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.

 

Mike Grosso

Mike Grosso is a middle school teacher, musician, and author of I Am Drums.

 

He truly believes reading lists rock.

 

  • My Near-Death Adventures, (99% True!)
  • Alison DeCamp
  • Stan is the Man. This is one of few books that had me laughing out loud. The writing by itself makes for a fantastic story, but the defaced photographs throughout the book make this something much more special.

  • The 8th Continent
  • Matt London
  • Dude, it’s a book series about two kids that take the world’s garbage and turn it into an eighth continent. What’s not to like? A great book for scientific-minded environmentalists.

  • Hoodoo
  • Ronald L. Smith
  • Take the eeriness of THE LAST APPRENTICE and put it in recession era rural Alabama. Ronald Smith is a master of setting and mood, and not an author to be read in the dark unless you’re very brave.

  • One Handed Catch
  • Mary Jane Auch
  • My students get grossed out sometimes when I book talk this one, so I assure them the first chapter is well-handled to insure minimal vomiting. Plus, it’s a book that gets kids thinking about what it means to be differently-abled.

  • My Seventh-Grade Life In Tights
  • Brooks Benjamin
  • A lot of boys don’t want to dance. That will change after reading Brooks Benjamin’s awesome book.

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.

Jon Skovron

Jon Skovron is the author of Struts and Frets, Misfit, and most recently, Man Made Boy. His short stories have appeared in anthologies such as Defy the Dark, GRIM, and the forthcoming Apollo's Daughters.

The first three suggestions here are for younger readers, suggested by Jon's sons, Logan and Zane, aka the SkovBros.

The next three books are for somewhat older readers, suggested by Jon.

 

 

  • The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
  • Tom Angleberger
  • "It's a mystery with a lot of Star Wars jokes and funny pictures. And at the end of each book, it shows you how to make a different Star Wars character."

  • How to Grow Up and Rule the World, by Vordak the Incomprehensible
  • Vordak T. Incomprehensible
  • "It's about a super villain. And it's funny. There should be more books about funny super villains."

  • Bunnicula
  • James Howe
  • "It's about a vampire rabbit who sucks the juices of vegetables. My dad liked this book when he was a kid. It's still good."

  • The Pawn of Prophecy
  • David Eddings
  • "Swords, sorcery, spies, gods, adventure, and humor. I'm not sure what else you need. This is the first book in The Belgariad series, which hooked me on reading forever."

  • White Cat
  • Holly Black
  • "Mafia gangsters with magic."

  • I Hunt Killers
  • Barry Lyga
  • "The son of a serial killer catches serial killers. Not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach."

Tony DiTerlizzi

is the illustrator of The Spiiderwick Chronicles, The Spider and the Fly, Ted, and many more.  He uses his powers for good.

  • Peter Pan and Wendy
  • J.M. Barrie's classic has surly pirates, bloodthirsty native Americans, a hungry crocodile, feisty faeries and flying kids with weapons . . . what more could you ask for?

  • Watership Down
  • Richard Adams takes you on an incredible quest from a home colony that’s completely eradicated to Shangri la. One the way, there are monsters, villains, allies, oh, and a fascist leader trying to seize the hero's new home . . . and its all told with rabbits. You read that right — rabbits.

  • The Mouse and the Motorcycle
  • Mouse buddy + toy motorcycle = Awesome!

  • The Lorax
  • In my mind, this one of Dr. Seuss’s undisputed classics. Sadly, we need the Lorax now more than ever.

  • Lafcadio: The Lion That Shot Back
  • One of Shel Silverstein's lesser known titles, but one of my all-time favorites. Actually, I learned about this one when my younger brother read it for school and had me help with his book report. It is one of those stories that you will always remember.

Eliot Schrefer

Eliot Schrefer is a primate who writes novels about apes.

Eliot Schrefer

  • Homeland
  • R.A. Salvatore
  • "The first fifty pages of the Dark Elf Trilogy have enough swordplay and plot twists to make you gasp."

  • The Tin Woodman of Oz
  • L. Frank Baum
  • "All the Oz books, actually. But I liked the Tin Woodsman the most, so this is the book I'm listing. Let's not psychoanalyze."

  • The Belgariad
  • David Eddings
  • Also, The Mallorean. "When I was the new kid in school, the characters in these books were my buds. Funny, courageous, and there's 1000 pages worth of them."

  • The Princess Bride
  • William Goldman
  • "Funny and clever and full of heart."

  • Dragonlance: Chronicles and Legends
  • by Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman. "I started with the computer game and then turned to the books. Lots of gods and glowy magic and giant spiders rearing in pain! Awesome."