Books for Children
Books for Children has been published by the Children's
Literature Center in the Library of Congress since 1964 for
parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and those interested
in the best of this country's current children's literature.
HOW SELECTIONS ARE MADE
The editor and an advisory committee of children's book specialists
meet on an average of once a month during the year to examine
newly published titles-well over five thousand hardcover and
paperbound books in 1993-to choose about a hundred titles
they consider to be the most noteworthy.
Selection criteria have remained constant over the years.
Quality of plot, theme, style, pace, characterization, and
setting is essential for any story to be satisfying. In addition,
for the picture-story book, the art-its harmony with the text-is
vital. For nonfiction books, accuracy, organization, timeliness,
and clarity of presentation as well as quality of writing
and illustration need to be evaluated.
WHAT IS SELECTED AND FOR WHOM
The selected books run the gamut from rhymes, concepts, and
picture-stories to adventure, fantasy, natural history, biography,
and science. Books are chosen for readers from the
toddler stage to the teenage years. Some are to be read aloud;
some are for instruction; some are for fun; some are to be
borrowed from a school or public library or bought as gifts.
All were chosen with the intent of stimulating the imaginations
of children and adults alike.
up to 4
A poem by Sara Teasdale. Pictures by Dale Gottlieb. New York:
Holt. 1993. unp. $14.95 ISBN 0-8050-2695-9
Brightly colored, childlike pictures enhance the appeal of
this simple little poem celebrating the birth of Jesus.
(By) Patricia Mullins. (New York): Perlman/HarperCollins (1993)
unp. $15.00 ISBN 0-06-021069-9
For the youngest, a guide to dinosaurs using fold-out flaps
to compare various prehistoric beasts with animals of today
while supplying brief facts and a glossary.
JOHN BURNINGHAM'S ABC
(By John Burningham) New York: Crown/Random (1993) unp. $13.00
An uncluttered fresh-looking alphabet book, with letters,
capital and small, representing a wide range of images, from
fruits to birds, to people, animals, and flowers.
Retold & illustrated by Lucy Cousins. Cambridge, Mass.:
unp. $14.95 Candlewick Press ISBN 1-56402-213-7
A simple retelling of a favorite Bible story for the youngest
features the artist's bright, cheerful pictures, naive in
THREE BILLY GOATS GRUFF
Retold & illustrated by Glen Rounds. New York: Holiday
unp. $14.95 ISBN 0-8234-1015-3
Droll, unpretentious pictures and spare text make this work
a welcome addition to collections of illustrated nursery favorites.
5 to 7
EVERYTHING HAS A PLACE
By Patricia Lillie. Pictures by Nancy Tafuri. New York:
Greenwillow/Morrow (1993) unp. $14.00 ISBN 0-688-10082-1
Reminiscent of Jessie Willcox Smith's work, these clear, uncluttered
pictures show various creatures in their natural habitats-the
cow in the barn, the bird in the nest, the human
baby in a mother's lap.
GO AWAY, BIG GREEN MONSTER
By Ed Emberley. Boston: Little, Brown (1993) unp. $12.95 ISBN
Scraggly purple hair, long blue nose, and little squiggly
ears, and a monster is fashioned feature by feature with each
turn of the die-cut pages, then quickly banished by its creator,
not to return "until I say so."
IN THE SMALL, SMALL POND
(By) Denise Fleming. New York: Holt (1993) unp. $15.95 ISBN
The busy life in frog's pond as the seasons change is chronicled
in exuberant rhyme and vibrant collage.
ADVENTURES OF SNAIL AT SCHOOL
Story & pictures by John Stadler (New York): HarperCollins
unp. (An I can read book) $14.00 ISBN 0-06-021041-9
Three funny stories about Snail who manages to find a highly
improbable adventure each time his teacher sends him on an
BY THE LIGHT OF THE HALLOWEEN MOON
(By) Caroline Stutson. (Illustrations by) Kevin Hawkes. New
Lothrop/Morrow, 1993 unp. $15.00 ISBN 0-688-12045-8
A cumulative tale, in which a cat in pursuit of a mysterious
tapping toe triggers a procession of wonderfully imagined
THE COW WHO WOULDN'T COME DOWN
Story & pictures by Paul Brett Johnson. New York: Orchard/Watts
(1993) unp. $14.95 ISBN 0-531-05481-0
How Miss Rosemary outwits a stubborn cow who takes to flying
is told in lively text and pictures.
COYOTE STEALS THE BLANKET: AN UTE TALE
Retold & illustrated by Janet Stevens. New York: Holiday
unp. $15.95 ISBN 0-823-409961
Vigorous pictures and rhyming text show trickster Coyote,
for once, getting his just desserts.
DARCY AND GRAN DON'T LIKE BABIES
By Jane Cutler. Illustrated by Susannah Ryan. New York:
Scholastic, 1991. unp. $14.95 ISBN-0-590-445871
A nice twist on the sibling rivalry story, with beguiling
pictures and a satisfactory ending.
GRANDADDY AND JANETTA
(By) Helen V. Griffith. Illustrated by James Stevenson. New
Greenwillow/Morrow (1993) unp. $14.00 ISBN 0-688-11226-9
For grandfathers everywhere, this engaging companion to Grandaddy's
Place (1987) reveals new delights that Janetta and her Grandaddy
share-fanciful stories, night noises, and a new
litter of kittens.
Written & illustrated by Allen Say. Boston: Houghton (1993)
$16.95 ISBN 0-395-57035-2
Elegant paintings and spare text capture the bittersweet emotions
of an immigrant grandfather and his grandson whose hearts
are divided between two dramatically different countries,
Japan and America.
THE FIRE CHILDREN: A WEST AFRICAN CREATION TALE
Retold by Eric Maddern. Pictures by Frane Lessac. New York:
Dial/Penguin (1993) unp. $14.50 ISBN 0-8037-1477-7
Brilliantly colored, primitive paintings complement this West
African myth about the creation of the world's different peoples.
Fine for story hour and reading aloud.
FOX ON STAGE
(By) James Marshall. New York: Dial/Penguin. 1993. 48p. (Dial
easy-to-read) $10.89 ISBN 0-8037-1357-6
Young readers will savor the comic adventures of Fox and his
friends, told tongue-in-cheek in text and pictures.
GARTH PIG STEALS THE SHOW
By Mary Rayner. New York: Dutton/Penguin (1993) unp. $13.99
Another thoroughly satisfying story about the Pig Family in
which the ubiquitous Mrs. Wolf, still in pursuit of Garth
Pig, disguises herself as a sousaphone player, only to be
outwitted by the intrepid William Pig. Beguiling pictures.
HOW YOU WERE BORN
(By) Joanna Cole. Photographs by Margaret Miller. New York:
Morrow (1993) 48p. $15.00 ISBN 0-688-12059-8
A revision of a 1984 stanby, with fresh, engaging color photographs.
I LIKE MONKEYS BECAUSE....
(By) Peter Hansard. Illustrated by Patricia Casey. Cambridge,
Mass.: Candlewick Press (1993) unp. (Read and wonder) $14.95
An appealing volume, one of six Read and Wonder books, introduces
young children to the various species of monkeys found around
the world. The series includes Think of a Beaver (Karen Wallace;
illustrated by Mick Manning); Think of an Eel (Karen Wallace;
illustrated by Mike Bostock); and What is a Wall, after All?
(Judy Allen; illustrated by Alan Baron), all published in
IF ANYTHING EVER GOES WRONG AT THE ZOO
(By) Mary Jean Hendrick. Illustrated by Jane Dyer. San Diego:
Harcourt (1993) unp. $13.95 ISBN 0-15-238007-8
A fanciful tale, perfect for reading aloud, about a spirited
young animal lover whose wish to have the animals at the zoo
come to her house comes true.
MATTIE'S LITTLE POSSUM PET
By Ida Luttrell. Illustrated by Betsy Lewin. (New York: Atheneum,
1993) unp. $14.95 ISBN 0-689-31786-7
Take a sentimental human, a dog and a cat, add a possum, and
you have a rollicking tale of misplaced kindness. Bouncy pictures.
NANA'S BIRTHDAY PARTY
(By) Amy Hest. Pictures by Amy Schwartz. New York: Morrow
unp. $15.00 ISBN 0-688-07497-9
Two young cousins, Maggie and Brette, pool their talents to
make their grandmother the best birthday present ever.
RAVEN: A TRICKSTER TALE FROM THE NORTHWEST
Told & illustrated by Gerald McDermott. San Diego: Harcourt
(1993) unp. $14.95 ISBN 0-15-265661-8
Geometric pictures in vibrant colors enhance this retelling
of a Northwestern trickster tale in which Raven manages to
steal the sun for his people.
THE REAL MCCOY: THE LIFE OF AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN INVENTOR
By Wendy Towle. Paintings by Will Clay. New York: Scholastic
(1993) unp. $14.95 ISBN 0-590-43596-5
A well-illustrated, straightforward biography of the Canadian-
born African-American, son of runaway slaves, who invents
the first successful automatic oil cup for locomotives.
THE OUTSIDE DOG
Story by Charlotte Pomerantz. Pictures by Jennifer Plecas.
York): HarperCollins (1993) 62p. (An I can read book) $13.95
A childlike story, flavored with Spanish words, concerns a
little Puerto Rican girl and the stray dog she wants her grandfather
(By) Kevin Henkes. New York: Greenwillow/Morrow (1993) unp.
il. $13.95 ISBN 0-688-11449-0
In this beguilingly pictured, satisfying story with a cast
of mice, Owen's mother finds an ingenious way to separate
him from Fuzzy, his treasured yellow blanket, before school
SEVEN CANDLES FOR KWANZAA
(By) Andrea Davis Pinkney. Pictures by Brian Pinkney. New
Dial/Penguin (1993) unp. $14.99 ISBN 0-8037-1292-8
Handsome woodcuts and succinct text take a family through
the seven days of Kwanzaa, from December 26 through January
2, as they celebrate their African-American heritage, the
family, and the harvest.
TEN SLY PIRANHAS: A COUNTING STORY IN REVERSE (A TALE OF
WICKEDNESS AND WORSE!)
(By) William Wise. Pictures by Victoria Chess. New York:
Dial/Penguin (1993) unp. $13.50 ISBN 0-8037-1200-6
A tongue-in-cheek counting rhyme featuring ten of nature's
most ravenous creatures who are done in by their nature.
THREE LITTLE WOLVES AND THE BIG BAD PIG
(By) Eugene Trivizas. Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. New York:
McElderry/Macmillan (1993) unp. $15.95 ISBN 0-689-50569-8
Sly pictures give a nice fillip to this twist on the familiar
nursery tale that casts the pig as the sinister villain.
WHERE ARE YOU GOING, MANYONI?
(By) Catherine Stock. New York: Morrow (1993) unp. $15.00
Wonderfully detailed paintings take the reader with Manyoni
through a peaceful Zimbawe countryside on her way to school.
The appended list of unfamiliar words and picture glossary
of animals add to the pleasure of the book.
By Chris Raschka. New York: Orchard/Watts (1993) unp. (A Richard
Jackson book) $14.95 ISBN 0-531-05469-1
Cartoonlike drawings and minimal text depict with humor the
beginnings of a friendship between two hip youngsters. Fun
for the older reader.
THE CUCKOO CHILD
(By) Dick King-Smith. Illustrated by Leslie W. Bowman. New
Hyperion (1993) 127p. $13.95 ISBN 1-56282-350-7
With the unwitting help of his two pet geese, Jack manages
to raise an ostrich from the egg, with astonishing results.
DINAH IN LOVE
(By) Claudia Mills. New York: Macmillan (1993) 143p. $13.95
Here Dinah, as impetuous as ever, throws herself into sixth-grade
life-the class debate, the class play, a sock hop, and a feud
with a boy.
DINOSAURS ALL AROUND: AN ARTIST'S VIEW OF THE PREHISTORIC
By Caroline Arnold. Photographs by Richard Hewett. New York:
Clarion/Houghton (1993) 48p. $14.95 ISBN 0-395-62363-4
Numerous photographs and an informative, well-organized text
present the work of paleoartists who construct life-size models
of dinosaurs for museums and exhibits.
8 to 10
Written & illustrated by Daniel Pinkwater. New York: Macmillan
(1993) unp. $13.95 ISBN 0-02-774642-9
A hilarious account of the horrors experienced by a celebrated
writer during a visit to an elementary school.
(By) Susan Cooper. New York. McElderry/Macmillan (1993) 196p.
$14.95 ISBN 0-689-50576-0
Catastrophe dogs Emily's heels when the ancient, mischievous
Gaelic spirit she has inadvertently transported to Toronto
in her suitcase encounters the wonders of modern technology.
Retold by Geraldine McCaughrean. Illustrated by Emma Chichester
Clark. New York: McElderry/Macmillan (1993) 96p. $18.95
An attractively illustrated edition of sixteen familiar Greek
myths, freely retold.
THE HAPPY HOCKY FAMILY
(By) Lane Smith. (New York): Viking/Penguin (1993) 60p. $13.99
A glorious spoof of the classic "Dick and Jane"
reader, complete with stilted language and two-dimensional
HARRIET AND THE PROMISED LAND
(By) Jacob Lawrence. New York: Simon & Schuster (1993)
$15.00 ISBN 0-671-86673-7
The new, enlarged format for this reissue of a 1968 title
lends an extra dimension to the full-color paintings and verse
that tell the story of Harriet Tubman for young readers.
(By) Dick King-Smith. Illustrated by Jan Naimo Jones. New
Delacorte Press (1993,c1992) 131p. $14.00 ISBN 0-385-30891-4
A soccer playing nine-year-old boy finds, to the consternation
of his family, that his greatest treasure is an antique doll
who, unbeknownst to them, is able to communicate with him.
LYDIA, QUEEN OF PALESTINE
(By) Uri Orlev. Translated from the Hebrew by Hillel Halkin.
Boston: Houghton, 1993. 170p. $13.95 ISBN 0-395-65660-5
An engaging narrative about Lydia, a young Romanian Jewish
girl and self-proclaimed Queen of Palestine, who remains her
indomitable, ferociously imaginative self despite the hardships
of World War II, her parents' divorce, and the structured
life of a kibbutz.
THE MAN IN THE CEILING
Written and illustrated by Jules Feiffer. (New York:
HarperCollins, 1993) 185p. (Michael di Capua books) $14.89
Witty and sophisticated, this story focuses on Jimmy, a young
cartoonist, and his struggles to win acceptance in a world
that ridicules his talents.
MUMMIES & THEIR MYSTERIES
(By) Charlotte Wilcox. Winneapolis: Carolrhoda Books (1993)
$22.95 ISBN 0-87614-767-8
A well-organized, profusely illustrated examination of burial
customs, concentrating on mummies and the cultures which produced
OF SWORDS AND SORCERERS: THE ADVENTURES OF KING ARTHUR AND
By Margaret Hodges & Margery Evernden. Woodcuts by David
Frampton. New York: Scribner (1993) 96p. $14.95
Nine well-told stories from the Arthurian cycle, including
the coming of Merlin to Wales, the sword in the stone, and
the passing of Arthur.
MATTHEW AND THE SEA SINGER
(By) Jill Paton Walsh. Illustrated by Alan Marks. New York:
Farrar (1993) 46p. $13.00 ISBN 0-374-434869-3
This gem of a fairy tale for young readers tells of staunch
young Birdy who cleverly manages to save Matthew, the boy
she purchased for a shilling, from the seal people who kidnap
him because of his golden voice.
Stories by Carl Sandburg. Pictures by Paul O. Zelinsky. Collected
and with a Forward by George Hendrick. New York: Knopf (1993)
94p. $18.00 ISBN 0-679-80070-0
A selection of heretofore unpublished Rootabaga stories, for
reading aloud. Illustrated with fanciful pictures.
Photographs and text by George Ancona. San Diego: Harcourt
unp. $16.95 ISBN 0-15-263268-9
A "kaleidoscope of feathers, beadwork, fringe and facepaint"
characterizes this full-color photographic essay of the biggest
annual powwow in the United States.
(By) Vera B. Williams. New York: Greenwillow/Morrow (1993)
il., part col. $15.00 ISBN 0-688-09376-0
Spunky, engaging Elana Rosen illustrates a notebook to record
the friendships, drama, and pleasures of New York urban life
as she explores her new neighborhood by scooter.
WE'RE ALL IN THE DUMPS WITH JACK AND GUY
By Maurice Sendak. (New York: HarperCollins, 1993) unp. (Michael
di Capua books) $20.00 ISBN 0-06-205014-1
Powerful illustrations link two little-known nursery rhymes
to tell the story of homelessness and abandoned children.
11 and up
ANN FRANK: BEYOND THE DIARY: A PHOTOGRAPHIC REMEMBRANCE
By Ruud van der Rol and Rian Verhoeven. In association with
the Anne Frank House. Translated by Tony Langham and Plym
Peters. With an introduction by Anna Quindlen. (New York):
Viking/Penguin (1993) 113p. $17.00 ISBN 0-670-84932-4 Captioned
photographs from the Frank family album and succinct commentary
make a gripping addition to what is known about the girl who
kept a diary and died in the Bergen Belsen death camp.
(By) Maurice Gee. New York: Simon & Schuster Books (1993.
212p. $14.00 ISBN 0-671-86561-7
Set in New Zealand during World War II, this tightly constructed,
thought-provoking novel tells what befalls a young, black
American soldier who is sent to an all-white small town to
regain his strength.
CHAMPIONS: STORIES OF TEN REMARKABLE ATHLETES
By Bill Littlefield. Paintings by Bernie Fuchs. With a forward
Frank Deford. Boston: Little, Brown (1993) 132p. $21.95
An inspiring book about ten men and women who excelled in
their chosen sport after overcoming such obstacles as severe
poverty, disability, and prejudice.
BEHIND THE SECRET WINDOW: A MEMOIR OF A HIDDEN CHILDHOOD
WORLD WAR II
By Nelly S. Toll. New York: Dial Penguin (1993) 161p. $17.00
A Jewish child's experiences in Nazi-occupied Poland are vividly
recreated in this memoir, and illustrated with the vibrant
pictures she painted while in hiding.
BLACK SHIPS BEFORE TROY: THE STORY OF THE ILIAD
(By) Rosemary Sutcliff. Illustrated by Alan Lee. (New York):
Delacorte (1993) 128p. $19.95 ISBN 0-385-31069-2
An elegant and simple retelling of the siege of Troy and its
(By) Paul Fleishman. Woodcuts by David Frampton. (New York):
Geringer/HarperCollins (1993) 104p. $13.95 ISBN 0-06-021446-5
These compelling vignettes that lead sixteen fictional characters
to their destiny at the Battle of Bull Run give an unusual
perspective on the Civil War.
ELEANOR ROOSEVELT: A LIFE OF DISCOVERY
(By) Russell Freedman. New York: Clarion/Houghton (1993) 198p.
$17.95 ISBN 0-89919-862-7
Striking photographs and perceptive text tell the story of
a remarkable woman, undaunted by an anguished childhood, who
became a successful, albeit controversial First Lady.
FREAK THE MIGHTY
By Rodman Philbrick. New York: Blue Sky/Scholastic (1993)
$13.95 ISBN 0-590-47412-X
In this compelling novel, eighth-graders Max and Kevin join
forces to overcome their considerable physical and emotional
problems, and almost beat the odds.
(By) Lois Lowry. Boston: Houghton, 1993. 180p. $13.45
Twelve-year-old Jonas, who is chosen to bear the burden of
his society's memories, must decide whether to accept his
destiny or take flight. A thought-provoking, Orwellian novel.
By Suzanne Fisher Staples. New York: Knopf (1993) 259p. $18.00
Sequel to Shabanu, this powerful novel chronicles the determined
struggle of Shabanu to survive and protect her small daughter
after the death of her husband puts her, the youngest wife,
at the mercy of his other wives.
(By) Virginia Euwer Wolff. New York: Holt (1993) 200p. $15.95
The lives of two teenagers-one a high school drop-out and
single mother with two young children, the other, a fourteen-year-old
girl trying to earn money for college by babysitting-connect
at a crucial point, with bittersweet results.
TONING THE SWEEP
(By) Angela Johnson. New York: Orchard/Watts (1993) 103p.
Richard Jackson book) $13.95 ISBN 0-531-05476-4
Set in the New Mexican desert, this powerful, tender novel
concerns the complex relationship between three generations
of African-American women who are brought together by the
grandmother's terminal illness.
(By) Josepha Sherman. New York: Walker (1993) 121p. $14.95
To rescue the girl he loves from her implacable father, young
Count Thierry finds himself engaged in a desperate, bitter
contest with the proud Lord of Faerie.
MALCOLM X: BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY
By Walter Dean Myers. New York: Scholastic (1993) 210p. $13.95
A gripping picture of a controversial figure who, despite
great odds, was able to turn his life around and use his considerable
intelligence in the struggle for justice.
(By) Virginia Hamilton. New York: Blue Sky/Scholastic (1993)
194p. $13.95 ISBN 0-590-47364-6
A "mixed" child, twelve-year-old Buhlaire tries
to unearth her past and her family history as she learns that
the long-missing father who she thought was dead, is alive
A SHORT WALK AROUND THE PYRAMIDS & THROUGH THE WORLD
By Phillip M. Isaacson. New York: Knopf (1993) 120p. $20.00
A well-organized introduction to the many forms art takes,
from sculpture, painting, pottery, and photography to furniture
and city shapes.
A. NONNY MOUSE WRITES AGAIN!
Poems selected by Jack Prelusky. Illustrated by Marjorie
Priceman. New York: Knopf (1993) unp. $13.00 ISBN 0-679-83715-9
This delightful mixture of traditional and original verse
is enhanced by the artist's jaunty pictures. A continuation
of Poems of A. Nonny Mouse.
BROWN ANGELS: AN ALBUM OF PICTURES AND VERSE
(By) Walter D. Myers. (New York): HarperCollins (c1993) unp.
$15. ISBN 0-06-022917-9
A nostalgic glimpse of turn-of-the-century African-American
CHRISTMAS GIF': AN ANTHOLOGY OF CHRISTMAS POEMS, SONGS, AND
Written by and about African-Americans. Compiled by Charlemae
Hill Rollins; illustrated by Ashley Bryan. With a new
introduction by Dr. Augusta Baker. New York: Morrow (1993)
$14.00 ISBN 0-688-11667-1
Ashley Bryan's stunning black-and-white linoleum prints enrich
this anthology of African-American Christmas customs, traditions,
poems, stories, and recipes.
FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA: A TREASURY OF AMERICAN FOLKLORE AND
Illustrated by Eleven Caldecott Medal and Four Caldecott Honor
Book Artists. Compiled by Amy L. Cohen. New York: Scholastic
(1993) 399p. $29.95 ISBN 0-590-42868-3
A fascinating compendium of Americana-stories, songs, legends,
and traditions from the various cultures that have shaped
the country from its beginnings.
MOOMINPAPPA AT SEA
(By) Tove Jansson. Translated by Kingsley Hart. New York:
(1993,c1966) 224p. $17.00 ISBN 0-374-35044-2
A tale that tells what befalls the Moomintrolls after they
leave Moominvalley and go to begin their lives afresh in a
lighthouse on an island.
PRAISE FOR THE SINGING: SONGS FOR CHILDREN
Collected by Madelaine Gill & Greg Pliska. Illustrated
Madelaine Gill; arrangements by Greg Pliska. Boston: Little,
Brown (1993) 64p. $18.95 ISBN 0-316-52627-4
An inviting collection of religious Americana, including African-
American spirituals, Shaker and Jewish songs, and traditional
melodies. All are arranged for singing.
LIFT EVERY VOICE AND SING
(By) James Weldon Johnson. Illustrations by Elizabeth Catlett.
Introduction by Jim Haskins. New Yorker: Walker (1993) unp.
$14.95 ISBN 0-8027-8250-7
A celebration of the African-American's long journey from
slavery to liberty, in powerful linocuts and stirring words.
THE STORY OF THE CREATION: WORDS FROM GENESIS
(By) Jane Ray. New York: Dutton/Penguin (1993) unp. $16.00
Evocative, folk art paintings add to the pleasure of the verses
selected from the King James version of the creation of the
world. Available in Spanish (ISBN 0-525-45055-6).