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.”

Jeffrey Brown

Jeffrey Brown lives in Chicago with his wife and two sons. As a kid, he loved comics and dreamed of making them. With a long line of publications and art shows behind and in front of him, we'd say he's certainly living that dream. He's definitely a case of if you can dream it, with a lot of hard work, you can do it. Most lately he's the author of the New York Times bestselling Jedi Academy series. 

photo credit: Jill Liebhaber

  • The Complete Tales Of Winnie-The-Pooh
  • A.A. Milne
  • Illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard
    I only knew the Disney version of Winnie-The-Pooh until I had a son, and discovered I'd really been missing out. I was familiar with Shepard's excellent drawings, but had no idea just how funny and smart the original Pooh stories are.

  • Anything by Roald Dahl
  • Roald Dahl
  • There have been some notable Dahl adaptations - the original Willy Wonka film, Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox - but Dahl's books are more than just great source material for movies. They're endlessly entertaining, often laugh-out-loud funny, and great to read at any age, alone or with someone else also of any age.

  • Labyrinth
  • A.C.H. Smith
  • Going in reverse, here's a novelization of film I loved, and read a ton all the way to my teenage years. Recently reprinted in a nice edition that includes some of Brian Froud's goblin sketches, it's a fairy tale informed by the imagination of Jim Henson and the humor of Monty Python's Terry Jones.

  • His Dark Materials Trilogy
  • Philip Pullman
  • Fans of Harry Potter, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien should be sure to check out this fantasy series. The tone is earnest and sincere, and the adventure is full of wonder and mystery.

Michael Buckley

  • The Outsiders
  • S.E. Hinton
  • A timeless story of outcasts versus the privileged. Exciting and heartbreaking — Hinton should be applauded for understanding the mind of a guy so well.

  • All Star Superman Books 1 and 2
  • Frank Quitely
  • Lex Luthor finally finds a way to kill Superman and the Big Blue Boy Scout prepares for his death with a shocking ending no one could have seen.

  • Lord of the Flies
  • William Golding
  • A ship full of children from an all boys' school crashes on the beach of a deserted island. Unfortunately, it isn't long before the kids stop working together and break up into tribes with dark and deadly results.

  • Pinocchio
  • Carlo Collodi
  • Most people have seen the movie but few have read the book and that’s a shame. Pinocchio is a walking nightmare and hilarious.

  • The Graveyard Book
  • Neil Gaiman
  • An adaptation of the Jungle Book but instead of a boy being raised by wolves, he's reared by ghosts in an abandoned cemetery. It's chilling and dark, yet a powerful lesson on how a boy becomes a man.

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.

Loren Long

  • The Magic Finger
  • It made me think about what it would feel like to be an animal . . . especially an animal being hunted.
  • Hatchet
  • I was fascinated by the question . . . what would you do if you were lost all alone in the wilderness?
  • A Season on the Brink
  • For any NCAA basketball fan or anyone interested in a quirky biographical study of a legendary coach . . . Bobby Knight.
  • The Winner’s Manual, For the Game of Life
  • I like to learn how extraordinary/successful people approach life and this is a unique (just published) book about methods and ideals that Jim Tressell brings to his Ohio State football program.

  • Marley and Me
  • Sorry, I'm a softy for dogs. I had just lost my dog of 14 years and read this book on a book tour. Ended up bawling my eyes out all alone in a Hotel in Tampa. Guy Reads, guy cries.
  • The Little Engine That Could
  • The essential picture book for every collection . . . my favorite growing up. Take it off to college with you!