Authors of Children's Books

Mark Twain

Famous authors of children's books are often looked at with awe by the children they write for. But children aren’t the only ones who are excited when they get to meet writers of children's books.

Teachers and parents are sometimes just as eager to meet the men and women who created the characters they themselves fell in love with as youngsters.

Authors of children's books come in all shapes and sizes, and so do their books. Fantasy, science fiction, romance, biographies – there are authors who specialize in each of these areas and some who write across several genres.

Probably the best source of information about authors these days is the Internet. Author websites can be found through simple Google searches, providing detailed information about any author you may be curious about.

Is your child doing a report on famous American authors? Is your high school student studying famous international authors? Not only can you help your child find information on individual authors; you can also print out lists of authors, for future reference. Many authors, especially those who have their own websites, welcome letters from their fans.

Secrets of Successful Authors

Authors who are successful got that way for a reason. Actually, many reasons, some of which I’ve listed below. Successful authors of children's books have:

  • A vision about the stories they wanted to create.
  • The ability to discipline themselves to write on a regular basis, day after day, week after week.
  • Good writing skills.
  • A willingness to interact with children on a regular basis.
  • A desire to share stories with children.
  • Persistence.

Charles Dickens That last item – persistence – is a quality essential to ALL writers who want to succeed. Amateur authors who are still struggling to “make it” in the world of children’s literature should remember the success stories of those who went before them.

Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) submitted his first book for publication 28 times before it was accepted: And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.

Agatha Christie, Louisa May Alcott, and Ray Bradbury are other famous authors who met with rejection from editors in their early attempts at publication.

List of Authors

Every year since 1922, a literary award known as the John Newbery Medal has been given by the Association for Library Service to Children of the American Library Association to one worthy author.

Named after John Newbery (an 18th–century publisher of juvenile books), this medal is the most prestigious award for children’s literature in the United States. Below is a list of 10 of these winners, spanning 56 years.

2004 Kate DiCamillo The Tale of Despereaux
2003 Avi Crispin: The Cross of Lead
1999 Louis Sachar Holes
1996 Karen Cushman The Midwife’s Apprentice
1986 Patricia MacLachlan Sarah, Plain and Tall
1981 Katherine Paterson Jacob Have I Loved
1973 Jean Craighead George Julie of the Wolves
1972 Robert C. O’Brien Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
1963 Madeleine L’Engle A Wrinkle in Time
1948 William Pene du Bois The Twenty-One Balloons

Find Out How to Become an Author

If you’re interested in becoming an author yourself, check out our page on Writing Children’s Books , where I provide lots of tips and resources.

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