Red-Eyed Tree Frog by Joy Cowley
Illustrated by Nic Bishop

, , , ,

April 29 has been designated Save the Frogs Day, a day of amphibian education. Although there will be an event in Washington, D.C., the third annual Save the Frogs Day organizers encourage people to recognize the day in their own communities. Their website contains lesson plans and activities that can be adapted by teachers and […]

Animals, Award Winning, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Frogs, Nature
Featured on April 29

Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson

, , ,

From the shadows, Powell and Herold watched Seward's doctors leave. The house was quiet now. They watched the gaslights go dim in several rooms, indicating that the occupants were settling in for the night. Powell handed his horse to Herold and walked across the street to the secretary's front door. He rang the bell. Herold scanned up and down the block as he stood watch, keeping their horses ready. On the first floor of the house, a black servant named William Bell hurried to answer the door.Late-night callers, mostly messengers, were not unusual. There was no reason why the servant should not open that door.

Civil War, History
Featured on April 13

Ballet of the Elephants by Leda Schubert
Illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker

, ,

On April 9, 1942, fifty-one elephants performed in a ballet in Madison Square Garden. Although at first this idea seems absurd, the strange but true story is explored by writer Leda Schubert and illustrator Robert Andrew Parker in Ballet of the Elephants, published in 2006. Over the last ten years, picture-book texts have grown shorter, […]

Animals, Dance, Elephants, History
Featured on April 9

Joyce Sidman by Joyce Sidman
Illustrated by Rick Allen

, ,

Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month takes place in April. The Academy lists a variety of projects, including a Poem-A-Day, where new poetry is e-mailed to those who register. Like the rest of the country, we’ll be celebrating National Poetry Month on the Almanac and will recognize Poem in […]

Animals, Award Winning, Newbery
Featured on April 3

Marching for Freedom by Elizabeth Partridge

, ,

On March 21, 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. began the five-day protest march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama—a triumphant event in the Civil Rights Movement. A few months later the Voting Rights Act was signed into law, outlawing literacy tests and other measures used to keep African Americans from registering to vote. A remarkable […]

African American, Award Winning, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Civil Rights, History, Multicultural, Politics, Social Conscience
Featured on March 21

Wendell Minor by Wendell Minor

, ,

Today illustrator Wendell Minor celebrates his birthday. Both Wendell and his wonderful wife Florence, one of the great teams in children’s books, happen to be good friends of mine. Normally, that would stop me from writing this post because it is hard for me to be objective. But I think Wendell has worked so hard […]

Animals, History, Nature, Penguins, Revolutionary War, Trains, Transportation
Featured on March 17

Blizzard by Jim Murphy

, , ,

On March 11, 1888, a record blizzard hit the East Coast. Although parts of the country have seen record snow falls this year, most areas have snow-removal equipment and constant weather monitoring to lessen the impact of Mother Nature. But such was not always the case, as Jim Murphy relates in his compelling story about […]

History, New York, Seasons, Winter
Featured on March 11

Independent Dames by Laurie Halse Anderson
Illustrated by Matt Faulkner

, ,

March has been designated Women’s History month. Fortunately, in the last two decades we have been given scores of books that promote the role of women in history. For some great suggestions you can consult the Amelia Bloomer list compiled by the American Library Association. Today I’d like to focus on one of the exceptional […]

History, Revolutionary War, Women
Featured on March 10

Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine
Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

, ,

Since 1976 Black History Month has been celebrated in the United States during February. We’ll look at a couple of superb titles this month, beginning with one of the best picture information books of the decade, Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine, illustrated by Kadir Nelson. Ellen is […]

African American, Award Winning, Caldecott, Civil War, History, Multicultural, True Story
Featured on February 10

The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay


On January 31, 1930, 3M began marketing Scotch Tape, an invention of Richard Drew. The familiar plaid design, an adaptation of the Wallace tartan, did not come along for another fifteen years. But Scotch Tape, like so many other simple inventions, changed everyday life. If I were to recommend to parents a single reference source […]

Award Winning, Technology
Featured on January 31

How to Talk to Your Cat by Jean Craighead George
Illustrated by Paul Meisel

, ,

Today has been designated Ask Your Cat Questions Day. Most pet owners admit that they talk to their animals all the time.“How are you feeling today, Lancelot?” I just said to my puppy before sitting down. However, what if you really wanted to communicate with a cat—beyond meaningless questions such as, “Why did you bring […]

Animals, Cats
Featured on January 22

The Race to Save the Lord God Bird by Phillip Hoose

, ,

Today marks a relatively new holiday on the calendar, National Bird Day–set aside to think about the birds people keep as pets and how owning them affects the bird population on earth. Our attitudes toward animals and birds and how we treat them has changed dramatically over time. No one has ever captured the changing mores […]

Animals, Birds, History, Nature, Science, Social Conscience, Zoology
Featured on January 5

Written in Bone by Sally M. Walker


On December 20, 1606, three small ships—Godspeed, Susan Constant, and Discovery—departed London, England for Virginia. In May of the next year the men and boys on this ship founded the first permanent English settlement in America, Jamestown. Other colonists, including women, joined them in James Fort in 1608. In recent years members of the Jamestown […]

Archeology, Colonial America, History, Science
Featured on December 20

Moonshot by Brian Floca

, ,

Today for National Aviation Month, let’s look at a perfect book for four- to eight-year-olds that explains the Apollo 11 mission. In 1969 families and friends gathered around small television sets in households across America to watch Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin attempt to land on the moon. In Moonshot: The Flight of […]

Adventure, Award Winning, History, Sibert, Space
Featured on November 28

1621: A New Look At Thanksgiving by Catherine O’Neill Grace & Margaret Bruchac
Illustrated by Sisse Brimberg & Cotton Coulson

, ,

Today Americans worship those twin pastimes of indulging in food and football. How did this day, Thanksgiving, become a holiday? In searching for the best book on the topic, I discovered that there aren’t as many Thanksgiving books as you might think. Certainly the most intriguing on the subject is 1621: A New Look at […]

Colonial America, History, Holidays, Multicultural, Native American, Thankgiving
Featured on November 25

Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone


Next for National Aviation Month, I’ve chosen a book honoring women who loved flying. When Lieutenant Colonel Eileen M. Collins became the first woman to command a spacecraft that orbited the earth, a group of women pilots had been invited by her to sit at the coveted VIP spots at Cape Canaveral. This group included […]

Award Winning, History, Sibert, Space, Women
Featured on November 18

My Season with Penguins: An Antarctic Journal by Sophie Webb

, ,

On November 17, 1820, Nathaniel Palmer and his men on the Hero became the first Americans to set foot on the Antarctic Peninsula. He was a young man, twenty-two, when he accomplished the act for which he has been immortalized. When I think of young Americans journeying to Antarctica, the book that instantly comes to […]

Animals, Award Winning, Penguins, Sibert
Featured on November 17

Jean Fritz by Jean Fritz

, ,

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

The Scrambled States of America by Laurie Keller

, ,

This month schools began participating in the National Geographic Bee, an annual contest sponsored by the National Geographic Society. The third week of November the Society marks Geography Awareness Week, providing a multitude of project materials at their website. Since 1989, participants from fourth through eighth grades have competed in this annual event for scholarships, based […]

Geography, Humor
Featured on November 15

Pyramid by David Macaulay

, , ,

In Luxor, Egypt, on November 4, 1922, the English archaeologist Howard Carter, funded by the wealthy Lord Carnarvon, discovered a pharaoh’s tomb that had not yet been plundered by grave robbers. This tomb contained more than five thousand artifacts of Tutankhamun from Ancient Egypt. For children, King Tut, as he became known, is naturally interesting, […]

Ancient, History
Featured on November 4

So You Want to Be President? by Judith St. George
Illustrated by David Small

, ,

It’s November when Americans vote in national elections. November is also Picture Book Month, a time set aside to celebrate the need for picture books in the lives of children. Both causes merge in our book of the day, which both educates and entertains young people — just as good picture books should. Winner of the 2001 Caldecott Medal for David […]

Award Winning, Caldecott, History, Humor, Politics
Featured on November 2

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.