Silvey, Anita 1947–
SILVEY, Anita 1947–
PERSONAL: Born September 3, 1947, in Bridgeport, CT; married. Education: Indiana University, B.S., 1969; University of Wisconsin, M.A., 1970.
ADDRESSES: Home—101 Whitewood Rd., Westwood, MA 02090. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Little, Brown and Co., Boston, MA, editorial assistant in children's book department, 1970–71; Horn Book magazine, Boston, assistant editor, 1971–75, editor-in-chief, 1985–95; New Boston Review, Boston, founder and managing editor, 1975–76; Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, managing advertising and promotion for children's division, 1976–1984, vice president and publishers of children's books, 1995–2001. Instructor at Simmons College Graduate School of Library Science, Boston, and St. Michaels College, Burlington, VT. Former president, Children's Book Council; former board member, International Board on Books for Young People, United States section.
AWARDS, HONORS: Book Women Award, Women's National Book Association, 1987, as one of Seventy Women Who Have Made a Difference; award from City of Fort Wayne, IN, 1994, as one of the city's thirty eight famous sons and daughters; honorary M.F.A., Vermont College, 2000.
Children's Books and Their Creators, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1995, updated edition published as The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators, 2002.
Help Wanted, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1997.
(Author of introduction) Keat's Neighborhood: An Ezra Jack Keats Treasury, Viking (New York, NY), 2002.
One Hundred Best Books for Children, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2004.
Editor, Vermont Folklife Center children's book series, 2003–; member of editorial board, Cricket magazine.
SIDELIGHTS: Anita Silvey has worked for many years in children's book publishing and is the editor of several books focusing on children's literature. In an interview with Teri Lesesne for Teacher Librarian, Silvey related that, in her opinion, a great book for children "maintains high standards of literary and artistic merit, speaks to both children and adults on different levels, and stands the test time."
In Children's Books and Their Creators Silvey gathers more than eight hundred entries focusing authors, various genres, and historical issues in children's publishing. In addition, seventy-five authors and illustrators write about their work. In her 2002 update, The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators, Silvey includes one hundred new articles that add new authors and their works, while keeping only 375 of the articles from the previous work. Writing in Library Journal, Kelli Perkins commented that, "Like its acclaimed predecessor, this guide offers brief but meaty articles." School Library Journal contributor Suzanne Crowder wrote that The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators "holds a wealth of information about children's literature in an easily accessible, alphabetized format," and she concluded that Silvey's effort is a "solid, handy resource."
In Help Wanted: Short Stories about Young People Working Silvey selects a diverse collection of twelve short stories that focus on young adults and their first jobs or work-like experiences. Among the authors included are Borden Deal, Ray Bradbury, Gary Soto, Michael Dorris, and Judith Ortiz Cofer. A Publishers Weekly contributor praised the selections for "their uncommon themes, settings, and situations." The reviewer went on to note, "Defining work in broad terms, this enticing collection offers a little something for everyone." Writing in Booklist, Stephanie Zvirin noted that "the collection is generally strong and varied."
Silvey provides a preferred children's reading list in One Hundred Best Books for Children. In her interview with Lesesne, Silvey explained how she narrowed down the list, focusing on books over the past millennium that target children up to age twelve and allowed only one book per author or illustrator onto the list. She also consulted lists drawn up by others citing the best books of the twentieth century. She explained that she "then interviewed 1,000 to 2,000 people about their favorite books as children, the ones they remembered the most vividly. Then I reread 1,000 books in six months. In the final stages, I simply agonized over the final list." In the book, Silvey provides a plot synopsis and appropriate age range of the reader for each book. She also includes some stories about how the books were created, told from an insider's perspective, and an extensive "Beyond the Hundred Best" list of books that focus on special interests.
Silvey's "long experience as a book reviewer and editor makes her list pretty much spot-on," wrote Ilene Cooper in a Booklist review of One Hundred Best Books for Children. In Commentary Joseph Bottum attested, "There is little that is opinionated or annoying in her selections; neither is there much surprising or exciting." Roger Sutton, writing in Horn Book, commented, "The choices … are wise, although some of the most contemporary ones … are more arguable than definitive." Library Journal contributor Marianne Orme concluded, "Teachers, librarians, and home-schoolers will particularly enjoy the way Silvey spices her annotations with entertaining anecdotes."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 1, 1997, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Help Wanted: Short Stories about Young People Working, p. 461; March 15, 1999, review of Help Wanted, p. 1300; November 1, 2001, Gillian Engberg, review of Help Wanted, p. 478; July, 2004, Ilene Cooper, review of One Hundred Best Books for Children, p. 1802.
Commentary, April, 2004, Joseph Bottum, review of One Hundred Best Books for Children, p.68.
Horn Book, November-December, 1997, Roger Sutton, review of Help Wanted, p. 682; January-February, 2003, Roger Sutton, review of The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators, p. 106; July-August, 2004, Roger Sutton, review of One Hundred Best Books for Children, p. 473.
Library Journal, October 1, 2002, Kelli Perkins, review of The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators, p. 81; April 1, 2004, Marianne Orme, review of One Hundred Best Books for Children, p. 94.
Publishers Weekly, October 9, 1995, Diane Roback, "Top-Level Shifts in Children's Publishing," p. 14; June 17, 1996, Amy Meeker, interview with Silvey, p. 26; August 4, 1997, review of Help Wanted, p. 76; October 21, 2002, review of The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators, p. 77.
School Library Journal, July, 2001, "Silvey Departs Houghton," p. 16; March, 2003, Suzanne Crowder, review of The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators, p. 263.
Teacher Librarian, October, 2004, Teri Lesesne, "Keeping Books Alive" (interview), p. 47.
Anita Silvey Home Page, http://www.anitasilvey.com (February 25, 2005).
Horn Book Web site, http://www.hbook.com/ (February 25, 2005), "Anita Silvey."