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

World Rat Day by J. Patrick Lewis
Illustrated by Anna Raff


Today I would like to wish a happy birthday to J. Patrick Lewis. Among the many things Pat and I share in common is a Hoosier childhood; he grew up with a twin brother in Gary, Indiana, and attended Indiana University and Ohio State, where he received his doctorate in economics. But Pat left the […]

Animals, Holidays, Poetry
Featured on May 5

What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms and Blessings by Joyce Sidman
Illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski


All month we have been celebrating National Poetry Month. As I mentioned in the essay on Firefly July, a large number of quality poetry picture books have started to appear over the last year or so. My mentor once told me that publishing trends are like sunspots—things come and go for no earthly reason. Well, […]

Feelings, Poetry
Featured on April 28

Pug and Other Animal Poems by Valerie Worth
Illustrated by Steve Jenkins


April is National Poetry Month; on the Almanac site I have already talked about one of my favorite books of poetry, Valerie Worth’s All the Small Poems and Fourteen More. Today let’s look at a picture book of Worth’s poems illustrated by Steve Jenkins, Pug and Other Animal Poems. A graduate of Swarthmore who worked […]

Animals, Poetry
Featured on April 21

Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems by Paul B. Janeczko
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet


April is, of course, National Poetry Month, and there is good news to report this year. For a period of time, well-chosen and well-illustrated poetry compilations were as rare as hen’s teeth in the children’s book world, mainly because of the costs of poetry permissions. But recently, thanks to the success of poetry picture books, […]

Poetry, Seasons
Featured on April 14

My Mother Goose by David McPhail


This week the holiday shopping season begins in earnest, and Saturday marks Small Business Saturday. Author Sherman Alexie has spearheaded a movement this year for independent bookstores, which he has named Indies First, by asking authors to help sell books in bookstores: “We book nerds will become booksellers.” And so many of us will help […]

Featured on November 25

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.