Our Authors′ Favorite Books
Our Move Books′ authors′ books have become new favorites for many readers.
What books did our authors read as kids (or more recently) that made a impression on them?
Scroll down to get all the details!
C. Taylor-Butler′s Favorites
Ellis and the Magic Mirror
by Cerese and Aryeh Rennie Murphy
This is an indie-published series by for younger middle school readers. I met the author at a festival and it was surprising how similar our themes are. Ellis starts the book playing soccer. My character Ben is playing basketball. Ellis goes to a lost civilization under water in the second book. So does Ben and his friends in Safe Harbor. Independently published books don’t seem to get the same buzz as books from larger publishers but they can be just as well written and just as fun. The author remains focused on the reader and keeps the adventure accessible. I affectionately call it the younger “Lost Tribes” adventure
Dark Materials Trilogy
by Phillip Pullman.
“His Dark Materials” trilogy by Philip Pullman is one of my favorite series. Centered around a young girl, Lyra, adventure spans the globe and included a full cast of characters: children, talking animals, and adults with agendas. It’s a sophisticated middle grade fantasy adventure that broke a lot of publishing rules. First, the assumption that children wouldn’t read a long densely written series. Second, that a main character had to be likable; Lyra was a bit of a brat. I discovered adults were reading it as prolifically as children. The series freed me to think of my own series more organically. I like reading about flawed characters that challenge the status quo. I like writing about them too. My family devoured this series because it doesn’t talk down to the reader but is also a lot of fun.
The New Kid
by Jerry Craft
For me, this graphic novel represents a breakthrough in children’s literature. Jerry’s son and my daughter both went to elite private schools. I did too. It is hard explaining the oddness of being one of a handful of middle-class African American kids in that kind of environment.
Years ago, I developed a manuscript called Hillcrest Academy. Editors didn’t understand the setting or even Harkness as a concept (it’s a classroom table). So, a decade later this book is everything and more. It unpacks the micro-aggressions and student navigation with humor. Recently a librarian sent me a screen shot of a scene where Jordan, the main character, enters the library. The subject of every book about African Americans is civil rights or slavery. The librarian tagged me and said, “That’s what you’re always saying.” Yep. Jerry Craft nailed it.
By Sage Blackwood
Like the Pullman series, the Jinx series debunked the idea that kids won’t read a longer book. I got a lot of pushback when writing Tribes because people wanted me to simplify the adventure. So I’m glad the tide has changed. Readers seem to be defying expectations and eating them up. The book incorporates a magic and has a fairy-tale like quality to it, starting with Jinx walking through the woods and reminding himself to “stay on the path” in the opening chapter. I’m inspired by the author’s attention to craft, particular her ability to establish setting and character descriptions. Writing is hard, so I take comfort meeting authors trying to sustain reader interest across multiple volumes.
Paul Greci′s Favorites
The Green Book
By Jill Paton Walsh
When I cracked the cover of The Green Book (1982 FSG) by Jill Paton Walsh back in the late 90’s I immediately knew I’d discovered something special. In just 70 pages Walsh tells this amazing survival story of a space ship leaving a dying Earth to inhabit a new planet. As a teacher I have read this story out loud to classes ranging from 5th grade to high school and it never fails to generate interesting discussion and student writing. It’s an end-of-the world-as-we-know-it story but instead of being filled with doom and gloom it is filled with hope.
By Katherine Applegate
Crenshaw (Macmillan 2015) by Katherine Applegate is one of those books that I keep giving to friends and family to read. Applegate tells the story of a family struggling with homelessness in a way that is accessible to all. In my contact with homeless youth over the years as an educator I found this book to be authentic in portraying real-life feelings surrounding homelessness while at the same time telling a timeless tale of having an imaginary friend.
By Caroline Starr Rose
May B. (2012 Random House) by Caroline Starr Rose is a single character survival story told in verse. As a writer, the sparse but beautiful language in May B. combined with the page-turning quality of the story challenges me to make every word count in the stories I write.
William David Thomas′s Favorites
Follow My Leader
By James B. Garfield
I read this book when I was in fourth grade. That I still remember it tells you what an impact it had on me. A young boy, Jimmy, loses his eyesight in an accident with a firecracker. He is sent to a school for the blind where he learns to walk with a cane, read with his finger tips, and eat his meals by the hands of a clock (the chicken is at six o’clock, the potatoes are at two o’clock…). I tried closing my eyes and eating that way myself. My mother was not sympathetic. I remember feeling overwhelmed by Jimmy’s loss, and by his struggles with all he had to learn. He is at last paired with Leader, a guide dog who becomes his constant companion. They learn each other’s weaknesses and capabilities, growing together in confidence, and eventually confronting the boy whose carelessness caused Jimmy to lose his sight.
A Long Way from Chicago
By Richard Peck
Joey is nine and his sister Mary Alice is seven when, in 1929, they are sent away from gangster-ridden Chicago to spend the summer with their Grandma Dowdel in a dreary, dusty little Illinois farm town. The town has virtually no paved roads, and Grandma’s house has no telephone and no indoor plumbing. The siblings expect a summer of boredom with an elderly woman, but instead find one – and eight more summers to come – filled with adventures. Grandma Dowdel is one of the most intriguing and memorable characters I’ve encountered in children’s literature. This is my favorite of the many wonderful books written by Mr. Peck. Sadly, he will write no more.
The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp
By Kathi Appelt
What’s not to love about a book that combines two adventurous young raccoon Scouts, brothers Bingo and J’miah, with a legendary monster, a giant rattlesnake named Gertrude, an evil real estate magnate, a lady alligator wrestler, a lost DeSoto, a woodpecker that may or may not be extinct, and a 12-year old boy struggling to help his mother keep the family business alive? A departure from the serious tones of Appelt’s other marvelous books, this one is a fun romp, but with underlying messages about environmentalism and respect for wild places and things.
The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle
By Leslie Connor
This is a “tweener,” at the high end of middle grade or the low end of young adult books. And it’s one of the better books at any level that I’ve read in years. Mason is a hulking, constantly sweating 7th grader with severe learning disabilities but a heart as big as Texas. He is tormented by local bullies and hounded by a police officer who doesn’t quite believe Mason’s story about the death of his best friend a year before. A new neighbor is Mason’s exact opposite: a tiny, academic over-achiever named Calvin who immediately becomes a target for the same bullies. Shared adversity and common interests bind them in friendship. But when Calvin mysteriously disappears, few believe Mason’s story. Wonderfully drawn and endearing characters. You will not forget Mason Buttle. That’s the truth.