Thursday, April 17, 2014

Children's Book-A-Day Almanac by Anita Silvey

The other day I bought something I have wanted for a while now - I purchased my very own copy of Anita Silvey's Children's Book-A-Day Almanac.  Oh sure, I know I could go to her website and read the book of the day there, but I kind of wanted to have the print version for those times that I want to look up something quickly, or for a little relaxing bedtime reading.

Silvey spotlights the best in children's literature one day at a time.  So, for instance, today, April 17th, the spotlight is shining on Because of Wiinn-Dixie, Kate DiCamillo's 2001 Newbery Honor book.  After a brief synopsis of the story, Silvey gives some background information about the author and the book.

This is the kind of book you will thumb through again and again, stopping to read the book of the day as they catch your fancy.  But, Silvey provides not just information about one book.  Since it is the job of a good almanac to provide information in conjunction with each calendar day, Silvey does just that.  She includes birthdays of authors living and deceased, book events of the past, and even book suggestions if the date has special significance.  For example, today is Bat Appreciation Day and the book she suggests we read is Bats at the Ballgame by Brian Lies.

There is two advantages the website has that the book doesn't - excerpts and links.  For today, April 17th, there is a link to DiCamillo's manuscript process for Because of Winn-Dixie, followed by an excerpt, and instructional material for teaching it.

So, if you can get all that and more, why buy the book?  Imagine it in your classroom, whether that is in a school or a home school, and your young readers using it as a reference book; or in your home, and your reader is looking for something to read but doesn't seem to be able to find a book that appeals to them, so the two of you sit down at the kitchen table (because it seems all important things happen at the kitchen table) and go through the Children's Book-A-Day looking for just the right book.  These are some of the real life scenarios that have happened in my house since I bought the book and they could happen at your home.

I have a shelf where I keep my go-to books on children's literature.  One that I use again and again is Ways of Telling: Conversations on the Art of the Picture Book by Leonard Marcus, another is Storied City: A Children's Book Walking-Tour Guide of New York City also by Leonard Marcus, and also 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before Your Grow Up by Judy Eccleshare and Quentin Blake, now I can add the Children's Book-A-Day Almanac.

If you are not familiar with Anita Silvey's work, be sure to visit her online version of the Children's Book A Day Almanac.  There are wonders to discover there.

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