The Rabbits’ Wedding by Garth Williams


Sometimes, after a controversy has swarmed around a book, it is almost impossible to see it as the author intended. That is true of today’s book for Banned Books Week (September 22-28), Garth Williams’s The Rabbits’ Wedding—one of the next major picture books, after The Story of Ferdinand to create an incredible ruckus. At its […]

Animals, Rabbits
Featured on September 30

Lyle, Lyle Crocodile by Bernard Waber


Today is the birthday of one of the nicest human beings I ever had the chance to work with, Bernie Waber. A quiet, unassuming man, Bernie had a gentle sense of humor—one that he relied on for books like Ira Sleeps Over and Lyle, Lyle Crocodile. Born in Philadelphia, Bernie moved frequently during his childhood […]

Animals, Humor
Featured on September 27

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

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September 25 has been designated National Comic Book Day. From Jennifer L. and Matthew Holm’s Babymouse series to Jeff Kinney’s Wimpy Kid offerings, comic books (sometimes called graphic novels) have been the hottest publishing phenomena of the past few years—including in books for children. Entire imprints, like First Second, have been established to explore what […]

Humor, Imagination
Featured on September 25

Punctuation Takes a Vacation by Robin Pulver
Illustrated by Lynn Rowe Reed


What if we had the English language as we know it, but no punctuation had been invented? The sentences you are reading now would be nearly impossible to comprehend. The importance of punctuation in communication lies at the heart of today’s holiday, the annual National Punctuation Day. For the organizers, today serves as a “celebration of […]

Humor, School
Featured on September 24

Art Dog by Thacher Hurd


For National Dog Week, which began yesterday, I’d like to look at a highly original and amusing protagonist, Thacher Hurd’s Art Dog.  In terms of children’s book, Thacher Hurd has lived a charmed life. He was the son of not only one, but two, great children’s book creators—writer Edith Thacher Hurd and artist Clement Hurd, […]

Animals, Art, Dogs
Featured on September 23

The World’s Greatest Elephant by Ralph Helfer
Illustrated by Ted Lewin

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Elephant Appreciation Day, which took place yesterday, has been set aside to celebrate the “earth’s largest, most interesting, and most noble endangered land animal.” Certainly elephants have always had enormous appeal to children. In fact, circus founder P. T. Barnum once said, “When entertaining the public, it is best to have an elephant.” In 2006 […]

20th Century, Animals, Elephants, History
Featured on September 22

Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill

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September has been designated World Animal Remembrance Month—and today I’m going to talk about one of the dogs most loved by the preschool set, Eric Hill’s Spot. It is hard to believe that this pooch has only been around for thirty-one years. The ongoing saga of Spot began not with Spot himself, but his mother […]

Animals, Dogs
Featured on September 16

Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola


On September 15, 1934, in Meriden, Connecticut, a boy who would become one of the world’s best storytellers was born. Tomie dePaola always credited his Irish and Italian family for providing him with the material for many of his sagas. I don’t know if he came out of the womb spinning tales, but he claims […]

Award Winning, Caldecott, Food, Humor, Magic
Featured on September 15

Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant


September is World Animal Remembrance Month, and yesterday marked National Pet Memorial Day. One of life’s most heart-wrenching experiences, both for children and adults, is without question the death of a beloved pet. So I’d like to take today to remember and honor a very special dog. I wasn’t able to have a dog until […]

Animals, Death, Dogs
Featured on September 12

Grandpa Green by Lane Smith

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Since 1978 the first Sunday after Labor Day has been celebrated as National Grandparents Day to encourage grandchildren to tap into the wisdom and heritage of their grandparents. Encapsulating both the spirit and the intent of this holiday, our book-of-the-day is Grandpa Green by Lane Smith. As editor of The Horn Book Magazine I watched the […]

Art, Gardening, Imagination
Featured on September 11

Swimmy by Leo Lionni


September has been set aside as a month to “Be Kind to Authors and Editors.” On the Almanac, I could use that as my moto 365 days of the year. Authors and editors are the people who make our best books possible, who work to provide quality content for children, and they deserve kindness and […]

Animals, Award Winning, Caldecott, Fish, Social Conscience
Featured on September 10

David Goes to School by David Shannon


Over the last two months, we’ve been looking at some optimistic books about a child going back to school. Whether it is The Magic School Bus or Kindergarten Diary, these books end happily with their protagonists very satisfied to be in school. But for some children, school may be a bit more of a challenge. […]

Humor, School
Featured on September 8

The Library by Sarah Stewart
Illustrated by David Small


Over the years I have collected a list of titles, shared by teachers and librarians, to use for the beginning of school. Many, of course, started classes in August, but some schools still begin after Labor Day. So I’m going to focus on two more crowd pleasers that adults love to share. I’d be happy […]

Featured on September 7

Amos and Boris by William Steig


“On the sixth of September, with a very calm sea, he waited till the high tide had almost reached his boat; then, using his most savage strength, he just managed to push the boat into the water, climb on board, and set sail.” Who is our sailor with savage strength? A mouse named Amos; his […]

Adventure, Animals, Mice
Featured on September 6

Pinkerton, Behave! by Steven Kellogg


September has been designated World Animal Remembrance Month. So since I like to think about dogs, I’m going to feature some famous dog protagonists who deserve to be remembered: Spot, Art Dog, the unnamed heroes of Go, Dog. Go! and Steven Kellogg’s irrepressible Pinkerton. Possibly September should just be designated Steven Kellogg appreciation month. Steven […]

Animals, Dogs, Humor
Featured on September 3

Me . . . Jane by Patrick McDonnell

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September 1 has been set aside to celebrate International Primate Day. I can think of no better way to mark this day than look at the life of Jane Goodall, who has devoted herself to the study and the conservation of chimpanzees. In 2011 Patrick McDonnell published an exquisite picture book Me . . . […]

Animals, Monkeys, Science, Women, Zoology
Featured on September 1

Miss Nelson Is Missing! by Harry Allard and James Marshall


As August comes to a close, many children head back to or have already started school. Today I’m recommending one of my favorite stories about school, one that some teachers like to use at this time. It not only tells a great story, but also sends a subtle message. By the time James Marshall created […]

Humor, School
Featured on August 31

Life Story by Virginia Lee Burton


Her sons called her “Ginnee.” Every now and then, she might be, “Oh, Mom,” but she seemed, even in childhood, their best friend. And because of them, she became the best friend, or author, for millions of boys and girls over the years. Today we celebrate the birthday of an artist who created not only one […]

Award Winning, Caldecott, History, Science
Featured on August 30

Rah, Rah, Radishes! by April Pulley Sayre

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Toward the end of August, those of us with vegetable gardens find ourselves with an abundance of crops—and those who don’t grow their own vegetables can delight in all of the produce available at local Farmers’ Markets. August has been designated Celery, Fennel and Cactus Month along with Mushroom and Onion Month. But for me […]

Food, Gardening
Featured on August 29

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey


In August of 1941 a picture book appeared that has become synonymous with the city of Boston for millions of readers. While he was an art student there, Robert McCloskey got the idea for Make Way for Ducklings from a true story that appeared in the newspaper. However, he developed the book in New York […]

Animals, Award Winning, Boston, Caldecott, Ducks
Featured on August 28

The Magic School Bus by Joanna Cole
Illustrated by Bruce Degen

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Children around the country have either headed back to school or are about to do so. Much of the drama of these first days centers on the teacher: Who will he or she be? Will the teacher be nice or mean? Easy or hard? The best I can wish for these children is that they might […]

Adventure, School, Science
Featured on August 27

This is Paris by Miroslav Sasek

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At dawn on August 25, 1944, the Second French Armored Division entered Paris, ending the German occupation. Charles de Galle led a parade that day down the Champs Elysees. Although Hitler had ordered the destruction of the city, the occupying German officer ignored that decree and surrendered instead. The book of the day, This is […]

Geography, History, Paris
Featured on August 25

Pompeii Lost and Found by Mary Pope Osborne
Illustrated by Bonnie Christensen

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On this day in 79 A.D. an active volcano in southern Italy, Mount Vesuvius, erupted and destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Escaping the disaster, Pliny the Younger wrote:   “[B]lack and horrible clouds, broken by sinuous shapes of flaming winds, were opening with long tongues of fire.” What a stylist! Modern authors can […]

Ancient, Art, History
Featured on August 24

The People Could Fly by Virginia Hamilton
Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon


August 23 of each year has been designated by UNESCO as the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition. This date was chosen because from August 22–23, 1791, an uprising began on the island of Saint Domingue, now Haiti, which helped bring about the end of the slave trade. If […]

African American, Folktale, History, Multicultural, Slavery, Social Conscience
Featured on August 23

Bats at the Beach by Brian Lies


As I mentioned yesterday, August serves as National Beach Month, reminding us to get out and enjoy this environment before the summer season ends. When I think of beaches, dogs instantly come to mind. But what if creatures we don’t normally associate with it inhabited the beach? Incongruity, of course, can be one of the most […]

Animals, Bats, Food, Nature, Seasons, Summer
Featured on August 22

Sally Goes to the Beach by Stephen Huneck


August has been designated National Beach Month and during this time people are encouraged to make one more trip to their local beach and enjoy the scenery and warm weather before it vanishes. As a landlocked child in Indiana, I envied people their ocean beaches—although we did have beautiful sand dunes bordering Lake Michigan. If […]

Animals, Asian American, Dogs, Family, Multicultural, Seasons, Summer
Featured on August 21

Kindergarten Diary by Antoinette Portis

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Our book of the day yesterday, Wemberly Worried, has been around for a decade. But last year, Antoinette Portis added a new book to read during Get Ready for Kindergarten Month. Kindergarten Diary explores what a young child might think and experience each day in a new school. Portis, the very creative inventor of Not […]

Humor, Imagination, School
Featured on August 20

Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes

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For some children, the end of August means preparing to go to school for the very first time. For them August has been designated Get Ready for Kindergarten Month. If you are hunting for a book that might help the very young overcome some of their anxieties about school, today we’ll look at Kevin Henkes’s […]

Animals, Humor, Mice, School
Featured on August 19

Clemente! by Willie Perdomo
Illustrated by Bryan Collier

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On August 18, 1934, one of the most revered National League baseball players of all times, Roberto Clemente, was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico. Considered something of a saint in his native land, Clemente made his fame in America, after being drafted in 1954 by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He brought new life to the team […]

Baseball, History, Latino, Multicultural, Sports
Featured on August 18

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein


Born in France on August 13, 1949, Philippe Petit became a high-wire artist best remembered for an event that took place on August 7, 1974. That day he walked on a tightrope between two World Trade Center skyscrapers in New York City. In the air for around an hour, he danced and performed tricks—as New […]

History, New York, Sports
Featured on August 13

Corduroy by Don Freeman

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On August 11, 1908, Don Freeman was born in San Diego, California. Freeman showed early skills as both a musician and an artist. In the late twenties he moved to New York City to make a living. He arrived a few days before the stock market crash and always carried a guilt complex about the […]

Bedtime, Teddy Bears, Toys
Featured on August 11

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.