Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

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Twenty-one years ago, in April 1990, Jerry Spinelli’s Maniac Magee was published. I first read an advanced reading copy of the book before it was published and then watched it sweep the prizes, including the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award and Newbery Medal. Still going strong, it has now become a classic, one of the books […]

Award Winning, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Family, Humor, Newbery, School
Featured on April 8

Rules by Cynthia Lord

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In 2007, April 2 was designated World Autism Awareness Day by the General Assembly of the United Nations, because of the prevalence and high rate of autism in children. In the past few years several notable children’s books have included a child with autism or a focus on autism. My favorite book on the topic […]

Autism, Award Winning, Family, Humor, Newbery, Special Needs
Featured on April 2

How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O’Connor

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Today I’d like to acknowledge two holidays. March has been designated Ethical Awareness Month, and today is National She’s Funny That Way Day, a time for people to list the five ways that the women in their lives make them laugh. When I thought about a funny, engaging character who faces an ethical dilemma, Georgina […]

Animals, Award Winning, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Dogs, Family
Featured on March 31

Clementine by Sara Pennypacker
Illustrated by Marla Frazee


March has been designated Exotic Winter Fruit Month and Leeks & Green Onions Month. When I think of winter fruit, my mind instantly conjures up one of the most engaging heroines developed in the past few years in children’s books—a very fresh and cheeky third grader named Clementine. She also has a baby brother, and […]

Award Winning, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Family, Humor
Featured on March 28

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald

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On March 26, 1908, Betty MacDonald was born in Boulder, Colorado. Because her father worked as a mining engineer, she spent many years of her childhood traveling around the West. Eventually settling in Seattle, MacDonald attended the University of Washington and wrote The Egg and I, a funny account of her married life on a […]

Family, Humor, Imagination, Magic
Featured on March 26

Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath


Today marks International Waffle Day, a holiday that originated in Sweden. Waffles have a long, glorious history. In Colonial times President Thomas Jefferson brought a long-handled waffle iron from France to the U.S. In 1869 Cornelius Swarthout, a man with a great Dutch name, patented the first U.S. waffle iron. Believe it or not, there […]

Family, Food, Humor
Featured on March 25

Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner


Today the Iditarod, “the last great race on earth,” begins in Anchorage, Alaska. Dog teams and humans will travel 1,150 miles through Alaskan wilderness to Nome. Some families and classes like to encourage children to pick a team and follow it throughout the month, writing about its journey. And for a story to introduce dog […]

Adventure, Animals, Dogs, Multicultural, Native American, Seasons, Sports, Winter
Featured on March 5

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

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On February 22, 1819, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams signed the Florida Purchase Treaty, making the Spanish territory part of the United States. When I think of recent books set in Florida, Carl Hiaasen’s Newbery Honor Book Hoot, an exciting, page-turning mystery, immediately comes to mind. Roy Eberhardt, new kid in town, has arrived […]

Animals, Award Winning, Ecology, Nature, Newbery, Politics, School, Science, Social Conscience
Featured on February 22

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

A Dog’s Way Home by Bobbie Pyron


Today, of course, we celebrate Valentine’s Day. Today also marks the beginning of the Westminster Dog Show, a time when the top dogs arrive in New York to compete for the crown. My first Valentines on this day always go to my dogs. Some people say that the dog/human connection is one of unconditional love. […]

Animals, Dogs
Featured on February 14

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

Judy Moody Declares Independence by Megan McDonald
Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

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On December 16, 1773, the Boston Tea Party took place. The details of the event have always sounded a bit like a college prank to me. A bunch of rebels, dressed up in disguise with faces painted, descend on a small British ship and dump some boxes of tea overboard. Of what significance would such […]

Family, History, Revolutionary War
Featured on December 16

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson


Around this time of year, many families, some who do not even regularly attend church, find themselves in one, supporting the local Christmas Pageant. This event, acted out in communities across America, allows children to play starring roles in the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. Sometimes even local animals make debut appearances in […]

Christmas, Family, Holidays, Humor
Featured on December 13

Frindle by Andrew Clements
Illustrated by Brian Selznick


On December 9, 1793, Noah Webster established his newspaper, American Minerva. In 1828 Webster published An American Dictionary of the English Language and became the father of the American dictionary. People often wonder how words get into this standard reference tool. For years I worked down the hall from the talented staff that produced The […]

Featured on December 9

Hachiko Waits by Leslea Newman

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On November 10, 1923, the eighth puppy in a litter of Akita Inu dogs was born on a farm near Odate, Japan. He would become one of the most famous dogs in the world. Although Akitas are naturally smart and loyal, Hachi, which means eight, would come to exemplify just how devoted a member of […]

Animals, Dogs, True Story
Featured on November 10

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

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

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To celebrate World Origami Days (October 24–November 11) I would recommend one of my favorite books of the last five years. The ancient Japanese art of Origami does not seem an obvious premise for a trendy, very funny, and contemporary novel, but then great children’s writers always find new slants on old topics. In The […]

Origami, School
Featured on November 5

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

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.