Author Of. . .

The writers behind great children's stories – from picture books to middle-grade, novels to non-fiction
For busy parents interested in connecting kids with great books, Author Of . . . is a blog that spotlights the best in children's literature. From Chicago children's author Kate Hannigan.

Children's Books for the Holiday Season

Children's Books for the Holiday Season
If your house is like ours, it's Nutcracker mania right now. We're eating, sleeping, and dreaming (of Sugar Plum Fairies, of course) about the Christmas spectacular based on the story by E.T.A. Hoffmann, as are countless dancers and their families across the country. So it seems the perfect time to spotlight a wonderful new picture book about the Nutcracker's American roots, The Nutcracker Comes to America: How Three Ballet-loving Brothers Created a Holiday Tradition (Millbrook Press, September 2015), from the multi-talented Chris Barton. Illustrated by Cathy Gendron, The Nutcracker Come......
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Sally Walker's Huggable Non-Fiction "Winnie: The True Story"

Sometimes we come across books that we simply fall in love with. For me, I've fallen hard for the Sally Walker's fascinating and adorable non-fiction title Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh (Henry Holt and Co., January 2015), gorgeously illustrated by Jonathan D. Voss. This is one of those books you leave out on the kitchen table so family and friends can pick it up. It lingers in the imagination, makes other writers smack their heads and wish they'd thought of it first, entertains and informs. Just like the bear on the cover, this book is huggable, irre......
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Reading Challenge and Diversity in Children's Books

Reading Challenge and Diversity in Children's Books
  Hey, did you know the ninth annual 48 Hour Book Challenge is going on this very minute? The clock is ticking as you read this, so grab a stack o' books and get at it. What is the 48 Hour Book Challenge, you ask? Here's how it works: chose your starting time within the weekend and read as much of the time as you want. The books are anything from middle-grade to YA to adult. And you can blog about it during that time too. Some people go without sleep and read the entire 48 hours. Others challenge themselves to be part of the 20 Hour Club. Just 12 hours makes you a participant and elig......
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Mary Cronk Farrell's 'Pure Grit' Looks at WWII Nurses

Mary Cronk Farrell's 'Pure Grit' Looks at WWII Nurses
March is not only Women's History Month, it's also National Reading Month. So what better way to celebrate the two than with a gripping read about some remarkable women at a crucial time in America's history. Mary Cronk Farrell's Pure Grit: How American World War II Nurses Survived Battle and Prison Camp in the Pacific (Abrams, February 2014) is designated for a third- to seventh-grade audience, but its appeal is much broader. I've talked about this title with parents and grownup friends as well as my own kids, and I simply cannot recommend this book enough. Not only does it detail the harrowi......
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"Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors?" A Picture Book for Young Readers

"Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors?" A Picture Book for Young Readers
Once upon a time, when my husband was just a little guy, he believed that all doctors were women. That's because his own mom was an MD. So it made perfect sense to him that this was how the world worked. But as we know, that's not the way it was. Medical schools today are graduating women at roughly equal numbers as men. But there was time when simply the idea of a woman aspiring to be a doctor was laughable. With the picture book Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell (Henry Holt, 2013), Tanya Lee Stone takes readers back in time to see what it was like throug......
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Top 10 Essential Picture Books for Kids and Grownups

As part of August's Picture Book 10 for 10 event launched by the folks at Enjoy and Embrace Learning, I'm offering up my Top 10 list. I thought about doing a rundown of the best books featuring smart dogs or adorable penguins or clever kids wearing tiaras. But what I think might be the most helpful is thus: Top 10 Essential Picture Books Based on hours of reading with a certain trio in my house, the selection process is highly scientific: it is measured on the hilarity factor, the visual umph, and how many times little voices chirped, "Again!" What follows are the Top 10 picture books......
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Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado Hit Big WIth 'Giants Beware'

Celebrating graphic novels with Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado and their book "Giants Beware" (First Second Books).
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Moroccan Desert Inspires Christine Brodien-Jones' 'Scorpions'

Author Christine Brodien-Jones is always up for adventure. At least, judging by her middle-grade novels she seems to be. A former journalist, editor, and teacher, Christine brings a spirit of inquiry and excitement to her writing. The Owl Keeper (Delacorte, 2010) tells the story of a brave young forest boy who must overcome the powers of the dark by harnessing the ancient forces of the owls. And her forthcoming The Glass Puzzle, which will be published by Delacorte in July, pits an 11-year-old girl and her cousin against sinister forces in a sleepy seaside town in Wales. In her thrilling fant......
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Celebrate Earth Day With Esme Raji Codell's 'Seed by Seed'

Author Esme Raji Codell's "Seed by Seed" offers a wonderful way to celebrate Earth Day.
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Renee Watson's 'Blackbird' Celebrates Harlem Renaissance

Author Renee Watson spotlights lesser-known figure of the Harlem Renaissance with picture book "Harlem's Little Blackbird."
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Laurie Lawlor 's 'Rachel Carson' Shows the Power of One

Laurie LawlorWith Earth Day around the corner, it seems a perfect time to spotlight Laurie Lawlor's terrific non-fiction picture book Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World (Holiday House, 2012). And even better timing is that Laurie and her book will be receiving the prestigious John Burroughs Riverby Award, which recognizes outstanding nature books for young readers, today at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Rachel Carson and Her Book, which is illustrated by Laura Beingessner, has also been named to the ALA Amelia Bloomer Project List for children's books that promote a fem......
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Segregated 1960s Inspired Augusta Scattergood's 'Glory Be'

Augusta Scattergood draws on real-life experiences growing up in the segregated South of the 1960s with her debut middle-grade novel, "Glory Be."
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Author-Illustrator Matthew Cordell Draws on Inspiration

Author-illustrator Matthew Cordell creates a wonderful celebration of the unplugged world with "Hello! Hello!" from Disney-Hyperion.
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Judith Bloom Fradin, cheerleader for non-fiction

With more than 150 books to her credit, children's author Judith Bloom Fradin is a cheerleader for non-fiction.
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Ben Hatke and His Hero for All Ages, Zita the Spacegirl

Ben Hatke shares the mysteries behind intergalactic hero Zita the Spacegirl, a perfect read for girls and boys.
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Carolyn Crimi on Pugs, Bugs, and What Makes Her Laugh

Carolyn Crimi's latest ruff and tumble read is "Pugs in a Bug," her 13th hilarious picture book.
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My Funny Valentine: Brenda Ferber's 'Yuckiest' Picture Book

Author Brenda Ferber goes straight for the heart with The Yuckiest, Stinkiest, Best Valentine Ever.
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Amy Timberlake Hits the Target With 'One Came Home'

Author Amy Timberlake's interest in birding comes through in her latest middle-grade novel, One Came Home, out this month from Knopf.
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Jacqueline Kelly, author, MD, and Newbery Honoree

Jacqueline KellyWhen Newbery season rolls around, we can't help thinking about our favorite books and personal picks. In honor of one of the top prizes in children's literature, we interview Jacqueline Kelly, recipient of a 2010 Newbery Honor for her debut middle-grade novel, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. Calpurnia Virginia Tate is one of the most memorable characters to come along in children's literature in years. The only girl out of seven children, Callie Vee, as she is known, spends the sweltering days in her sleepy Texas town down by the river with her grandfather. With the story set in 1899, Callie......
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Print Books Never Lose Battery Life at Bedtime

digital bedtime storiesThe  Joan Ganz Cooney Center has come out with some interesting studies about print books and e-books, and their peppy cousin the enhanced e-book. The results, which you can read at Digital Book World, are significant not only for the learning they show among young readers, but also for the perceptions parents have about the way young people read. Look for a complete report on the survey by the end of this summer. There seems to be a bit of a disconnect. One study showed that kids, ranging in age from 3 to 6 years, preferred reading an e-book to a paper book. And it looked at their comprehen......
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