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.

 

Peter Brown

is an illustrator and a writer.  Probably best know for his books about a dog named Chowder.  But he’s working on plenty of new books right now.

  • I can't overemphasize how perfectly James Marshall balances sweetness and absurdity in these stories.

  • Everyone Poops
  • Everyone Poops is a continuous source of 'inspiration.

  • James and the Giant Peach
  • Witty dialogue, fantastical adventure and a wonderfully dark sense of humor seem to effortlessly flow from Roald Dahl's pen.

  • This series is perhaps the most unique, thoughtful, and provocative fantasy I’ve ever read.

  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
  • I was mesmerized by the way Verne describes the science and logic of the world in which this story takes place.

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.

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.

Alison DeCamp

Alison DeCamp is the author of My Near-Death Adventures (99% True!), as well as a former teacher and current booksller at Between the Covers bookstore in Harbor Springs, Michigan. 

"I have a daughter and a son, I've taught middle school and high school and worked at a bookstore. These are all books I love, can sell, and that my children loved as well."

  • Across the Nightingale Floor, Tales of the Otori, Book 1
  • Lian Hearn
  • Kind of a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon fantasy set in an alternate Japan where people can have superpowers. It's really well-done fantasy.

  • Knucklehead
  • Jon Scieszka
  • A fantastic graphic novel about Jon's boyhood in Flint, Michigan, where my husband is also from. It's funny and real and mostly funny.

  • Out from Boneville, Boneville Series, #1
  • Jeff Smith
  • These are so imaginative, innocent, and creative. I am a big fan of smart graphic novels and how they make us think.

  • The Eddie Dickens Trilogy
  • Philip Ardagh
  • There's a stuffed stoat in these books. I'm not even sure what that is, but do I really need to say more?

  • The Willoughbys
  • Lois Lowry
  • Same Lois Lowry as THE GIVER, but a completely different kind of story, one where the kids are super smart and the adults need to get a clue.

  • Winger
  • Andrew Smith
  • My 16 y.o. has read and reread this book about a 14 y.o. rugby player. It's a story about all the confusion that's part and parcel of growing up while simultaneously injecting humor and love and redemption into the entire mix.

  • Nicholas
  • Jean-Jacques Sempe
  • Nicholas is irreverent and slightly naughty and a bit clueless but always funny.

  • How They Croaked, The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous
  • Georgia Bragg
  • (by Georgia Bragg & Kevin O'Malley)

    Just like the title says, this is a book about how famous people died. But really it's a history book.

  • We Were Liars
  • E.Lockhart
  • I read this book in three hours. Granted, I told my family I wasn't feeling well so they actually left me alone for that amount of time, but I devoured this book. There's an unreliable narrator and a shocking ending and a slew of open-ended questions that we still argue about in our house.

Patrick Jones

is a Senior Librarian at the Hennepin County Library in Minneapolis, MN.  This is what he says:

The Great Eight: great books (kind of) for guys.  Also: Magazines. Anytime I’m asked for booklist, I ask, “What about magazines, don’t they count?” Well, it’s my list so they count.  Read a magazine every month or week.