Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. The feature was created because The Broke and Bookish is particularly fond of lists (as am I!). Each week a new Top Ten list topic is given and bloggers can participate.
Today’s Topic: Top Ten Authors Who Deserve More Recognition
This one was much harder than I thought it was going to be. Many authors I loved are loved within the YA/MG community. So, these 5 authors are writers that I wish were read more by everyone and may be appreciated by many, but being read by more would never hurt.
1. Ginny Rorby – Anyone who knows me knows I am an advocate for Ginny Rorby’s books. I love how she takes animal and human themes and melds them into a wonderful narrative. Though her novels Hurt Go Happy and Lost in the River of Grass have gotten recognized by the Schneider and Sunshine State Award (respectably), I feel that her books often fly under the radar and they are too great to do so. And on top of that, she has 2 other books that are just as well done as the two mentioned above: Dolphin Sky and The Outside of a Horse. I really think that Ginny should be read more and I think it’ll lead to more empathy in the readers.
2. Kenneth Oppel – I think Kenneth Oppel deserves to be HUGE. I adore everything he writes that I’ve read. He transcends genres and writes such smart young adult books. His Matt Cruse series is one of the most action-packed, fun, well done trilogies I’ve ever read. Half Brother is smart, emotion-filled, thought-provoking book and the book is made to be a discussed as it introduces so many tough topics. He also writes a fun middle grade series called Silverwing that takes us on an adventure with a bat, but it isn’t just another animal-protagonist book; it is an underdog overcoming. It is adventurous, filled with twists and turns. Finally, his Frankenstein prequels- The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein– are so brilliantly done. I am just a huge fan and think there should be more like me.
3. George O’Connor – George O’Connor writes graphic novels that brings mythology to life. He is going to do a graphic novel for each of the main gods beginning with Zeus and he has now completed Athena, Hades, Poseidon, and Hera. Not only does he make the myths understandable while keeping their integrity, he does so by accompanying it with amazing artwork and an afterword of further information. Even his website is fantastic!
4. Kate Messner – In my Twitter circle, Kate Messner is loved, but I want to make sure that this love extends to the entire world. Kate is an amazing talent. First, until recently, she wrote while teaching middle school and being a mom. Being a middle school teacher, all I can say is BRAVO! Also, she is so multi-talented. She has written picture books, children’s books and middle grade novels all of equally great quality. On top of all of this, she does free Skype visits to classrooms, is a supporter of education constantly including being part of Teachers Write during the summer, and she is a good friend to all of us that are lucky enough to know her. If you have not read any Kate Messner yet, I recommend starting with Eye of the Storm or Marty McGuire or Over and Under the Snow or Sugar and Ice or… any of her books!
5. Jo Knowles – Like Kate, Jo is loved by all of my teacher friends, but I want to make sure that it isn’t just my circle that has heard of her. Jo Knowles knows how to tackle tough topics and does it amazingly in her books. Very tough topics. Her book See You At Harry’s is so phenomenally emotional and touching. And, for an author who isn’t afraid to write about some of the hardest things, Jo Knowles is one of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Like Kate, she is part of Teachers Write, will visit classrooms, and is a wonderful friend. If you want to read a book by Jo, I recommend Harry’s first, but any of her books are worth reading.
1. More compliments to Kellee’s list – Kellee and I each wrote our top five list separately. After much debate, I came to my final five. When I logged on to add to Kellee’s post, we BOTH had Jo Knowles and Kate Messner. I would just like to add my accolades to these two women. They do so much for education and young adult literature. I continually see Kate’s name in various journal articles promoting education, reading, and teachers in general. She is wonderful human being and incredibly generous. Jo does great work regarding censorship and speaks out for the freedom to read. She is a very kind soul and does so much for students and teachers. Teachers are always talking about how much they appreciate her support of their classrooms.
2. Ruta Sepetys – Last year, I was honored to meet Ruta Sepetys at the ALAN Workshop. I can confidently say that she is one of the nicest people I have ever met. When I sat down at her table for dinner, she talked to every person individually, asking them about their passions and urging them to pursue their dreams. She has written Between Shades of Gray and Out of the Easy, two phenomenal historical fiction novels. Ruta works to promote the voices that are unheard. She spreads the love of historical fiction–urging people to discover their history and ancestors. There are many great historical fiction authors, but what I like most about Ruta Sepetys is how I can give her books to ANY student in my classroom and know they will love them. She truly makes historical fiction accessible. I will pre-order any book she writes because I know each one will be an unforgettable adventure.
3. Matt de la Pena – I debated not including Matt on this list because I think many people are aware of how amazing he is. I couldn’t help but include him on this list, though, because I think he is doing such great things in the field of young adult literature. If you have a boy in your classroom who doesn’t enjoy reading, give him one of Matt’s books. He does such a great job depicting the truth, and I have found my teens really connect with his characters. At the ALAN workshop a few years ago, I mentioned to Matt how much his books connected with some of my students who I worried were at risk of dropping out. They were so excited for me to talk with him at the conference. Matt asked me to send the names of the students I was worried about, including a short description of each of them. He personalized a book for each of these students, writing a different note to each student, encouraging them to stay in school. Every single one of those students graduated high school. Thanks, Matt.
4. Kevin Brooks – I rarely hear teachers talking about Kevin Brooks. Why the heck not? I have multiple copies of all of his books in my classroom because they are excellent for reluctant readers. I love reading aloud segments of Being and The Road of the Dead, in particular. Whenever students finish Kevin Brooks’ books, they always recommend them to their peers. His books constantly flow off my bookshelves, and they are the most worn of any of the books on the shelves. Many of the books have a mystery element to them, and I find that, in general, kids love reading a good mystery. If you have many reluctant readers, get a few copies of Kevin Brooks’ books, and you won’t be sorry.
5. Kristin Cashore – Okay, okay. You probably know about her. She gets a lot of recognition in the YAL world. But why, oh why, doesn’t the whole world know about Kristin Cashore? Some of you may argue with this, but I think she is more talented than any other fantasy writer out there. (I should probably duck my head to avoid the Quidditch balls.) This woman is a genius. I would pay good money to spend a day inside her head. Her world-building is phenomenal. I have seen her speak a few times and I was amazed at her writing process. My only regret is that Kristin doesn’t produce books fast enough. When I remember hearing about how she has created maps and languages to understand characters, this makes sense. But please, Kristin, publish another book soon. I will be the first in line to buy it.
Which authors do you think deserve more recognition?