The best children’s books about writers

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an author and a college writing professor with an MFA in Creative Writing. Additionally, I am involved in and teach other art forms and the humanities including music, film, and literature. I enjoy researching and writing about literary figures, musicians, and other creatives, all of which have been a focus in my children’s books.


I wrote...

Like a Diamond in the Sky: Jane Taylor's Beloved Poem of Wonder and the Stars

By Elizabeth Brown, Becca Stadtlander (illustrator),

Book cover of Like a Diamond in the Sky: Jane Taylor's Beloved Poem of Wonder and the Stars

What is my book about?

Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are. Did you ever wonder who wrote that famous verse?

In the days when most girls were brought up to run a home, Jane Taylor had a different kind of education in the English countryside, where she was inspired by nature and the stars, and dreamed of becoming a writer. But in the late 1700s, it was not considered proper for women to be writers. Jane and other female poets were shunned, unable to use their own names when published. But Jane did write, and she never forgot her love for the beauty of nature and the glow of stars, or her desire to write for children. Her published poetry became universally known for generations to come: Twinkle, twinkle little star.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks

Elizabeth Brown Why did I love this book?

This book is a lyrical, informative, and beautifully illustrated picture book biography about the poet Gwendolyn Brooks. The reader can learn all about her struggles and triumphs to becoming one of America’s most famous writers. This book is ideal for writing for children, and it would make an ideal gift for any child (or adult!) who loves poetry.

By Suzanne Slade, Cozbi A. Cabrera (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Exquisite as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

A picture-book biography of celebrated poet Gwendolyn Brooks, the first Black person to win the Pulitzer Prize

Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000) is known for her poems about "real life." She wrote about love, loneliness, family, and poverty-showing readers how just about anything could become a beautiful poem. Exquisite follows Gwendolyn from early girlhood into her adult life, showcasing her desire to write poetry from a very young age. This picture-book biography explores the intersections of race, gender, and the ubiquitous poverty of the Great Depression-all with a lyrical touch worthy of the subject. Gwendolyn Brooks was the first Black person to…


Book cover of Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen: The Story of Six Novels, Three Notebooks, a Writing Box, and One Clever Girl

Elizabeth Brown Why did I love this book?

A luminous portrait of Jane Austen chocked full of spirited text and shimmery illustrations that capture the times. The story highlights the beginnings of Austen’s great career as a novelist from her youngest days all the way to famous writer. It’s a great addition to any classroom or library. Like Jane Taylor before her, Austen’s success paved the way for women authors to come.

By Deborah Hopkinson, Qin Leng (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen is one of our greatest writers.

But before that, she was just an ordinary girl.

In fact, young Jane was a bit quiet and shy; if you had met her back then, you might not have noticed her at all. But she would have noticed you. Jane watched and listened to all the things people around her did and said and locked those observations away for safekeeping.

Jane also loved to read. She devoured everything in her father's massive library, and before long she began creating her own stories. In her…


Book cover of Rise! From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou

Elizabeth Brown Why did I love this book?

The story of Maya Angelou is exquisitely told by Bethany Hegedus and beautifully illustrated by Tonya Engel in this stunning picture book biography. Angelou’s writing speaks to all readers. Her powerful life will inspire young readers to express themselves, to create, to believe in their true power, and to rise above all obstacles to follow their dreams.

By Bethany Hegedus, Tonya Engel (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Rise! From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, this beautiful biography of Maya Angelou describes how she rose above a childhood of trauma and emotional pain to become one of the most inspiring voices of our lifetime.

Writer, activist, trolley car conductor, dancer, mother, and humanitarianMaya Angelou's life was marked by transformation and perseverance. In this comprehensive picture-book biography geared towards older readers, Bethany Hegedus lyrically traces Maya's life from her early days in Stamps, Arkansas through her work as a freedom fighter to her triumphant rise as a poet of…


Book cover of Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People

Elizabeth Brown Why did I love this book?

Monica Brown’s picture book biography of Pablo Neruda is a wonderfully written account of his life and the creation of his beautiful writing and poems that sing, even under the weight of tremendous struggles. The lyrical text soars on the page while Julie Paschkis’ colorful illustrations capture the heart and soul of the poet of the people. This is a must-read!

By Monica Brown, Julie Paschkis (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pablo Neruda as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

A stunning picture book biography from Monica Brown and illustrator Julie Paschkis about one of the world's most enduring and popular poets, Pablo Neruda

Once there was a little boy named Neftalí who loved wild things wildly and quiet things quietly. From the moment he could talk, he surrounded himself with words. Neftalí discovered the magic between the pages of books. When he was sixteen, he began publishing his poems as Pablo Neruda.

Pablo wrote poems about the things he loved―things made by his friends in the café, things found at the marketplace, and things he saw in nature. He…


Book cover of 16 Words: William Carlos Williams and the Red Wheelbarrow

Elizabeth Brown Why did I love this book?

Every poem has a story about how it came to be, and readers will enjoy the story of “The Red Wheelbarrow,” one of William Carlos Williams’ most beloved poems. The text is engaging and fun, and the colorful illustrations highlight the story well. This a must-read for children and adults alike!

By Lisa Rogers, Chuck Groenink (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 16 Words as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This simple nonfiction picture book about the beloved American poet William Carlos Williams is also about how being mindful can result in the creation of a great poem like "The Red Wheelbarrow"--which is only sixteen words long.

"Look out the window. What do you see? If you are Dr. William Carlos Williams, you see a wheelbarrow. A drizzle of rain. Chickens scratching in the damp earth." The wheelbarrow belongs to Thaddeus Marshall, a street vendor, who every day goes to work selling vegetables on the streets of Rutherford, New Jersey. That simple action inspires poet and doctor Williams to pick…


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The Woman at the Wheel

By Penny Haw,

Book cover of The Woman at the Wheel

Penny Haw Author Of The Invincible Miss Cust

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Storyteller Dog walker Dreamer Runner Reader

Penny's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Inspiring historical fiction based on the real life of Bertha Benz, whose husband built the first prototype automobile, which eventually evolved into the Mercedes-Benz marque.

"Unfortunately, only a girl again."

From a young age, Cäcilie Bertha Ringer is fascinated by her father's work as a master builder in Pforzheim, Germany. But those five words, which he wrote next to her name in the family Bible, haunt Bertha.

Years later, Bertha meets Carl Benz and falls in love—with him and his extraordinary dream of building a horseless carriage. Bertha has such faith in him that she invests her dowry in his plans, a dicey move since they alone believe in the machine. When Carl's partners threaten to withdraw their support, he's ready to cut ties. Bertha knows the decision would ruin everything. Ignoring the cynics, she takes matters into her own hands, secretly planning a scheme that will either hasten the family's passage to absolute derision or prove their genius. What Bertha doesn't know is that Carl is on the cusp of making a deal with their nemesis. She's not only risking her marriage and their life's work, but is also up against the patriarchy, Carl's own self-doubt, and the clock.

Like so many other women, Bertha lived largely in her husband's shadow, but her contributions are now celebrated in this inspiring story of perseverance, resilience, and love.

The Woman at the Wheel

By Penny Haw,

What is this book about?

Inspiring historical fiction based on the real life of Bertha Benz, whose husband built the first prototype automobile, which eventually evolved into the Mercedes-Benz marque.

"Unfortunately, only a girl again."

From a young age, Cacilie Bertha Ringer is fascinated by her father's work as a master builder in Pforzheim, Germany. But those five words, which he wrote next to her name in the family Bible, haunt Bertha.

Years later, Bertha meets Carl Benz and falls in love-with him and his extraordinary dream of building a horseless carriage. Bertha has such faith in him that she invests her dowry in his…


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