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10 Child Authors You Might Want To Read

Updated on May 30, 2010

How many of us out there want to write a book one day? We say that we’re going to do it. We may even start one here or there. A handful of us finish them but never go on to edit them or get them published. Most people just keep thinking in the back of their minds that they’ll write a book “one day” but that’s about as far as the thought goes. At the other end of the spectrum are those rare child prodigies of literature who don’t just dream of writing a book one day but actually go ahead and put pen to page to create a book that goes on to get published before the child has even turned 18.

Let’s look at ten examples of such child authors:

1. Thomas Chatterton. This boy was an interesting poet and author of literary mysteries who lived a brief life during the mid-eighteen century. At age 17, he faced the possibility of starvation and decided to poison himself with arsenic so his life was cut short. In the bit of time that he was alive, however, this child authored poets and stories which were published in places like The Bristol Journal and Middlesex Journal. He also wrote history books and various other stories that were widely published under several pseudonyms.

2. Marjorie Fleming. Another amazing child author who died before she could produce a complete body of work but who nevertheless made her mark on history was this Scottish girl who died in 1811 at the young age of just eight years old. She kept a diary that was widely published but not until half a century after her death. She also wrote poetry.

3. Hilda Conkling. Poetry seems to be a great medium of choice for child authors. This author is a great example. She began writing poetry at the age of four via collaboration with her mother who would then submit the poems to magazines for publication. By age 10, she had over one hundred different poems which were collected into a book of poems published in 1920.

4. Lope de Vega. This man was a prolific Spanish playwright who is believed to have written over 1500 three-act-plays about a third of which have survived to this day. He didn’t write all of these plays in his childhood, of course, but he did get his start young by authoring his first play when he was only twelve. In addition to plays he wrote both poetry and prose fiction.

5. Francis Hawkins. This man is considered by many to be the youngest child author to have ever published although there is some debate about this title. In any case, he wrote a book of etiquette for children when he was only eight in the mid-seventeenth century so record-holder for the youngest published author or not, he’s certainly got some impressive literary accomplishments to his name.

6. Dorothy Straight. The person who is more often considered to be the youngest published author ever is actually a girl who wrote a book when she was four. The book was called How the World Began and it was simply supposed to be a child’s gift to her grandmother but her parents contacted Pantheon Books which published the piece in the 1960’s.

7. Gordon Korman. This author is interesting because he’s not only a child author but an author who continues to write to this day. His first book was written as part of an English assignment when he was just a young teenager in the 1970’s and was published when he was 15. From that point on, Korman has made a career as an author. He’s written many different books that are both series and individual titles.

8. Maddy Johnson. One of the newest child authors on the literary scene is ten-year-old Maddy Johnson who wrote a book with her grandmother last year at the age of 9 which has now been published. The Arizona child is doing book signings to promote her work. The book is a book for kids and it’s all about the pets that Maddy has. She told the story to her grandmother who wrote it down for her. Maddy’s a star but she’s no diva; she’s donating the money that she’s earning from the book to a charity that helps kids with cleft palates. Wow!

9. Michael Brasier. This is another modern day author who wrote a travel book based on personal experience when he was just twelve and which was published one year later a couple of years ago. It is called “The World Through a Child’s Eyes” and it is a compilation of his written observations from the age of 6 to the age of 12 during which time he traveled to over 35 different countries.

10. Anne Frank. No list of child authors would be complete without reference to Anne Frank. Her diary about the Holocaust is one of the most widely-read diaries to this day. Her way with words was amazing for a youngster. She was only thirteen when she kept this journal and she wouldn’t live long enough to know its impact on the world but it did indeed have an impact.

So what do you think of these child authors? Do you find these kids to be inspiring? Do they make you want to be more creative and more productive in your own writing? Or is it just plain frustrating to see kids publishing books when you yourself just keep thinking that one day you might?


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