Celebrate Westernkind Authors

Westernkind Resources:
Children’s Authors

FAVOURITE CHILDREN’S AUTHORS

Laura Ingalls Wilder – (1867-1957) American

She grew up somewhat nomadic, with her father often moving the family (including moving away from Indian territory in Kansas). At 15 she began teaching, and later wrote for several periodicals. 

Coalescing earlier attempts to record her childhood, she softened the events to become more palatable, and rewrote her tales into discreet time periods – the first book being Little House in the Big Woods, about her childhood in Wisconsin. Later, her book about her family’s time in Kansas, became the basis for the famous television show.

Notable books: Little House in the Big Woods, Farmer Boy, Little House on the Prairie, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, These Happy Golden Years, The First Four Years, On the Banks of Plum Creek, By the Shores of Silver Lake

Roald Dahl – (1916-1990) Welsh

Dahl served the UK government as a fighter pilot and later a spy while in Washington DC. He began writing for adults, but found his success using his sense of humour to write irreverent children’s books.

Notable books: Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Jams and the Giant Peach, The Witches, The Twits, The Magic Finger, The Giraffe The Pelly and Me, George’s Marvelous Medicine, Danny Champion of the World, Boy: Tales of Childhood, The BFG, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, Going Solo, The Enormous Crocodile, Esio Trot

Gary Paulsen – (1939-2021) American

“With more than two hundred books to his credit, Gary Paulsen is fast becoming an American legend. A popular children’s author, Paulsen draws on life experiences to write mystery, memoir, adventure, humor, and survival, including the best-selling Hatchet.

He has run the Iditarod, survived violent sea storms, picked crops, worked at carnivals, been blown off a mountain, plunged through lake ice in the dead of winter, and had his pants catch fire while training his dogs. The result is books people love to read.”

Notable books: Woodsong, Tucket’s Travels, Hatchet, Brian’s Return, Brian’s Winter, The River, Woods Runner, My Life in Dog Years 

Beverly Clearly – (1916-2021) American

Cleary originally worked as a librarian. After curating and telling stories for kids, she realized she should not just care for children’s books, but write them herself. Since 1950, she has written over 44 stories full of interesting situations, full of humour and attention to detail.

Notable books: Henry Huggins, Beezus and Ramona, Ramona and her Mother, Dear Mr. Henshaw, Ramona and her Father, Ramona Quimby Age 8, Socks, Ramona the Pest, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Ribsy, Leave It To Beaver, Beaver and Wally

Judy Blume – (born 1938) American citizen

Blume’s ability to craft very believable accounts of childhood, or young adulthood, has made her a beloved writer for thousands of students. Her books for teenagers have been banned for their portrayal of puberty issues, birth control, masturbation and teen sexual content. Parents may find value in her books aimed for teenage girls and the issues they face, however, the books should be read and approved by the parents first. 

On the other hand, her series about Fudge, the younger brother, are consistently amoung the favourites for children around a 4th grade reading level.

Books for children: Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Double Fudge, Super Fudge, Fudge-a-Mania, Freckle Juice, Pain and the Great One,

Books for teens (should be reviewed first): Deenie, Blubber, Are You There God it’s Me Margaret, Forever

Jerry Spinelli – (born 1941) American

After working as an editor, he tried his hand at writing for adults, as many children’s writers do. However, he only found success when telling stories from a child’s point of view – creating sympathetic offbeat characters that have trouble fitting in.   

Notable books: Space Station Seventh Grade, Knots in My Yo-Yo String: The Autobiography of a Kid, Manic Maggie, Stargirl, Love Stargirl, Wringer, Third Grade Angels, Fourth Grade Rats, Loser, Jake and Lily

Louis Sachar – (born 1954) American citizen

Sachar worked in public schools, which gave him a base for stories relating to school. He wrote his first story at night, while working in a warehouse, and later as a law student. His books began to sell to the point he could write full time by 1989.

Notable books: There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom, Holes, Sideways Stories from Wayside School, Wayside School is Falling Down

Julianne Moore – (born 1960) American

Even though Moore is a typical actress/liberal activist, she wrote her first book “when her young son began disliking aspects of his appearance; she was reminded of her own childhood, when she was teased for having freckles and called ‘Freckleface Strawberry’ by other children.” Other books in the series followed, and they can help youngsters positively identify with freckles and red hair.

Notable books: Freckleface Strawberry, Freckleface Strawberry: Loose Tooth!, Freckleface Strawberry: Backpacks, Freckleface Strawberry: Best Friends Forever, Freckleface Strawberry and the Dodgeball Bully