Writers Who Read: Authors to Help Get Kids Engaged in Reading


“How do I get my child to read more?” is a question that is on the minds of many parents and guardians. There are strategies available to answer this question, but a good one to use is to find an author your child loves. We all have our favorite authors. It may be their style of writing, chosen genre, or another feature that attracts readers to their books. When you find this author, you want to read all of their stories. The same can happen for children. There are many wonderful writers out there for kids and young adolescents to read, including the ones below.

Mary Pope Osborne –

If you are familiar with the Magic Tree House series, you may recognize the name “Mary Pope Osborne.” Since 1992, young readers, especially those ages seven to ten, have taken numerous journeys throughout history with characters Annie and Jack in this beloved series. All adventures start from the siblings’ tree house, filled with books, and include travels to ancient Rome, the Amazon, the Revolutionary War, and even to visit dinosaurs. Along with the original Magic Tree House stories, the series has branched into including graphic novels of the Magic Tree House tales, a Merlin Mission series, and a Fact Tracker series. Further engage your child with online interactives and games related to the plots on the series’ website. Osborne has penned more than 60 stories for children and young adults. Other titles of hers are My Brother’s Keeper, Tales from the Odyssey, My Secret War: The World War II Diary of Madeline Beck, and Rocking Horse Christmas.


Alan Gratz –

I have profiled one of Alan Gratz’s books, Refugee, in a past “Writers Who Read” column. In this historical fiction, three kids from three different time periods all have the same mission of escaping and finding a new home for their families. Published in 2017, readers are taken on the emotional journey of Josef who is escaping Nazi Germany, Isabel who is heading towards America after the early 1990s riots in Cuba, and Mahmoud who is has only one goal: leaving war-torn Syria for refuge in Europe. Refugee is one of the seventeen novels written by the New York Times bestselling author. Gratz is also known for Ground Zero, Allies, Grenade, Prisoner B-3087, and Projekt 1065. All of his plots are action-packed with gripping stories that pull readers into the characters’ lives. Gratz’s novels are geared towards late elementary to middle school aged children; however, they can be favorites among adults, as well. Fun fact: he is a North Carolinian, who lives with his family in Asheville.

Rick Riordan –

Rick Riordan is another loved writer for late elementary to middle school aged kids and has been around since 1997. Riordan has authored more than 20 novels, including the Kane Chronicles, the Magnus Chase series, and the Trials of Apollo, but is probably most known for his Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. These books are centered around 12-year-old Percy Jackson who is the descendant of a Greek god, Poseidon, and struggles with ADHD and dyslexia. The first novel, The Lighting Thief, sets the path for Percy’s following journeys as he is on the mission to find Zeus’ stolen lightning bolt. Greek mythology, enemies, and the challenges of becoming a teenager guide the series and readers will see how Percy uses his skills, powers, and family lineage to fight the continuing battles between the gods. One added bonus to Percy Jackson and the Olympians is there are online activities available so kids can enjoy Rick Riordan’s novels just a little more.

If you have a struggling young reader, give one of these (age appropriate) writers a try. You may be soon surprised by how fast your child will go through books and want to keep reading more. Plus, Mary Pope Osborne, Alan Gratz, and Rick Riordan also have novels for adults. Make time to read as a family, no matter which favorite author you choose.





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