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The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators

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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 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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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 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.

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

  1. 4 out of 5

    DJ Yossarian

    Indispensable to anyone with even a passing interest in the subject. I find myself going back to it again and again. Silvey includes entries on genres as well as individual authors and artists, so you get a potted history of say, fantasy books, with cross references to major contributors to the field. There are also short interviews with selected authors and illustrators.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    i LOVE THIS BOOK. yes i'm yelling, its that good and valuable

  3. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    This book was so much fun to flip through that I stayed up way past my bedtime (and there is no higher praise I can give a book). It’s a volume I’ll keep on my shelves; it led me to over a dozen young adult books I’d never heard of; can’t wait to hunt them down. If you were born before 1990 and you spent your childhood reading, this is a must-have. Four stars because it did not include Francine Pascal.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michael Fitzgerald

    A big disappointment. Since each article in this encyclopedia has its own author, quality varies greatly. An example: The entry for John Christopher claims that before his Tripods series (1967-68, no mention of the later prequel), science fiction for children was "previously the home of hack or uncreative writing" and that because of his books, it "came into its own and was finally taken seriously." (p.88) The entry for Science Fiction, rightly acknowledges Robert Heinlein's junior novels A big disappointment. Since each article in this encyclopedia has its own author, quality varies greatly. An example: The entry for John Christopher claims that before his Tripods series (1967-68, no mention of the later prequel), science fiction for children was "previously the home of hack or uncreative writing" and that because of his books, it "came into its own and was finally taken seriously." (p.88) The entry for Science Fiction, rightly acknowledges Robert Heinlein's junior novels (beginning with Rocket Ship Galileo in 1947) as "some of his finest writing" (p.399) and mentions the earlier The Angry Planet by John Keir Cross (1946) as well as others by Arthur C. Clarke, Lester del Rey, Isaac Asimov from the 1950s. This article says "The book that gave science fiction respectability in the field of children's literature was Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time (1962) and then finally moves on to Christopher. The book has an editor; why did she not notice and adjust instead of leaving this contradiction? There are outright errors: the Arthur Ransome entry says that the children "accidentally cross the English Channel" in We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea (p.376) - which would have landed them in France. In the book, of course, they cross the North Sea, landing in Flushing in the Netherlands! Rather different. Couldn't they find an author for this entry who actually read the book? The entry for "Board Books" claims this is a "relatively new phenomenon in the world of children's trade publishing" and says "the first of a modern generation of cardboard-paged books appeared in 1979" (p.49). No mention is made of earlier cloth or cardboard books going back to 1900 or before. There's a detailed article in Children and Libraries on this: "From Board to Cloth and Back Again: A Preliminary Exploration of Board Books." It bothers me that this is one of many examples in the book where history is being revised by authors who either don't know how to research or (worse) are intent on erasing the past. The author of the "Easy Readers" entry seems not to know how long easy readers are: they are not "often only thirty-two pages long" (p.136), but rather are generally 64 pages. Kind of a big difference. (Yes, some "early" easy readers are indeed 32 and others 48, etc., but 32 is most certainly not the standard.) I also feel the omission of the name of Millicent E Selsam is egregious. I understand that this book is a (somewhat updated) reduction from the editor's 1995 Children's Books and Their Creators, but I still am shocked by the absence of what I consider to be major figures in children's literature. The original book is supposedly focused on the past fifty years (1945-95) and this one is "focusing on contemporary American authors and illustrators" - what this says to me is that the title is a prime example of false advertising. It is odd that Aesop, George MacDonald, Lewis Carroll, E. Nesbit, Edward Lear, Randolph Caldecott, Howard Pyle, Maxfield Parrish, Mark Twain, Marjorie Flack, and Kenneth Grahame (to name just a few well-deserved oldsters) are included while there is no coverage of Ruth Sawyer, Rosemary Sutcliff, Kate Seredy, or Lois Lenski. Sawyer is only mentioned in passing in the entry for her son-in-law, Robert McCloskey. Lenski only gets a mention in the Kurt Weise entry. It reads: "Wiese and colleagues Wanda Gag, Berta and Elmer Hader, and Lois Lenski were some of America's first prominent author-illustrators for children." (p.469) yet only Wiese and Gag have entries here. Instead Nikki Giovanni, Chris Soentpiet, and Christopher Myers make the cut. No offense, but they ain't no Lois Lenski. I'm sure I could come up with a huge list, but I'd rather wait to see who is missing from the original 1995 book. To be sure, there is some good stuff: really top-notch folks like Leonard S. Marcus and Peter D. Sieruta contributed, but some of the entries read like high school essays or worse. We find such introductory sentences as: "Passion is no ordinary word, and Nat Hentoff's books for young adults prove that point." (p.194) or "More than any other author, Jean Craighead George has brought to American children an awareness of the rich diversity of nature and the complex relationship that humans have with it." (p.176) or "Reading a Betsy Byars book is like talking to a good friend: ideas and problems are taken seriously, but laughter is sure to follow." (p.72) - this is an encyclopedia?!?

  5. 4 out of 5

    Traci Barger

    Silvey, A. (Ed.). (2002). The essential guide to children’s books and their creators. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. Citation by: Traci Barger Type of Reference: Bibliography Call Number: 810.9 ISBN: 9780618190829 Brief Description: The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators summarizes children's literature, in a practical guide essential for anyone choosing a book for or working with children. Content/Scope: The purpose of the book is to inform parents, educators and students about the Silvey, A. (Ed.). (2002). The essential guide to children’s books and their creators. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. Citation by: Traci Barger Type of Reference: Bibliography Call Number: 810.9 ISBN: 9780618190829 Brief Description: The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators summarizes children's literature, in a practical guide essential for anyone choosing a book for or working with children. Content/Scope: The purpose of the book is to inform parents, educators and students about the best of children’s literature. The targeted audience is adult parents and educators that work with children. Accuracy/Authority/Bias: The book is published by Houghton Mifflin a reputable publishing company. Arrangement/Presentation: The book is arranged in an alphabetical form to inform readers of the best authors, illustrators, and genre to meet their needs of searching for children’s literature. Relation to similar works: The current reference collection does not include any bibliographies. Accessibility/Diversity: The book is geared towards parents, educators and students that work with children. The titles appeal to a wide and diverse audience of children. Cost: $34.56 Professional Review: Crowder, S. (2003). The essential guide to children’s books and their creators. School Library Journal, 49(3).

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Excellent reference book

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    2002! I am following Anita Silvey every other way, but it would be awesome if this was updated, too.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Carol Crosier

  9. 4 out of 5

    Crystalee

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cathy Francis

  11. 5 out of 5

    Karen

  12. 4 out of 5

    Letly K Afualo

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  14. 4 out of 5

    Danni

  15. 5 out of 5

    Edi

  16. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bob

  18. 5 out of 5

    Janna

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jill Pickle

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

  21. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  22. 4 out of 5

    Katie

  23. 4 out of 5

    Christie Angleton

  24. 5 out of 5

    Klyon

  25. 4 out of 5

    Randell Reno

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carol

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jaco

  29. 5 out of 5

    jose cardozo

  30. 4 out of 5

    Paula

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