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Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Favourite Children's Authors

It's pretty impossible for me to compile a list of my favourite books up until the age of 15, so instead I've compiled a list of my favourite authors from my childhood into my early/mid teens. Note: this will be quite long. Also feel free to check out my list of current favourite books: http://www.thezarinamachablog.co.uk/2017/06/top-15-favourite-books.html
As well as my list of favourite Stephen King books, who is my current favourite author: http://www.thezarinamachablog.co.uk/2017/09/reviewing-stephen-king.html

So here we begin, back into the beautiful prose of childhood-teen fiction...


Jacqueline Wilson. If I were to name one author who really cemented my love of reading, who inspired me in my goals to become a writer, and whom I've read nearly all of their books, it would be this lady. She means more to me than I can describe. If Stephen King is my current favourite author, then JW to me is a goddess. I read her until I got too old to read her. She touches on family drama, mental health, divorce, friendships, insecurities of children and teens, loss of loved ones...everything. She is an important author that all young girls should read, and probably most British girls of my generation grew up on. Some of my favourite JW books include: Kiss, Midnight, My Sister Jodie, Candyfloss, The Illustrated Mum, Cookie, Love Lessons, Bad Girls....

Enid Blyton. Another classic children's author, who I am sure lots of British children grew up reading. Her works are widely revered in the field of children's literature. Some of my favourites include The Secret Seven Series, and the Five Find-Outers and Dog. I also adored 'Best stories for seven year olds.'

Roald Dahl. A children's author who wasn't afraid to delve into the 'weird.' He's written about a crazy old couple, an evil landlady, a child genius, talking insects, witches, a little boy who cooks his grandma a real medicinal treat...the lot. His books can be adored by adults and children alike. Some good ones: Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; George's Marvellous Medicine.

Michael Morpugo. His stories were mainly focused around war-times and animals. 'The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips' is one of my favourite children's books of all times, not least because it has a cat on the front cover.

Narinder Dhami. Author one of my favourite films 'Bend it like Beckham', she brought me the beloved Bindi Babes series. I read those books over and over; Bindi Babes, Bollywood Babes and Bhangra Babes, as well as Suneeta's Secret which is based in the same universe with a different protagonist. They tell the story of three awesome British-Indian sisters who have to deal with the move in of their 'interfering auntie' and trying to cope with the death of their mother. Funny, entertaining, dramatic and at times sad. Great books.

Lucy Daniels. Lucy Daniels isn't actually an author, she's the name given to a bunch of authors who worked on the amazing 'Animal Ark' and 'Dolphin Diaries' books. The Animal Ark books are amazing stories about two children who's parents are vets and who help out animals and solve animal-related mysteries. 'Dolphin Diaries' is about a girl who travels for a year with her marine biologist parents discovering stuff about dolphins.

Linda Chapman. She's the lady who brought me the 'My Secret Unicorn' series, a series about a girl who has a unicorn for a pet whom hardly anyone knows about. Beautiful books.

Georgia Byng. Author of the 'Molly Moon' series about a girl who discovers a book of hypnotism and goes on a bunch of adventures with her best friend Rocky. They're super fun books and ooooh I'm getting nostalgic now. Include stuff like time travel, mind-reading and freezing time.

Anne Fine. 'Bill's New Frock' is a book I read over and over again in my childhood. I also liked Care of Henry, Up on Cloud Nine and the creepy Bad Dreams.

Dick King-Smith. My favourite Dick King-Smith books centered around a girl named Sophie who acquired a lot of animal friends. Sophie was sweet, smart, but also stubborn and rebellious, and a loner and a tomboy. She wants to be a farmer some day and so plays a lot with animals, yes including cats. Yikes, here comes Sophie! Hehe.

Philip Pullman. When I was in year 4 my teacher gave me a copy of 'Northern Lights.' I loved it, and years later I spent £30 on 'His Dark Materials.' Only I never finished it. I read the first one, part of the second one and never got to the third one. But some day I WILL!

C.S Lewis. Narnia is as much as a rite of passage for any British kid as Harry Potter. The Chronicles of Narnia followed four children, the Pevensies, who discovered a magical land where they ruled as kings and queens. I like the Christian Allegories, even though I'm not religious. My favourite was 'The Magician's Nephew', which was the first one (never got made into a film) and showed how it all began. The references to the book of Genesis were ingenious.

Zizou Corder. That's not her real name; I thought 'she' was a guy but she's actually a woman named Louisa Young. She brought me the Lionboy triology; Lionboy, Lionboy: The Chase, and Lionboy: The Truth. They're about a boy named Charlie Ashanti who's parents are kidnapped by an evil government agency and who runs off to a Circus and is helped by a bunch of lions. Did I mention he can talk to cats? No wonder my mum bought me this.

Anthony Horowitz. When I was probably about nine or ten I remember reading 'The Falcon's Malteser' and laughing so much during a passage that I peed myself. He's written a great deal of kid's gothic horror/comedy stuff, as well as his acclaimed Alex Rider series. I read Stormbreaker and Point Blanc; loved them both, although never pursued further.

Malorie Blackman. If you've never read 'Noughts and Crosses', you should. It's a series set in a world like ours only different, in which black people rule as the richest (Crosses) and white people are all poor and lowly (Noughts). In the first book, two best friends, Sephy and Callum; one black, one white, grow up together and fall in love, but as you can imagine society doesn't love em for it. It's a brilliant, dramatic, sad and thought-provoking series that kids, teens and adults can enjoy. (More YA fiction but I think I was about 11 when I first read em. Or 12? I dunno, I was advanced for my age). Boys don't cry is another good read of hers, as well as Pig Heart Boy.

Francesca Simon. NA NA NE NA NA! God I'm being so cheesy here. Horrid Henry anyone? I know I'm 20 but I still enjoy kids cartoons like Horrid Henry and Spongebob. Gotta admit, the Horrid Henry books are better though. I whizzed through those like a trooper. Thank you Franny!

Gwyneth Rees. Ms Rees brought me Cosmo and The Magic Sneeze, about a magical cat who likes...to sneeze! Not really. But it's purrfect. Man I'm being cringey as hell. Basically Cosmo becomes the cat of a witch. Meow!

Cathy Cassidy. She writes social realist dramas like Ms Wilson, only more for teens than children. I liked a lot of her stuff, particularly Dizzy, Scarlett and Lucky Star.

Meg Cabot. Now she is the SHIT. Fun books for teenage girls. Some of my favourites: Jinx, All American Girl, How to Be Popular; but by far my favs were the 'Airhead' Trilogy, a series about a normal teenage girl who got into an accident which got her surgically swapped into the body of a well-known model.

Cathy Hopkins. Best like her for her 'Mates, Dates' series, a series of books about four teenage girls and their teen girl drama. Sort of like a British Meg Cabot. I had lots of fun with Lucy, Izzy, Nesta and TJ.

Francine Pascal. Liked her for the 'Sweet Valley High' series, an American teen series about two twins, Jessica and Elizabeth, and their dramas. (Man, so many teen dramas). They're fun, light books, and much better than the shitty TV adaptation I saw some years ago.

Jill Murphy. Now this one really makes me want to cry because I find myself thinking about the 'Worst Witch' series. This series was about a girl named Mildred Hubble, a bit of a clumsy scatterbrain with a heart of gold who often got into scrapes with her mates Maud and later Enid. I almost want to re-read them. Fun stuff about girls all at a boarding school for witches (forget Harry Potter) and their teachers (eurgh, that Miss Hardbroom. And I always hated that bitch Ethel...)

Louise Rennison. See my post about 'Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging.' For what it's worth, the books were much better and funnier than the shoddy film. Mad as a hatter Georgia Nicolson goes through friendships, boyfriend, family and drama in this ten book series. As you've probably guessed, a lot of what I read was girl teen drama stuff. Some of it was more 'real' and down-to-earth than the others. This series is probably on the 'softer' side.

Sarra Manning. You guessed it - another YA teen author. I only read two of her books - Pretty Things and Nobody's Girl, but they both, particularly the latter, had a massive impact on me. These books are both about character building, growing up, finding your place, and teen romance without the innocence (as the characters are 16-18). I think 'Nobody's Girl' is a brilliant coming-of-age book about finding yourself that all young girls should read.

Sarah Dessen. Nearly there! My especial favourites are 'Just Listen' and 'The Truth about Forever', although I read a lot of her stuff. Good dramas, heavy themes; rape, friendships breaking, coping with death, coming-of-age, all that jazz.

Stephanie Meyer. I'm very sorry to include this woman on my list, who doesn't deserve to have her books up with all these other real, gritty, coming-of-age teen books. Twilight Sucks, but when I was 12-15 I thought it was heavenly. At least it wasn't all I read. I now have enough sense to know 'Twilight' was utter trash and drivel with poorly written characters. But you live, you learn.

Well done for plodding through all that! And congrats to me; whew! Re-visiting my childhood favourites does make me want to cry with nostalgia and makes me wish I could get those times back. Reading meant to much to me as a kid and my parents knew it; my mum probably got me most of these titles and watched with joy as I absorbed them.

Some honorable mentions:
JK Rowling - I never read the HP series until I was 18, but I loved the films dearly. My mum also read my brother and I the first two books when we were little.
Alice in Wonderland - ditto, read the books when I was 18, but are great kids classics.
Speaking of classics - Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, Treasure Island, The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, What Katy Did and Black Beauty were all other 'classics' I read as a kid.
Maya Running - this was one of my favourite books growing up that I re-read so many times. My mum got it out for me from the library and I fell in love with it. Am sure I would still love it if I read it today. Is about a Canadian-Indian girl that gets a bunch of wishes granted by the statue Ganesh when her 'perfect' cousin Pinky comes to stay.

It's impossible to name every single little book I read as a kid. Titles like '32C, That's Me' and 'Introducing Scarlett Lee' and 'The Railway Angel' all stick out. I couldn't possibly name them all, but I'll never forget the joys I got from reading as a kid, and the joys I hope to bring to others some day with the fiction I hope to publish.

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If you enjoy my posts check out my debut YA novel. Out now on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07F44CMNJ