Monday, June 10, 2019

Before They Were Authors

Before They Were Authors: Famous Writers as Kids. Elizabeth Haidle. 2019. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 64 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: What makes a writer? Many of us wonder about the stories behind the stories of best selling authors...

Premise/plot: What do you call a nonfiction book that uses the graphic novel format?! This one is nonfiction. It includes brief biographies of ten--yes, ten--writers. (5 Men. 5 Women.) The writers included are Mark Twain, Maya Angelou, Dr. Seuss, Sandra Cisneros, Roald Dahl, J.K. Rowling, Gene Luen Yang, Beatrix Potter, C.S. Lewis, and Madeleine L'Engle. Some of these writers wrote for children--toddlers, preschoolers, grade school students; some of these writers wrote for young adults or even adults.

Each author biography is told over several pages. As I mentioned earlier, it uses the graphic novel/comic book format to tell the stories. Sprinkled throughout the biographies are quotes from the writers.

My thoughts: I love the idea of loving this one. I do. The truth is very few readers are going to agree on which ten authors "should" be included in the book. There are no right answers here. Some seem obvious to me--Dr. Seuss, for example or even J.K. Rowling. There is one "omission" that saddens me. I would have LOVED, LOVED, LOVED to see Beverly Cleary included here. Her story is surely just as interesting as Beatrix Potter's?! Another "omission" that comes to mind is L.M. Montgomery. Also Mo Willems. And Shannon Hale.

Are these ten authors personal favorites of mine? Not really. That's okay. The subtitle isn't Becky's Favorite Writers As Kids.



© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

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I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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