5 Authors Of Challenging And Engrossing Books For Young Readers

Books can help young people become better readers, learn to empathize with others, and explore subjects like history in a more engaging and entertaining way than they can with school alone. The authors listed here have written middle grade and YA books featuring diverse characters, challenging topics, and compelling plots that are sure to engage readers of all ages. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Authors Who Write Compelling YA & Middle Grade Fiction

Name Notable Work
Dean Pitchford Captain Nobody
Stacy Juba Offsides
Beth Vrabel Caleb and Kit
Donna Gephart Lily and Dunkin
Barbara Henderson Fir for Luck

Why Kids Read

How to Encourage Kids to Read

A great way to start is to get a bookshelf for your child's room. If they have access to their own collection of books, it'll be easy for them to read at their own pace. And if they're looking at the shelf everyday, reading will always be on their mind. It's also important to give your kids a comfortable place to sit. This can be anything from a rocking chair to a couch to a dedicated reading nook. If they have a space that's just for them, it makes reading time all the more special. As they grow, your young ones will start to read more challenging books with words they don't know. Encourage them to look up unfamiliar terms in the dictionary so they can expand their vocabulary. Finally, if you're having trouble getting your kid interested in books in the first place, try bridging the gap between visual media and literature with graphic novels.

10 Films Based on Middle Grade Books

  1. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
  2. Anne of Green Gables (2016)
  3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
  4. Sounder (1972)
  5. The Tale of Despereaux (2008)
  6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010)
  7. Holes (2003)
  8. The BFG (2016)
  9. The Princess Bride (1987)
  10. Percy Jackson & the Olympians (2010)

The History of YA Literature

In Depth

Sometimes, getting kids to read can be a struggle. However, there are a wide range of books available that feature interesting and relatable storylines that range from sports adventures to challenges with friends and family. Here, in no particular order, are authors writing fiction designed to captivate budding readers.

Entering the list at #1 is Dean Pitchford. He is a songwriter, novelist, and screenwriter, and has won an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award. He is the author of Captain Nobody, which tells the story of ten year old Newt, whose star athlete brother is knocked into a coma during a football game. The book received a Grammy nomination for Best Spoken Word Recording for Children in 2009.

Pitchford penned the screenplay for the movie Footloose, starring Kevin Bacon. Among the songs he has co-written are All the Man That I Need, popularized by Whitney Houston, and Let's Hear It for the Boy, sung by Deniece Williams. As a performer on Broadway, he played the title role in the Bob Fosse musical Pippin. He is a graduate of Yale University.

Among the songs he has co-written are All the Man That I Need, popularized by Whitney Houston, and Let's Hear It for the Boy, sung by Deniece Williams.

Coming in at #2 is Stacy Juba. A former reporter and freelance writer, she is the author of Offsides, which features twin hockey stars, T.J. and Brad, as they navigate their parents' divorce as well as troubles on and off the ice. Readers praise the work for its captivating action and well-developed characters.

Through her editing and online course business, Shortcuts for Writers, Juba helps other authors with their manuscripts. She is a past recipient of the William F. Deeck Malice Domestic Grant for new mystery writers, and has taught workshops for Sisters in Crime. Among her professional accolades are awards from the New England Newspaper & Press Association, and the Stuttering Foundation of America.

At #3 is Beth Vrabel, an award winning author of books for middle grade readers. Her novel, Caleb and Kit, details the friendship between a young boy with cystic fibrosis and a free spirited girl. Chosen as a finalist for the 2017 Cybils Awards for Middle Grade Fiction, Kirkus Reviews hails the book as a realistic story with strong, recognizable characters.

Chosen as a finalist for the 2017 Cybils Awards for Middle Grade Fiction, Kirkus Reviews hails the book as a realistic story with strong, recognizable characters.

Vrabel graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a degree in journalism. Following college, she went on to become a reporter for a local newspaper, and eventually an editor of two regional magazines and a lifestyle columnist. In addition to penning novels, she leads writing workshops for kids, and visits libraries and schools to host readings and signings.

In the #4 spot is Donna Gephart, author of Lily and Dunkin, which explores the bond between a transgender girl and a boy dealing with bipolar disorder. The story has received national recognition, including NPR's Best Kids' Books list, School Library Journal's Top 10 Audiobooks, and the YALSA 2017 Best Fiction for Young Adults list.

Gephart is a popular speaker at schools and conferences. Past events where she has presented include the Houston Tweens Read Festival, and the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention. In addition, she has served as a creative writing instructor at Oxbridge Academy of the Palm Beaches. She resides in the Philadelphia area with her family.

She resides in the Philadelphia area with her family.

Rounding out the list at #5 is Barbara Henderson, a novelist and drama teacher. Her historical children's novel, Fir for Luck, follows the adventures of twelve year old Janet as she fights to keep the residents of her village from being evicted. Based on the real life events of the Highland Clearances, the story is set in Ceannabeinne on the North coast of Sutherland in Scotland.

In addition to teaching and writing novels for young readers, Henderson is a columnist for The Wee Review, where she spotlights books, theatre, and performance events. Her work has also appeared in the Inverness Courier, and the Mearns Leader. In addition, she has won the Nairn Book & Arts Festival Short Story Competition, and was one of three writers shortlisted for the Kelpies Prize in 2013.