20 Best Children’s Book Authors: Children’s Books and Fairy Tales for Young Readers

Discover our booklist with the best children’s book authors. Delve into the magical world of children’s storybook writing and pick up a new favorite for your little one!

Children’s literature is a unique genre; many authors know they will present children with their first book. Many of these books are designed to be read aloud, and children’s books can vary widely in complexity and scope. For example, many award-winning books are meant for babies and toddlers, where their parents might read directly to them. Then, there are chapter books for teenagers that bear many similarities to the books that adults read.

From Beverly Cleary to C.S. Lewis and Roald Dahl to Dr. Seuss, many unique, creative authors have given their talents to children and parents everywhere. Learn more about some of the most outstanding children’s book authors of all time, consider our booklist, and add a few of these to your reading list for young girls and boys.

Best children's books authors

1. Dr. Seuss, 1904 – 1991

Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss

Of course, the list of the world’s top children’s book authors wouldn’t be complete without the famed Dr. Seuss. Originally from Springfield, Massachusetts, he was a successful animator, poet, and cartoonist. Theodore Seuss Geisel is one of the most iconic names in all literature, let alone books for children.

During his storied career, he wrote more than 60 books specifically for kids. He has a Whimsical art style that makes his characters instantly relatable. Furthermore, most of his books have a unique rhyming scheme, making it easier for children to learn how to read. His books are still among the best sellers of all time, with countless generations learning how to read, thanks to his characters.

It is challenging to hone in on his top works because so many of them exist. Some of his favorites include The Cat in the Hat, The Lorax, Green Eggs and Ham, and Oh, the Places You’ll Go. Many of his books have inspired television series and movies, ensuring that every generation knows about the unique talents of Dr. Seuss. If you want to check out the adventures of The Cat in the Hat, you can purchase a copy of the book from Amazon. You might be wowed by the fourth grader who released a book on entrepreneurship.

“The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house. All that cold, cold, wet day.”

Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat

2. Roald Dahl, 1916 – 1990

Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl wrote over 20 books for children, many of which have created numerous adaptations. So many of his stories have been loved by children for decades and have found their way onto required reading lists. Dahl himself was born to an affluent family in Wales. In addition to his work as an author, he served as a fighter pilot during WWII. He was a famous poet and screenwriter, but he is best known for Matilda and her adventures.

Many people have fallen in love with the unique relationship between Matilda and Mrs. Trunchbull, watching it evolve during the story. His other popular works include James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and The BFG. You can learn more about Matilda by getting a copy of the book from Amazon. If you like reading children’s books, you might also enjoy our list of the best books by Roald Dahl.

“The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.”

Roald Dahl, Matilda

3. Judy Blume, 1938 –

Judy Blume
Judy Blume

Another one of the greatest children’s book authors of all time is Judy Blume. She has been writing children’s books since 1959. During her illustrious career, she has published more than two dozen novels. She was born and raised in Elizabeth, New Jersey. She has two children of her own, and she has donated her time reading books out loud to other children as well. 

For decades in the field, her work has inspired numerous other children’s book authors. Even though she has written various books for kids of all ages, her most popular series, Superfudge, is largely meant for elementary and middle school students. If you want to check out some of the books Judy Blume wrote, try Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, and Superfudge. You might be interested in our round-up of the best books for five year olds.

“Nobody ever worries about me the way they worry about Fudge. If I decided not to eat they’d probably never even notice!”

Judy Blume, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

4. C. S. Lewis, 1898 – 1963

C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis is a British writer who spent most of his career as an academic; however, he is best known for his work as an author. He taught English literature at Cambridge University and Oxford University and is known for his science fiction works. During his career, he wrote over 30 books, many translated into thousands of languages. Many of his books are meant for school-age children and teenagers, with his most notable work being The Chronicles of Narnia.

The Chronicles of Narnia takes its reader on the story through a fantasy world filled with giant battles, magic, and talking animals. The series has several books, but the most popular one is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. When the characters walk through a wardrobe at the back of the closet, they are instantly transported to a fantasy world. It has even been adapted into a successful movie. If you want to journey to Narnia, you can purchase the entire collection from Amazon.

“Peter did not feel very brave; indeed, he felt he was going to be sick. But that made no difference to what he had to do.”

C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia

5. Beverly Cleary, 1916 – 2021

Beverly Cleary
Beverly Cleary

Beverly Cleary developed a reputation as a creative, straightforward, and talented children’s book author. She is one of the most successful authors of all time, and her books have sold more than 91 million copies worldwide. Her first book was published in 1950 and immediately became a literary sensation. During her long and storied life, she inspired countless children worldwide, and her books continue to be read.

Her literary style was direct, as she drew inspiration from the kids in her neighborhood. She believed kids wanted to read about people like them, and she proved correct. All she had to do was watch the kids play where she lived, and she got her ideas for her books. 

Even though she published various books, her most famous character is Ramona Geraldine Quimby. She is one of the most relatable literary figures, and many people remember what happened when she broke an egg on her forehead in the middle of her school. She wrote over 30 books for young children and novelized the popular TV show, “Leave It to Beaver.”

Some of her most popular books include Beezus and Ramona, Dear Mr. Henshaw, and The Mouse and the Motorcycle. You can check out Ramona by getting the book series from Amazon.

“Beezus felt that the biggest trouble with four-year-old Ramona was that she was just plain exasperating.”

Beverly Cleary, Beezus and Ramona

6. Eric Carle, 1929 – 2021

Eric Carle
Eric Carle

Eric Carle is another of the top children’s book authors. He has written children’s stories for decades and published over 50. Even in his 80s, he continued to write amazing books for children. His writing style is known for using hand-painted papers, unique collage images, and colorful and cheerful images. Because he gives his characters an appearance of energy, he can hold the attention of young readers, and he uses simple phrases that children can often memorize.

For more than six decades, he has inspired children to fall in love with reading. You have probably heard about many of his books, including The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, and The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse. You can grab a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar from Amazon!

“On Saturday, he ate through one piece of chocolate cake, one ice-cream cone, one pickle, one slice of Swiss cheese, one slice of salami, one lollipop, one piece of cherry pie, one sausage, one cupcake, and one slice of watermelon

That night he had a stomach ache.”

Eric Carle, The Very Hungry Caterpillar

7. Arnold Lobel, 1933 – 1987

Arnold Lobel
Arnold Lobel

Arnold Lobel is a famous American children’s book author. During his life, he wrote and illustrated countless books for children, and he also won the Caldecott medal in 1981, given to the Best-Illustrated picture book in the United States. He once stated that he could not think of any more fun or agreeable work than making children’s books. Fortunately, he felt the same way, donating his unique talents to children worldwide.

Many of his books talk about friendship, the importance of accepting differences we have in one another, and living life with humor. Many people love reading about the adventures of Frog and Toad, so it should come as no surprise that Frog and Toad Together remains one of the most popular children’s books ever. If you want to reminisce about Frog and Toad, you can purchase the entire collection from Amazon.

“One day in summer Frog was not feeling well. Toad said, ‘Frog, you are looking quite green.’

‘But I always look green,’ said Frog. ‘I am a frog.’

‘Today you look very green even for a frog,’ said Toad.”

Arnold Lobel, Frog and Toad Are Friends

8. Jon Scieszka, 1954 –

Jon Scieszka
Jon Scieszka

Jon Scieszka is a relatively recent children’s book writer but has already positioned himself among the greats. She is known for creating picture books with Lane Smith, a famous illustrator. He is originally from Flint, Michigan; he has two children. He has already written dozens of books, with some of his most popular titles being The True Story of The Three Little Pigs, Math Curse, Kat’s Mystery Gift, and Science First

In addition to his work as a children’s book author, he started a foundation called Guys Read. The foundation’s goal is to encourage boys to learn how to read. Today, there was a lot of competition for the time children, and many kids do not read as much as they used to. Scieszka’s Foundation wants to ensure people remember the joys of reading. If you want to check out some of Scieszka’s works, start with The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. You can pick up a copy of the book from Amazon.

“So I went to the next house, and this guy was the first and second pig’s brother. He must have been the brains of the family, because he had built his house out of bricks.”

Jon Scieszka, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs

9. Yangsook Choi

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi book cover image

Yangsook Choi grew up in Korea but now spends time in New York and Seoul. Choi earned an MFA in illustration from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She is a famous author and illustrator of children’s books, with her most well-known books including The Name Jar, Peach Heaven, New Cat, and Behind the Mask. Choi has been named “Best of the Best” by the Chicago Public Library and has received the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book award for her incredible writing and illustration skills.

When she’s not creating the next bestselling children’s book, she enjoys meeting and helping children worldwide. She has visited those living in shelters in the Himalayas, the Arabian desert, North Korean defectors, and those surviving the floods in Cambodia. 

“Again she took out the red pouch to look at the wooden block with her name carved in it. As she ran her fingers along the grooves and ridges of the Korean characters, she pictured her grandmother’s smile.”

Yangsook Choi, The Name Jar

10. J.K. Rowling, 1965 –

J.K.Rowling
J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling, born Joanne Rowling, adopted a pen name due to concerns from her publisher that a book written by a woman might not appeal to young boys. Taken from her grandmother’s name – Kathleen – the initial “K” was added to complete her pen name. Rowling was born in Gloucestershire, England, and attended Wyedean School and College. She admitted to having a difficult adolescent experience and was not particularly happy. Rowling began writing fantasy stories as a child, often reading them to her sister as her first audience. 

Rowling started writing the first Harry Potter book while waiting on a delayed train from Manchester to London. The idea for the story occurred only a year before she began writing, and once she began, she then spent the next five years planning the seven-book series. After being rejected by twelve publishing houses, Bloomsbury, a small London-based publisher, accepted Harry Potter. The Harry Potter series is now world-famous, and over 500 million copies have been sold worldwide and turned into a vastly successful movie franchise. You might also be interested in learning about the Harry Potter TV reboot.

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
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Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-7)
  • Brand New in box. The product ships with all relevant accessories
  • J. K. Rowling (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 07/01/2009 (Publication Date) - Scholastic Inc. (Publisher)

11. Julia Donaldson, 1948 –

Julia Donaldson
Julia Donaldson

Julia Donaldson is a British writer, playwright, performer, and children’s book author who has written over 200 books. Donaldson’s breakthrough came when she partnered with illustrator Axel Scheffler when writing A Squash and a Squeeze. This collaboration continued with the creation of The Gruffalo, a world-famous success with over 14 million sales worldwide. The Gruffalo has been adapted into plays, films, Christmas specials, merchandise, and more! Her other popular books include Room on the Broom, Stick Man, and The Smartest Giant in Town.

“Who is this creature with terrible claws and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws? He has knobbly knees and turned-out toes and a poisonous wart at the end of his nose. His eyes are orange, his tongue is black. He has prickles all over his back.”

Julia Donaldson, The Gruffalo
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The Gruffalo
  • Donaldson, Julia (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 26 Pages - 03/02/2006 (Publication Date) - Puffin Books (Publisher)

12. Maurice Sendak, 1928 – 2012

Maurice Sendak
Maurice Sendak

Maurice Sendak is an American writer and illustrator of children’s literature and is most famous for Where the Wild Things Are, his first book, published in 1963. Sendak was born in Brooklyn, New York; his parents were Polish-Jewish immigrants. He decided to become an illustrator after viewing Walt Disney’s film Fantasia at age 12, he fell in love with creating beautiful pieces of fiction, and the rest is history! He spent most of the 1950s working as an artist for children’s books before writing his own stories.

“And the wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws.”

Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are
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Where the Wild Things Are: A Caldecott Award Winner
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  • Maurice Sendak (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 48 Pages - 12/26/2012 (Publication Date) - Harper Collins (Publisher)

13. Enid Blyton, 1897 – 1968

Enid Blyton
Enid Blyton

Enid Blyton was born in South London and showed a keen interest in music and reading from a young age. After deciding that music wasn’t for her, she abandoned that career path and trained as a school teacher. Her first publication was a poem published in Nash’s Magazine. Blyton then devoted herself to writing full-time in 1924, and over the course of her writing career, she published over 600 children’s books and wrote many articles for magazines.

Blyton’s fiction includes mystery and adventure, often set in schools or circuses. Her most famous series include Famous Five, Secret Seven, and Little Noddy. By the 21st century, her books had sold over 400 million copies and had been translated into over 90 languages. 

“Sharing pleasures doubles their joy.”

Enid Blyton, The Famous Five Collection
Famous Five Collection 3 Books In 1 (Famous Five: Gift Books and Collections)
  • Binding : Paperback
  • Pages : 592
  • Publisher : Hodder Children'S Books
  • Blyton, Enid (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

14. A.A. Milne, 1882 – 1956

A.A. Milne
A.A. Milne

Alan Alexander Milne is an English author best known for his Winnie-the-Pooh children’s book. Winnie-the-Pooh was inspired by Milne’s son – Christopher Robin, and his stuffed toys. The book is set in the fictional Hundred Acre Wood and consists of short stories following teddy bear Winne-the-Pooh and his friends, Christopher Robin, Piglet, Eeyore, Owl, Rabbit, Kanga, and Roo. The stories follow the adventures of these characters who go on quests, search for friends, and generally enjoy each other’s company.

Since its publication in 1926, Winnie-the-Pooh has sold more than 50 million copies worldwide and has been translated into many languages. There have been many adaptations of Winnie-the-Pooh, including films, television shows, and merchandise, at a franchise worth over $7 billion. The characters have become cultural icons, recognized worldwide, and associated with childhood innocence, friendship, love, and imagination.

“‘The things that make me different are the things that make me, me.’- Piglet”

A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh
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Winnie-the-Pooh: Classic Gift Edition
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  • Milne, A. A. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 176 Pages - 09/19/2017 (Publication Date) - Dutton Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

15. David Walliams, 1971 –

David Walliams
David Walliams

David Walliams is a British author, comedian, and actor who became famous for his work in the sketch comedy show Little Britain. However, since then, he has become an accomplished writer and has published many successful children’s books.

Walliams’ writing career began when he published The Boy in the Dress in 2007, quickly becoming a critically acclaimed success. Since then, he has published more books, including Mr. Stink, Billionaire Boy, and Gangsta Granny. With a unique style and storytelling ability, Walliams can address serious issues in a way accessible to young imaginations. He has won several awards, including the National Book Awards Children’s Book of the Year and the Red House Children’s Book Award.

“I think all those rules are boring. About what people can and can’t wear. Surely everyone should be able to wear whatever they like?”

David Walliams, The Boy in the Dress

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16. Beatrix Potter, 1866 – 1943

Beatrix Potter
Beatrix Potter

Helen Beatrix Potter was an English author of children’s books, illustrator, mycologist, and conservationist. Her most famous books include fun animal characters such as Peter Rabbit. Despite being discouraged from attending school due to being a woman, she self-studied and painted fungi, leading her to be widely respected in mycology.

Potter published The Tale of Peter Rabbit in her thirties, a roaring success. She published another 24 children’s books during her career, which allowed her to become financially successful and buy a farm. Potter continued to live as a sheep breeder and farmer while writing and illustrating children’s books. 

Her works are world-famous, with over 250 million copies sold worldwide. When she died in 1943, she left all her property to The National Trust to preserve the land, leaving behind a legacy as an acclaimed author and conservation activist. Looking for more children’s books? You might also enjoy our list of the best Stan and Jan Berenstain books.

“Even the smallest one can change the world.”

Beatrix Potter, The Tale of Peter Rabbit

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17. J. R. R. Tolkien 1892 – 1973

J.R.R. Tolkien
J.R.R. Tolkien

J. R. R. Tolkien was a writer, artist, and scholar who wrote and taught at the University of Oxford. Born in South Africa in 1892, Tolkien traveled and grew up in and around Birmingham, UK as a child. After graduating from the University of Oxford in 1915, he served in World War I before being invalided home.

He had a vastly successful academic career and became one of the most famous authors ever. His creative work includes fantasy novels, children’s stories, poetry, illustration, and the creation of fictional languages. 

Tolkiens’ most popular children’s novel is The Hobbit which is set in a world called Middle-earth and follows the adventures of a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins. Bilbo is recruited by a wizard named Gandalf to help a group of dwarves reclaim their treasure from a dragon named Smaug. The Lord of The Rings trilogy is closely tied to this story, and The Hobbit is often referred to as the prequel to Tolkien’s world-famous trilogy.

“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
The Hobbit
  • J.R.R. Tolkien (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 05/23/1986 (Publication Date) - Abrams (Publisher)

18. Jaqueline Wilson, 1945 –

Jaqueline Wilson
Jaqueline Wilson

Jaqueline Wilson is an extremely successful British author who began writing at the age of nine. Her passion for writing shines through in her work and can be seen in the love that her fans have for her characters. She began her writing career as a journalist before becoming a full-time novelist.

Wilson is best known for her character Tracy Beaker, who first appeared in her 1991 novel, The Story of Tracy Beaker. Jaqueline’s books were so successful that they became a popular children’s television show aired in the United Kingdom. With over 35 million books sold in the UK alone, Jaqueline’s success was recognized when she was awarded an OBE in 2002.

“I can’t stand fairy tales. They’re all the same. If you’re very good and very beautiful with long golden curls, then, after you’ve swept up a few cinders or had a long nap in a cobwebby palace, this prince comes along and you live happily ever after. Which is fine if you happen to be a goody-goody and look gorgeous. But if you’re bad and ugly then you’ve got no chance whatsoever.”

Jacqueline Wilson, The Story of Tracy Beaker
The Story of Tracy Beaker
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Wilson, Jacqueline (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 160 Pages - 11/28/2006 (Publication Date) - Corgi (Publisher)

19. Michael Morpurgo, 1943 –

Michael Morpurgo
Michael Morpurgo

Sir Michael Morpurgo is a British author known for his children’s book writing, five of which have been adapted into films. He is also a well-known screenplay writer and librettist for opera. Born in 1943, Morpurgo was evacuated to Cumberland from Hertfordshire during the last years of World War II, and he later returned to London and then to Essex. After a brief service in the army, he became a teacher and started writing.

Morpurgo is the author of many award-winning children’s books, including The Wreck of the Zanzibar, which won the Whitbread Children’s Book Award (1995), The Butterfly Lion, which won the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize (Gold Award, 1996), Kensuke’s Kingdom, which won the Children’s Book Award (2000) and Private Peaceful, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Children’s Book Award (2004) and Carnegie Medal (2004). Morpurgo had five books turned into films, and his novels My Friend, Walter, and Out of the Ashes were adapted for television.

“Being his real brother I could feel I live in his shadows, but I never have and I do not now. I live in his glow.”

Michael Morpurgo, Private Peaceful
Private Peaceful
  • Morpurgo, Michael (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 192 Pages - 05/24/2024 (Publication Date) - Harpercollins Pub Ltd (Publisher)

20. Noel Stratfield, 1895 – 1986

Noel Streatfeild began her writing career in 1930 when she published her first adult novel, The Whicharts. However, she is best known for her incredible children’s novels, including Ballet Shoes, published in 1936. This novel became an instant bestseller due to its imaginative plot. She won various awards, including the Carnegie Gold Medal, for her novel The Circus is Coming in 1939.

During World War II, she continued writing and creating several adult novels, children’s books, romances, articles, and short stories. In 1938, she was awarded an OBE for her contribution to literature. Streatfeild passed away in 1987, completing 58 children’s books and leaving behind a literary legacy.

“Dignity is trained into royal children before they can toddle, graciousness, consideration for others, an unshakable belief in the greatness of their position.”

Noel Streatfeild, Ballet Shoes
Ballet Shoes (A Puffin Book)
  • We search for any book you like In Chinese, Russian and Spanish Service for Businesses, Individuals, Governments, Universities Any medium you choose, that is available Read, Learn, Research and Enjoy
  • Streatfeild, Noel (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages - 10/28/2015 (Publication Date) - Puffin (Publisher)

FAQs About The Best Children’s Book Authors

What is the best way to get children excited about reading?

One of the best days to get kids interested in reading is to let them pick out the books themselves. Consider making a trip to the library, turning it into an adventure. Then, let your child read the book. If you pick up books your child is interested in, they will likely want to read them.

Why is reading so important for children?

Reading to young children is critical because it helps them build a pocket for the skills they need to be successful in school. If you read out loud to your child, they learn more about the world around them, encouraging them to pursue lifelong learning. 

Looking for more? Check out our round-up of the best authors of historical fiction!

  • Meet Rachael, the editor at Become a Writer Today. With years of experience in the field, she is passionate about language and dedicated to producing high-quality content that engages and informs readers. When she's not editing or writing, you can find her exploring the great outdoors, finding inspiration for her next project.

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