Connecticut Childrens Authors- Chapter Book Edition

There is something amazing about reading a book and recognizing locations that you have visited, or those that you knew extremely well. It is even better when you read an author’s biography and realize that someone who’s work you enjoy lives nearby. It connects me to that story, and that author, even more. Here are some authors of children’s chapter books that live right here in the Nutmeg State that you might want to explore.

Suzanne Collins lives in village of Sandy Hook Connecticut,  a town of which everyone is now familiar, with her husband and their two children. You might know her best for the Hunger Games series, but prior to that she wrote for several television series on Nickelodeon  and Scholastic Entertainment. She also wrote a very popular The Underland Chronicles, which began with Gregor the Overlander.

Gregor the Overlander

Hunger Games

Patricia Reilly Giff is a resident of Weston Connecticut. You might recognize her name from a wide range of chater books that focus on normal children and families becoming extraordinary through everyday life. She is the author of the Zigzag Kids series, the Polk Street School Books series, Eleven, Wild Girl, Water Street, and a number more very popular titles. Patricia Reilly Giff has received the Newbery Honor for Pictures of Hollis Woods and Lily’s Crossing, which is also a Boston Globe Horn Book Honor Book. Her book Nory Ryan’s Song was named an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and an ALA Notable Book.

Wild Girl

Nory Ryan’s Song

Suzy Kline lives in Torrington Connecticut. She has written several chapter book that you might recognize; such as the Herbie Jones series, the Horrible Harry series, the Song Lee series, Orp, and Molly’s in a Mess. She often visits classrooms and talks to students about writing. When she does, she brings along a bag of rejections to show that even a now successful writer had her share of ‘no thank you’s’ in the beginning.

Orp and the FBI

Horrible Harry and the Secret Treasure

Mike Lupica is a New York Times bestselling author of several books for young readers, he also happens to live in New Canaan Connecticut. His books tend to focus on sports, and everything that goes along with achievement and teamwork. Some of his most popular titles include Heat, Hero, The Underdogs, and the Comeback Kids series.

Heat

Long shot : A Comeback Kids novel

Connecticut Picturebook Authors

Did you know that some of the most famous, and most loved, children’s authors live in Connecticut? I know that when I sat down determined to find out if any of my favorite authors are, or were, local I was amazed at the caliber of wonderful children’s books that were written right here in Connecticut. Here is a sampling of my favorite picturebook authors that I discovered to be own state treasures.

Mercer Mayer is the writer and illustrator for Little Critter First Readers, as well as Little Critter Spectrum. He began writing and illustrating children’s books in 1966 and has published over 300 titles. He also happens to live in Roxbury Connecticut. I loved the Little Critter books growing up, and now I get to share that love with my children with books like Just for You, There’s a Nightmare in My Closet and Just Go to Bed.

There’s a Nightmare in My Closet

Just for You

Anne Rockwell lives in Old Greenwich Connecticut. You might recognize her name from many picturebooks that are family and library favorites. Many of Anne’s early works were illustrated by her husband Harlow Rockwell. After his death in 1988, their daughter Lizzy stepped up and illustrated many of her books. Apples and Pumpkins, Whoo! Whoo! Goes the Train, and The First Snowfall are some of my favorites.

The First Snowfall

Apples and Pumpkins

Nancy Elizabeth Wallace grew up in Rowayton Connecticut, and now lives in Branford Connecticut. She writes and illustrates her picturebooks with cut paper art style images. Nancy often does research at the library for her science based books. She also collects what she is writing about, so that she can see and touch them in order to spark wonder, curiosity, questions, and better understanding. Stars! Stars! Stars!, Baby Day!, Pumpkin Day!, and Count Down to Clean Up! are some of her books that I remember most.

Count Down to Clean Up!

Baby Day!

Unfortunately, one of my favorite children’s author that was born and raised in Meriden Connecticut has since moved up to New Hampshire, Tomie De Paola. He is best known for his Strega Nona books and unique illustration style. Tomie dePaola has written (and/or illustrated) over 200 books for children. He and his work has received the Smithson Medal from the Smithsonian Institution, the Kerlan Award from the University of Minnesota, and the Regina Medal from the Catholic Library Association. My children and I love the books about Strega Nona, Big Anthony, and Bill and Pete books.

Pete and Bill to the Rescue

Strega Nona

Sadly, last year an amazing Connecticut resident, that also happened to be renowned children’s authors and illustrator, passed away. Maurice Sendak, passed away in May of 2012. This Ridgefield Connecticut resident wrote over twenty books, and illustrated more than four times that many. Most connect his name with Where the Wild Things Are, but I fondly remember Chicken Soup with Rice and his illustrations in Else Holmelund Minarik’s Little Bear books as well.

Little Bear

Where the Wild Things Are

There are several phenomenal authors of adult books, young adult books, and children’s chapter books here in our little state as well. I will be sharing some information and favorite books from those Connecticut residents in the weeks to come, so stay tuned.