Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children's Book
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Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children's Book

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  207 ratings  ·  62 reviews
"What children's book changed the way you see the world?"

Anita Silvey asked this question to more than one hundred of our most respected and admired leaders in society, and she learned about the books that shaped financiers, actors, singers, athletes, activists, artists, comic book creators, novelists, illustrators, teachers...

The lessons they recall are inspiring, instruc...more
Hardcover, 233 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by Roaring Brook Press
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I splurged on this one at Flying Pig Bookstore this weekend, and I'm so glad that I did. Anita Silvey has pulled together a collection of essays from all sorts of notable people in our world -- from ocean explorer Robert Ballard to YA goddess Judy Blume. They talk about the children's books that changed, and in many cases, shaped their remarkable lives. The book is laid out beautifully, with each essay is accompanied by an excerpt from the beloved book.

It's the teacher in me who really wanted th...more
I despise the title and cover. So ugly, cheesy, and gimmicky. I never would have picked this book up if I'd seen it in the book store or library. If it weren't for the laudatory reviews two friends gave this book, I might never have had the chance to read it. And that reminds me of Emerson's words: "Would that some charitable soul, after losing a great deal of time among the false books and alighting upon a few true ones, which made him happy and wise, would name those which have been bridges or...more
This book was MARVELOUS. I was initially a little nervous, as I've read some pretty bad "famous people commenting on their favorite books" compilations lately. Perhaps the key here is getting intelligent people to comment on their favorite CHILDREN's book, one that affected their lives in some way. Perhaps this helps people lose some of the self-consciousness I've seen in this type of book and gain back some of the joy of a child finding himself in a book. Whatever it is, this book is wonderful....more
Lady Knight
This book was a great idea. I loved reading about which books had a profound affect on different famous personalities. Some were clearly books that have affected many people over many genereations for similar reasons. Others seemed like odd influences and were clearly made special to that person due to other circumstances in their lives at the time. I personally loved Robert Ballard's discussion of how "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" affected him. Good read, but I honestly wish it had chronicled...more
Feb 25, 2010 Jamie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: adult
This would be a fine gift for a children's literature nerd. And by nerd, I mean the person who NEVER reads anything else ever. This person is not me.

I just felt it was a lot more dry than I'd hoped.
Kristy Powers
This is a compilation of essays from "notable people" who were strongly influenced by a particular book. Includes an excerpt of each of these books, illustrations, and synopses. Brief biographies of each of the notable people in the back. I found myself reading several of these essays out loud to my husband and son. Fascinating and fun and thought-provoking. Notable people include authors, illustrators, poets, politicians, executives, actors, and more.

One example: a heart surgeon who loved the O...more
Jun 13, 2009 Laurie marked it as to-read
Shelves: nonfiction
All together now: "I should have written this book!"
After asking over one hundred renowned illustrators, actors, authors, activists, athletes, and entertainers, "What children's book changed the way you see the world?", Silvey compiled one of the best reading resources out there. Broken up into six different sections--Inspiration, Understanding, Principles & Precepts, Vocation, Motivation, and Storytelling--these contributors share how children's books helped change or shape their lives. From Jon Scieszka to Jay Leno to Steve Wozniak, each pa...more
Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children"s Book: Life Lessons from Notable People from All Walks of Life, Edited by Anita Silvey, is a special book because it is large, opens to 11 by 17. With the exerpts from the chosen books are many beautiful illustrations. An exerpt from a book centers on a pastel ground at the left hand page, the pastel continues as a 1/3 column of the right hand page, and in that 1/3 column is a book synopsis and a thumbnail of the book's cover. The rest of the...more
This is a sweet collection of over 100 mini-essays by prominent folks on the children’s book that influenced them the most. Each book is profiled with a one-page excerpt, a commentary by the editor Anita Silvey on the history of the book profiled, and then words from authors, scientists, educators, actors and others and what that particular book or author inspired in them.

As an omnivore I would have a hard time picking just one title out of so many that I love but it was great to see many of th...more
This is a very good resource to find book titles to share with children. Anita Silvey provides not only a brief description of each book and some information about the author/illustrator, she has wisely included excerpts from each book and a personal story from a notable figure about why it was included in the collection of story titles. The usual suspects---Dave Eggers, Maurice Sendak, etc.---provide recommendations, but you will find experts in a variety of fields (marine biology, politics, ed...more
The Reading Countess
Publisher's Summary: "What children's book changed the way you see the world?" Anita Silvey asked this question to more than one hundred of our most respected and admired leaders in society, and she learned about the books that shaped financiers, actors, singers, athletes, activists, artists, comic book creators, novelists, illustrators, teachers... The lessons they recall are inspiring, instructive, and illuminating. And the books they remember resonate as influential reading choices for famili...more
This is the quick pick gift for the teacher/librarian in your life. Former children's lit editrix Anita Silvey asked a diverse group of just over 100 personalities, "What children's book changed the way you see the world?" and the result is a collection of one page essays, with accompanying illustrations, quote or summary of the referenced book.

I devoured the whole thing in one sitting (not hard- only 240 pages, generous white space due to lovely layout) and then sat down, meditated on my favori...more
The thing that makes this book so fun is the variety of people to whom children's books mattered. I was expecting mostly children's authors when I picked up this book, and discovered actors and scientists and athletes and musicians, too. It was fun when people picked books that I also loved. In addition, it inspired some really good conversations between me and family members when we discussed what we would have said had we been asked. I loved the variety. I also loved that some books that some...more
Inpsiring book that asks the question of many important people from all walks of life, "What book changed your life?" and more importanly how. Some of my favorite answers are these: Perri Klass of Louise Fitzhugh's "Harriet the Spy"--The intoxicating and addictive joy of observation; Michael Dirda of Beverly Cleary's "Henry Huggins"--Nothing that involved people and their feelings is every plain and straightforward; Peter Sis of Exupery's "Little Prince"--Individual and personal feelings could b...more
Jul 22, 2010 Katherine rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: children's librarians and teachers
Dearest current and future children's librarians--if you're looking for some inspiration for why your job is super important, look no further! Leaders from all fields, including many authors of children's books, share how a single book changed their lives.

I especially loved learning that Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman was the book Jon Scieszka chose to write about. My brother and I adored that book when we were younger. That tree party always blew my mind!

I think it would have been helpful to hav...more
Jun 21, 2010 Donna rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Lovers of Children's literature
Recommended to Donna by: Read a review in Parade Magazine at Christmas
I love this “coffee-table” book! Filled with snippets from the stories we all love, powerful voices from all walks of life share their favorite childhood books.

What made the books important—those stories that caused us to imagine, to dream, to strive, to love, to play, to learn compassion, to open our eyes wider in awareness and to question? Connection, sharing…Brings a smile to my soul!!

I recall a beautiful poem that my grandma taught me—one I embraced and memorized as a child, and lived to my...more
This book consists of essays by famous or otherwise notable people about a children's book that had an impact on his/her life and an accompanying excerpt from that book, usually with illustrations. I rediscovered old favorites and found several "new" (to me at least) books to add to my essentials list. There is also an extensive recommended book list in the back. Highly recommended to anyone who has kids and/or loves children's literature!

Quote from Kyle Zimmer, from p. 207, in relation to J.R.R...more
Gift from Cari. Stayed up too late last night flipping through it.

I've been reading this in small bits for the last few weeks. Like many essay compilations, some are much better than others. And I wish that some were more in depth. Most books recieved one page excerpt, a tiny column with background/synopsis (some very interesting info there) and then the "famous person's" essay. All is very brief, but gets right to the heart of the matter.
The range of people was fascinating, though most of my fa...more
Austen to Zafón
Feb 05, 2010 Austen to Zafón marked it as to-read
Why: A friend who used to be a children's librarian said, "I just wanted to let you know that [this book:] was an interesting read. I say interesting because it had an unusual cast of characters from Ann Tyler (we all know what I think of her) to Anita Silvey (former book editor). Interesting also because of the format. Very short entries from folks like Jay Leno to lengthy ones from people like Jack Prelutsky. However, despite all its interesting-ness, you might pick it up for the book list. I...more
Inspirational. I'm glad I purchased this book, instead of just getting it from the library. This is a book I will go back to again and again. I feel under-read in the area of "old children's classics" which are a majority of the books referenced. I was glad to see many of my childhood favorites included, and intrigued my many I had never heard of before. I am continually amazed at the power of children's literature to help us grasp larger, complex truths. This book really captures the transforma...more
Kathy McC
The subtitle for this book is "Life Lessons from Notable People from All walks of Life". Over 100 people were interviewed about a children's book that made an impact on their life. Some of the people were not "well known" to me, but even those I didn't know had wonderful commentary on a variety of different children's and young adult literature. Sadly, none of my top favorites were chosen by anyone, but I lovedreading about the books anyway.
"Some books you never forget. SOme characters become y...more
A collection of remembrances from writers and other professionals on which children's book most impacted them. The format includes a brief recollection from the famous person, a bit about the book, and a passage. Some gems here.
I particularly like Sherman Alexie's piece about Ezra Jack Keats' The Snow Day: "I really think the age at which you find the book with which you truly identify determines the rest of your reading life. The younger you are when you do that, the more likely you're going t...more
Janice  Durante
Sep 30, 2010 Janice Durante rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: school librarians, children's librarians
Anita Silvey, former editor of the Horn Book Magazine, asked a wide range of people: What children's book changed the way you see the world? Opposite each brief essay is a well chosen excerpt from the book. This compilation is a delight to read and view, reminding readers of their own magical experiences with books. Some of the selections, such as Little Women and The Secret Garden will resonate with most of us. Other choices are unlikely but revealing, such as David Macaulay's pick, The Golden...more
Memories cam flooding back as I reconnected with some very old titles! I was and am very fond of these books. They evoke feelings and experiences with other characters- Mary Poppins, King Arthur, Horton, Anne Frank, Meg and Charles Wallace, Johnny Tremain, and Homer Price - and other worlds- Oz, The Secret Garden, the countryside of The Wind in the Willow, Narnia, the woods and the prairie, and the Mississippi River. it was smeaningful to read how these powerful books also affacted other people....more
Full disclosure: I did not read each essay in this book. I read the ones by people who interested me or those who read books that I also have liked and read myself. There are some flaws with this book: I wish the author had included the essayist bio on the page with the book essay instead of at the back. Because unless the person is very well know, it was tough to tell why they were included in the book! The most touching piece was written by Virginia Lee Burton's son. Amazing.
If anyone needed to be convinced of the power of reading, just hand them this book.

This one is best as a coffee table book to pick up and flip through at leisure. I like that they've included notes on the contributors since I didn't recognize all the names. People from all walks of lives are included, from heart surgeons to, physicists, to, of course, writers. Be prepared to want to revisit your own childhood favorite, and perhaps pick up a few that you may have missed.
Karen Arendt
This book is intended for adults, but I could see using this book to share excerpts of essays from authors such as Jon Sczieska on vocation or Lois Lowry or Peter Sis on storytelling with students.

There is a note about each contributor, which is nice, since I did not recognize many names and wanted to know who they were. The index is also helpful for looking up a specific title mentioned or person's essay.
This book has a short synopsis of a children's book, an excerpt, and a short essay by a famous person whose life was changed by the book in some way. I LOVE this format. There were lots of favorite kid's books in it, and many I'd now like to read. I do notice that most of them are too tough for my second graders. I copied the bibliography and a few other suggestions from the back of the book.
Tattered Cover Book Store
Cathy says:

Silvey asked more than 100 of the most respected and admired leaders in society this simple question: What children's book changed the way you see the world? Here, she shares their surprising, intriguing answers. Insightful, funny, inspiring and unexpected. Each is accompanied by an excerpt and illustrations from the selected book.
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“Reading centers on finding yourself in a book. -- Sherman Alexie” 4 likes
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