Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales

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May has been designated both Personal History Month and Latino Book Month, and our book of the day, Yuyi Morales’s Viva Frida, could be used effectively for either celebration. In this passionate celebration of Frida Kahlo for very young readers, ages 2-8, Morales captures the spirit of an artist who has been her inspiration from […]

Art, Award Winning, Caldecott, Latino, Multicultural, Women
Featured on May 26

The Right Word by Jen Bryant
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

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March has been designated Women’s History Month and the Almanac features many titles, such as Laurie Halse Anderson’s Independent Dames that address the topic of women and history. But while hunting for a different slant on an author study for the elementary level, I realized there might be another way to approach Women’s History Month. […]

19th century, Art, Award Winning, Caldecott, History
Featured on March 11

Josephine by Patricia Hruby Powell
Illustrated by Christian Robinson


Black History Month encourages the sharing of books about African American history with children. And although there has always been a certain predictability to the titles authors and publishers offer for young readers on this topic, we have recently seen some unique and unexpected titles, such as Steve Sheinkin’s Port Chicago 50. Such is the […]

20th Century, African American, Dance, History, Multicultural, Paris
Featured on February 17

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen
Illustrated by Mark Teague

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The first week of February has been set aside to celebrate children’s authors and illustrators. I’ve already written about the author of the book of the day, How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? Jane Yolen. Today I would like to sing the praises of illustrator Mark Teague. I recently had the pleasure of sharing an […]

Bedtime, Dinosaurs
Featured on February 4

The Iridescence of Birds by Patricia MacLachlan
Illustrated by Hadley Hooper

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As all who closely follow the children’s books world know, around this time of year the major children’s book awards (Newbery and Caldecott) get announced at the annual ALA meeting. Many enjoy the process of Mock Caldecott or Newbery award events, a way to get everyone involved. In my case I sit down every year […]

Featured on January 19

I’m My Own Dog by David Ezra Stein

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Today we celebrate National Dress Up Your Pet Day. But not my dog Lancelot. Like many Bernese Mountain Dogs, he possesses an incredible sense of dignity. The only item he has ever allowed added to be added to his already regal appearance is a jingle-bell collar at Christmas. For all who are thinking about dressing […]

Animals, Dogs, Humor
Featured on January 14

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd


In 1965, UNESCO set aside a day to highlight to individuals and communities the importance of literacy, and deemed it International Literacy Day. People celebrate it around the world every year on September 8. But before children can become verbally literate, they need to develop visual literacy. In our book of the day, Flashlight, Lizi […]

Featured on September 8

Brave Chicken Little by Robert Byrd


August has been designated Get Ready for Kindergarten month, so this month’s Almanac entries focus on books that discuss the kindergarten experience. When I think about what reading heritage all kindergarten-bound children should be familiar with, I think of folklore and fairy tales. Robert Byrd’s Brave Chicken Little, a variation on the familiar tale, was […]

Animals, Fairy Tale
Featured on August 28

The Pilot and the Little Prince by Peter Sís


Antoine de Saint-Exupery was born in Lyon, France, on June 29, 1900. Called the Sun King by his family because of his golden hair, the young boy truly had his eyes on the sky. At the age of twelve he made his first flying machine from a bicycle. In The Pilot and the Little Prince, […]

History, Planes, True Story, World War I, World War II
Featured on June 29

Ira Sleeps Over by Bernard Waber


This week we celebrate the annual observance of Children’s Book Week. In April, an exhibit of the work of Bernard Waber opened at the Eric Carle Picture Book Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts. About a hundred people attended the opening, including a roster of writers and illustrators who had known and loved Bernie Waber. Meeting Bernie’s […]

Family, Toys
Featured on May 12

We’re Going On a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury


March has been designated March into Literacy Month, and when I think of that idea, a particularly brilliant book comes to mind—We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and illustrator Helen Oxenbury. This book completely belongs to both author and illustrator. Michael Rosen took a chant for children that enticed him, and set […]

Featured on March 17

Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? by Tanya Stone
Illustrated by Marjorie Priceman

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Since 1987, Women’s History Month has been celebrated in March—a time to look at all the unsung heroines and their contributions over the years. In 2013 the talented duo of Tanya Lee Stone and Marjorie Priceman teamed up to create a picture book perfect for Women’s History Month, Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? The […]

History, Science, Social Conscience, Women
Featured on March 10

There Goes Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived by Matt Tavares


I grew up in the state of Indiana, where basketball stood as the supreme sport, and moved to a city Boston, where baseball reigns. Consequently, like most Bostonians, I know that today the Red Sox play their first game in spring training. So I thought I would use this occasion to talk about one of […]

20th Century, Baseball, History, Sports, World War II
Featured on February 27

Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives by Lola M. Schaefer
Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

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February has been designated Plant the Seeds of Greatness Month. Of course, any time we connect children with a good book, seeds are being planted. But certainly children of the twenty-first century will need both math and science skills for the duration of their lives, and exciting books in this area are far too hard […]

Animals, Science
Featured on February 17

The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by E. B. Lewis


Today, many in the blogging community will be celebrating multiculturalism in children’s books. For a list of those participating, check pragmaticmom and Jump Into a Book. In a society where our children come from a variety of racial backgrounds, the plea for high-quality content, featuring characters of all races, has never been more important. On […]

African American, Civil Rights, History, Multicultural
Featured on January 27

The Bear’s Song by Benjamin Chaud

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From January 19–25, we celebrate Hunt for Happiness Week. A perfect book for this week has been sitting on my shelf for months: Benjamin Chaud’s The Bear’s Song. A large picture book at 14 ½ inches tall by 9 ¾ inches wide, The Bear’s Song first appeared in France and has been published in the […]

Animals, Bears, Imagination
Featured on January 20

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown


Today we celebrate a little-recognized holiday, “Thank Goodness It’s Monday,” and an event that lasts for all of January, The Celebration of Life. These two seemingly incongruous observances remind me of one of my favorite picture books of 2013, Peter Brown’s Mr. Tiger Goes Wild. Now, for want of a better term, I am a […]

Animals, Humor
Featured on January 6

How Tom Beat Captain Najork and His Team of Hired Sportsmen by Russell Hoban
Illustrated by Quentin Blake


Today on the Almanac, I send birthday greetings to Sir Quentin Blake, born outside of London. While still a teenager, he began contributing to Punch magazine. After studying English at Cambridge, he took life-drawing classes at the Chelsea Art School and, in 1960, began a glorious career as a children’s book illustrator—one that has resulted […]

Humor, Imagination, Sports
Featured on December 16

Mr. Wuffles! by David Wiesner


December has been designated Read a New Book Month. Often in December, we hunt for something recently published that will make the perfect gift. Now, I admit that I favor dog books. And my readers have been patient with me as I rhapsodize over titles like Love that Dog or Homer, month after month. But […]

Animals, Cats, Humor, Imagination, Technology
Featured on December 2

How I Learned Geography by Uri Shulevitz


November has been designated Life Writing Month, dedicated to the idea that each person has a story to tell from his or her own history. Next week, we celebrate National Geography Week. Our book of the day, Uri Shulevitz’s How I Learned Geography, can be used for both occasions. This powerful picture book, perennially popular […]

Geography, History, World War II
Featured on November 12

Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld


This week has been designated World Communication Week to remind us that computer access has made worldwide communication possible. Even this blog, read around the globe, and my national and international friendships on Facebook and Twitter would not be possible without all the technological breakthroughs that have sustained the Internet. If Twitter were a country, […]

Featured on November 4

Locomotive by Brian Floca

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October has been designated National Reading Group Month. Usually, reading groups select novels. But today I recommend an unusual and brilliant work of narrative nonfiction published last month: Brian Floca’s Locomotive. With a career that began when Brian illustrated books for Avi in the early 1990s, the artist has continued to grow and get better […]

History, Science, Technology, Trains, Transportation
Featured on October 21

Redwoods by Jason Chin

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October 2, 1968 marks the establishment of California’s Redwood National Park, which protects slightly less than half of the remaining coast redwoods. Unfortunately, I have never personally seen one of these beauties, but hearing about the raging fires in Yosemite National Park in August and September led me to return to one of my favorite […]

Ecology, Nature, Science
Featured on October 2

The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdös by Deborah Heiligman
Illustrated by LeUyen Pham

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Today we can celebrate Wonderful Weirdos Day, created by the citizens of Austin, Texas. The organizers suggest that we all need to recognize those individuals in our lives who are not normal or average. Our book of the day does just that; even its subtitle suggests that it celebrates a wonderful weirdo as it chronicles […]

History, Science, Technology
Featured on September 9

Where Is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox
Illustrated by Judy Horacek

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Around this time of year Ohio celebrates Sheep Day! In Wayne County at the Sheep Research Unit, Ohio State University faculty, staff, and students convene to discuss how to successfully raise sheep. If I were anywhere near this event, I’d go because I have a soft spot for sheep. Instead I’ll pick up the book […]

Animals, Bedtime
Featured on July 13

Let’s Do Nothing! by Tony Fucile

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For some reason, although it is summertime, things seem busier than ever during the month of July. I suppose I always secretly long for the summers I remember from my youth—with long periods of unstructured time. New Englanders tend to cram six months of living into the days of sunshine. But when I feel frantic, […]

Featured on July 1

Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert

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Today we celebrate Butterfly Day, a time to go out and gaze at some of nature’s most beautiful creatures. They lift their wings and our spirits. My favorite butterfly book since 2001 has been Lois Ehlert’s Waiting for Wings, an oversized volume that highlights butterflies and the plants that sustain them. Lois Ehlert always knew […]

Animals, Gardening, Insects, Science, Zoology
Featured on June 19

Lucky Ducklings by Eva Moore
Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

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At the Natural History Museum in Rotterdam on June 5, they acknowledge Dead Duck Day and discuss ways to prevent these winged city dwellers from colliding into windows. I, however, don’t like to use Almanac pages to feature dead ducks or dead dogs. But our book of the day, Eva Moore’s Lucky Ducklings, does explore […]

Animals, Ducks, True Story
Featured on June 5

The Shrinking of Treehorn by Florence Parry Heide
Illustrated by Edward Gorey


Born in Chicago on February 22, 1925, Edward St. John Gorey briefly attended the Art Institute of Chicago but actually received a B.A. from Harvard in French. He began his career as a book jacket designer and became a staff artist at Doubleday. Around that time, Gorey started publishing illustrated tales, often under a pseudonym, […]

Art, Family
Featured on February 22

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems

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January has been designated National Folktale Month. Ever since Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith published The True Story of Three Little Pigs, over two decades ago, fractured fairy tales, or folklore, have attracted writers and illustrators. Our book of the Day, Mo Willems’s Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs, falls squarely in that tradition. Children enjoy stretching […]

Dinosaurs, Folktale
Featured on January 7

Stories 1 2 3 4 by Eugène Ionesco
Illustrated by Etienne Delessert


Today illustrator Etienne Delessert celebrates his birthday—he has been creating children’s books for more than fifty years. When I was a young critic in the 1970s, the avant guard of illustration consisted of Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are), Tomi Ungerer (No Kiss for Mother), Edward Gorey (The Shrinking of Treehorn), and Etienne Delessert, […]

Art, Bedtime, Imagination, Trendsetting
Featured on January 4

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.