Literary History: Child Authors

Throughout history, a few kid writers have published books that have made an impact of the world of literature. Information about these novel youngsters.

Despite the fact that most books are written by adults, throughout history children have made significant contributions to the world of literature. The earliest known young author is Francis Hawkins. In 1641, at the age of 8, he wrote a book called " Youth Behavior" a book on manners and etiquette for children. Let's take a look at some of the other child authors who have shaped history.

Perhaps the most well known child author would be Anne Frank. Though her diary was not written as a work of fiction, or even to be published, it is one of the most widely read titles the world over. It has been translated into over 50 languages. It is a direct translation from the diary of a young Jewish girl, whose family was forced into hiding during World War II by the nazis. Eventually the family was found and taken away to concentration camps. Only Anne's father survived. Upon returning to the attic where they were hidden for 2 years, he discovered his daughter's diary and had it published for the first time in 1947. After many translations and reprints it is still a must read for teenagers all over the world.

In 1937, two teenagers taking refuge from a storm decided to collaborate on a book by children, for children. The result of their efforts was a novel entitled "The Far Distance Oxus" It was published a year later and was immediately labeled a classic by critics, both in the US and overseas.



Perhaps the youngest author would be Dorothy Straight of Washington DC. At the age of 4, she penned a book entitled " How The World Began" which was published in 1964. Another young author is Jason Gaes, who, at the age of 7, wrote the book "My Book for Kids with Cancer". Suffering with Burkitt's lymphoma, a rare form of cancer, inspired him to write words that would bring comfort and hope to other kids with cancer. After getting his 10 year old brother Adam and twin brother Tim to illustrate the book, it was published in 1987.

The Raintree Publish-a-Book contest was the turning point in young author David Klein's literary career. Upon winning the contest, his book "Irwin the Sock", the story of matching argyle socks, Irwin and Irwina, was published in 1988. This contest also produced young author Jamie DeWitt, a 12 year old child with a learning disability. His true adventure "Jamie's Turn" published in 1984, is the story of an accident that occurred on his family's farm in Wisconsin.

A must-read for all teenage readers is Susan Eloise Hinton's "The Outsiders" It's story of Youth gang life has sold more than a million copies and has been transformed into a popular movie. Beginning work on the book in 1965, at the age of 15, it was published 2 years later and has been assigned reading at many high schools across the US.

Perhaps the most prolific writer, with more than 6 books to date is Gordon Korman. His first book "This Can't Be Happening" was written as a 7th grade English assignment. He had solidified his career as an author before graduating high school, penning and publishing 5 more books, including "Beware the Fish" and "Go Jump in the Pool" Just more proof that age has nothing to do with talent.

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