Historical Fiction

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When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park

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Today Koreans celebrate Memorial Day — to pay tribute to those who died in war. Although very few books for children are set in Korea, Linda Sue Park’s extraordinary novel When My Name Was Keoko, published in 2002, explores World War II as seen by Korean citizens. For this powerful novel, Linda Sue Park, winner of the Newbery […]

Asian American, Family, History, Multicultural, Politics, World War I
Featured on June 6

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

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In an ongoing effort to promote books by Latinos, the Association of American Publishers has designated May as Latino Book Month. During May they hope booksellers, librarians, and teachers will encourage people in their communities to read Latino books in both English and Spanish. Later in the month we’ll look at a book by Francisco […]

Award Winning, Family, Great Depression, History, Latino, Multicultural, Pura Belpré
Featured on May 12

Miss Spitfire by Sarah Miller


The first week in May has been earmarked Teacher Appreciation Week—to celebrate some of the most important work going on in our society. In preparation for the week, you might want to pick up our book of the day. Perfect for sharing with third through fifth grades, Sarah Miller’s Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller chronicles […]

19th century, History, School, Special Needs, True Story
Featured on May 4

Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt

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On April 26, 1795, John James Audubon, naturalist and painter, was born on his father’s sugar plantation in Haiti. He would become famous in his adopted country, the newly formed United States, for setting out to paint, catalogue, and gain an encyclopedic understanding of its winged creatures. A copy of Audubon’s Birds of America recently […]

Art, History, Nature
Featured on April 26

The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood

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Today marks both the probable birthday and death day of the most famous author in the English language, William Shakespeare (1564-1616) of Stratford-upon-Avon. In honor of the bard, April 23 has been designated “Talk Like Shakespeare Day.” You can find lots of ideas at Call any tormentor a “jackanapes” or “white-livered canker-blossom.” Instead of […]

Adventure, British, History, London, Theater
Featured on April 23

The Teacher’s Funeral by Richard Peck

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On April 5, 1934, Richard Peck was born in Decatur, Illinois. After training to be a teacher, he spent years working with students and did not write his first novel until he was thirty-seven. Then he made up for lost time! If ever there was a Renaissance figure in the field of children’s and young […]

Award Winning, Family, History, Humor, Newbery, School
Featured on April 5

Like the Willow Tree by Lois Lowry

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In honor of Women’s History Month, the book of the day is a title by veteran writer Lois Lowry, Like the Willow Tree. After a hiatus, the Dear America series, a historical fiction series told in diary formats, has been revitalized with this one of the first volumes. Among its many accomplishments, the book presents […]

20th Century, History, Religion/Spirituality, Women
Featured on March 14

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

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On March 4, 1791, Vermont became the 14th state admitted to the Union. Certainly at the time, the event did not seemed connected to the children’s book community. But by the beginning of the twenty-first century, Vermont had emerged as one of the best environments for those who create books for children and young adults. […]

Award Winning, Great Depression, History, Newbery
Featured on March 4

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

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In February we celebrate Black History Month, and today I want to present one of the finest debut novels of the 1990s, The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963. Although Christopher Paul Curtis has emerged as one of the most brilliant and beloved writers of his era, he did not immediately find a publisher. I know two […]

African American, Civil Rights, Family, History, Humor, Multicultural
Featured on February 26

A Nest for Celeste by Henry Cole

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In February of 1896 the Massachusetts Audubon Society was founded, the beginning of the current national organization. It was established to protect birds and to discourage the women of the era from wearing bird plumes in their hats. The man honored by the name of the organization, John J. Audubon, has been the focus of […]

19th century, Animals, Art, History, Mice, Nature, Science, Zoology
Featured on February 11

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell


For authors and artists week, I’d like to talk about the most impressive author I ever worked with, Scott O’Dell. Scott was in his mid seventies and I was in my late twenties when we first met. A tall man, large in body, spirit, and charisma, he could tell stories like no one I had ever […]

20th Century, Award Winning, History, Multicultural, Native American, Newbery, True Story
Featured on February 6

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

The Man Who Was Poe by Avi

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On January 19, 1809, Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts. At some time or another during childhood or adolescence, almost every child in America falls under his spell. I remember the first time my mother read me “The Raven;” later I became obsessed with his dark mysteries and macabre short stories. Poe only […]

Featured on January 19

Black Duck by Janet Taylor Lisle


On January 16, 1919, the ratification of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution was certified. The 18th Amendment forbids the manufacture and sale of alcohol in the United States. In many areas of the country, people felt justified breaking this particular law. I myself have Ohio ancestors who made and transported illegal liquor during this […]

Adventure, History, Politics, Prohibition
Featured on January 16

The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman

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In Greece January 8 has been designated Midwife’s Day or Women’s Day, to honor midwives. Midwifery, of course, has a long and important history throughout the world. Drawing on her extensive knowledge of medieval times, Karen Cushman chose the practice of helping women deliver babies as the subject for her second novel, The Midwife’s Apprentice, […]

Award Winning, History, Middle Ages, Newbery, Women
Featured on January 8

Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T. R. Simon


Born on January 7, 1891, Zora Neal Hurston become one of the most renowned Black writers of the twentieth century, part of the Harlem Renaissance, and pioneer of collecting regional black folklore. During her lifetime she was often compared to, and sometimes competed against, Richard Wright, but for a period of time her work vanished, […]

African American, Civil Rights, History, Multicultural, True Story
Featured on January 7

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

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

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Today begins the celebration of Kwanzaa, extending through the first of January. Honoring African culture, Kwanzaa was created in 1966 to “give Blacks an alternative to the existing holidays.” Today, December 26, marks the day to strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race. But if you wanted to explain to […]

African American, Civil Rights, History, Holidays, Kawanzaa, Multicultural
Featured on December 26

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick


On December 8, 1861, Georges Méliès was born in Paris, France. He became one of the first French filmmakers, renowned for his creative development of motion pictures. Delighting in special effects, Méliès explored time-lapse photography and hand-painted color in films. His most famous movie, A Trip to the Moon (1902), features a scene where a […]

Award Winning, Caldecott, Film, History
Featured on December 8

All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor


For those hunting for a book about Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, today I want to remind some people of—and introduce others to—one of the most memorable books about Jewish life and customs ever written, All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor. When Taylor published this gem in 1951, books featuring religious Jewish children were hard to […]

Family, History, Immigration, Jewish, Multicultural
Featured on December 4

The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages

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On December 2, 1942, the Manhattan Project initiated the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction. Less than three years later, a group of scientists stood near Alamogordo, New Mexico, to watch the first nuclear explosion. One of them, J. Robert Oppenheimer would later say, “We knew the world would not be the same. A few people […]

Cold War, History
Featured on December 2

Elizabeth George Speare by Elizabeth George Speare

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On November 21, 1908, Elizabeth George Speare was born in Melrose, Massachusetts. After finishing degrees from Boston University, she taught in the Massachusetts schools, then married and moved to Connecticut. When her children entered junior high school, she began writing articles and eventually books for children. One thing that distinguishes Speare from other writers is […]

Adventure, Award Winning, History, Newbery, Pioneer, Survival
Featured on November 21

The (Mostly) True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick

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On the third Saturday in November, the town of Gettysburg celebrates Remembrance Day with a parade of Civil War groups and organizations. One of the most dramatic events of the battle at Gettysburg occurred on the second day when Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Bowdoin College professor who commanded the 20th Maine, was sent to defend Little […]

Adventure, Award Winning, Civil War, History, Newbery
Featured on November 20

Crossing Stones by Helen Frost

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On this day in history, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, World War I ended in 1918. America’s involvement came late in the conflict, and, in fact, most of the books written about World War I for young readers have originated in England. But Crossing Stones by Helen Frost, written entirely […]

Family, History, Women, Women's Suffrage, World War I
Featured on November 11

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord
Illustrated by Marc Simont


On November 3, 1938, Bette Bao was born in Shanghai, China. By the age of eight she came to the United States with her father and mother and one sister. When Mao Zedong and his Communist party won the Chinese civil war, the Boas were stranded in America. Bette’s youngest sister Sansan had been left […]

Baseball, Family, History, Immigration, New York, Sports
Featured on November 3

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan


October is Family History Month, celebrated by genealogists and family historians who believe in actively searching for information about ancestors. Because of my own family research, I have stood on the Gettysburg battlefield and imagined what my great-grandfather experienced there. I now think about the streets of New York City in an entirely different way—because […]

Award Winning, History, Newbery, Pioneer
Featured on October 26

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr


For two and a half weeks, through November 11, we celebrate World Origami Days. Why not try your hand at the Japanese folk art of paper folding that originated in the seventeenth century? During World Origami Days, I’m going to take a look at two novels that explore paper folding—one classic and one cutting edge. […]

History, Origami, True Story, World War II
Featured on October 25

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.