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.

 

Jeff Zentner

Jeff Zentner is a guitarist and songwriter and the author of the starkly beautiful debut YA novel The Serpent King (our full review here).

 

  • The First Time She Drowned
  • Kerry Kletter
  • “An absolutely gorgeous, lyrical, and unflinching story about a girl escaping from under the thumb of a toxic mother and living her own life.”

  • How to Hang a Witch
  • Adriana Mather
  • “A delightfully spooky, twist-turny, and gripping mystery set in a haunted present-day Salem, Massachusetts.”

  • The Love That Split the World
  • Emily Henry
  • “A beautiful and romantic time travel story set in small-town Kentucky.”

  • Kids of Appetite
  • David Arnold
  • (out in September) “A hilarious, quirky, and warm story about murder, first love, and families of choice.”

  • Everything, Everything
  • Nicola Yoon
  • “A sweet and swoony story about a girl who’s allergic to the world.”

  • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
  • Becky Albertalli
  • “A hilarious, warm, and wise coming-out and coming-of-age story.”

  • More Happy Than Not
  • Adam Silvera
  • “A heartbreaking story about a young man running from his own memory.”

Mo Willems

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.

Jason Reynolds

JASON REYNOLDS is crazy. About stories. After earning a BA in English from The University of Maryland, College Park, he moved to Brooklyn, New York, where you can often find him walking the four blocks from the train to his apartment talking to himself. Well, not really talking to himself, but just repeating character names and plot lines he thought of on the train, over and over again, because he's afraid he'll forget it all before he gets home. When I Was the Greatest is his debut novel. His next, The Boy in the Black Suit, comes out in 2015. He's also the co-author of (in our opinion) the criminally-overlooked poetry/art hybrid memoir My Name is Jason. Mine Too.: Our Story. Our Way.

From his website: "Here's what I know: I know there are a lot - A LOT - of young people who hate reading. I know that many of these book haters are boys. I know that many of these book-hating boys, don't actually hate books, they hate boredom. If you are reading this, and you happen to be one of these boys, first of all, you're reading this so my master plan is already working (muahahahahahaha) and second of all, know that I feel you. I REALLY do. Because even though I'm a writer, I hate reading boring books too."

  • The Young Landlords
  • Walter Dean Myers
  • It's a brilliantly gritty story about a bunch of kids who get swindled into taking over a slum building. Super creative, yet totally feasible in New York City.

  • Kira-Kira
  • Cynthia Kadohata
  • The story takes place in the sixties in the segregated south. Black people know where they stand. White people know where they stand. But what about a Japanese family?

  • Noggin
  • John Corey Whaley
  • Smart and hilarious story about a young man who is dying and his parents decide to cryogenically freeze his head. A few years later, he's back from the dead. And he's still in high school.

  • The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey
  • Walter Mosley
  • One of the gems that flew under the radar because Mosely is so prolific. But it's a sweet, yet biting story about an elder man, Ptolemy Grey, suffering from dementia.

  • Erasure
  • Percival Everett
  • It's a weird book about a stuffy writer and his hatred for the industry. His frustration with his agent wanting him to write a "sellable" book pushes him to pen "street fiction" just as a middle finger to the corporate publishing structure. Madness ensues, and it's downright hilarious.

Stephen Emond

Stephen Emond is an awesome author and illustrator whose engaging blend of novel and art is perfect for reluctant readers and guy audiences (among others). His novels include Happyface, Winter Town, and Bright Lights, Dark Nights.