The Essential Guide To Children's Books And Their Creators / Edition 1

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Upon publication, Anita Silvey’s comprehensive survey of contemporary children’s literature, Children’s Books and Their Creators, garnered unanimous praise from librarians, educators, and specialists interested in the world of writing for children.
Now The Essential Guide to Children’s Books and Their Creators assembles the best of that volume in one handy, affordable reference, geared specifically to parents, educators, and students. This new volume introduces readers to the wealth of children’s literature by focusing on the essentials — the best books for children, the ones that inform, impress, and, most important, excite young readers. Updated to include newcomers such as J. K. Rowling and Lemony Snicket and to cover the very latest on publishing and educational trends, this edition features more than 475 entries on the best-loved children’s authors and illustrators, numerous essays on social and historical issues, thirty personal glimpses into craft by well-known writers, illustrators, and critics, and invaluable reading lists by category.
The Essential Guide to Children’s Books and Their Creators summarizes the canon of contemporary children’s literature, in a practical guide essential for anyone choosing a book for or working with children.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
This is the completely updated and abridged edition of Children's Books and Their Creators, Anita Silvey's critically acclaimed survey of contemporary children's literature. This single-volume reference provides a thorough overview of significant children's books from Alice in Wonderland to Harry Potter. The book also features entries by author and the comments of illustrators on their work.
From the Publisher

"The Essential Guide is a must for parents who hope to instill a love of literaure in their kids." Bookpage

"Anita Silvey helps parents steer children to the "rarest kind of best" in books..." Pittsburg Post Gazette

"The best entries from [Children's Books and Their Creators] for the accessible and informative The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators." Orlando Sentinel

"Brief but meaty articles on authors, overviews of genres and historical issues, and a smattering of essays by authors on their own writing." Library Journal

Publishers Weekly
Aficionados of children's literature get an education with The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators, ed. by Anita Silvey, an updated version of her Children's Books and Their Creators (1995). With an encyclopedic approach, the volume contains 475 alphabetically ordered entries-375 from the previous edition and 100 new essays-covering authors, illustrators, genres, publishing trends and more. Writers and artists sound off in entries marked "Voices of the Creators"; incidental illustrations appear throughout. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Former longtime Horn Book editor Silvey returns to the subject of notable children's authors with a revision of her 1995 Children's Books and Their Creators. Like its acclaimed predecessor, this guide offers brief but meaty articles on authors, overviews of genres and historical issues, and a smattering of essays by authors on their own writing. A reading list by age and category is an added bonus. Although Silvey previously sought to create a single-volume reference on important authors, here she targets students, parents, and teachers with a slimmer volume of selected entries focusing on contemporary authors. She has thus added 100 new articles to bring the book up to date with figures like J.K. Rowling and Lemony Snicket. But while the original work featured over 800 authors and topics representing classic children's literature, the updated version retains only 375 of the older work's entries. This poses a difficulty for libraries, which will want to acquire this volume for the necessary updates but also retain the prior volume for the 400-plus entries not replicated here. Recommended for most reference collections as a supplement to Silvey's earlier work, although, for those who can afford it, the The Continuum Encyclopedia of Children's Literature offers broader coverage in one volume. Kelli Perkins, Herrick Dist. Lib., Holland, MI Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
From Aesop to Zwerger, this title holds a wealth of information about children's literature in an easily accessible, alphabetized format. To create the work, some material was taken from the earlier collection, Children's Books and Their Creators (Houghton, 1995), and combined with more than 100 new essays on more recent titles. When necessary, information from the previous title has been updated. In her introduction, Silvey states that she considered "historical importance, popularity, current interest in and availability of the books, and the overall contribution of the author or artist." The titles "include captivating stories, compelling characters and imaginative use of language-they appeal to a wide and diverse audience of children." In addition to essays on various genres, themes, and perspectives, "Voices of the Creators" provide personal insights of well-known authors and illustrators. The book also contains a substantial reading list divided into categories, such as nursery rhymes, information books, and Japanese American literature. A solid, handy resource for both public and school libraries.-Suzanne Crowder, Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort, KY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618190829
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/1/2002
  • Edition description: None
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 562
  • Sales rank: 366,865
  • Product dimensions: 6.69 (w) x 9.61 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author

Anita Silvey has spent more than thirty years in the children's book field, including eleven years as editor-in-chief at the Horn Book Magazine. She is the editor of Children’s Books and Their Creators and the author of 100 Best Books for Children and The Book-a-Day Almanac.
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Read an Excerpt


“Only the rarest kind of best in anything is good enough for the young.” —Walter de la Mare

Life is a banquet—and most of us starve. This adage applies particularly to readers of children’s books. Despite the wealth, the complexity, and the beauty of children’s books, so few people have the time, or the resources, to experience the full richness offered. The Essential Guide to Children’s Books and Their Creators brings the banquet to everyone.
For more than thirty years, first as editor of Horn Book Magazine, then as a publisher of children’s books, I have lectured extensively in the United States and Canada about our most important children’s books. Often when seeking basic information, I found myself searching through a dozen reference volumes. Gradually I formed an image of the reference book on children’s literature that I frequently reached for but could not find. Such a book, I believed, would concentrate on the literature created for American children over the past fifty years, treat its subjects broadly, offer thoughtful evaluations, contain a wide range of critical perspectives, and allow children’s book authors and artists to speak for themselves. With these objectives in mind, I conceived Children’s Books and Their Creators, published in 1995.
After using Children’s Books and Their Creators for a few years, I became aware of certain limitations. Because of the size of the volume, I could not adopt it for my college courses. Although extensively covering the history of children’s books, it became more outdated with the passing years. Then Susan Canavan of Houghton Mifflin suggested I revise the book for a paperback volume, and I welcomed the opportunity. The Essential Guide to Children’s Books and Their Creators, alphabetically arranged, contains three types of entries: biographies about the creators; overviews of history, issues, and genres; and “Voices of the Creators,” written by thirty of our finest authors and illustrators.
Focusing primarily on contemporary American authors and illustrators, I selected about 375 entries from the 1995 text for this volume. When necessary, I updated certain entries with new information and titles. These essays represent our classic children’s literature, the canon of children’s books, which continue to be read in the twenty-first century. Although not the only books of merit published, these books motivate children to read. They include captivating stories, compelling characters, and imaginative use of language. They appeal to a wide and diverse audience of children. Because childhood is so brief, we need to expose our children to the best of our literary heritage in their childhood years. That remains the finest—and most poignant— gift we could ever give to the young.
The 1990s proved a particularly exciting time in children’s book creation. Thanks to Harry Potter, children’s books became front-page news, and some talented writers and illustrators demonstrated their best work during this period. To present information and commentary about these new voices, I added one hundred new essays.
Although I believe that at least one thousand people could be considered essential creators of children’s books, I could not offer information about all of them in one volume. In selecting the entries, I considered their historical importance, popularity, current interest in and availability of the books, and the overall contribution of the author or artist; together, the essays provide a thorough and invaluable introduction to children’s books. They also reflect the wide variety of cultural backgrounds represented in the field. Those who seek more information should consult the updated electronic version available through Net Libraries and Children’s Books and Their Creators. Ultimately, I held the quality of artistry as most important for my selections. Because my sympathies lie with those trying to fashion the best children’s books, my professional mantra remains those immortal words of Walter de la Mare: “Only the rarest kind of best in anything is good enough for the young.” Like any sane human being undertaking such a massive project, I immediately recognized my limitations. Then I remembered a statement by children’s book editor Ursula Nordstrom, one of the great geniuses of the twentieth century. When asked for her job qualifications, she tartly replied, “Well, I am a former child, and I haven’t forgotten a thing.” Because I haven’t forgotten either, this volume contains old—and sometimes new— friends, the books of my childhood, my young adult years, and my years of professional work.
Fortunately, I received a great deal of assistance whhile shaping The Essential Guide to Children’s Books and Their Creators. About a hundred contributors, passionate about children’s books, wrote these entries. The entire staff at Houghton Mifflin, especially Susan Canavan, Becky Saikia- Wilson, Susanna Brougham, and Robert Overholtzer, transformed an ungainly manuscript into a book. My agent, Doe Coover, kept me laughing and working until the end. I am particularly indebted to the two consulting editors, Peter Sieruta and Marie Salvadore. Book people extraordinaire, they helped shape the contents and gave me honest opinions about the works published in the 1990s. And in those final hours, when we had to focus the contents more precisely, they were both clear-headed and consoling. My husband, Bill Clark, provided a clipping service unrivaled on the East Coast and showed admirable patience and humor. Fortunately, the book got finished before he ran out of both. For all of his understanding, I am extremely grateful; every book I have created exists because of his support.

Anita Silvey Westwood, Massachusetts

Copyright © 2002 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.

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Table of Contents

Contents Introduction ix Getting Started: A Basic Reading List xi Entries 1 Notes on the Contributors 499 Index 505
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2002

    An indispensable reference

    This is a fabulous resource for anyone interested in children's books. It includes 475 biographical/critical entries on current and classic writers and illustrators as well as essays on topics such as chapter books, poetry, fantasy, and book design. A special "Voices of the Creators" feature presents thirty personal essays from writers such as Katherine Paterson, Kevin Henkes, and Lois Lowry. There's also a useful graded booklist. Highly recommended for parents, writers, readers, and school and public librarians.

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