Click here for some authors we’ve talked to about their books and their process.

And click below for some recommendations from some authors we trust.

 

Daniel Handler

is, most famously, the author of A Series of Unfortunate Events.  He also plays a mean accordian.

  • The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily
  • This book contains fierce battles, a magic wand, illegal gambling, a sea serpent, many ghosts and a werewolf, although the werewolf in the book doesn't really appear in the book. This has been my favorite book since I was a tiny brat, and now that I am larger I try to make everyone read it.

  • The Headless Cupid
  • This is another lifelong favorite of mine, about a poltergeist, which is either an invisible ghost throwing things around or somebody pretending to be an invisible ghost throwing things around.

  • Danny, the Champion of the World
  • Everybody knows Roald Dahl, but you might not know this book, which is not only a great suspense story but teaches you several methods of hunting pheasant illegally, which your parents have probably not taught you. Another thing you might not know about Roald Dahl is that if you go online you can take a virtual tour of the disgusting hut in which he wrote his books.

  • How I Live Now
  • This starts out as a pleasant summer story about spending time with one’s cousins and then suddenly gets pretty scary.

  • Running Wild
  • This book is even scarier. It might be too scary for you. It is about some nasty, nasty children. I don't really like to think about this book, which is probably why I've read it three times.

  • Halloween Party
  • OK, this book isn't nearly as scary. It's just about a young girl who gets murdered while bobbing for apples. Agatha Christie is fun to read because there's always a mystery, and often there's a list of characters in the front in case you start getting confused.

Elizabeth Patridge

Elizabeth Partridge is the author of over a dozen books for children and adults, among them the highly celebrated Marching to Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don't You Grow Weary, as well as biographies of Dorothea Lange, Woody Guthrie, and John Lennon. Her books have received many honors, including National Book Award Finalist, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Michael L. Printz Honor, SCBWI Golden Kite Award, SLJ's Battle of the Books, and the Jane Addams Children's Book Award.

Her story, "Mojo, Moonshine, and the Blues," appeared in the fifth volume of the Guys Read library: True Stories.

Elizabeth is on the core faculty at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults.

The following is a list of books she's either loved reading with her two boys, or that she just thinks are fantastic.

 

  • Robot Dreams
  • Sara Varon
  • I love this wordless graphic novel. A dog builds a robot and they become friends, but the robot rusts and can't move after he goes in the water at the beach. Both funny and sad.

  • American Born Chinese
  • Gene Luen Yang
  • The Monkey King, a Chinese folk hero, messes with the main character who is trying to fit in at his all-white school. Graphic novel.

  • The Graveyard Book
  • Neil Gaiman
  • How can you resist a book with these first two lines: "The knife had a handle of polished black bone, and a blade sharper and finer than any razor. If it sliced you, you might not even know you'd been cut, not immediately."

  • One-Eyed Cat
  • Paula Fox
  • What if you found a gun and were told never to shoot it, and one evening you shot at a flickering shadow, and you thought you might have hit a cat, right in the eye? How would you deal with the cat, and your guilt, fear, and shame?

  • Robin Hood
  • Get the biggest, fattest version of this book you can find from the library. It should come in at 150-200+ pages. Total adventure and high jinx.

  • Danny, the Champion of the World
  • Roald Dahl
  • Danny and his father feed rum-soaked raisins to the pheasants on the estate where they are never allowed to go hunting. They set out to poach a record number of pheasants from the dreaded estate owner. Dahl is the guy who wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Fantastic Mister Fox.

  • The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights
  • Steve Sheinkin
  • Why were 50 sailors, all African American, tried for mutiny by the US Navy during WWII when they refused to go back to work after an explosion killed 300?

  • Kinda Like Brothers
  • Coe Booth
  • Jarrett's mother takes in two foster kids: one a baby, one a boy a year older than Jarrett. As it says on the back cover: "Kinda like enemies. Kinda like friends. Kinda like brothers."

  • Revolution, (The Sixties Trilogy #2)
  • Deborah Wiles
  • This book is a hybrid. It's a novel that takes place during Freedom Summer in 1963, and yet it is full of photographs and real quotes. Mesmerizing.

  • Eleanor and Park
  • Rainbow Rowell
  • Two smart, funny, quirky misfits find each other. This book has one of the most tender love scenes ever, so go get a copy right away.

David Yoo

  • The Last Picture Show
  • Although it takes place in a tiny, dusty Texas town that's nothing like the New England town I grew up in, this is easily my favorite coming-of-age story, ever, period.
  • Then Again, Maybe I Won’t
  • Given the fact that I asked for a pair of binoculars for Christmas (for "bird watching"), too, this was the teen novel that spoke to me when I was 13.
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice
  • My favorite noir writer, this is one of the best plotted stories, ever, in my opinion, with one of the most satisfying endings to a story to boot.
  • Rats Saw God
  • This was the first recent(ish) YA novel that got me excited to write about teens, because it made me think I was reading about, well . . . me.

  • Rosemary’s Baby
  • This horror story is just about perfect in every way, and I've read it maybe 50 times in my lifetime. The movie's one of my favorites, too.
  • Franny and Zooey
  • A decidedly strange little novel that for the life of me I can't quite describe why it's one of my favorites, but it just is.

Jeffrey Brown

Jeffrey Brown lives in Chicago with his wife and two sons. As a kid, he loved comics and dreamed of making them. With a long line of publications and art shows behind and in front of him, we'd say he's certainly living that dream. He's definitely a case of if you can dream it, with a lot of hard work, you can do it. Most lately he's the author of the New York Times bestselling Jedi Academy series. 

photo credit: Jill Liebhaber

  • The Complete Tales Of Winnie-The-Pooh
  • A.A. Milne
  • Illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard
    I only knew the Disney version of Winnie-The-Pooh until I had a son, and discovered I'd really been missing out. I was familiar with Shepard's excellent drawings, but had no idea just how funny and smart the original Pooh stories are.

  • Anything by Roald Dahl
  • Roald Dahl
  • There have been some notable Dahl adaptations - the original Willy Wonka film, Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox - but Dahl's books are more than just great source material for movies. They're endlessly entertaining, often laugh-out-loud funny, and great to read at any age, alone or with someone else also of any age.

  • Labyrinth
  • A.C.H. Smith
  • Going in reverse, here's a novelization of film I loved, and read a ton all the way to my teenage years. Recently reprinted in a nice edition that includes some of Brian Froud's goblin sketches, it's a fairy tale informed by the imagination of Jim Henson and the humor of Monty Python's Terry Jones.

  • His Dark Materials Trilogy
  • Philip Pullman
  • Fans of Harry Potter, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien should be sure to check out this fantasy series. The tone is earnest and sincere, and the adventure is full of wonder and mystery.

Adam McCauley

There are too many incredible books to list, but these come to mind first for me as important in my own upbringing.  I was basically steeped in Tintin as a child, basted by Oz and Tolkien, troubled by Jansson, tickled by Asterix and taught by Lear.  It wasn’t until High School that I saw Codex Seriphinianus, and I was thrown irrevocably into the world of illustration for good.