Archives for category: Children’s books

Photo of Fireflies in Jar-Lightning Bug Pictures
by Lilian Moore

If you catch a firefly
and keep it in a jar
You may find that
you have lost
A tiny star.

If you let it go then,
back into the night,
You may see it
once again
Star bright.

SOURCE:  “If You Catch a Firefly” appears in Lilian Moore’s collection I Feel the Same Way (New York: Atheneum, 1967), available at

PHOTO: “Fireflies or lightning bugs (Photinus pyralis) light up a jar on a June evening in North Carolina as a meteor streaks across the Milky Way” by Kevin Adams, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Visit the photographer at

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lilian Moore (1909-2004) was an editor, educator, and poet who played a significant role in children’s literature during the mid-to late twentieth century. As the first editor of the newly established Scholastic’s Arrow Book Club from 1957 to 1967, Moore pioneered the program that made quality paperback books accessible and affordable for elementary school children throughout the United States. She also contributed many stories and poetry collections to the body of available children’s literature, and has been honored for her poetry as well as for several of her storybooks.

Feather Floating on the Water: Poems for Our Children was funded through an Indiegogo campaign that described the book as “a unique and culturally diverse anthology of poetry for elementary-age children by San Francisco’s finest poets. The book offers children the opportunity to know the work of poets living among them — empowering young people to understand that poetry is a vibrant art form, and one vital to our humanity.”

A labor of love, the poetry contributions, editing, design, and other aspects of the project were donated. The book features the work of over 50 poets, including the first San Francisco Poet Laureate Lawrence Ferlinghetti, current Poet Laureate Alejandro Murguia, and celebrated poet A.D. Winans, whose poem “Rain” appears in the collection. The 225-page Feather Floating on the Water: Poems for Our Chidren was donated to every elementary and middle school in San Francisco, as well as to all public library branches.

Culturally diverse and multilingual (the collection includes poems in Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, and Farsi — with English translations), the book is also illustrated throughout with black and white drawings by a range of fine artists. The universal appeal of this collection brings poetry into focus as humanity’s most heartfelt, insightful, and impactful mode of expression and inspiration.

Find Feather Floating on the Water: Poems for Our Children at The book received a 2014 Acker Award for excellence in children’s literature.


ABOUT THE EDITOR: Virginia Barrett is an influential poet, editor, and arts organizer, a graduate of the University of Virginia, where she was a student of Pulitzer and Bollingen Prize-winning poet Charles Wright, a Masters graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, and a professional teaching-artist for over 25 years. She has written many books of poetry, including I Just Wear My Wings, served as coeditor of the acclaimed anthology Occupy SF, and is author of the travel memoir Mbira Maker Blues.


Silver Birch Press, under the umbrella of its new children’s book imprint Silver Starlight Books, is pleased to announce the May 2014 release of Honey Bear by Dixie Willson with full-color illustrations by Maginel Wright Barney, a reissue of the 1923 classic. This is the book that made Tom Wolfe decide to become a writer! This is the book that Joan Didion read to her daughter Quintana Roo Dunne.

“My mother used to read it to me at bedtime long before I knew one letter of the alphabet from another . . . Honey Bear’s main attraction was Dixie Willson’s rollicking, rolling rhythm . . . the Willson beat made me think writing must be not only magical but fun . . . I resolved then and there, lying illiterate on a little pillow in a tiny bed, to be a writer. In homage to Dixie Willson, I’ve slipped a phrase or two from Honey Bear into every book I’ve written.” TOM WOLFE , author of The Right Stuff


Long out of print, used copies of the 1923 edition of the book are selling high prices on ebay and Amazon – some at over $100, even for a badly worn copy. For the first time in decades, Honey Bear by Dixie Willson is available at a reasonable price. If you want to help foster a love of language in the young children in your life, Honey Bear is the answer!


Dixie Willson (1890-1974) was a poet, screenwriter, and author children’s books, novels, and short stories. She liked to gain first-hand experience when researching her stories, and performed as an elephant rider in the Ringling Bros. Circus and a chorus girl in the Ziegfeld Folliies, attended TWA Stewardess School, and worked as a taste tester at Betty Crocker. A prolific author, she wrote over 300 magazine stories, books, and screenplays, four of which were made into films.

Maginel Wright Barney (1881–1966) was a children’s book illustrator and graphic artist, younger sister of Frank Lloyd Wright. She illustrated 63 children’s books, sometimes working alone and sometimes with other artists. Her first job as book illustrator was on The Twinkle Tales, a set of six booklets for young children published by Reilly & Britton in 1906, and written by L. Frank Baum under the pseudonym Laura Bancroft. The books were successful, selling 40,000 copies the first year. Wright Barney also illustrated Baum’s Policeman Bluejay (1907), Johanna Spyri‘s Heidi (1921), and Mary Mapes Dodge‘s Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates (1918).

Depending on where you like to shop, Honey Bear by Dixie Willson is available at or

by Maurice Sendak

In April
I will go away
to far-off Spain
or old Bombay
and dream about
hot soup all day.
Oh my oh once
oh my oh twice
oh my oh
chicken soup
with rice.

SOURCE: “April” appears in Maurice Sendak’s book Chicken Soup with Rice (HarperCollins, 1991), available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak (1928-2012) is the author of  Where the Wild Things Are (1963), In the Night Kitchen (1970), and many other books for children. He received the 1964 Caldecott Medal for Where the Wild Things Are, the 1970 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration, the 1983 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and a 1996 National Medal of Arts for his contribution to the arts in America. In 2003, he received the first Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, an international prize for children’s literature established by the Swedish government.


In the U.S., the month of March is filled with talk of madness – March Madness, the NCAA basketball tournaments. Background on how “March Madness” got its name is in an article at After reading this explanation, I must say, “Hmmm,” and ask, “Did the journalist leave out something — or someone?” My theory is that the inspiration for “March Madness” came from the mad March Hare in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

According to Wikipedia, “Mad as a March hare” is a common British expression based on popular belief about the behavior of male hares during breeding season when they run around acting crazy – boxing with other hares, jumping straight up in the air, racing around in circles, and other wild, excitable behavior. (In Great Britain, breeding season for hares lasts from February to September).

In Carroll’s book — originally published in 1865 — the March Hare behaves as though it’s always teatime because his friend, the equally Mad Hatter, “murdered the time” while singing for the Queen of Hearts. (During the 1800s, “mad as a hatter” was a common British expression – referring to the disorientation hat makers experienced from the mercury used in their trade.)

 Now, let’s revel in a few passages from one of the greatest works in all of literature – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.


“Have some wine,” the March Hare said in an encouraging tone.

Alice looked all round the table, but there was nothing on it but tea. “I don’t see any wine,” she remarked.

“There isn’t any,” said the March Hare.

“The it wasn’t very civil of you to offer it,” said Alice angrily.

“It wasn’t very civil of you to sit down without being invited,” said the March Hare…

The Hatter opened his eyes very wide…”Why is a raven like a writing desk?”

“…I believe I can guess that,” Alice added.

“Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?” said the March Hare.

“Exactly so,” said Alice.

“Then you should say what you mean,” the March Hare went on.

“I do,” Alice hastily replied, “at least – at least I mean what I say – that’s the same thing, you know.”

“Not the same thing a bit!” said the Hatter.

“Why, you might just as well say that ‘I see what I eat’ is the same thing as ‘I eat what I see’!”

“You might just as well say,” added the March Hare, “that ‘I like what I get’ is the same thing as ‘I get what I like’!”

ILLUSTRATIONS: John Tenniel (1820-1914)

by A.A. Milne

No one can tell me,
Nobody knows,
Where the wind comes from,
Where the wind goes.

It’s flying from somewhere
As fast as it can,
I couldn’t keep up with it,
Not if I ran.

But if I stopped holding
The string of my kite,
It would blow with the wind
For a day and a night.

And then when I found it,
Wherever it blew,
I should know that the wind
Had been going there too.

So then I could tell them
Where the wind goes…
But where the wind comes from
Nobody knows.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alan Alexander Milne (1882–1956) was an English author, best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh and for his children’s poems. (Read more at

ILLUSTRATION: “Girl with Kite” by Nancy Crandall (mixed media: acrylic on 16×20 Canvas; kite created from paper cut into triangles, yarn as string and cut bows glued to string), ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Inspired by street artist Banksy and his artwork of a girl with a balloon.

by Dr. Seuss

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come,
or a plane to go or the mail to come,
or the rain to go or the phone to ring,
or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.

Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night

or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.

Everyone is just waiting.

SOURCE: Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss

by Shel Silverstein

Birds are flyin’ south for winter.
Here’s the Weird-Bird headin’ north,
Wings a-flappin’, beak a-chatterin’,
Cold head bobbin’ back ‘n’ forth.
He says, “It’s not that I like ice
Or freezin’ winds and snowy ground.
It’s just sometimes it’s kind of nice
To be the only bird in town.”
“Weird-Bird” appears in Shel Silverstein‘s collection Falling Up.


“…in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original…” C.S. LEWIS

Narnia fans might enjoy spending 2014 with A Year with Aslan: Daily Reflections on the Chronicles of Narnia.  The book offers 365 of the most thought-provoking passages from all seven Narnia books, paired with questions that promote reflection on particular topics.

The 480-page A Year with Aslan is available at

by Shel Silverstein (1930-1999)

Joe yelled, “Happy New Year.”

The cow yelled, “Happy Moo Year.”

The ghost yelled, “Happy Boo Year.”

The doctor yelled, “Happy Flu Year.”

The penguin sneezed, “Happy Ah-choo Year.”

The skunk yelled, “Happy Pee-yoo Year.”

The owl hooted, “Happy Too-woo Year.”

The cowboy yelled, “Happy Yahoo Year.”

The trainman yelled, “Happy Choo-choo year.”

The clock man yelled, “Happy Cuckoo Year.”

The barefoot man yelled, “Happy Shoe Year.”

The hungry man said, “Happy Chew Year.”

There were more “Happy Ooo-Years”

Than you ever heard

At our New Year’s party…

Last June twenty-third.
“Happy New” appears in Shel Silverstein‘s posthumous collection Everything on It (HarperCollins, 2011), available at