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The Cure For Dreaming by Cat Winters

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Around this time of year, I like to alert Almanac readers to some new titles, ideal for holiday gift-giving, that they might have missed. Today I want to sing the praises of the second novel by Cat Winters, The Cure for Dreaming. Now, I have been an active part of the children’s book world since […]

20th Century, History, Politics, Social Conscience, Women, Women's Suffrage
Featured on October 29

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

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

The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin

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February has been designated Black History Month since 1976, and this observance has allowed for both the acquisition and publishing of many fine children’s and young adult books. But although there are so many stories from Black American history to be told, these books often focus on the same subject areas or heroes. Hence I […]

20th Century, African American, History, Multicultural, World War II
Featured on February 10

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

Curse of the Blue Tattoo by L. A. Meyer

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June has been designated Audio Appreciation Month. Today I am going to talk about an audio series that was recommended to me by my two favorite audio experts: Ellen Myrick, who created the audio section of 500 Great Books for Teens, and Alison Morris of Scholastic. If you are headed out for a road trip […]

Colonial America, History, Women
Featured on June 10

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
Illustrated by Trudy White

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May serves as both Personal History Awareness Month and Jewish American Heritage Month. When I saw these events, I immediately thought of one of the most amazing novels of the last ten years, Marcus Zusak’s The Book Thief. Although Zusak grew up in Australia, his mother had lived in Munich during the reign of Hitler […]

Award Winning, History, Jewish, Multicultural, Printz, World War II
Featured on May 27

Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

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In May, the Association of American Publishers celebrates Get Caught Reading Month—publicity for the event includes posters of famous people  each absorbed in a good book. Certainly, any book featured on the Almanac over the past year would be great to be caught reading. But I’d like to showcase a series that not only engages […]

Adventure, Dystopia, Survival
Featured on May 20

Diego Rivera: An Artist for the People by Susan Goldman Rubin

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May 1, International Workers Day, is celebrated in more than eighty countries around the world The observance originated in the United States in the 1880s as workers mobilized to secure an eight-hour workday. The Association of American Publishers has designated May as Latino Book Month. So today seems like a perfect time to look at […]

History, Latino, Multicultural, Politics
Featured on May 1

One-Eyed Cat by Paula Fox

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Today marks the 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 of […]

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

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

The Wreckers by Iain Lawrence

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Today marks the birthday of Canadian writer Iain Lawrence. He was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Canada, called simply “the Sault,” which is pronounced to rhyme with zoo. Once a year his brother would sing, “Happy Birthday to you. You were born in the Sault.” Possibly this early nonsense verse encouraged Lawrence to seek a […]

Adventure, England, History, Survival
Featured on February 25

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

The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis

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Many make reading resolutions for the New Year, and I do as well for the Almanac. Last year, a consulting project I worked on made me painfully aware of how few of our best books for children focus on other than English-speaking countries. So this year I intend to write more Almanac entries with an […]

Award Winning, Family, History, Social Conscience
Featured on January 14

Little White Duck by Na Liu
Illustrated by Andrés Vera Martínez

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For our last selection for Read a New Book Month, I’d like to look at one of the most original graphic novels to appear in the last couple of years, Na Liu and Andrés Vera Martínez’s Little White Duck. When books for American children focus on other parts of the world, they tend to be […]

20th Century, History, Women, World History
Featured on December 27

Listening for Madeleine by Leonard S. Marcus

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On November 29 we celebrate the birth date of one of America’s most beloved authors. Madeleine L’Engle was born in 1918 and throughout her life faced many obstacles, including roughly twenty-seven rejections of the book that made her famous, A Wrinkle in Time. Her father was a troubled man—she frequently spoke of him in public […]

Award Winning, Family, New York, Newbery, Women
Featured on November 29

The Lincolns by Candace Fleming

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On October 15, 1860, eleven-year-old Grace Bedell wrote to a candidate running for the presidency, Abraham Lincoln. She stated that her brothers would vote for him if he grew a beard. “You would look a good deal better for your face is so thin,” she advised. Lincoln wrote back, and then, as a reporter announced, […]

Civil War, History
Featured on October 15

Bomb by Steve Sheinkin

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From my point of view, author Steve Sheinkin is one of the most interesting young writers of narrative nonfiction today. Like most who choose to write nonfiction, he has an obsession, a passion, for history. But he excels in making history exciting for young readers, in bringing them into the action and adventure of whatever topic […]

20th Century, History, Politics, Science
Featured on September 17

Shadow on the Mountain by Margi Preus

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September has been designed Read a New Book Month. Certainly those headed back to school, whether teachers or students, will probably encounter some new titles in the next few weeks. I’d like to highlight a book just published in 2012: Shadow on the Mountain by Margi Preus. Margi Preus has published two stellar books in […]

History, World War II
Featured on September 10

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

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

Carver by Marilyn Nelson

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August has been designated National Inventor’s Month. Possibly because my engineer father held many telecommunications patents, as a child I always felt that invention was something exciting and possible. Certainly in the book of the day, Marilyn Nelson’s Carver, George Washington Carver emerges as a figure any child would want to emulate. Marilyn Nelson has […]

19th century, African American, Award Winning, History, Newbery, Science
Featured on August 6

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 Watch that Ends the Night by Allan Wolf

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On July 13, 1864, John Jacob Astor IV was born in Rhinebeck, New York. He would become the richest man in the world—a land developer, inventor, and even author of a science fiction novel. Today Astor is best remembered as one of the victims of the Titanic. He serves as one of the multiple narrators […]

20th Century, History
Featured on July 13

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

The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope
Illustrated by Evaline Ness

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Today marks American Independence Day, the Fourth of July, a time of parades, firecrackers, and outdoor picnics. But every time the Fourth of July comes around, I wonder how much children think about the reason for this holiday. If they don’t, how do we inform them about the American Revolution? Our book of the day, […]

Colonial America, Ghosts, History
Featured on July 4

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

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On June 15, 1836, Arkansas became the 25th state admitted to the Union. Hence today marks Arkansas Admission Day. Certainly in the last part of the twentieth century, Arkansas has loomed large in American politics: It’s the home state of President Bill Clinton and also the site of the highly contested 1957 attempt to integrate […]

Civil Rights, History, School, Social Conscience
Featured on June 15

The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds

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According to Eratosthenes, a Greek mathematician and poet, on June 11, 1184 BC the city of Troy was sacked and burned by the Achaeans, ending the Trojan War. Although throughout the years, the very existence of Troy itself has been debated by scholars, one truth remains: Whether real or fabled, these events form the backdrop […]

Adventure, Ancient, History, Quest
Featured on June 11

The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer

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Around this time of year many school children find themselves on summer vacation, often with an assignment to read a number of books over the summer.  I myself was never so happy as a child as when I had unlimited time to read and a pile of new offerings by my chair. Well, if you […]

Adventure, London
Featured on June 9

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

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.