“If a nation loses its storytellers, it loses its childhood.” – Peter Handke
We reached out to different children’s book authors from around the world to know what book inspired them to become a children’s book author. This is what they told us! If you are a children’s book author and had a book that inspired you, please comment and let us know! Let this list be an inspiration to all future children’s book authors!
1) Mr. Galliano’s Circus by Enid Blyton
“I loved the story and the characters when I was 8. I recently read it to my son and the story came flooding back! There are whole blocks of text that I was able to recall from memory. That’s what I want for my young readers. For them to be lost in my books and return to them as parents with the story as fresh as it first was.”
- Richard Dodd author of Fluffy Hugs
2) Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
“This was my most favorite book as a kid. I loved the message about never giving up and adapting. In my books I have a similar message on staying true to your dreams and trusting they will come true with hard work and when the time is right.”
– Sarah Woodard author of Adri’s Big Dream
3) Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
“I loved the idea of going to and coming back from alternate universes full of wonder and magic. This story and many others along the same lines inspired me to write!”
– Sybrina Durant author of The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to Osm
4) Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
“As a kid I just loved the fact that you could go into another world through your closet and meet talking animals, fight against a White Witch, and be on the side of this great lion named Aslan. I found solace in Narnia in 2002 when my grandmother was dying of lung cancer. Narnia took me into a world where I had a moment of happiness despite going through a tough time in my life. I would definitely use that kind of spark of imagination when it comes to writing.”
– E. H. Hung author of Rosie’s Solo
5) The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
“I loved the characters and that they were so different, especially Moon-Face!”
- Clair Maskell author of The Loudest Roar
“Enid Blyton didn’t inspire me to write, she just inspired me to read! To read a lot! I couldn’t get enough!”
- Robin Brown author of RColourMusic Music Books
6) Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
“It was my favorite book as a child! I loved Dr. Seuss’s rhyme scheme and creativeness.”
- Rachel Schmidt author of Summer in Guatemala
“I like books that rhyme and that ask questions because I think story time should be for conversation and imagination, and rhymes are just fun!”
- Tricia DeGrave author of What Would You Think if You Could Think a Thank?
7) Lisa and Lottie by Erich Kastner
“I couldn’t tell you how many times I read it as a child. I was fascinated by the whole twins-separated-at-birth concept, the summer camp atmosphere, how they trick their parents, and more. It’s a truly wonderful book!”
- Eszter Molnar author of The Clowns Clothes
8) The Little Red Hen by Margot Zemach
“This story just applied to life. In school you always had people who you were grouped with, or now that I’m older have to work with, that just don’t help, but want to take credit for the work done at the end! My daughter inspired me to write my book when she asked me “what if the little red hen was a little girl like me?”
– Shanquetta Cole author of Little Red and the “Not I” Class Committee (Coming Soon)
9) Love You Forever by Robert Munsh
“Lots of real stories are emotional, but I find fiction often tries too hard to elicit an emotional response. Fiction is not often convincing in its emotional elements.
Love You Forever is different. It is completely implausible, but feels so real. To think that words and illustrations, fixed and unchanging, can continue to positively affect people is what inspires me to continue writing.”
– Chris Ferrie author of Quantum Physics for Babies
10) The Hare and the Tortoise by Aesop
“Aesop’s fable brought the notion of animals interacting alive in my mind and inspired me to write my own tale about a wise old frog.”
– Kate H.N. author of Eric the Oracle Tale
But there are also children’s book authors who weren’t happy with a book they read, and they were inspired to take matters into their own hands. As author Jay Miletsky said, “I came across a terrible book about a girl with cerebral palsy, which my daughter also has. That inspired me to write my own book Ricky, the Rock That Couldn’t Roll, for kids with developmental challenges without being so cringe-worthy and direct.” Author Len Krash wasn’t happy about Harry Potter getting all the credit for the smart girl constantly saving him and she decided to rewrite old stories with female characters.
Other authors are inspired to take action when they can’t find a book they want to read. As Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
A trip can always be a great source of inspiration. Author Liz Hurtado lived in India with her husband and two kids. After returning to Mexico, she didn’t want to forget this experience, so she wrote her book 6 Regalos Para Mis Amigos del Mundo (Six Gifts for my Friends in the World).
Elena and Francesca wrote Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls because that is the book they would have wanted to read when they were kids. The lack of female characters led them to write the most funded book in crowdfunding! Samara Lynch was also inspired by the lack of diversity in children’s books, so she wrote Mackenzie the Mathematician, a book about a 3rd grader who daydreams of becoming a famous mathematician.
A book has the power to help change the world by first changing the reader’s world!
It all starts with a children’s book that’s so powerful and enjoyable that children will fall in love with reading. Help us bring this and more life-changing children’s books to Katab, a Mayan community in Mexico. Together with the people of Katab we wrote 10 children’s books featuring their stories, and with the help of our book sales we are building them a library.