There was once a time when I wanted to write books for children. But it was one of those aspirations in my life that I never achieved. However, I am not bitter about it because part of the process of trying to learn how to write books for children was reading books for children. I found the books of four (4) authors on the shelves of the public library in the section for juvenile and young adults. There is no reason why old adults should not enjoy reading those books too.
►Madeleine L’Engle (1918-2007)
Madeleine L’Engle is a writer of young adults. The Joys of Love, Madeleine’s last book was published in 2008, one year after she died. My favorite book from this writer is A Wrinkle in Time which was published 1962. A Wrinkle in Time was recognized as the most distinguished children book in 1963 by giving Newbery and Caldecott Awards.
There is only one thing that puzzled me about this book. Why wasn’t this book listed as “required reading” in my school curriculum? That was then (during the 60s and 70s). When one of my teenage daughters attended school (about 30 years later), I noticed Ms. L’Engle’s book on her desk, along with other books that were required reading. Books like: Harper Lee’s, To Kill a Mockingbird; George Orwell’s, Animal Farm; Charles Dickens’, Great Expectations, and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, The Scarlet Letter. WOW! These books were required reading during my school days. It was good to see that Madeleine L’Engle’s, A Wrinkle in Time has earned a place among them.
►Katherine Paterson (1932 -)
Katherine Paterson was born in China in 1932 and came to live in the US in 1937. A lot of people came to know about her after the release of the movie Bridge to Terabithia in 2007, which was based on the book of the same name by Katherine Paterson. Bridge to Terabithia was published in 1977. But I know Ms. Paterson because of her book Rebels of the Heavenly Kingdom. Set in 1851, Rebels of the Heavenly Kingdom tells about Taiping Rebellion and a God-worshipping group. Ms. Paterson is an American who was born in 1932 in China to missionary parents. She was a teacher and a missionary in Japan. No doubt this background was integral to the writing of this piece of historical fiction about the rebels. Her books are included in the Children’s Reading List published via Oprah.com.
►Laurence Yep (1948 -)
Laurence Yep, an author of Dragonwings, is a Chinese-American writer. Dragonwings is the first in a series of nine books collectively called the Golden Mountain Chronicles. It is a fictional work that combines the historical event of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the experience of Chinese immigrants in California, and a flying machine. No doubt that a unique mix of story elements sounds very intriguing. You must surely want to know more.
►Jane Yolen (1939 – )
Jane Yolen (born in New York City) has authored 300+ children’s and fantasy/sci-fi books. In addition, she has written thousands of poems and short stories. Newsweek has labeled Ms. Yolen “the Hans Christian Andersen of America.”The New York Times has called her “modern equivalent of Aesop.” Fantastic Fiction Limited honors Jane Yolen as “one of the acknowledged masters of fantasy today.” Fantastic Fiction Limited is a website based in the UK that maintains a database of more than 30 thousand fiction writers. Ms. Yolen has also published several graphic novels. It is very difficult to pick a favorite work from her writings, because every time I read one of her works, it easily makes it to the list of “Favorites”. I especially love reading Ms. Yolen’s fantasy writing.
I enjoy reading juvenile literature even though I am a senior citizen. In fact, reading young adult literature is my guilty pleasure. If you want to get started with reading, you should start young adult literature because they are quick to read. You should try it. You can choose any titles from the aforementioned authors. If you would like more suggestions, check Al’s Book Club for Kids or the Kids’ Reading List published by Oprah Winfrey. Or, if you have an opportunity to go to your local public library, consult the librarian for advice. Go ahead and indulge your inner child.