The author of 100 Best Books for Children and 500 Great Books for Teens Anita Silvey has devoted 40 years to promoting books that will turn the young—and families—into readers. To do this she has appeared frequently on NPR, The Today Show, 60 Minutes, and radio programs in the United States and Canada to talk about books for children and teenagers. As Publisher's Weekly has said "It would be hard to find a more authoritative voice than Anita Silvey."
As publisher of children’s books for Houghton Mifflin Company from 1995-2001, she oversaw all the children’s book and young adult publishing for both the Houghton and Clarion lists, including such well-known authors and illustrators as H. A. and Margret Rey, Virginia Lee Burton, David Macaulay, Lois Lowry, Allen Say, David Wiesner, Karen Cushman, Linda Sue Park, and Chris Van Allsburg.
In a unique career in the children’s book field, Ms. Silvey has divided her time equally between publishing and evaluating children’s books. But her lifelong conviction that “only the very best of anything can be good enough for the young” forms the cornerstone of all of her work. Prior to her role as publisher, Ms. Silvey served for eleven years as Editor-in-Chief of The Horn Book Magazine, a publication many call “the Bible of children’s literature.” As Editor of Horn Book, she read several thousand books a year, hunting for those of exceptional quality that children return to again and again.
Ms. Silvey is the editor of Children’s Books and Their Creators, an overview of 20th Century children’s books. As she says in this volume, “Life is a banquet and most of us starve,” when it comes to knowledge about books for young readers. Sharing her passion and enthusiasm, she gives guidance and background for those trying to find the best books to give to the young. Little Brown published her selection of short stories for young adults, Help Wanted. Houghton Mifflin published The Essential Guide to Children’s Books and Their Creators in 2002, 100 Best Books for Children in 2004, 500 Great Books for Teens in 2006, and The Children's-Book-a-Day Almanic in 2012. In 2008 Clarion Books published her first book written for children, I'll Pass for Your Comrade: Women Soldiers in the Civil War. Henry Knox: Bookseller, Soldier, Patriot followed in 2010 and The Plant Hunters was published in 2012. Most recently, Anita has published Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall and Let Your Voice Be Heard: the Life and Times of Pete Seeger.
Ms. Silvey served on the board of the United States section of the International Board on the Books for Young People. She chaired the 1989 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award Committee and the New England Round Table of Children’s Librarians. Ms. Silvey co-founded a literary publication, The Boston Review. She served as President of the Children’s Book Council.
Currently a member of the Editorial Board of Cricket Magazine, she teaches “Modern Book Publishing” at the Simmons College Graduate School of Library Science in Boston and "Children’s Book Author Studies" at St. Michael’s College in Burlington, Vermont. She lectures throughout the United States on children's books and reading.
Ms. Silvey has been given numerous awards, including The Women’s National Book Association Book Women Award in 1987. In October 1994, for a bicentennial celebration, she received an award from the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana, as one of the thirty-eight famous sons and daughters of the city. In July of 2000 she was awarded an honorary Master in Fine Arts in Children's Book Writing by Vermont College in Montpelier, Vermont. She is also a member of two honorary organizations, the Society of Printers and the American Antiquarian Society. In January of 2008 she recieved the Ludington Award of the Educational Paperback Association for her lifetime of dedication to children and books. In 2009 The Association of Educational Publishers gave their Distinguished Achievement Award to Ms. Silvey's SLJ article, "Has the Newbery Lost Its Way?"