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100 Best Books for Children

"It would be hard to find a more authoritative voice than Anita Silvey." — Publishers Weekly

About the Book

With countless books being published every year, adults need expert guidance in order to expose children to the best books available. Anita Silvey provides this guidance — for parents, grandparents, teachers, librarians, booksellers — in her engaging and accessible new book, 100 Best Books for Children. No one but an expert like Silvey, with her thirty-five years at the heart of children's publishing, could compile such an authoritative and informative list.

By selecting only 100 "best books," Silvey distinguishes her guide from all others and makes it possible to give young readers their literary heritage in their childhood years. "These books motivate children to read," Silvey says of her 100 choices. "They include the best stories, the most compelling characters, and use the most imaginative language." In most cases, these books have stood the test of time, entertaining and educating children for several generations. In other cases, for books more recently published, Silvey chose those that she believes will become classics.

Among the attributes of the 100 books are that they:

• demonstrate the highest quality of writing and artistic merit
• exhibit popularity over time with children, parents, teachers, librarians, and booksellers
• appeal to many ages, interests, genres, reading skills, and ethnic backgrounds
• make excellent read-alouds for family and classroom sharing
• have stayed in print in the United States

Silvey allowed herself to choose only from books published in the last 100 years (1902 – 2002), and she limited her selections to one book per author. By keeping her list so succinct, Silvey is able to go into detail about the contents of each book, its strengths, and "the story behind the story" of each book's creation. Having spent much of her career behind the scenes as a publishing insider, Silvey has privileged knowledge about many of the titles she discusses, and she passes this information along to her readers to give them a greater appreciation of the books and their backgrounds.

Included among the memorable anecdotes:

• Robert McCloskey, the author and illustrator of Make Way for Ducklings, kept ducks in his bathtub in an attempt to figure out how they looked and behaved. (And when they wouldn't sit still long enough for him to draw them, he resorted to giving them wine!)
• Marguerite Henry, the author of Misty of Chincoteague, lived with the real Misty of Chincoteague so that she could recreate her. Henry brought Misty around to schools and libraries, and even took her to the annual American Library Association Conference.
• Gary Paulsen experienced everything that happened in his survival work, Hatchet, including eating raw turtle eggs, which tasted, he said, a bit like Vaseline.

Beyond Silvey's main selections are extensive lists of excellent books for different age groups and for children with various interests, including poetry, fantasy, historical fiction, science fiction, survival stories, and multicultural books.

100 Best Books for Children is essential reading for anyone choosing a book for a child today.

About the Author

Anita Silvey estimates that she has read 125,000 children's books, starting from childhood and continuing through her years as a reviewer and editor of The Horn Book Magazine and as a publisher of children's books for Houghton Mifflin. She is the editor of The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators.

Silvey's lifelong conviction — that only the best is good enough for the young — forms the cornerstone of all her work. A professor, reviewer, writer, and well-known children's book advocate, Silvey lectures throughout the United States and Canada and has appeared frequently on radio and television in her efforts to promote the best books available for our children.

For more biographical about Anita Silvey, please visit www.anitasilvey.com.

If you would like to arrange an interview with Anita Silvey, please contact trade_publicity@hmco.com.


Advance Praise for 100 Best Books for Children

"It would be hard to find a more authoritative voice . . . than Anita Silvey." — Publishers Weekly

"Whether you're a parent or teacher introducing the best books to your children, a Constant Reader checking to make sure that you've read The Best, a student of children's literature, or someone who would like to give a really helpful gift for a shower or birthday, you'll find this list of books and Mrs. Silvey's thoughtful commentary to be the ideal resource. If you thought you knew about these books, be ready for a treat with her story-behind-the-story. This book belongs in every home." — Children's Literature Network

Praise for The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators

"Illuminating . . . Like taking a quick and entertaining course in children's literature." — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Comprehensive, easy to use, and instructive . . . The Essential Guide is a must for parents who hope to instill a love of literature in their kids." — BookPage

"One of the best gifts for a new parent or for anyone who cares about children's literature . . . This reference work opens a world beyond individual reading preferences." — Oakland Press

Some of our 100 BEST BOOKS according to Anita Silvey

Preschool (Birth to Age 2)
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Mr. Gumpy's Outing by John Burningham
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Freight Train by Donald Crews
The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss

Picture Books (Ages 2 to 8)
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Doctor De Soto by William Steig
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Tuesday by David Wiesner

Books for Young Readers (Ages 7 to 9)
Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner
Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Books for Middle Readers (Ages 8 to 11)
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Holes by Louis Sachar
Charlotte's Web by E. B. White

Fantasy Books (Ages 8 to 12)
The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper
The BFG by Roald Dahl
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Multicultural Books (Various ages)
Morning Girl by Michael Dorris
John Henry by Julius Lester
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord
Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor

Information Books (Various ages)
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman
The Way Things Work by David Macaulay
Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
The Great Fire by Jim Murphy

Books for Older Readers (Ages 11 to 12)
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
The Giver by Lois Lowry

(Lists are available to media to reprint)

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