10 Wonderfully Weird Facts About Children’s Books



Most of us have a favorite story from childhood. Whether you’re currently reading some of these classic authors and books with your own kids or just love a good trip down memory lane, read on to (hopefully) discover something new about some of your favorite children’s books and their authors!


1.    Dr. Seusss’ first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected by over 20 publishers


2.   On average, a copy of Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar is sold somewhere in the world every minute.


3.   The Harry Potter books were the first children’s books on the New York Times Bestseller list since E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web in 1952.


4.   The steps taken by Alice in Alice: Through the Looking Glass make up a playable game of chess (though not necessarily an efficient one).


5.   Margery Williams, author of The Velveteen Rabbit, wrote a horror novel called ‘The Thing in the Woods’ under the pseudonym Harper Williams.


6.   C.S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien once went to a party dressed as polar bears.


7.   The titular character of Clifford the Big Red Dog was almost named Tiny. Author Norman Bridwell changed the name after a suggestion from his wife.


8.   Keep your eyes open to find a white bull terrier in all Chris Van Allsburg’s books, including The Polar Express and Jumanji.


9.   The authors of Curious George were forced to flee Paris during World War II’s German occupation, according to the New York Times. They weren’t able to carry much, but one thing made it into their suitcase: the original Curious George manuscript.


10.   Carolyn Keene, to whom every book featuring Nancy Drew is attributed, is not a real person. Keene is a pseudonym for the many authors who contributed to the mystery series.


Here’s to keeping all of our inner children alive through the magic of children’s literature!


10 Children’s Books for Women’s History Month

Written by Cara Ward



Looking for a way to celebrate Women’s History Month with your little reader? Consider celebrating the many contributions women have made by reading a few stories that highlight women’s accomplishments, breaking stereotypes, and building self-esteem together! Not sure where to start? Check out this list of ten books that feature important women in history and strong, unique female characters.

1. Grace For President by Kelly DiPucchio

chicago-literacy-alliance-women's-history-month-grace-for-president-Ages: 5-9 years
After Grace learns that the United States has never had a female president, she decides to take matters into her own hands and run for class president. In addition to a fun narrative, this book provides an introduction to how elections work, and highlights the opportunities for girls and women to get involved in the American political system. This informative, entertaining read teaches girls the importance of never giving up on their dreams.




2. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

chicago-literacy-alliance-women's-history-month-paper-bag-princessAges: 4-7
This is not your typical damsel in distress princess story! Follow the fiercely independent Princess Elizabeth as she searches for her husband-to-be, Prince Ronald, after he is seen being taken by a dragon. A self-empowered, fearless role model for young girls, this princess shows her readers that they can be the heroes in their own stories.




3. Hidden Figures Young Readers’ Edition by Margot Lee Shetterly

chicago-literacy-alliance-women's-history-month-hidden-figuresAges: 8-12 years
This book—which you probably recognize as a major motion picture—tells the  story of four Black female mathematicians at NASA who helped achieve some of the greatest moments in the space program. This story of women in a STEM field fighting for their dreams will serve as an inspiration for readers of all ages.





4. I’m a Girl! By Yasmeen Ismail

chicago-literacy-alliance-women's-history-month-i'm-a-girlAges: 3-6 years
This picture book is all about being unapologetically, a girl! It’s a great book to read with any young child to teach them that they can be whoever they want and they should be proud of whoever that is.





5. Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World by Kate Pankhurst

chicago-literacy-alliance-women's-history-month-fantastically-great-women-who-changed-the-worldAges: 5-9 years
This book covers all kinds of amazing feats achieved by females throughout time ranging from pilot Amelia Earhart to fashion designer Coco Chanel all the way to writer Jane Austen. Reading this novel with your kids will both be an informative and fun way to talk about all the amazing things women have achieved.





6. Princess Smartypants by Babette Cole

chicago-literacy-alliance-women's-history-month-princess-smarty-pantsAges: 4-8 years
Princess Smartypants isn’t your typical princess. She’d rather live with her pets than a prince, rides a motorcycle, and scares off every suitor that comes her way by giving them impossible tasks to complete. This book tips the princess stereotype on its head and gives young readers an  independent female character (who doesn’t need a man to make her happy) with whom they can relate.



7. Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty

chicago-literacy-alliance-women's-history-month-princess-smarty-pantsAges: 5-7 years
Rosie dreams of being an engineer and spends all her times building gizmos and gadgets. When her great-great-aunt Rose (also known as Rosie the Riveter) comes to town with a dream of building something that will make her fly, Rosie gets to work on a special contraption with her. This story not only inspires girls to follow their dreams but also to never give up if things don’t go right the first time.





8. Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words by Karen Leggett Abouraya

chicago-literacy-alliance-women's-history-month-malala-yousafzai-warrior-with-words-educationAges: 5-8 years
This is the story of an inspiring young Pakistani girl who fought for girls’ right to education. Her  work eventually led her to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. This is an important story for all people to read but this specific edition makes the subject matter accessible  for younger readers. This novel documents an extremely recent and relevant piece of women’s history that will connect kids to the world events going on around them.




9. Seeds of Change : Wangari’s Gift to the World by Jen Cullerton Johnson

chicago-literacy-alliance-women's-history-month-seeds-of-change-wangar's-gift-to-the-worldAges: 6-9 years
This beautifully illustrated book shares the empowering story of Wangari Maathai, the first African woman, and environmentalist, to win the Nobel Peace Prize. From her youth in Kenya where she learned to respect nature and appreciate the land, plants, and animals that surrounded her, to her fight to promote the rights of her countrywoman and help save the land, her story is one that will inspire readers of all ages.




10. Beautiful by Stacy McAnulty

chicago-literacy-alliance-women's-history-month-beautifulAges: 4-8 years
This book empowers girls to define themselves by who they are not by what they look like. It breaks barriers by showing girls to be themselves whether that’s splashing in mud, conducting science experiments, or reading books under a flashlight with friends. This book will encourage all girls to embrace who they are and realize their inner potential.










10 Valentine’s Day Books to Read with Your Kids

Written by Cara Ward


Celebrate Love & Reading

Valentine’s Day is all about spending time with the people you love and there’s no better way to do so than by snuggling up and reading a book together. As an added bonus, here at the CLA, we know that reading with kids is a great way to build the literacy skills they’ll need later in life to live independent, fulfilling lives (parenting win!).

In the spirit of  the holiday and fostering a love of reading, we’ve compiled a few of our favorite lovey-dovey children’s books that celebrate love, family, friendship, kindness, and sharing.


1. Llama Llama I Love You by Anna Dewdney

Ages: 1-3 years

In Llama Llama I Love You, a little llama shows his friends and family how much he loves them with heart-shaped cards and lots of hugs. With short and sweet rhymes, this picture book is bound to be a llama fun for your babies and toddlers this V-Day.




 2. Froggy’s First Kiss by Jonathan London

chicago-literacy-alliance-valentines-day-readingAges: 3-5 years

This sweet story revolves around Froggy’s first big crush on the lovely Frogilina and his attempt to make her an extra special Valentine. This book will keep your little ones giggling with delight from start to finish with a heart-warming, funny take on having your first crush.




3. Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink by Diane deGroat

chicago-literacy-alliance-valentines-day-readingAges: 4-8 years

Right from the title, kids will love this book. In it, the main character Gilbert decides to write Valentines to all his classmates, but writes silly prank ones to the students who have been mean to him. He quickly learns how powerful words are and how they can hurt people’s feelings, but manages to turn things around with the help of a friend and an honest apology. This Valentine’s Day read will prompt lots of laughs, as well as discussions on kindness and forgiveness.



4. Nate the Great and the Mushy Valentine by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat

chicago-literacy-alliance-valentines-day-readingAges: 6-9 years

Who doesn’t love a good mystery especially when it’s all about finding a secret Valentine’s Day admirer? This chapter book is perfect for beginning readers as they can sleuth with Nate, who hates all things mushy, to find whoever left his dog a valentine.




5. Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentime by Barbara Park

chicago-literacy-alliance-valentines-day-readingAges: 6-9 years

Everyone’s favorite kindergartner, Junie B. Jones is so excited to see all the “Valentimes” she gets but is surprised when she sees a mushy gushy card from a secret admirer. Who could it be? You and your young readers will definitely want to get to the bottom of this Valentine’s Day mystery with her!





6. My Fuzzy Valentine by Naomi Kleinberg

chicago-literacy-alliance-valentines-day-readingAges: 1-3 years

Sometimes the best way to show a little one about love, is by letting them feel it for themselves and that’s what this touch and feel book featuring everyone’s favorite little red monster does. Babies and toddlers will love this interactive picture book and will want to continue reading it even after Valentine’s Day has passed.




7. Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli

chicago-literacy-alliance-valentines-day-readingAges: 3-7 years

When mundane, typical, reserved Mr. Hatch receives an anonymous package with a card saying “Somebody Loves You”, he is so excited he starts spicing up his life with brownie baking, picnic hosting, and reading to local kids. When the truth comes out about his mystery Valentine, it turns out to be the biggest surprise of his life. This book has a powerful message about kindness and how the smallest deed can make the biggest difference – it’s a must read this upcoming V-Day.



8. The Biggest Valentine Ever by Steven Kroll

Ages: 3-6 years

This story is about two mice wanting to make a Valentine for their teacher and even though they fight, they finally realize that if they come together they can make the biggest Valentine ever. This book will get your child so excited to make Valentine cards of their own, and it actually comes with foil stickers to help get them started.



9. Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff

chicago-literacy-alliance-valentines-day-readingAges: 4-8 years

The Mouse from If you give a Mouse a Cookie is back making special Valentines for all of his friends about why he loves them. Your child will love seeing Mouse on a new adventure and you will love all the sweet sentiments Mouse puts in his cards. This book will really fill your heart up and bring you back to the basics of Valentine’s Day: expressing your love to those close to you.




10. The I LOVE YOU book by Todd Parr

chicago-literacy-alliance-valentines-day-readingAges: 4-6 years

Todd Parr’s best selling book celebrates the special love shared between parents and children. From heartfelt lines (“I love you when you need hugs”) to more light hearted ones (“I love you when you hide my keys”), he encompasses the unconditional bond shared between parents and littles.This book is all about reminding children how much they are loved by their parents and what better day to do that than the day of love, Valentine’s Day.