From Green Eggs and Ham to Corduroy, themes like abandonment, growing up, belonging/identity, suffering, courage, and friendship are all creatively packed into those pages and continue to influence thoughts and behavior well after reading them. The books that we read as children follow us through our adolescent years and on to adulthood.
Without realizing it, the subtle ideologies that are passed on through the characters in the books lend us a multitude of beliefs at an early age and remain buried inside us throughout our lives.
So many of the authors that we grow attached to as children remain relevant today and their content has offered a timelessness that is hard to escape from. It’s important to recognize which authors remain relevant today so that we can extract more meaning from them as we grow older and produce more content in light of those works. For that reason, we have compiled a list of 5 children’s authors who have never really disappeared.
Don Freeman is the king of children’s literature (okay, maybe that’s Dr. Seuss), but he has published some of the best children’s stories to this day. He is known for his impressive illustrations and painfully accurate accounts of abandonment and the power of friendship.
Some of his works include “Pet of the Met,” “The Circus in Peter’s Closet,” “Mop Top,” and “Norman the Doorman.”
One of his most famous works, Corduroy, continues to sell today and has an emotional impact on anyone who picks it up. This story follows the journey of a little bear who yearns to be bought but is unwanted because of a missing button. As the story continues on, the reader learns the importance of acceptance despite flaws.
Freeman strived to provide children with the most truthful advice and saw children’s stories as a fun way to teach about sorrow and love. He even wanted to create a children’s book without words; only pictures.
He said, “I think a child has a lot of imagination and pictures for children should be free and easy and not forced. I’d love to arrive at the point where you can tell a story with just pictures — it can be done.”
Even forty-two years after his death, Freeman remains relevant today and will continue to influence the world of children’s literature.
William Ivan Martin Jr.
Bill Martin, Jr., an American educator, author, and publishing executive has written over 300 children’s books and a large number of those works continue to circulate today.
“Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?,” “Here Are My Hands,” “Listen to the Rain” and “Ten Little Caterpillars” are among his powerful works. Again, the timelessness of his stories is what gives them life and it will continue to feed them for eternity.
Perhaps his most famous work, “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” has won him his credibility and fame. It’s a cute story that utilizes the alphabet in a fun and creative way. The words “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” have become a mantra for so many children. You’re angry? Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. You’re hurt? Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. You’re ecstatic? Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. You’re at a loss for words? Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “More traditional children’s books” have been among Amazon’s bestseller list within the last month, including “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” by Bill Martin Jr.
His work remains relevant today and thousands continue to read his stories.
Judy Blume has written books for almost every age, from 6–8-year-olds to young adult to adult fiction. Her children’s stories are remarkably funny and teach morals through the art of storytelling.
Some of her most popular works for 6–8-year-olds are The Pain and the Great One, Freckle Juice, and The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo. As you move up in age, Just as Long as We’re Together, Rachel Robinson and Here’s to You are among her more notable ones.
Blume teaches the importance of friendship, growing up, discovering who you are, learning to accept yourself and your differences, and how to cope with stress and anxiety in a healthy way.
Whether you love Judy Blume or are quite indifferent to her work, YaleNews puts it perfectly: “If you ask anybody on the street to name a young-adult writer, the response often is Judy Blume,” says Timothy Young, curator of modern books. “She is the iconic person that you’ve read and you loved, or you didn’t love but you knew her work.”
Everyone knows Judy Blume, and her work will always remain iconic.
We can’t have a list of classic children’s authors without Dr. Seuss making an appearance. He has changed the world of children’s literature and his name will forever be plastered in the hearts of young kids and surprisingly, even more in those of adults.
If you don’t know where to look for the must-haves of Dr. Seuss, this list of the best Dr. Seuss books from Cool Things Chicago is a great place to start.
So many of the works published by children’s authors wither away and remain a story only of past times. But Dr. Seuss has managed to cram himself into every possible phase of life, ones that you have gone through or are currently going through. His name is like a cherished memory.
Children read Dr. Seuss without realizing that they’re learning about the intricacies of war (The Butter Battle Book), environmentalism (The Lorax), assertiveness (Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose) and so many other lessons of life.
The Wall Street Journal writes about the legacy of Dr. Seuss, saying “Most children’s book franchises fade over time, but Dr. Seuss’s fantastical empire is hatching more sales than ever; Horton trumpets ‘Anti-Bullying Day’.”
Dr. Seuss and his assemblage of historic books will always remain present and relevant, in the modern era and hopefully forever.
Nikki Grimes is a woman of all trades. She writes books for children and young adults, and she’s a poet and journalist.
In an article titled The Common Denominator, it says “Nikki Grimes uses her art to reach across differences such as race and culture and show the commonality of human experience.”
Grimes writes about family hardships in Words with Wings, how to rise up in the face of difficulties in Talkin’ About Bessie and a beautiful coming of age story in Jazmin’s Notebook.
Her work is important and her children’s books will remain relevant through every course of life. If you’re looking to read more about great books or just about lifestyle and entertainment, check out Optimistic Mommy.
Knowing children’s authors and the works that they have produced allows us to create more influential stories for the children of today. We can forge new stories with timeless messages and teach the importance of relevance in storytelling.
Image Credits: Johnny McClung