We take a look at our Top 6 Kids Authors, and what makes them so great for kids and adults alike! We chose authors who we adored as kids and whose stories have a timeless appeal. These books make great gifts for kids of any age and can also be enjoyed by parents reading stories at bedtime!
Roald Dahl was a British author famous for his quirky and often dark adventure stories involving brave kids. His main storylines tended to involve children outwitting bad adults, and showing kids that it’s ok to be unique and different.
Roald Dahl was born in Wales to Norwegian parents in 1916. Norwegian was his first language which he spoke with his family while growing up. He often got up to mischief with his friends and was later transferred to a boarding school. The various schools he went to were very strict and harsh, and didn’t encourage creativity.
After school he worked for Shell Petroleum in various different countries: Kenya and Tanzania in Africa. World War Two broke out and Roald was enlisted as a pilot. With barely any training, he flew around the world on various dangerous missions. During the later part of the war, he was transferred to Washington DC as an intelligence officer, even working with communications between Winston and Churchill!
Later he married an American actress, Patricia Neal, and had 5 children.
He wrote many of his famous childrens books while raising his children in the UK.
- Roald Dahl was born in Wales, to Norwegian parents
- He’s one of the worlds best-selling authors
- He was very tall!
- At school, no one thought he was a talented writer
- He was a fighter pilot in the Royal Air Force during WWII
Almost every child has read the quirky, rhyming Dr. Seuss books while learning to read. Dr. Seuss was an American author and illustrator who’s well-loved around the world. He published over 60 books and sold over 600 million copies!
Dr. Seuss was born to parents of German descent in 1904.
Dr. Seuss started writing children’s books after his time at Oxford University in England. He left the university to start his career as an illustrator for Vanity Fair and various other corporations in America. He traveled the world with his wife which inspired various stories.
During WWII he worked on animations for the United States Army. One of these films later won an Academy Award.
Dr. Seuss wrote and illustrated most of his famous children’s books after the war. His most famous, The Cat in the Hat, was inspired by the low level of literacy in young children. He wrote the book using 236 of the most important words for first graders to know!
- Dr. Seuss came up with his pen-name during university. His real name is Theodor Seuss Geisel
- He added the “Dr.” to his pen-name because his father always wanted him to be a doctor
- Ironically Dr Seuss never had children of his own, preferring to entertain other’s children instead!
Beatrix Potter was a British author famous for her cute and whimsical stories and illustrations of animals and farms in the British countryside.
Beatrix Potter was born in 1866 and grew up with her brother in a wealthy household in the mid-late 1800s. Her father was a lawyer in London and had also invested successfully in the stock market.
During her childhood, her and her brother spent a lot of time on holiday in the Lake District and Scotland. They both developed a love of plants and animals and began studying them. Her observations of fungi gained the respect of the scientific community in the UK. During the Victorian era, the study of nature was very popular, but it was still unusual for a woman to be interested in biology.
Her stories were inspired by classics such as Aesop’s Fables and the tales of The Brother’s Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. She spent a lot of time in the art galleries of London which inspired her delightful illustrations.
Beatrix eventually bought a house in the famously beautiful Lake District in England. She slowed down with her writing after WWI as she was busy tending to animals and land conservation projects in the Lake District.
- Japanese people love anything to do with Peter Rabbit and even have their own full-scale version of Beatrix Potter’s cottage in a zoo in Tokyo. Every year, 15,000 Japanese tourists visit the real Beatrix Potter cottage in England! Peter Rabbit is popular with kids and with woman of all ages partly because they grew up reading the books while learning English.
- Beatrix donated her entire estate to the National Trust which helped preserve much of the historic Lake District in England
Have you seen the movie about Beatrix Potter’s life?
What are your favorite stories?
Rudyard Kipling wrote many famous children’s (and adult’s) stories in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His stories are distinctively exotic due to his frequent travelling and living in other countries; mostly India.
The Jungle Book, The Jungle Book II, How the Leopard Got His Spots, How the Camel Got His Hump, How the Elephant Got His Trunk
Rudyard Kipling was born in British-occupied India to two British expats in 1865. The family lived on the site of an art school where his father was the principal and a pottery professor. He was sent back to the UK when he was 5, to begin his education. He went to an army education school, and after finishing went back to his parents and found a job in Punjab (now Pakistan).
Kipling worked in British India for various newspapers for around 6 years, and loved his time back in India. Later he returned to the UK and became famous for his short stories published in various magazines. He suffered a nervous breakdown and was encouraged to take a long rest and a holiday to various British colonies: South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and India. Afterwards he got married and moved to the United States to live in a simple cottage in Vermont. He had the ideas for many of his stories there, including The Jungle Book. After a few years, he and his family returned to the UK again where he lived out his life writing short stories and helping with the war efforts during WWI.
- Rudyard Kipling’s “Just So” collection of stories was named because he had to read them to his daughter in just the right way, in the words that she knew.
- He illustrated the “Just So” collection himself.
- Kipling was the first English-language writer to receive a Nobel Prize (in 1907)
- He briefly fell in love with a geisha while on a trip to Japan
CS Lewis was a British author and poet who wrote many famous stories including The Chronicles of Narnia.
The Chronicles of Narnia, Space Trilogy
Lewis was born in Ireland in 1898. Growing up, he was influence by Beatrix Potter’s works and often wrote and illustrated his own animal stories. He want to various schools in the UK and was interested in the mythology of Scandinavia and Greece. After school he received a scholarship for Oxford University, but had to leave to fight in France during WWI. He was injured during the war and was eventually discharged so he could return to his studies.
He was an amazing student who received several honours, and eventually took up a position as a tutor at Oxford. After serving as a radio announcer during WWII, he wrote The Chronicles of Narnia between 1949 and 1954. He finished the last decades of his career at Cambridge University.
- CS Lewis was friends with JRR Tolkien for much of his life
- He didn’t enjoy traveling, and only left the UK once after WWI ended
JK Rowling is a much-loved contemporary British author best known for her Harry Potter series.
Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
JK Rowling was born in the UK in 1965. She went to various schools around the UK and had a troubled family life. Rowling was quite good at school and became the Head Girl of her secondary school. She tried to get in to Oxford University, but failed and studied at Exeter University instead. After graduating, she worked as a researcher for Amnesty International. Afterwards she worked at the Chamber of Commerce in Manchester where she came up with the idea for her first Harry Potter book.
Later she moved to Portugal to teach English as a Second Language, where she also got married and had her first daughter. After her marriage ended she returned to the UK with her daughter and the first few chapters of her book. She was very poor and lived on state benefits for many years while she continued writing. She submitted the first draft of her book to 12 publishers who all declined. A year later Bloomsbury gave her an advance to finish writing. They initially only published 1000 copies of the book which are now worth thousands of pounds! Soon after, the book started receiving many awards and Rowling continued to write the rest of the series with the help of the award funds.
Several books in the series have gone on to break all sales records in both the UK and the US. The books were made into a very successful movie franchise, and Rowling continues to write, contribute to charity and to speak about political subjects. She’s thought to have inspired millions of young children around the world to read more and use their imaginations.
- J.K. Rowling’s initial Harry Potter script was rejected 12 times before finally being published by Bloomsbury. It’s now the best-selling book series ever!
- She wrote an adult crime series under the pen name ‘Robert Galbraith’ which became successful after her real identity was found out
That’s it everyone!
Who’s your favourite author from our Top 6 Kids Authors list? Did you discover any new interesting facts about them? Let us know in the comments below…