Anita Silvey
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The Essential Guide to
Children's Books and Their Creators

Upon publication, Children’s Books and Their Creators, Anita Silvey’s comprehensive survey of contemporary children’s literature, was called “an invaluable reference ... [and] a wonderful resource” (Christian Science Monitor) and 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 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.


Aficionados of children’s literature get an education with The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators, edited 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.

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.

500 Great Books for Teens

Houghton Mifflin, 2002
ISBN 978-0-6181-9083-6
ISBN 978-0-6181-9082-9

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