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Many of the fantastic family shows at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre are based upon classic literary works, including the works of some of the most famous children’s authors.
Top Children’s Authors: A-Z
Who is the best children’s author? What are the must read books for children? Have I read all the classic children’s books yet?
Have no fear, as Blackpool Grand Theatre has put together an A – Z of the most acclaimed children’s authors, with book recommendations so that you and your little ones don’t miss out!
For inspiration of some of your favourite children’s authors and to learn more about them, read on!
Top Tip: While we have you, for more entertaining resources and ways to get your kids inspired for all things creative, check out Blackpool Grand’s At Home With You Youtube Channel ! It’s a hub for all things creative, for theatre lovers, yogis, and storytellers alike.
Looking for more ways to support us? You can donate to Blackpool Grand Theatre’s recovery fund today and help protect the future of theatre, or order your favourite books on smile.amazon.co.uk and choose Blackpool Grand Theatre (Arts and Entertainment) Ltd as your chosen charity (its easy, just log-in as normal)! Thank you.
List of famous children’s books and the authors
A A Milne
A household name in the world of children’s literature, A A Milne is the creator of Winnie The Pooh. A veteran of both World Wars, Alan Alexander Milne was actually a successful playwright, before his famous children’s books following the story of a certain “bear with very little brain” dwarfed his former accolades. The original manuscripts for Winnie the Pooh are still archived in Trinity College Library.
Must-read works by A A Milne: Winnie-the-Pooh, The House at Pooh Corner.
Anthony Horowitz’s most famous children’s books are arguably the Alex Rider novels, noted for enthusing and inspiring a new generation of younger boys into reading again. The books did make it to screen, however only one film was made. The book series spans 12 novels, and as of 2020, Alex Rider has been released on Amazon Prime as a limited TV series. He has also penned The Diamond Brothers and has contributed to various ITV drama series including Midsomer Murders and Poirot. He is the creator of ITV’s Foyles War, writing for the series too.
Must-read works by Antony Horowitz: Alex Rider series, Diamond Brothers series.
‘Helen’ Beatrix Potter
Beatrix Potter is renowned for her contribution to children’s literature. The author is is known for her distinctive, delicate watercolour illustrations depicting the various animals that are the focus of her stories. In her will, Beatrix Potter left a large amount of her estate to the National Trust and is credited for preserving much of the Lake District National Park. Her story has sparked various adaptations including the 2006 film Miss Potter and the most recent jovial adaptation of her most famous creation, Peter Rabbit, voiced by James Corden.
Must-read works by Beatrix Potter: The Tale of Peter Rabbit (along with her 23 other children’s tales!).
C S Lewis
Author of more than 30 books and holder of academic positions at both Oxford and Cambridge. Clive Staples Lewis’ strong Christian beliefs often made their way into his fiction. Lewis was close friends with fellow novelist J. R. R. Tolkien (who very possibly could have made this list with works like The Hobbit!).
Must-read works by C S Lewis: The Chronicles of Narnia.
Perhaps best known for his comedic acting in BBC’s Little Britain, David Walliams began writing for children in 2008, and he’s been hailed as the UK’s fastest growing children’s author. His books have been translated into 53 languages, and his style is regularly compared with Roald Dahl. His works have been adapted for television and theatre, and this trend only looks to continue. Alton Towers are opening The World of David Walliams in 2021, and April 2020 saw ‘Slime’ published.
Must-read works by David Walliams: The Boy in the Dress (now a great stage play with the RSC), Mr Stink, Billionaire Boy.
Known for her mystery, fantasy and adventure writing, Enid Blyton is behind the well-known collection ‘The Famous Five’, a collection of adventure books of discovery, as well as the Secret Seven, and Noddy. Enid Blyton’s work rose to fame in the 1930s and since has sold in excess of 600 million copies.
Must-read works by Edid Blyton: The Famous Five Collection, which spans 22 works.
Eric Carle’s most famous work, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, is arguably one of the most well-known children’s books. His instantly recognisable collage style makes use of bright colours and layering techniques, with an interactive
Must-read works by Eric Carle: The Very Hungry Caterpillar
A true “rags to riches” story, the world’s first billionaire author has actually lost this status by giving away substantial parts of her wealth to charity. The Harry Potter series alone has sold over 500 million copies. Rowling also writes crime fiction for adults under the pen name of Robert Galbraith.
Must-read works by J K Rowling: The Harry Potter series (of course!).
J R R Tolkien CBE
Noted for his creation of the fantasy world of Middle Earth, J R R Tolkien is arguably one of the most well- known authors in children’s literature. His works include the Lord of the Rings trilogy, as well as The Hobbit, all of which have sold millions of copies worldwide. The film trilogy of Lord of the Rings was a box office hit, as were the recent adaptations of The Hobbit, which similarly became a three-part franchise. The 2003 instalment Return of the King garnered an incredible 12 Oscars, with a television series currently in production.
Must-read works by J R R Tolkien: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Known for her controversial subject matter yet providing a voice which resonated clearly with youngsters, Jaqueline Wilson is one of the more well-known children’s authors of the millennium generation. Wilson has written more than 100 books, which have been adapted for television both on BBC, and ITV, as well as on stage. Wilson is arguably most famous for her book The Story of Tracy Beaker, published in 1991, which went on to win the Smarties book prize. Tracy Beaker BBC adaptations were broadcast from 2002 to 2005 and spawned various other adaptations including the Dumping Ground, which is still on television today.
Must-read works by Jaqueline Wilson: The Story of Tracy Beaker, The Suitcase Kid, Best Friends
Another instantly recognisable name in the world of children’s literature, JM Barrie (James Matthew Barrie) is synonymous with his most famous creation, Peter Pan. The boy who never grew up first appeared in his 1902 novel Little White Bird, and, along with Wendy, Tinkerbell and the lost boys, Peter Pan’s story captured the hearts of adults and children alike for many a generation. The 2003 film Peter Pan, as well as the 2004 film Finding Neverland, depict JM Barrie’s famous character and childhood respectively, and Peter Pan is still enjoyed on stage today, with performances and pantomimes around the country.
For all things Peter Pan, check out Blackpool Grand’s Resources:
Judith Kerr is a German born illustrator and writer who has sold more than 10 million books. Her past is a story in itself, as the author fled the Weimar Republic during the rise of Nazi Germany in 1933. Judith Kerr settled in Britain and wrote about her experience in a semi-autobiographical trilogy. Many of her books include her own illustrations and feature charming stories that have been enjoyed by many a generation.
Must-read works by Judith Kerr: The Mog Series (of which there are 17 books!), The Tiger Who Came to Tea, the Out of Hitler Time trilogy.
The 2011-2013 Children’s Laureate, Julia Donaldson is another household name in the world of children’s literature, and the 2011–2013 Children’s Laureate. Her books have been produced for television, and have taken centre stage with a Christmas Day slot on BBC in most recent years. She is best known for her charming rhyming stories and actually started off writing songs for children’s television. 120 of her 184 published works are intended purely for use in schools and include the Songbirds phonic reading scheme. The author works in partnership with the forestry commission as well as other enterprises to help inform, educate and entrance young readers discovering rhyming sounds and story for the first time.
Must-read works by Julia Donaldson: The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, Stick Man, Zog
Born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, the famous moniker of Lewis Carroll was actually a pen name. Carroll made heavy use of wordplay, logic and fantasy in his stories, although some of his famous poems – such as the Jabberwocky – are actually formally defined as literary nonsense!
Must-read works by Lewis Carroll: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass.
A former teacher who famously saw the “magic” that a writing career could bring, Michael Morpurgo was the third Children’s Laureate, holding the position from 2003-2005. A master of “magical storytelling”, his recurring themes include the triumph of an outsider or relationships with nature. Writing for children aged 7 plus, Morpurgo’s books are held in high regard and have been included in the curriculum over the years. War Horse has been a stage production in London since 2007 and is noted for its breathtaking use of puppetry. This novel was also turned into a film that was released in 2011.
Must-read works by MIchael Morpurgo: War Horse, Private Peaceful, The Butterfly Lion
Very few people are unfamiliar with the well-known chant ‘we’re going on a bear hunt!’. Indeed Michael Rosen’s book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is one of the most well-loved storybooks for various generations, with more than 9 million copies sold worldwide, according to the publisher.
He is also famous for his acclaimed Michael Rosen’s sad book which focuses on grief, having lost a child to pneumonia at 18. Illustrated by Quentin Blake, it’s poignancy and subtle exploration of grief has been praised in the literature community.
Must-read works by Michael Rosen: We’re Going on A Bear Hunt, Michael Rosen’s Sad Book
Another novel that has stood the test of time and enlightened young readers is Ballet Shoes. Written by Noel Stratfield, this author rose to fame upon the publication of ballet shoes in 1936. She has written more than 30 books, and Ballet shoes have been adapted to television with a stellar cast including Emma Watson.
Depicting the life of three artistically talented sisters, Ballet shoes explores sisterhood and the world of theatrical ballet and is considered a classic of children’s literature.
To find out more about ballet, types of ballet and where it originates from to get inspired, check out Blackpool Grand Theatre’s blog posts about ballet here.
- A Brief History of Ballet
- Different Types of Ballet
- Interview: English National Ballet Choreographer
Most known for his acclaimed fantasy series, His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman is internationally recognised as an influential British children’s author. So much so, in fact, that he was included in the 2019 honour’s list for his services and contribution to children’s literature.
His most popular series was adapted for film in 2007 in a film which featured the likes of Daniel Craig and Sir Ian McKellen, and most recently, BBC produced an adaptation for television in late 2019.
A former flying ace in the Second World War, Roald Dahl’s books have sold more than 250 million copies worldwide. Renowned as one of the greatest children’s authors of the 20th century, his warm literature features (frequently), villainous adult characters, humour and often surprising endings have inspired generation after generation. Much of his work has been turned into a film, and his books are synonymous with Quentin Blake’s deliberately scrappy and utterly individual illustrations.
Must-read works of Roald Dahl: The BFG, The Witches, Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Top Children’s Authors
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