “football” has been renamed soccer in the United States. Over the last decade, because of soccer’s obvious advantages—an exciting game, team play, and inexpensive equipment—the sport […]

Family, Soccer, Sports
Featured on May 21, 2012

The Animal Family by Randall Jarrell
Illustrated by Maurice Sendak

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Born on May 6, 1914, Randall Jarrell did not publish his first children’s book until he was fifty. By that time he had established himself as one of America’s premiere poets for adults and was also renowned for his brilliant literary criticism. Michael di Capua, then at Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, lured Jarrell into children’s […]

Animals, Family
Featured on May 6, 2012

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine A. Applegate
Illustrated by Patricia Castelao

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April has been designated Pets Are Wonderful Month (PAWS), which all pets are, of course. As I write, my dear Lance snoozes not far from my feet. They provide inspiration and attention. People have kept all kinds of animals, as pets or objects of curiosity, over the years. And the treatment of these animals lies […]

Animals, Social Conscience
Featured on April 18, 2012

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

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April 12 marks a day that I am very fond of: Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R.) Day. It reminds us to put aside whatever we are doing and take time to enjoy a book. Since Beverly Cleary’s birthday also falls on this day, families can find no better place to go than Cleary’s books. Today […]

Family, School, Special Needs
Featured on April 12, 2012

Alabama Moon by Watt Key

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As the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War continues from March 21-23 in Jackson County, Alabama, one of the largest reenactments of the war takes place. The Siege of Bridgeport attracts thousands of people for this annual event with period music, encampments, and vendors. I myself have never attended a reenactment that I didn’t love […]

Adventure, Survival
Featured on March 23, 2012

The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney

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Today marks a new holiday, Take Your Child to the Library Day. Patterned after Take Your Child to the Bookstore Day, the holiday emphasizes one of the most important trips that can occur for any child: going to a library, securing a library card, and learning to feel comfortable in a library. No matter how extensive your home […]

Animals, Hamster, School
Featured on February 4, 2012

The Goats by Brock Cole

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Today for Young Readers Week I am going to look at one of the most powerful books ever written for twelve- to fourteen-year-olds. Like all books that change us and make us a different person, I remember exactly where I was and how I felt the first time I read it. I was Editor of […]

Adventure, Seasons, Summer, Survival
Featured on November 10, 2011

Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick

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The second week of November we celebrate National Young Readers Week. I wish that all young readers had access to the books we celebrate every day on the Almanac. Today we’ll look at one, published in 1993, which I consider a contemporary classic, Rodman Philbrick’s Freak the Mighty. When I first read this book about […]

Humor, School, Special Needs
Featured on November 7, 2011

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

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On October 21, 1964, a book appeared that critics consider the beginning of modern fiction for children. Before that day, it had been controversial in its own publishing house, causing disagreement among the members of Harper & Row’s children’s book department. The gatekeepers of children’s books wanted to keep it out of the hands of […]

Family, New York, School
Featured on October 21, 2011

The Summer I Learned to Fly by Dana Reinhardt

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Some books just begged to be discussed with others, and our book of the day for Reading Group Month is perfect for mother/daughter groups: Dana Reinhardt’s The Summer I Learned to Fly. When we first meet the protagonist of the book, she tells us that some smells draw us back to childhood—like her grandfather’s aftershave […]

Food, Romance, Seasons, Summer
Featured on October 16, 2011

Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild

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October has been designed Reading Group Month, organized by the Women’s National Book Association. Today we’ll look at a classic book, ideal for mother/daughter book discussions, and tomorrow a new title. I am always interested in the books that people remember from childhood—children read so many books but which ones stay with them into adulthood? […]

Dance, Great Depression, History, London
Featured on October 15, 2011

Midnight Fox by Betsy Byars

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For our last book for Great Books Week, I will look at a classic by Betsy Byars, published in 1968, The Midnight Fox. In her career, Betsy wrote picture books, easy readers, historical fiction, and fantasies; she won the Newbery Award for The Summer of the Swans. But The Midnight Fox, a book about a […]

Animals, Foxes, Seasons, Summer
Featured on October 8, 2011

The Agony of Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

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From September 22 through September 28, the American Library Association celebrates Banned Books Week. Often your local public library will display some famous banned books. I am always surprised to see what makes list of “top banned/challenged books” of the decade. Harry Potter leads the list—possibly Harry Potter is going to lead all lists (sales, censorship, […]

Family, Humor, School
Featured on September 26, 2011

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.