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10 great authors in children’s literature

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About Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

I love children’s literature, particularly the quality stuff. I’ve mentioned some of my favorites before, and recently the readers of Simple Kids compiled a great list of their favorite books.

Here are just a few reasons why I’m so passionate about good kiddie lit:

• There’s a lot of bad stuff out there. Charlotte Mason called it twaddle, and you usually know it when you see it. It’s books that talk down to your kids, or offer no room for imagination, or push a particular agenda, or are even simply a disguise for product placement.

• Early reading sets the foundation for a love relationship with books, and can foster a healthy spirit as a lifelong learner.

• There’s something about quality children’s literature that sets it apart as a work of art – the creatively crafted illustrations, the brilliant word choice, the magical plots invented by brilliant minds. Good children’s literature should pass the test of adults and kids alike.

The thing is, there’s so much out there — good and bad. It’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff, even with helpful reading lists. As I grow in my knowledge of the world of children’s literature, I’ve found a trend in quality authors. There are certain authors that repeatedly publish great work after great work.

It’s impossible to list every great children’s author out there — but here’s a start. These are some of our family’s favorite early childhood authors. You can’t go wrong with these writers for the young crowd.

1. Eric Carle

Why he’s great: Probably known best for his colorful illustrations, he’s a great writer with simple story lines, usually involving animals (which most kids love). Carle’s books appeal to babies and preschoolers alike — both my kids enjoy his stuff. His books usually have a unique set up, such as holes in the pages or smaller pages leading to bigger ones.

Some of his best: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Quiet Cricket, The Grouchy Ladybug

2. Kevin Henkes


Why he’s great: He’s one of the better modern-day authors, with lovable characters who go through many of the same day-to-day situations as our children.

Some of his best: Owen, Jessica, and Wemberly Worried

3. Steven Kellogg

Why he’s great: His over-the-top plots and delightful illustrations are a joy to read out loud, and they interest a wide age range of kids (and adults).

Some of his best: The Mysterious Tadpole, Pecos Bill, The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash

4. Ruth Krauss

Why she’s great: Her stories are simple but charming. They’re to the point, and the vocabulary is outstanding. Great word choice. Many of her books are illustrated by greats like Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are) and Crocket Johnson (Harold and the Purple Crayon).

Some of his best: A Hole Is to Dig, I’ll Be You and You Be Me, The Carrot Seed

5. Arnold Lobel

Why he’s great: He creates hilarious characters who interact in clever dialogue. His illustrations are beautiful, too.

Some of his best: All the Frog and Toad books, Owl at Home, Mouse Soup, Fables

6. Robert McCloskey

Why he’s great: His illustrations are quality of the vintage sort, with sweet faces and detailed scenery. He doesn’t talk down to children, and his story lines are simple but engaging.

Some of his best: Blueberries for Sal (quite possibly my all-time favorite early children’s book), Lentil, Make Way for Ducklings, One Morning in Maine

7. Beatrix Potter


Why she’s great: She remains the best-selling children’s author of all time. Beatrix Potter’s books are chock full of great vocabulary, and her narrative style is heart-warming and funny. Great characters, too. And beautiful illustrations.

Some of her best: The Tale of Peter Rabbit, The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck, The Tale of Benjamin Bunny

8. Margret and H.A. Rey

Why they’re great: As a married couple with a fascinating story of adventure in their own life, the Reys created one of the most well-loved characters in children’s literature. They’ve created other wonderful characters as well, and a simple voice and universally-appealing plots make most of their works a classic.

Some of they’re best: All seven of the original Curious George books (many were written later with the same character, but they weren’t penned by the original authors — and they’re not as good), Katy No-Pocket, Billy’s Picture, Whiteblack the Penguin Sees the World

9. E.B. White

Why he’s great: He writes wonderful characters, and he has great word choice. His verbosity is descriptive, and his style softens your heart towards the meanest of his characters.

Some of his best: Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, The Trumpet of the Swan

10. Margaret Wise Brown

Why she’s great: You’re not allowed to have a list of great children’s book authors and not include her. More for the very young crowd, Margaret Wise Brown’s words rhythmically lead the reader on a comforting journey without dumbing down from poor word choice. A classic.

Some of her best: Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny, Seven Little Postmen, Big Red Barn

There are also many good writers who’ve crafted a whole stream of books based on one character they created: Ian Falconer with Olivia, Russell and Lillian Hoban with Frances, Eric Hill with Spot, and Bernard Waber with Lyle the Crocodile, just to name a few.

I’ve also intentionally left off good writers that typically write for the older child, such as Beverly Cleary, C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. This isn’t to say that preschoolers couldn’t enjoy their works, however. There are many people who’ve cherished The Chronicles of Narnia since before they could read on their own, thanks to audio books and family read-aloud time.

Good Literature Resources

Audible Kids has an enormous selection of good children’s books. This is a lifesaver for those times when you don’t want your kids plopped in front of the TV, yet you don’t have time to read to them one-on-one. It shouldn’t substitute daily reading with them, but it’s a good additional supplement. Lately, my four-year-old has been listening to The Complete Works of Beatrix Potter during her quiet times. Next up is Wind in the Willows.

Guest poster Sara wrote a wonderful resource of 30 good ideas to instill early literacy — be sure to look through her list of ideas.

One of my favorite guidebooks is Honey for a Child’s Heart.
I’ve used this book many times to make our library selections, and the author, Gladys Hunt, also has a blog.

Ambleside Online provides a comprehensive list of twaddle-free books by age and grade. This is meant for the Charlotte Mason homeschool method, but you can use it for free reading as well.

There are many I didn’t have room to list. What are your family’s favorite children’s authors?

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Comments

  1. What a beautiful and inspired list, Tsh! These are definitely the best of the best. So many of our favorites are on here, and the works these men and women have created absolutely are art.

    I have to say one of our all-time favorites is Sandra Boynton. Her illustrations are funny and charming, and even as babies my little ones have been captivated by the pages of her books. Her writing is poetic and filled with rhythm, but not in a sing-song-y way that is insulting. Moo Baa La La La was my older daughter’s first FAVORITE book, and Doggies was the first favorite of my canine-obsessed younger daughter.

    You are so right – there is SO MUCH in the world of children’s literature. I think it’s great that we as parents and educators can share our favorites as part of a community – that makes the selection process so much more navigable.

    Megan at Simple Kids´s last blog post…Nurturing Independence in Our Children

  2. I adore Eric Carle books, but must give a shout out to four of my early childhood favorites not on the list: Richard Scarry, Shel Silverstein, Maurice Sendak, and Dr. Suess.

    Yolanda´s last blog post…Year 2: Part 3

    • Yes, both my kids love our Richard Scarry books! We’ve got a big Richard Scarry book that I had when I was a kid, and I remember poring over it, too. It was published in 1963, so it’s falling apart at the seams. When my daughter was 2, there was a phase when that’s all she wanted to read for months.

  3. avatar
    Heather says:

    Jan Brett is one of our favorites here. Also Else Minarik (Little Bear) and Maurice Sendak. And those are just ones with multiple books!!

    A great resource for good books is The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease.

    • Yes, Jan Brett is wonderful! We have four of her books, and her illustrations are AMAZING. Thanks for mentioning her. Little Bear is wonderful, too.

  4. My daughter is two and we have many of the books by the authors you listed above. One that is missing that is an all time favorite, are the books by Sandra Boynton. Both my daughter and I can’t get enough of them. We particularly love “The Belly Button Book”.

  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m not a mom (i’m a dad!), but I have been searching for a list like this. We have three children ages 3 to 8, and they LOVE being read to, so this list will help me add to our ever expanding library. Thanks again, and have a great day.

  6. The “Five in a Row” series of guides for literature based unit studies are fabulous for K-3 (or so) and there is also a book for “Before Five in Row” (ages 2-4). All of these guides (or curriculum or sorts), by Jane Claire Lambert, use fabulous, timeless, story books which our children have loved. Even if you don’t want to follow the curriculum, Lambert’s book lists are reliable and high quality and the art/illustrations in them are also top-notch. These have always been the highlight of our homeschool experience and I’m so thankful I have a third child “coming of age” so that I can revisit Five in Row and the accompanying stories!

  7. GREAT post! Sorting through appropriate children’s lit can be overwhelming at times.

  8. ok, these may be more young adult than childrens, but :

    Lemony Snicket Series of Unfortunate Events
    Anne of Green Gables (Lucy Maud Montgomery)
    Thirteen Clocks (James Thurber)
    The Mary Poppins books

    I have so many more … love love children/YA books

  9. Re: Maurice Sendak — I actually had him on the list at first. I personally find him more intriguing and accomplished as an illustrator than an author/illustrator (though his Where the Wild Things Are is indeed great), so I may make a list soon of great illustrators. Or I may make a list of another great children’s book authors.

  10. Good list! Other prolific authors of children’s books we enjoy:

    Lois Ehlert (Planting a Rainbow, among others)
    Peggy Rathmann (Goodnight Gorilla, Ten Minutes Till Bedtime)
    Betsy Lewin (Click Clack Moo)
    William Steig (Brave Irene, Pete’s a Pizza)

    I made up this fun edible reading list (can’t wait for Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs to hit the big screen this fall!):
    http://rhetoricalchristian.wordpress.com/2009/01/10/childrens-books-for-foodies/

    Myrrh´s last blog post…Heaven is the Climax (PG-13)

  11. Great list! I teach grade 2 and we always do a big Kevin Henkes unit at the beginning of the year since the students love him. I also really like Tomie de Paola – his Strega Nona books are always a big favourite,as is Chris Van Allsburg.

    • Yes! We love Tomie de Paola as well. If I make another list of great authors, he’s definitely on it. We read my Strega Nona from my childhood.

      And as I’m thinking about it, I’d also add Lois Lenski…

  12. My Bird’s favorites right now are:

    The Cow Who Clucked by Denise Fleming
    The Shy Little Kitten by Cathleen Shurr (we have a boxed set of Golden Books and she loves them all)
    The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper
    Ten in the Bed by Jane Cabrera
    The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear by Don & Audrey Wood

    We have Where the Wild Things Are in the stack, but it scares her. :( I also think we are ready to move our reading up a notch in the level and type of books we are reading.

  13. This post is totally speaking my language! (Another English major here!)

    Author D.B. Johnson has written a series of books about a bear called Henry, based on Henry David Thoreau. They are beautifully illustrated and so thoughtful. I learn so much when reading them, and my three kids have become enamored with Thoreau as a result!

    Here’s a review I did on Henry Climbs a Mountain, if anyone would like to take a look:
    http://www.steadymom.com/2009/01/learning-lets-talk-books.html

    Jamie

    steadymom´s last blog post…No More Stroller!

  14. What about Dr. Suess?

    Birken Mommy´s last blog post…To market, to market

    • I’m honestly not a huge Dr. Seuss fan. We have some of his books, but after the really early years, when my kids are learning the basics of language, they kinda lose interest. His stories really don’t make much sense, though they are creative.

  15. avatar
    Bethany Rudd says:

    I agree that Sandra Boynton should be on the list! We also love Mo Willems at our house. His Elephant and Piggie books are a simple and fun read.

  16. I have yet to explore more of her books, but I’m in love with *Sleep, Black Bear, Sleep* by Jane Yolen (and a co-author, Heidi Stemple). It’s all about animals hibernating and is the perfect wind-down book for a snowy night. Super cute and clever illustrations as well.

    Meghan´s last blog post…sometimes

  17. Thank you a million times over for this list – just want I wanted!

    Sarah Mae´s last blog post…Remember When I Told You…

  18. Great post – these are some of my favorites! As a former teacher and mom of two girls, we do lots of reading and love finding an author who consistently tells great stories.

  19. I’ve always thought that it is essential to have poetry in a childs reading aloud list. My favourite children’s poet is Dennis Lee. I’m sure that most Canadians are familiar with him, but for those of you who didn’t grow up in Canada, I encourage you to find one of his anthologies. We have several and my children frequently pull them out at story time.

  20. Whilst my daughter loves Curious George (and we even visited the CG store in Boston). In our house we are having a debate about these books. There are definitely questionable ethics in these tales – George is told not to do something, he does it when no one is looking, makes a mess, gets caught but somehow manages to fix the situation and he is extensively praised. Do I want my daughter to learn that the ends justify the means? Absolutely not. Should we keep reading these tales? I don’t know. She loves them but I have stopped enjoying them.

  21. If I made a list of my all-time favorite children’s authors the following would have to be included:
    -Sandra Boynton
    -Mo Willems
    -Eric Carle
    -Laura Numeroff

    Thanks for sharing your favorites. I’ll be adding them to my library list!

    Kristi´s last blog post…Flags and Fireworks

  22. Kevin Henkes is our current fave. He’s just so cleverly funny. And Honey for a Child’s Heart is an amazing book! I didn’t know she had a blog. Thanks for that!

    PS~Erin´s last blog post…End of the Week Links

  23. What a wonderful list of authors!
    I am also really happy to learn about audible.com!
    Thank you…

  24. I also thought I would mention that “What to Read When” by Pam Allyn is a wonderful resource for parents. I did an interview with Pam that you can read here: http://tinyurl.com/kr4zbm.

  25. Thanks for the great list! My 3 1/2 month old loves for me to read to her! I just recently read “Make Way for the Ducklings” to her and she sat through the whole book!

    My favorite place to get books is the library! I’ll be looking for these books at my library now!

  26. I must protest the omission of Robert Munsch for he wonderful books like Love You Forever and I Have to Go! They were the backbone of my childhood library

    • I know tons of people love I Love You Forever, but I’ve just never been a big fan. Always felt rather cheesy and forced to me. But I know lots of you love it, so I can’t argue with a bestseller, I suppose.

      • Must agree with “Love You Forever” (cheesy), BUT “The Paper Bag Princess” and “Stephanie’s Ponytail” are two of the BEST Girl Power books I know! A MUST read for anyone with an elementary aged daughter- or high school or college for that matter! “Something Good” is another modern classic for Daddy’s and their girls!

  27. Terrific post!!

    As a huge fan of Charlotte Mason, I often remind women that just because a book is short does not mean it is not a worthy living book. The example I often cite is ‘Goodnight Moon’, a simple, but beautiful and living book. I love your list! I am going to link.
    Christine

    ChristineG´s last blog post…Comparing the Charlotte Mason Homeschool with Other Approaches

  28. great list! those are some of our favorite authors as well. and thank you for the resources.

    prasti´s last blog post…wordless wednesday::fantasy to reality

  29. Great list and thank you for introducing me to the Honey For a Child’s Heart blog! We’ve had that book a long time and it’s well used! One other author that comes to mind is Cynthia Rylant. The great thing is that she starts with picture books and goes all the way up to Teen stuff with stories and poetry. Also, the Little House on the Prairie picture book series is wonderful! One more vote, too, for Don and Audrey Wood. My kids learned just where the W’s were on the library shelves because of books like King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub, and The Napping House. There’s also a great one about little piggies that they loved. The Woods are ones that should be included in an illustrator list as well… Amazing artwork!!

  30. Great post. there are so many great authors out there. We are big fans of Rosemary Wells – she writes Max & Ruby books. Of course we love Paulette Bourgeois who writes the Franklin books.

  31. Thanks for leaving out Dr. Suess, Tsh. Talk about twaddle. While he has a few classics, think the majority of them are an insult to our children’s intelligence.

    My 3yo loves the classic Virginia Lee Burton books such as Mike Mulligan, the Little House and Katy and the Big Snow.

    When the boys are a little older I look forward to introducing them to E.Nesbit, Roald Dahl, and E.B. White.
    Am shocked by what pre-teens are reading these days.

    Thanks fora great list!

    Aimee´s last blog post…Quite Possibly the Last Dessert Post You’ll Bookmark this Summer

  32. Good list of authors. Like others, we enjoyed Sandra Boynton’s cardboard books in the early years. Also, Karma Wilson’s “The Bar Snores on” series (Jane Chapman’s illustrations are brilliant).

    I’m not a big fan of classic Dr. Seuss – I didn’t grow up on him, so maybe that’s way (though I love “My Many Colored Days” which doesn’t “feel” Seussian).

    Lately we’ve been enjoying the “Pinky and Rex” series by James Howe as well as Marjorie Weinman’s “Nate the Great”.

    BTW, I feel like Eric Carley’s stuff has been over-productized and some of his stuff gets derivative. It seems a lot of other successful books lead to poor sequels. For example, “If you give a mouse a cookie” was great, but some of the other “If you…” books are definitely lacking.

  33. What a great list, I find it interesting when posing this very question to parents just what they consider to be good choices, I have always leaned toward the classics, and in search of books that had true value, we will certainly be adding the two of these authors we dont already have in our library yet.

  34. I LOVE Robert McCloskey. His illustrations are simple and beautiful, and the stories are ones my girls end up acting out for days every time we read one of them!

    I hadn’t heard of AudibleKids and was actually sitting here searching for a story on iTunes for this afternoon, so I’m checking it out right now – thanks!

    Mandi´s last blog post…The Philosophy Behind Organizing Your Way

  35. Thanks! This is a terrific list and I will be adding some of the authors we are not yet familiar with to our library list.

    I’ve got to say though that I am with Fiona on the Curious George experience. My son adores him but my husband and I are often having to re-write these tales on the fly in order to make some of his adventures into something that is 3-year-old friendly. We just got Curious George Gets a Job from the library and found that after a painful accident, George spends time in the hospital, gets into the Ether and experiences what can best be described as a fun hallucinogenic trip. (H.A. Rey meets William S. Burroughs.)

    http://www.smacksy.com/2009/05/curious-george-svu.html

    Lisa Rae @ smacksy´s last blog post…They Say It’s Your Birthday

  36. Re: Dr. Seuss, I think all of the rhyming is a great tool for phonics. Both my daughters taught themselves to read (at age 4 and 3 respectively–the second before she was potty trained LOL! :) and we had a lot of Dr. Seuss going on (books and videos). I’m pretty convinced that playing with language (which is what Seuss does and what we do to amuse ourselves sometimes) had a role in their early literacy. Green eggs and Ham is our favorite. One I hadn’t heard of which is silly yet has a serious message, and was ahead of its time in some ways is The Lorax. Read more about it and one of my favorite nonsense words (“Thneed”) here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lorax

    Myrrh´s last blog post…Heaven is the Climax (PG-13)

    • Lots of Seuss books have a serious underlying message (not twaddle) including : The Lorax is about environmentalism and anti-consumerism; The Sneetches is about racial equality; The Butter Battle Book is about the perils of military proliferation; Yertle the Turtle is about anti-fascism and anti-authoritarianism; How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is about anti-materialism; and Horton Hears a Who! is about anti-isolationism and internationalism.

      Thneed is one of my favorite nonsense words too!

      Birken Mommy´s last blog post…To market, to market

  37. @Leigh: OMG, I didn’t realize that “Love you forever” (IMO, one of the creepiest children’s book evah! – I know, opinions on this vary widely ;-) is written by THE Robert Munsch.

    His *other* books (such as “The Paper Bag Princess” and other “Classic Munsch” titles) totally rock.

  38. Ooooh, you’re singing my song. :) Honey for a Child’s Heart is an *excellent* resource. I also love the authors you mentioned. Lobel and McCloskey are probably my top authors along with William Steig (don’t miss Amos and Boris and his chapter books The Real Thief, Able’s Island, and Dominic). I would add Barbara Cooney (author and illustrator, I will purchase anything with her name on it!!), Holly Hobbie (Toot & Puddle), Sarah Stewart (The Library, The Gardener), A. A. Milne (Pooh), Virginia Lee Burton (Mike Mulligan, The Little House), Cynthia Rylant (The Relatives Came… *love* this book!), Peter Spier (books with few words, but amazing illustrations with details to pour over for hours), and Esther Averill (The Fire Cat, Jenny and the Cat Club). I’m sure there are a hundred more. Oh, and I’ll ditto Sandra Boynton for the younger crowd. Moo Baa La La La has been a favorite around here. It breaks my heart when children are fed twaddle or have no books in their home to become life-long friends, when there are so many beautiful, engaging, imaginative, heart-warming books for children available.

    • As usual, Heidi, I agree with everything you say! I came SO close to including Steig, Milne, Burton, and Spier on this list. In fact, I winced when I deleted Steig and Spier — clearly I need to make another list. :)

  39. Great list!!! And photo–I was recently in CO and had te chance to check out the Sculpture Garden in Loveland–a great way to spend the afternoon!

    Clearly I am a newbie compared to your list but I’d love to let you and your readers know about my book, I Love You More. It was an answer to a prayer and is an expresson of love shared between a mother and child. It’s a flip-sided book-meaning it starts from either side and reads to the middle-so like love it never actually ends!

    Have a Fab 4th!!
    Keep Shining!
    Laura Duksta
    author, NY Times Bestseller, I Love You More

  40. avatar
    Adriana says:

    We love Virginia Lee Burton and Karma Wilson.

  41. avatar
    Tara @ Feels Like Home says:

    This is a conversation for me! Thanks for the wonderful list!

    I was going to add Karma Wilson and Sandra Boynton, but I see that others beat me to it. :)

    Tara @ Feels Like Home´s last blog post…Welcome BlogHoppers

  42. Anything by MO WILLEMS. His books are hilarious for both kids AND parents… which is very hard to find!

  43. Hey Tsh – so goad to find you! (from Stephanie’s email). I love all of your suggestions and can’t wait to get to know you better!

    Sarah Markley´s last blog post…Loving Most

  44. This post was great. I’m always looking for a starting point when picking new authors and books to read. There are lots of books out there, that although they are labeled childrens books, children shouldn’t be reading them.

  45. There are so many great children’s books it’s hard to know where to begin! I would have picked most of the Authors you picked as well! I recently posted a top 10 list, but found myself, wanting to make it a top 50 as I have SO many favorites!! Goodnight moon is a classic and I spent many nights rocking my son and getting him to sleep while reading that story!!

    Make sure to stop by ToddlerCraft.net and enter the Kids Art Contest and Giveaway!! There are some incredible prizes!!

    Toddler Craft Onna´s last blog post…Fourth of July Children Crafts

  46. I can’t believe you didn’t include Robert Munsch….my kids love all of his books. I love you Forever is ok but my kids really love Something Good, Thomas’ Snowsuit, I’ve got to go. We think his books are childhood classics

    • It’s honestly because we don’t have any of his books. If we get some and read them, and find that we end up loving his work, then I’d gladly add him to our list of favorites. The only one I’ve read is I Love You Forever, so obviously I need to read more.

  47. avatar
    Christie says:

    I have a book I LOVE…called The Read-Aloud Handbook by (or something like that). My mommy brain is forgetting the author’s name right now, which I find hard to believe because I had to use mailing tape to repair it since I’ve worn it out from use. In the second half of the book there is a Treasury of Read-Alouds and it is a GREAT resource for finding great books to read aloud…with age recommendations. An excellent source as a mom!! (I was introduced to this book in college in a Children’s Lit class…one of my favorite subjects!!) :) This book led me to some of my favorites and some of my sons’ favorites, too. :)

  48. I highly recommend Daniel Pinkwater. He has written over 100 books. Was the first to put his book on line, before it came out, a chapter a week. He also shows up on NPR from time to time. Eat Pudding!

    chris´s last blog post…goDOTchris: eeewwww the skunk just came by again. still haven’t seen it.

  49. That was a great post! I probably would have added Beatrix Potter as well, but as it is, it’s more than ok!

    Shevonne´s last blog post…Have a Happy July 4th Weekend Everyone!

  50. Definitely Richard Scarry and the Curious George books are big in our house. My 5 year old is now really into the Mr.Men series by Roger Hargreaves. And we also love Canadian author Robert Munsch (http://www.robertmunsch.com/). My younger one (20 months) loves Sandra Boynton and Eric Carle…in fact, Brown Bear was the first book she actually started saying with words.

    Thanks for a great list.

    angela´s last blog post…lavender sachets (set of 2) – customized and HAND-embroidered

  51. As a former teacher, I’m all about books. Tsh, I love your list of 10! Here are a few more I would add: Lois Ehlert, Don Freeman (Corduroy), Patricia Polacco, Cynthia Rylant (When I Was Young in the Mountains), Jane Yolen, James Howe. Happy Reading :)

  52. I thought of several authors that I would add, but others mentioned them in their comments. Bill Peet is the only one I would add that has not been mentioned. We have “The Ant and the Elephant”, and we’ve borrowed several other titles from our library. His books have terrific illustrations (he also made Disney cartoons) and an engaging rhythm.

    I think the comments about Curious George are interesting. We’ve always used books like that as non-examples. We read them, enjoy them, and talk about how we should not act. My ten-year-old absolutely adores the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip books. I always tell him he can read about Calvin as long as he doesn’t act like Calvin. Don’t underestimate a comic strip, either–my son has a phenomenal vocabulary, and much of it he learned from Calvin and Hobbes!

  53. Tsh, I’m sure you know about the fabulous Chinaberry Catalog?

    Leisa Hammett´s last blog post…Alterna-Mom

  54. Great list! My daughter loves to devour authors! After the Sandra Boynton years, she devoured Kevin Henkes and Ian Falconer– I would consider them to be 2 of the best children’s authors writing today, along with Mo Willems. My son loves his Elephant & Piggie books, but my daughter (at 3.5) is thoroughly enthralled with Don’t Let Pigeon Drive the Bus and the other Pigeon books, along with the 2 Knuffle Bunny books.

    We love books so much that we write about them on Thursdays as part of the What My Children Are Reading weekly meme over at The Well-Read Child (http://wellreadchild.blogspot.com/). Though my daughter sometimes manages to grab “twaddle” off of the library shelves, it doesn’t make it into my weekly Book Bag post!

    Diana (Ladybug Limited)´s last blog post…Jam Wars

  55. Kevin Henkes is one of my absolute favorites! When I used to work in an elementary school as the school librarian, they didn’t have a single one of his books. By the time I left (two years later), I think they had almost all of them. *blush*

  56. avatar
    mama nomad says:

    Maybe I missed another mention, but my all-time favorite children’s author is Charlotte Zolotow, who wrote William’s Doll, The Quarelling Book, Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present (illustrated by M. Sendak) and many more.

    Also I had never liked Shrek the Movie, as I thought Mike Meyers’ humor was not so suited for children…but then I read the actual Shrek by William Steig and was so impressed!

    Great list…so many of these books have enriched our lives. Now that my oldest is 7, it has been so exciting to move onto the classic chapter books such as Anne of Green Gables and books by Roald Dahl….and I get to read things to them I may have missed out on as a kid myself!

  57. avatar
    Laura Bobak says:

    Very surprised you left out Dr. Seuss (many stories contain very sophisticated underlying messages — the Lorax is about protecting the earth against environmental abuse and useless consumer overconsumption; Yertle the Turtle is about the evils of fascism and totalitarianism — Geisel once stated that Yertle the Turtle was Adolf Hitler; the Sneetches is about racial equality; the Butter Battle book is about the arm’s race; How the Grinch Stole Christmas is about anti-materialism). How on earth could you ever possibly say these very subversive, brilliant, ingenious stories, “don’t make sense”? Almost forgot, Oh, The Places You’ll Go! which is a popular gift for graduating students encouraging them and motivating them to imagine their futures as a blank slate where they can achieve anything.
    By the way, I also love Beatrix Potter, but I’m surprised you would specifically mention the Tale of Benjamin Bunny, in which the poor rabbit’s father beats him violently with a switch as punishment for sneaking into Mr. McGregor’s garden with his cousin Peter. There is even an illustration showing the violent beating and the next image shows Benjamin walking away, crying, holding his bottom. Horrible.

  58. We love a lot of the authors mentioned above, but we also love “caps for Sale by Sephyr Slobodkina and “Ferdinand the Bull” by Munro Leaf and “Bread and Jam for Frances” by Russell Hoban. what a great post! Thanks, Abbie

  59. I brought you list to the library this morning and picked out some for the kids. Nice to have a good pile of literature- and NO Sponge Bob! Thanks!

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  60. I’m not sure if it’s already here, but Roald Dahl needs to be here!!! I love ALL his stories!!

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  61. What a wonderful post! I know many of the authors you have featured and I think they are great choices. Perhaps in a future post you can put together a list of authors for teens. Thanks for sharing!

  62. What a great list! THank you for sharing! I just found your website and I love it!

    Please stop by my blog and enter some fun giveaways. I’ve got a really great one that’s ending today for a kid’s outfit valued at $113! I really need to get some more entries for it, so I’d really appreciate your help! And you have a good chance of winning too!!! :)
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  63. we love reading anything by sarah weeks at our house!
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  64. Great list! My little guy also loves Richard Scarry’s books. And for very very young kids, Roger Priddy is the master. Did you know Ruth Krauss is married to Crocket Johnson? I know this is an old post, but I had to comment. We review everything my two year old reads (and then come) on our site, Chronicle of an Infant Bibliophile.
    .-= Lynn´s last blog ..Library Book Sale – Part 2 =-.

  65. Ezra Jack Keats. Whistle for Willie, The Snowy Day– Classics!!!

  66. Love your list of children’s authors. Robert McCloskey’s Blueberries for Sal is one of my all time favorites, too. I love the illustrations in blueberry-colored ink, and the simple text is wonderful as well.

  67. I take issue with the inclusion of Margaret Wise Brown on this list. She is maybe the most insipid children’s author that I have encountered. Her stories read like scribbles on a cocktail napkin. The only boon to her works is that they are generally accompanied by decent illustrations.

  68. Oh, I love that illustration from Robert McCloskey. I’ve never read his books but I’m going to take a look at them next time I take my granddaughter to the library. We never seem to have enough books to read so these could be a great addition!
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  69. I love Chris Van Allsburg (“The Mysteries of Harris Burdick”, “The Polar Express”, etc) and David Wiesner (“Tuesday”, “Sector 7″, etc), Mitsumasa Anno, Frank Muir (The What-A-Mess books, Richard Scarry, and Phoebe Gilman (“The Balloon Tree”).

  70. What about the Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson, that is up there with my favourites (I mean my sons!)

  71. My all-time favorite children’s author is Charlotte Zolotow. She is a true genius and has been paired with some amazing illustrators like Sendak and Hilary Knight. Best books are: “When I Have a Little Girl,” “The New Friend,” “Over and Over” and “Big Sister and Little Sister.”

    I also love M. Sasek — “This Is New York,”, “This is London”…. city and country series.

    And James Marshall is completely original with the “George and Martha” series and the “Miss Nelson” series.

    Thanks for your list!!

  72. Re: Dr. Seuss: I know this is all so subjective. But I grew up reading Seuss books, and of course I didn’t understand their deeper meanings then. You don’t have to as a kid. The sheer imagination of the stories and characters I loved, and the flow of the language and the nonsensical words made me cherish all those books. I am still a fan as an adult. As soon as I began reading to my babies, I always read Seuss (among many other authors’ books). They loved the rhythm, especially Green Eggs and Ham. No list of great children’s authors — if you’re championing a love of language — is complete without him.

  73. I love Bill Peet! He is so UNDER-RATED! And Eric Carle is so OVER–RATED, IMHO.

    • I am a huge Bill Peet fan too! Just wonderful stuff…great imagination!
      Also a huge fan of ANYTHING Anthony Brown. Gorgeous illustrations and heartwarming stories. My son often picks out five of his “Willy” books in a row for us to read.

  74. Great article, I also like Eric Carle. I like the easy simple stories and all the colorful pictures. The beautiful illustrations are great for toddlers.

  75. I personally liked The Magic School Bus books by Joanna Cole!!

  76. avatar
    Ken O'Shaughnessy says:

    I definitely agree with the poster above who mentioned Ezra Jack Keats. Another one to note is Jules Feiffer, probably better known for illustrating The Phantom Tollbooth. Our favorite of his (and arguably our favorite period) is Bark, George! which has an awesome twist at the end.

  77. Three words I would add:
    Vera B. Williams
    Wait, is “B.” a word? Could be.

  78. Kate DiCamillo! Ezra Jack Keats! Judy Schachner!

  79. avatar
    Colin Banks says:

    I am seeking books by an author that I do not know, He is on a par with Robert Westall
    We have all Robert Westall’s books they are fantastic, The author I am seeking is similar
    out of print now and copies at around £60 to £80, When I see the name I will know it.
    I have rear Kingdom by the seam Robert Westall, my son had me read this to him time and again with tears rollong down his cheeks, Please if anyone can think of an author of such repute I would be eternally gratefull.

  80. avatar
    Shadman Hossain says:

    I am surprised Roald Dhal is not on the list.

  81. avatar
    Elise Neufeld says:

    Great list! Bill Peet is another fantastic children’s author. A former illustrator for Disney; he worked on animated classics like Cinderella, Peter Pan and Snow White. His children’s books are wonderfully drawn (obviously) and have much less typical storylines. They usually center around the plight of an underdog or quirky character who uses his quirks to succeed. Buford the Little Bighorn has extra-long antlers which prevent him from jumping from rock to rock. But, when danger threatens, he discovers that he can ski on his own antlers and escape. There’s usually a message about being kind, being yourself or helping others. Terrific books that are sure to delight!

  82. Hi Tsh!

    As an English teacher and mother I am always on the lookout for recommended literature for children – I will definitely be checking out some of these authors!

    Ella x

  83. So nice to see some great resources on children stories compiled together as you did. That’s helpful! As you said, there are so much junk now on internet about children stories, possibly much more than back in the time you wrote this article, so that it’s refreshing so see a great compilation. I plan to add a reference to Ito. My site if you don’t mind. :-)

  84. Great post! I love Roald Dahl, Kaye Umansky, Lemony Snicket, all which have awesome illustrations too!

  85. I do not know

  86. avatar
    Sara Rosado says:

    No one mentioned Frank Asch (Moonbear, Bear Shadow). His books teach physics and astronomy to preschoolers through a bear’s peculiar but familiar misunderstandings. The “puzzlement” nature of the books and sweet serendipity kind of similar to Frog and Toad.

    On another note, for a recent baby shower gift, I made a list of our most treasured family read-alouds and then scoured the thrift stores in town to collect as many off the list as possible for a starter set. Best Gift Ever!

    Also you find out with your younger ones that it’s never too early to start reading aloud with them, even advanced literature–since they end up joining your family reading sessions right from the get-go.

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