If I am addicted to anything, I am addicted to books. Not only do books fill the built-in shelves of our home, but they also spill into baskets tucked beside recliners, and then onto the floor. I am certain I qualify for gold membership on my book swap. (The link is http://www.paperbackswap.com/index.php but don't say I didn't warn you if you get hooked.)
And I'm not the only one. In fact, everybody at our house relishes reading. That being said, here are my top ten favorite children's writers, some old, some new.
10. Kate DiCamillo. Even after years of rejection, DiCamillo still became a successful writer (the writer in me loves that part of her story). You probably know her best for The Tale of Despereaux, but you don't want to miss her hilarious stories of the beloved pig, Mercy Watson. I am certain Mercy will come to the screen some day.
9. Brain Jacques. My oldest son, Tiger, kept his nose in the Red Wall series from about fifth grade up. I am grateful he introduced Jacques to the family, as all of my boys, and a few of my girls, have loved the stories that begin with a young, brave mouse named Mathias. Cory, 12, has read all 23 books.
8. Cornelia Funke. Author of the Inkheart series, Funke also tells tales like Dragon Rider and Igraine the Brave which Dorothy, 9, has thoroughly enjoyed.
7. Sid Fleischman. You might know him for The Whipping Boy, but have you picked up By the Great Horn Spoon or Chancy and the Grand Rascal? My boys love his books.
6. Dandi Daley Mackall. I bumped another author off the list when Emma reminded me of this writer. Mary discovered her first and I am about to introduce her stories to Dorothy. What's more, when Emma wrote Mackall a letter, this author of over 200 books took the time to write back.
5. Sandra Boynton. Hope, who turns two next month, never tires of these silly books. They have all the repetitive animal sounds that babies and preschoolers love. I know many of them by heart.
4. Karen Katz. I've just discovered this author with her cozy stories full of folksy illustrations. Not long ago, I emailed her to tell her how much Hope loved Ten Tiny Babies, and she took the time to respond. I'm a lifetime fan.
3. CS Lewis/JRR Tolkein. Like everyone else, I was so happy when these stories hit the big screen. We love the movies. We love the books. Whenever I teach writing classes, in fact, I bring the first line of Tolkein's magical tales to my students' attention: In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Brilliant.
2. Margaret Wise Brown. I had to include Brown on this list, as Hope has recently fallen in love with Goodnight Moon. She gets such a kick out of finding the mouse on every colored page. Not many people know that Brown wrote other books such as The Important Book (on its way to my house now, thanks to my trusty book swap).
1. Beverly Cleary. Cleary gets the number one spot on my list. From Ralph the Mouse to Ramona, every one of my kids has enjoyed Cleary's books. She's timeless, innocent, and entertaining.
"Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body."