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.


Patrick Jones

is a Senior Librarian at the Hennepin County Library in Minneapolis, MN.  This is what he says:

The Great Eight: great books (kind of) for guys.  Also: Magazines. Anytime I’m asked for booklist, I ask, “What about magazines, don’t they count?” Well, it’s my list so they count.  Read a magazine every month or week.

Dan Gutman

Anything by Robert Benchley, Woody Allen, Mark Twain, Dave Barry, Roald Dahl, Robert Cormier, Jack Gantos, Peg Kehret, Gary Paulsen, Carl Hiassen, Andrew Clements, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Gordon Korman, Roland Smith, Anthony Horowitz, and some guy named Jon Scieszka.

  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret
  • Genius. The Sgt. Pepper of children's books.

  • Hatchet
  • Still the best survival story.

  • Ball Four
  • This is the book that turned me on to reading. For the first time, somebody wrote like they were having a conversation with me.

  • Yertle the Turtle
  • Or anything by Dr. Seuss. Can’t beat it.

  • Mad Magazine
  • Without it, all intelligent life on Earth would have ceased to exist.

Sam Potts

designed this website.  He also designed the JS Worldwide website.  He has also designed all kinds of other stuff, beautifully.

  • Lou Gehrig, Boy of the Sandlots
  • Guernsey Van Riper Jr.
  • I think this is the first book I ever picked out on my own and read by myself. I'm pretty sure it is. I can tell you this for sure: Lou Gehrig always has been and always will be my favorite baseball player. And I'm from Boston, so that's saying something about the influence of this book.

  • What Do People Do All Day?
  • Richard Scarry
  • Before there was the Internet, there was What Do People Do All Day? to describe the whole world and everything in it. Still hours of fun to explore every page.

  • Stuart Little
  • E.B. White
  • He wears a sweater and sails a boat and drives a car and gets dumped on a garbage barge. Oh, and he's a mouse.

  • Paddle To The Sea
  • Holling C. Holling
  • An adventure story starring a carved wooden boat that travels all the way across Canda. A carved wooden boat? you say. That's right: a carved wooden boat! I wished I could be that boat.

  • The Great Brain, Great Brain Series
  • John D. Fitzgerald
  • This book and the other Great Brain books that followed are a handy how-to guide in the arts of scheming, swindling, cheating, and being a younger brother.

  • Tintin Adventures (Series)
  • Herge
  • We just called them "Tintins." I'd say, "Do you have any new Tintins?" and my friend Jamie would say, "I just finished The Black Island. You can borrow it but you have to give it back." YOu always had to give them ack because these books are precious.

  • Dubliners
  • James Joyce
  • Yeah it's James Joyce, but so what? He ain't so tough. The beauty of these stories is in their simplicity. You'll be able to taste the peas with vinegar and pepper in "Two Gallants." Read this when your friends are reading Catcher in the Rye. (And read that one, too.)

  • Ficciones
  • Jorge Luis Borges
  • A character named Borges comes across an encyclopedia of a fictional land. Pierre Menard rewrites bits of Don Quixote verbatim, by coincidence. Funes remembers everything that happened, ever. Amazing. Worth re-reading about every five years or so.

  • A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, Essays and Arguments
  • David Foster Wallace
  • If you get far enough to read about the toilets in the title essay, you'll probably go on to read every word Wallace ever wrote. This book also contains the most terrifying description of baton-twirling you could ever read.

  • Anatomy of a Typeface
  • Anthony Lawson
  • For the serious typographer as well as the font enthusiast: histories of all the classic typefaces from the days when fonts weighed about 50 pounds (because they were made out of lead). Simply indispensable.

Peter Brown

is an illustrator and a writer.  Probably best know for his books about a dog named Chowder.  But he’s working on plenty of new books right now.

  • I can't overemphasize how perfectly James Marshall balances sweetness and absurdity in these stories.

  • Everyone Poops
  • Everyone Poops is a continuous source of 'inspiration.

  • James and the Giant Peach
  • Witty dialogue, fantastical adventure and a wonderfully dark sense of humor seem to effortlessly flow from Roald Dahl's pen.

  • This series is perhaps the most unique, thoughtful, and provocative fantasy I’ve ever read.

  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
  • I was mesmerized by the way Verne describes the science and logic of the world in which this story takes place.

Michael Northrop

Michael Northrop is a writer living in New York City, author of three YA novels: Gentlemen, one of the American Library Association/YALSA's Best Books for Young Adults; Trapped, an ALA/YALSA Readers' Choice List selection, an Indie Next List pick, and a Barnes & Noble Must-Read for Teens; and Rotten. His first middle grade novel, Plunked, was named one of the best children's books of the year by the New York Public Library. His writing has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Sports Illustrated Kids, McSweeney's, Weird Tales, and many other places. His latest YA novel is Surrounded by Sharks. You can find him on the internet here


  • Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal
  • Ben Macintyre
  • "Fantastic World War II nonfiction: a high-stakes British spy thriller that just happens to be true."

  • Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made
  • Stephan Pastis
  • "Hilarious, endearing, and includes a polar bear - what more do you want? This book made me wish I could draw (or at least doodle really well)."

  • Tales of H.P. Lovecraft
  • H.P. Lovecraft
  • "Lovecraft's stories are profoundly weird, insanely good, and they changed horror writing forever, and for the better (which is to say, weirder)."

  • Rumble Fish
  • S.E. Hinton
  • "A short, tough book that hits hard and leaves a mark. Not as famous as The Outsiders, but it had just as big of an impact on me. It was the first novel I reread when I decided to write YA."


  • A Separate Peace
  • John Knowles
  • "Darn near perfect: a little masterpiece that quietly tackles the big questions."