Sometimes the authors that write the most beloved children’s books are even more fascinating than the tales they tell. Here are a few of the top authors that have made a career writing for children of all ages and their fascinating backstories.
A. A. Milne
Fancying himself a playwright, A. A. Milne was an English writer who had found little success with almost 20 plays and a few novels. However, that work was entirely eclipsed when he became inspired by watching his little son Christopher Robin playing with a few stuffed animals.
Before too long, Milne wrote a few tales about Winnie the Pooh and created the character Christopher Robin from his son. These books’ wild success would impress most writers, but Milne was not too happy being known for his children’s books instead of his novels and plays. Milne wrote the tales about Winnie the Pooh mainly between 1924 and 1928 and rarely revisited them. Most authors could only wish their literary characters were popular one hundred years later.
In 2002, Forbes magazine ranked Winnie the Pooh as their list’s most valuable fictional character. In 2005, Winnie the Pooh generated more than $6 billion from merchandising products alone. Nowadays, Mickey Mouse may be the only fictional character that ranks higher than Winnie and his pals. Plus, with the rights to Winnie the Pooh and all of the other characters sold entirely to Disney in 2001, the timeless bear will live forever in readers’ minds.
J. K. Rowling
Everyone loves a feel-good story where the underdog succeeds seemingly against all odds. In this sense, we are talking about both the author J. K. Rowling and the groundbreaking literary character she created.
Joanne Rowling, the author’s real name, did not start on top of the world. When she was in her late twenties, she was on government assistance, had a failed marriage, was a single mom, and was without a job. Facing severe depression, she kept writing about Harry Potter and the world around him.
In 1995, Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Even though a literary agent agreed to represent her, it was rejected by 12 book publishers. Finally, it was bought by Bloomsbury Publishing even though they told her that she would never make any money writing children’s books. It looks like Rowling got the last laugh. Her worth is more than a billion dollars, and her tales have entertained millions of children worldwide.
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Best known for her Little House on the Prairie children’s books, Laura Ingalls Wilder lived the part of the main character. The frontier life was challenging for Wilder, her parents, and her siblings. When she was only 16 years old, she started teaching in a one-room schoolhouse so her family could earn little money to survive.
Wilder married her husband, struggling mightily with diphtheria a few years later. The couple was in serious debt, had no money, had health problems, and their newborn son tragically died. He almost lost his life and was left with disabilities for the rest of his life.
When Wilder entered her mid-forties, her family’s fortune had improved. They had acquired enough land to run a prosperous dairy farm and apple orchard. Alas, the 1929 stock market crash decimated their finances. Wilder was 62 years old and essentially broke.
However, Wilder had decided she could make a little money as a writer. Between 1932 and 1943, she wrote and published the Little House on the Prairie series. The Little House series has sold more than 60 million copies.
My Own Story
I always had a few stories floating around in my head that I thought would make nice books for children. But many realize that life sometimes keeps you too busy to put them on paper. However, a few health issues inspired me to put pen to paper.
Seven months ago, I had an endoscopy scheduled for a few throat issues over the years. I’ve had endoscopies completed probably a dozen times. But this time was different. For some unknown reason, I quit breathing during the procedure. I went without breathing or oxygen for ten minutes while the doctors tried intubating me. I should have taken that as a warning sign.
A month later, I had a few throat surgeries with severe complications. I lost over 40 pounds in seven weeks and was in and out of the hospital for the next six months. It had crossed my mind that my time was coming near. But I wasn’t ready to check out with a three-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son.
Plus, if something ever happened to me, I wanted to leave my children something to remember me. I wrote Ellie and Jack: Third Grade Ghost Hunters while recuperating somewhat from my health problems. And now, just last week, Ellie and Jack: Third Grade Ghost Hunters is now available on Amazon. Sometimes you need a fire lit under your britches to get things accomplished. Nothing motivates you more than your mortality.
Start Reading with Children Early and Often
Plenty of research details children who read early often achieve better scores in school. If you have a struggling reader and would like assistance in helping them get back on track, iAchieve has plenty of professional tutors that can work with children remotely or in person. Let us help you in increasing your child’s literacy skills.