26 Acclaimed Writers Who Also Wrote Children’s Books

Literary genius for all ages. posted on

1. Toni Morrison

The Pulitzer-winning author collaborated with her son Slade on this humorous take on anger and meanness as seen from a child’s eyes.

2. Margaret Atwood

Atwood wrote and illustrated this story of two children who attempt to become fully independent by living in a tree.

3. George Saunders

Saunders, whose “adult” fiction explores politics, consumer society and dystopian themes, published this novella in 2000. Like many of Saunders’s short stories, Frip is concerned with fear and how it affects community.

4. Michael Chabon

This 2002 fantasy young adult novel tells the tale of Ethan Feld, an unathletic boy who finds himself having to play baseball to prevent the Earth’s destruction.

5. Aldous Huxley

Huxley wrote this simple fable of cleverness and greed as a Christmas gift for his niece in 1944.

6. Langston Hughes

The famous Harlem Renaissance leader wrote this introductory guide to jazz’s history and development in 1954.

7. Ian Fleming

The James Bond author wrote this book for his young son in 1964. In 1968 a film adaptation was released starring Dick Van Dyke.

8. Upton Sinclair

This uncharacteristically silly book, written by Sinclair for his grandchildren in 1936, was later made into a 1967 musical film by Disney.

9. E. E. Cummings

These four short stories were written for Cummings’s daughter Elaine, but weren’t published until 1965, three years after his death.

10. Chinua Achebe

This 1973 book by the Things Fall Apart author uses a fable about a deposed leopard king to comment on power and violence.

11. Oscar Wilde

The titular story, along with “The Nightengale and the Rose” and “The Selfish Giant,” have been adapted to many forms, including a 1969 rock opera by The La De Das, a New Zealand rock group.

12. Umberto Eco

This environmentalist story about a space explorer was published in 1992 and features beautiful abstract illustrations by Eugenio Carmi.

13. T.S. Eliot

This book of playful poems on cat behavior, published in 1939, served as the basis for the Broadway musical “Cats.”

14. Graham Greene

Not to be confused with The LIttle Engine That Could, this story features a steamroller faced with the challenge of stopping international smugglers.

15. James Joyce

Dedicated to Joyce’s son Stephen, this book about a mayor who makes a deal with the devil was published posthumously in 1965.

16. Carl Hiaasen

The king of Florida crime fiction published this young adult novel in 2002. Like many of his “adult” works, Hoot features a environmentalist protagonist, middle schooler Roy, and his attempts to save a colony of owls.

17. Salman Rushdie

Published in 1990, this book is a fantastical allegory for issues in contemporary India.

18. Sylvia Plath

A collection of poems about magical beds, this book was published posthumously in 1976 and displays a sense of humor rarely seen in Plath’s works.

19. John Updike

This short collection, intended for preschoolers and kindergarteners, features a poem of wisdom for every day of the month.

20. William Faulkner

This morality tale was posthumously published in 1967. In typical Faulkner fashion, the prose is very ornate, even when intended for children. Here’s the opening sentence: “She was still asleep, but she could feel herself rising out of sleep, just like a balloon: it was like she was a goldfish in a round bowl of sleep, rising and rising through the warm waters of sleep to the top.”

21. Carl Sandburg

These whimsical stories, featuring character names like “Gimme the Ax” and “Potato Face Blind Man,” is a perfect bridge from Lewis Carroll to the later stylings of Dr. Seuss.

22. Peter Mattheissen

The environmental activist and Paris Review co-founder published this story in 1972. It tells of the surprising discovery of a Great Auk, thought to have been extinct for more than a century.

23. Virginia Woolf

When a widow’s house burns down, she adopts a parrot, who helps her find her greedy brother’s hidden treasure

24. James Baldwin

This 1976 book follows young TJ and the diverse cast of characters he meets playing baseball on the streets of New York.

25. Leo Tolstoy

When he wasn’t writing massive works of classic fiction, Tolstoy made this collection of popular fairy tales to teach peasant children who attended the school he founded.

26. Andy Warhol

Though he’s not the author, Warhol provided illustrations for this 1959 book while working as a freelance artist for Doubleday. Warhol would later disavow all commercial art in his attempts to be taken seriously as an artist.

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