My top five writers are not snobby, literary, award winners but rather writers who have made my kids and I howl. They understand that kids are not dumb and also that kids deserve to be entertained and challenged. They also understand that their roles as creators of kid-lit mean they are more than just someone who puts words on a page. Great creators of kid-lit are kids too. They know that removing themselves too far from childhood takes away their skills. Great creators of kid-lit don’t write what they think kids should read, they write the books kids need and want. Here’s who made me howl and why:
Dan Gutman: Not only for the most fun chapter books around, the Weird School series, but also for the Genius Files which are also, genius.
Carl Hiaasen: For writing kid-lit that is as fun, wild and exciting as his adult books, just without the naughty parts.
Margaret Peterson Haddix: Because she challenges kids’ views of the world and makes them want to explore other worlds as well.
Jeff Kinney: For making storytelling with graphics mainstream and making it ok to be a total nerd. Beyond that, for creating a bookstore – An Unlikely Story, in Plainfield, Mass. – that is a haven for kid-lit and the best place in the world to spend an afternoon.
Judy Blume: For being the Grand Dame of telling important stories and making so many of us want to write for kids too.