Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman


Today I feel sorry for George Washington. He is, after all, the father of the country, yet he has to share a birthday celebration with Abraham Lincoln on President’s Day. Of the two, Lincoln has received the best treatment in children’s books, so today we’ll celebrate his accomplishments. Of all the hundreds and thousands of […]

Award Winning, Civil War, History, Holidays, Newbery, President's Day
Featured on February 21

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg


Today in 1872 the Metropolitan Museum of Art opened its doors for the first time. Founded by a group of businessmen and financiers, the Met was established to bring art and art education to Americans. Over the years, many families, school classes, and children have visited the magnificent collection. But it wasn’t until 1967 that […]

Adventure, Art, Award Winning, Humor, Newbery, Survival
Featured on February 20

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

Lloyd Alexander by Lloyd Alexander


On January 30,1924, Lloyd Alexander was born in Philadelphia. He knew from the age of fifteen that he wanted to be a writer, and for seventeen years he wrote for adults. Then in 1963, this charming, erudite author published his first children’s book, Time Cat, and 1964, his second, The Book of Three. His editor […]

Adventure, Award Winning, Magic, Newbery
Featured on January 30

Robert C. O’Brien by Robert C. O’Brien


Today marks the birthday of one of the most reclusive children’s book authors of the 20th century. He was not so, however, because of his personality or because he did not want to engage with children. Robert Leslie Conly was born in Brooklyn in 1918; he studied English at the University of Rochester. Working for […]

Adventure, Animals, Award Winning, Mice, Newbery, Survival
Featured on January 11

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

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

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Carroll Atwater
Illustrated by Robert Lawson

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Today marks the birthday of Richard Atwater, born in 1892. He graduated with honors from the University of Chicago, where he taught Greek. But for most of his career, Atwater worked as a journalist, book review editor, and columnist for newspapers. He dabbled in publishing—first he wrote an opera, then a children’s book Doris and […]

Animals, Award Winning, Newbery, Penguins
Featured on December 29

Nothing But the Truth by Avi


On December 18, 1956, one of the most popular long-running television shows, To Tell the Truth, premiered. Truth, of course, is a slippery thing. What seems true to one person does not appear that way to another. One of our best novels for ten- to fourteen-year-olds, published in 1991 and already a classic, explores the […]

Award Winning, Newbery, Politics, School
Featured on December 18

The Wright Brothers by Russell Freedman

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December 17 was declared Wright Brothers Day in 1963 by Presidential Proclamation. Certainly these two Buckeyes, who lived their lives in Dayton, Ohio, have inspired numerous books for children. But the best remains Russell Freedman’s The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane, a Newbery Honor book published two decades ago. Few in the history […]

Award Winning, Flight, History, Newbery, Planes, Technology, Transportation
Featured on December 17

Millions of Cats by Wanda Gág

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December 15 has been designated Cat Herding Day. Certainly, this impossible task deserves to be celebrated! Eighty-two years ago a classic children’s book demonstrated what a lot of herded cats might look like—although it left the way to accomplish this feat unexplained. In the history of picture books, men have created the vast majority of […]

Animals, Award Winning, Cats, Newbery
Featured on December 15

The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène du Bois


On December 14, 1782, the Montgolfier brothers’ first balloon lifted off on its first test flight. Later they would conduct public demonstrations, taking a thirty-three-foot diameter balloon aloft for about ten minutes. From this humble beginning, humans sailing the skies in a hot-air balloons became a possibility. William Waterman Sherman, the protagonist of the Newbery […]

Adventure, Award Winning, Humor, Newbery, Technology
Featured on December 14

The Giver by Lois Lowry

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“It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened.” With these words Lois Lowry opens the best novel for children of the 1990s and one of the greatest science fiction works of all time—The Giver. In the early ’90s Lowry found herself a frequent visitor at a nursing home. There her mother, going […]

Adventure, Award Winning, Dystopia, Newbery
Featured on December 3

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose


Today has been designated Rosa Parks Day, marking her arrest on December 1, 1955, for refusing to give up her seat on a bus. The incident sparked the yearlong Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott and is considered the beginning of the Modern Civil Rights Movement. But today, because of the research of author Phillip Hoose, we […]

Award Winning, Civil Rights, History, National Book Award, Newbery, Sibert
Featured on December 1

Savvy by Ingrid Law

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We all have at least one talent. November 24, Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day, allows all of us to acknowledge our own individual abilities. Whatever you do best, take some time today to recognize that talent. What if you knew that on a certain birthday, your thirteenth, you would be given a special talent or […]

Adventure, Award Winning, Family, Magic, Newbery
Featured on November 24

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

Jean Fritz by Jean Fritz

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On November 16, 1915, Jean Fritz was born to American missionaries in Hankow, China. She spent the next thirteen years there—and observed another culture while “wondering what it was like to be an American.” Fritz would write about that childhood in the 1980s for her compelling autobiography, Homesick: My Own Story, a Newbery Honor Book, […]

Award Winning, History, Newbery
Featured on November 16

Hachet by Gary Paulsen

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The second week of November we celebrate National Young Readers Week, an event created in 1989 by the Center for the Book of the Library of Congress to help schools recognize the joys and benefits of reading. To go along with the activities this year, I recommend two books, one a classic and the other […]

Adventure, Award Winning, Nature, Newbery, Survival
Featured on November 8

Katherine Paterson by Katherine Paterson

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Unless you are living under a rock, you know today is Halloween. Either for nutritional or theological reasons, Halloween has not been as appreciated in recent years as when I was a child. But I think there is a better holiday to celebrate on October 31. In fact, I am sorry that it is not […]

Award Winning, Newbery
Featured on October 31

The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
Illustrated by Garth Williams

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More than fifty years ago a down-on-his-luck, New York City playwright who had graduated from Yale wandered into the Times Square subway station late at night and heard a cricket chirp. It reminded him of his childhood in Connecticut when his life had been more optimistic and innocent. Because he knew how to write scenes […]

Animals, Award Winning, Cats, Classical, Insects, Mice, Music, New York, Newbery
Featured on October 30

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

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.