My Favorite Authors as a Kid

Working at a bookstore (my second job), I get lots of requests for book recommendations. Tragically, I cannot read every book ever published, but when it comes to books for children, I have a solid set of recs to give. I read voraciously as a youth—but who am I kidding? Nothing has changed in that regard.

Anyway, here are the ten authors I adored most in elementary and middle school. If you have children, nieces, nephews, or are a teacher, these might be books to check out for the little ones in your life.

10. Trenton Lee Stewart, author of The Mysterious Benedict Society

Stewart wrote an intriguing trilogy about children facing mind-bending challenges and secret missions. It’s an almost interactive series, which makes for rather unique reading experiences as you try to solve the puzzles along with the characters. But the characters are solid and the story line interesting. Kids who like puzzles or brain teasers would enjoy this.
Reading level: grades 3–7

9. Avi, author of Poppy

I was weirdly obsessed with the Poppy series in elementary school, and I don’t really know why. I’d probably think it was really weird now, like mice shouldn’t know how to do these things. But hey, that’s anthropomorphizing for you. Still, Avi knows how to write an entertaining tale featuring cute and cool animals that delights kids.
Reading level: grades 3–5

8. Andrew Clements, author of Frindle

I read several Clements books in elementary school, but Frindle has stuck with me. In it, a child starts a word revolution, proving to the older generation that just because something is new doesn’t mean it can’t be worth the same respect as “traditional” things. Sure, the plot seems simpler on the surface—they just renamed the pen—but now I wonder if Clements was talking about something bigger. Either way, I appreciate this book. I love words, probably partially because of it.
Reading level: grades 3–5

7. Lemony Snicket, author of A Series of Unfortunate Events

What a bizarre mind you have, Daniel Handler. This dark comedy is a modern classic by now, especially with the surprisingly loyal Netflix adaptation. Handler’s/Snicket’s narrative voice is dry, witty, and fourth-wall-breaking, all things I love. It might even have been these books that helped incite my love of wordplay, clever banter, unusual narrative tricks, and all things strange (a word which here means fun).
Reading level: grades 3–7

6. Scott Westerfeld, author of Uglies

So many YA dystopias, yet of all series to NOT get a film adaptation, it’s Uglies? Where is the justice in this world? I don’t know if this series was the first in this sub-genre, but for me it was. Westerfeld crafts a strong protagonist, fascinating world, and compelling story that—from what I recall—did not disappoint! It makes me feel bad I didn’t realize his name wasn’t WesterFIELD until last year…
Reading level: grades 6–12

5. Kathryn Lasky, author of The Guardians of Ga’Hoole

If you ask me what my favorite birds are, there’s a good chance I’ll say owls. And it’s Lasky’s fault. Her series, full of adventure and conflict and friendship, is populated almost exclusively by owls. Granted, it probably went on for too long, but I still read every single one of these books. Awesome characters, a memorable world, and some stellar plot moments. Middle school me adored this author.
Reading level: grades 3–8

4. Michael Buckley, author of The Sisters Grimm

Sisters Grimm is the same concept as the TV show Once Upon a Time, but actually good! Buckley throws dozens of fairy tale characters together in a small New England town, and our protagonists are two sisters in the foster system. And the story is amazing, set in a wonderful, magical universe and with a twisty, thrilling plot. Also, this series features one of my first ships after Ron/Hermione. I will go down with the Puck/Sabrina ship!
Reading level: grades 4–6

3. Brandon Mull, author of Fablehaven

Oh, how I loved Fablehaven. Mull crafted an incredible fantasy romp for tweens that showcases a wonderful sibling bond, excellent side characters, and a solid, exciting plot. His writing is skillful and worthy of way more praise than I can say here. I’ve recommended this to two of my nieces so far, because the adventures and themes are fantastic. Also, there are dragons, so what more do you need?
Reading level: grades 3–8

2. Eoin Colfer, author of Artemis Fowl

People don’t talk about this series enough. It’s funny, quirky, and creative. Colfer’s skills at worldbuilding and characterization are stellar. The last few books were slightly weaker than the first few, but I still loved this series. I still kind of want to be Opal Koboi when I grow up (sans the evil part; I just want the hover chair and chocolate truffles).
ALSO apparently there is going to be a movie this fall?! By Disney?! And I didn’t hear about it sooner?! Excuse me while I drown in simultaneous excitement and worry. Don’t ruin this for me, Hollywood. Please.
Reading level: grades 3–8

1. J. K. Rowling, author of Harry Potter

Obviously I was going to mention her, because umm of course? As a millennial, I grew up in tandem with the Boy Who Lived. Rowling is the author who got me into fantasy. I’d loved reading before this series, but Potter defined my childhood. These books always will have a place of honor on my bookshelves (Cursed Child, not so much. But that’s another conversation). Therefore, Rowling is always going to be a meaningful writer for me.
Reading level: grades 3–8 (but everyone should read this)

Other than first place, putting this in order was a trial! I hope this was interesting; thanks for reading!

One thought on “My Favorite Authors as a Kid

  1. Pingback: My Favorite Authors as an Adult (so far) – Righter of Words

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