Children as Authors

Many children have written books that have been published. One of the first we know about is Francis Hawkins. In 1641, when he was 8 years old, he wrote a book of manners for children called Youth Behavior. Listed below are other children who have had their writing published. You may be able to find their books in a library or bookstore.

Katharine Hull, 15, and Pamela Whitlock, 16, went to school together in England. One day, while taking shelter from a rainstorm, they decided to collaborate on a book by children, about children, and for children. Their novel, The Far-Distant Oxus, was published one year later, in 1937, and was said to be a classic by critics in both Europe and the U.S.

Anne Frank's diary was published in English in 1952 as The Diary of a Young Girl. Written when Anne was a teenager, it describes her family's life in hiding because they were Jewish during World War II. After two years of confinement in the attic of a warehouse in Amsterdam, Holland, the family was discovered by the Nazis and taken to a concentration camp. Only her father survived. When the diary was found, he saw that it was published in 1947. It has been translated into more than 50 languages.

Dorothy Straight of Washington, D.C., was only 4 years old when she wrote How the World Began. Her book was published in 1964, two years later.

S. E. (Susan Eloise) Hinton started her writing career in high school, beginning the first draft of The Outsiders at the age of 15; it took her a year and a half to complete it. A book about youth gangs and their confrontations, it was published in 1967, when she was 17. It has sold more than a million copies.

The West Indian girl Manghanita Kempadoo wrote Letters of Thanks, which was published in 1969, when she was 12 years old. The book is a series of thank-you notes that parody the gifts in the carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

Alexandra (Ally) Elizabeth Sheedy published She Was Nice to Mice in 1975, when she was 12 years old. It is the story of Esther Esther, an extraordinary mouse who is taken back in time through her family history to the days of Queen Elizabeth I and William Shakespeare.

A group of young Native American children in Arizona told their stories to their teacher, Byrd Baylor, who had them published in 1976 as And It Is Still That Way.

Jamie DeWitt was 12 years old when he entered his true adventure story “Jamie's Turn” in the 1984 Raintree Publish-a-Book Contest. His story describes an accident on his family's farm in Wisconsin. What is truly remarkable is that Jamie has a learning disability that makes it difficult for him to write down what he is thinking.

When Jason Gaes was stricken with Burkitt's lymphoma, a rare form of cancer, at age 7, he decided to write My Book for Kids with Cansur. His twin brother, Tim, and 10-year-old brother, Adam, illustrated the book, which was published in 1987. It provides comfort and inspiration to people of all ages.

When he was 9, David Klein wrote “Irwin the Sock” for a school assignment. The story of Irwin and Irma, matching argyle socks, was submitted to the Raintree Publish-a-Book Contest and won. It was published in 1988.

Gordon Korman wrote his first book, This Can't Be Happening at MacDonald Hall, as a seventh-grade English project. By the time he graduated from high school, he had written and published five more books, including Go Jump in the Pool and Beware the Fish. All are available in paperback editions.


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