Monsieur Marceau by Leda Schubert
Illustrated by Gerard Dubois

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December has been designated Read a New Book Month. During this month many hunt for new books to give as gifts. If you are one of those people, take a look at the picture book biography, Monsieur Marceau, written by Leda Schubert and illustrated by Gerard Dubois, winner this year of NCTE’s Orbis Pictus Award. […]

History, Theater, World War II
Featured on December 10

Unspoken by Henry Cole


December has been designated Read a New Book Month. I look forward to this celebration because I can present some new gems of the last couple of years. In 2012 Henry Cole published a remarkable wordless picture book, Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad. In artwork created only with charcoal, paper and pencil, Henry […]

Civil War, History, Social Conscience
Featured on December 5

Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet

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For more than eighty years, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has entertained Americans. For many households the viewing of the parade is as essential as eating turkey. But how did such an event come about? In Balloons Over Broadway, author and illustrator Melissa Sweet takes readers behind the scenes of the parade as she presents […]

History, Holidays, Humor, Thankgiving, Toys
Featured on November 22

Homer by Elisha Cooper

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November has been designated Adopt a Senior Pet Month. Most families want to find a puppy or kitten when they chose a pet, but there are so many benefits in bringing a more mature animal into the house. My own senior pet, a Bernese mountain dog named Lady, turns twelve this month. Two years ago […]

Animals, Dogs, Family
Featured on November 6

George and Martha by James Marshall

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Were he still living, I’d be sending  birthday greetings to Jim Marshall today. He died at the age of fifty, much too young and with too many great books still to come. And I have missed him, personally and professionally, for twenty years. A highly sophisticated human being, Jim grew up in San Antonio, Texas, […]

Animals, Friendship
Featured on October 10

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
Illustrated by Jon Klassen


During August many individuals visit one of the hundreds of arts and crafts fairs held around the country. Whether you are going to the Festival of the Hills in St. Louis or looking forward to the Minnesota State Fair for its crafts exhibits, you should pick up one of the best celebrations of the art […]

Art, Clothing, Imagination
Featured on August 13

Backseat A-B-See by Maria van Lieshout


This week we celebrate Children’s Book Week. Our book of the day is one that Carol Rasco from Reading Is Fundamental—who should be given sainthood for her tireless efforts on behalf of children and reading—recommended to me. Although we know that children want reading to be fun, our preschool books for children often tend to inform […]

Featured on May 14

Step Gently Out by Helen Frost
Illustrated by Rick Lieder

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In April we’ve been celebrating Poetry Month. I actually wish every day were Poetry Day for children and that a poems were part of their daily literary diet. In the last couple of years, single poetry volumes for children ages two through eight—the work of Joyce Sidman and books like Marilyn Singer’s Mirror Mirror—have increased. […]

Animals, Insects, Nature
Featured on April 24

Little Red Riding Hood by Trina Schart Hyman

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Born in Philadelphia on April 8, 1939, Trina Schart Hyman trained as an illustrator and spent over three decades creating beautiful books and artwork for children. Beloved by her editors, Trina, who was always a force to be reckoned with, delighted in making sure they actually studied what she had drawn. She usually wove in […]

Award Winning, Caldecott, Fairy Tale, Folktale
Featured on April 8

And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano
Illustrated by Erin E. Stead

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It has been an unusually difficult winter in New England this year, with several feet of snow arriving in the region. Although my Bernese Mountain Dog Lance has enjoyed every flake, I find myself longing for the first day of spring. That sense of joy, of the brown, dry earth coming to life has been […]

Animals, Nature, Seasons, Spring
Featured on March 20

Here Come the Girl Scouts! by Shana Corey
Illustrated by Hadley Hooper


On March 12, 1912, a new organization had its first meeting in Savannah, Georgia. Based on the Boy Scouts and the Girl Guides in England that were founded by Sir Robert Baden-Powell and his sister, Agnes Baden-Powell , the Girl Scouts began in the U.S. as a meeting of eighteen girls who were convened by […]

History, Women, Women's Suffrage
Featured on March 12

Wheels on the Bus by Paul Zelinsky

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Today marks the birthday of one of the most versatile and accomplished illustrators working today, Paul O. Zelinsky. My major problem in writing about Paul was deciding which of his many superb books to feature. Born in 1953 in Evanston, Illinois, Paul lived in several locations because his father was a college professor. He discovered […]

Cars, Transportation
Featured on February 14

The Wall by Eve Bunting
Illustrated by Ronald Himler


Today marks the anniversary of the Tet Offensive in 1968. After calling a cease-fire during the Tet holiday celebration, North Vietnam launched a major offensive throughout South Vietnam. A milestone in the Vietnam War, after the Tet Offensive the U.S. Government began to seek a way out of their involvement in the Vietnamese War. Certainly […]

Family, Grandparents, History, Multicultural, Vietnam War
Featured on January 30

A New Year’s Reunion by Yu Li-Qiong
Illustrated by Zhu Cheng-Liang


Today begins the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Dragon. Certainly over the years many American publishers have offered titles appropriate for this holiday. But a few months ago, a book that first appeared in Taiwan in 2008 was released and it’s one of the finest I have ever seen. A New Year’s Reunion […]

Asian American, Family, Holidays, Multicultural, New Year's
Featured on January 23

Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth

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Today Japan celebrates Coming of Age day, a ceremony to congratulate and encourage all those who have reached the age of majority: twenty years old. Well, for those who aren’t twenty, or those who are but like to remain child-like in spirit, our book of the day, John J. Muth’s Zen Shorts, explores the Japanese […]

Animals, Bears, Religion/Spirituality
Featured on January 9

A Nation’s Hope by Matt de la Peña

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December has been designated Read a New Book Month, and this week we are celebrating Kwanzaa. The book of the day, A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis, fits for both holidays and combines the talents of Matt de la Peña and Kadir Nelson in one of the best new offerings of […]

African American, Boxing, History, Multicultural, Sports, World War II
Featured on December 27

The Money We’ll Save by Brock Cole


In December many hunt for books both to read and to give as gifts. Well, if you are hunting for a picture book for four- to eight-year-olds and could use a good laugh, I recommend the book of the day, Brock Cole’s The Money We’ll Save. I laughed so much the first time that I […]

19th century, Animals, Birds, Christmas, History, Holidays
Featured on December 11

The Mitten by Jan Brett

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December 6 marks Mitten Tree Day; to celebrate everyone is encouraged to decorate a Christmas tree with mittens (the tree and mittens can be real or cut out from brightly colored paper). As I write this, I am packing to travel to Canada and Seattle to present a workshop on children’s classics. One of the […]

Animals, Clothing, Folktale, Seasons, Winter
Featured on December 6

The Three Robbers by Tomi Ungerer


Today we celebrate the birthday of one of the most original, and certainly most creative, members of the children’s book community. Tomi Ungerer was born in Strausbourg, France in 1931, and knew both poverty and tragedy at an early age. His father died when he was three. Then, because of economic hardship during the Great […]

Featured on November 28

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klasssen

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Today we celebrate International Hat Day.  I personally love, wear, buy, and covet hats—all kinds of hats. Since the book of the day I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen was published last year, it has already gained an enormous number of fans. Klassen is a master of the minimalist form. Starting with sumptuous […]

Animals, Bears, Humor, Rabbits
Featured on November 25

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig


While I was vacationing in the Rangeley Lakes area of Maine in October a sign caught my eye: “Wilhelm Reich Museum.” Although I could not get in, I was intrigued to see the location of the laboratory of the radical psychoanalyst who worked with Sigmund Freud. While there I thanked him silently for his little-known […]

Animals, Award Winning, Caldecott, Magic
Featured on November 14

Bone Dog by Eric Rohmann

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Tonight we celebrate All Hallows Eve, or Halloween, a time of carved pumpkins, parties, or door-to-door canvassing in costume for treats. In my childhood the latter activity was quite casual, and costumes often consisted only of sheets with eye holes. But in more recent years Halloween costumes have become elaborate, often prepared with great care. […]

Animals, Dogs, Halloween, Holidays
Featured on October 31

Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell
Illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell

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For years I have admired Anne Rockwell’s ability to render the complex simple in her picture books for the very young. Rockwell was one of the pioneers in the area of books for very young readers, ages birth to three. She studied art at Pratt Institute and began to write and illustrate picture books after […]

Fall, Food, Seasons
Featured on October 23

Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss


In October 1940 a new children’s book author and illustrator published his fourth book, one destined to become a classic. Admittedly since he had been rejected some twenty times for his first book, and then only been picked up by a small press, Vanguard, he did not necessarily seem to be poised to become America’s […]

Animals, Elephants, Humor
Featured on October 19

Gregory, the Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat
Illustrated by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey


October has been designated Vegetable Awareness Month and today also marks National Dessert Day. Certainly, I embrace both causes. The book of the day, Gregory, the Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat, brings these two holidays together in a humorous and totally satisfying story. Like many children, Gregory was a fussy eater; he wants only fruits, […]

Food, Humor
Featured on October 14

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka
Illustrated by Lane Smith

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Just when I think I can’t be surprised about the existence of a holiday, one comes along that amazes me. Today we celebrate Moldy Cheese Day. Molds play an important part in the production of delicious—but often stinky—blue cheeses like Roquefort and Gorgonzola. Even the milder Brie and Camembert get created by the introduction of […]

Fairy Tale, Humor
Featured on October 9

Arthur’s Nose by Marc Brown

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Today for Great Books Week (October 6-12) , I’d like to look at a modest picture book that launched an empire: Marc Brown’s Arthur’s Nose. In 1976 a failed television weatherman, Marc Brown, published his first picture book under the astute guidance of Emilie McLeod of Atlantic Monthly Press. Emilie, one of those most respected […]

Animals, Friendship, Humor
Featured on October 7

Mirror Mirror by Marilyn Singer
Illustrated by Josée Masse

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On October 3rd we celebrated National Poetry Day. Normally people set aside the month of April to celebrate poetry, but I actually think children’s poetry should be honored at least once a month. Even for children who think they don’t like to read, a poem can be a magical entry into the literary world. I […]

Fairy Tale
Featured on October 6

The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Paul Galdone

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For the upcoming Great Books Week, I want to look at the work of Paul Galdone. In his lifetime, Paul received very little critical praise for his books, although he did garner two Caldecott Honors for Eve Titus’s Anatole and Anatole and the Cat. Beginning in the fifties, he illustrated the work of others for […]

Animals, Folktale
Featured on October 5

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton


October 6-12 has been designated Great Books Week to remind us to use our time well by picking up excellent books. By asking questions such as “if stranded on an deserted island, what five books would you want?” or “what books do you read over and over?” the organizers hope to get us all to […]

History, Machines, Technology
Featured on October 3

The Sailor Dog by Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrated by Garth Williams


On October 1, 1942, a brave new experiment in publishing was launched as collaboration between Simon & Schuster and Western Printing and Lithograph Company. The project was described as “a new series of 25 cent books for children,” with an initial print run of 600,000 copies each. Carried in independent bookstores, these volumes also made […]

Animals, Dogs, Sailing, Sports
Featured on October 1

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.