I do an incredible amount of “book work.” I read magazines about books, I read web posts about books. I read book reviews. I track book release days. I do a lot of reading.
There are a few authors that I will buy almost without even bothering to read a blurb about the book. These are my “go-to” folks. These are the ones who have written new series and I have followed them merrily along without hesitation. Here they are:
(Links below are affiliate links. Revisit the top of this post for more information.)
I will read anything Jen Hatmaker wants to write – books, Facebook posts, Instagram posts, emails. You name it! She makes me laugh while “telling it like it is.” She is an encourager and an affirmer. If you’ve never read her stuff before, I’d recommend starting with For the Love.
Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The book, The Fixer was my favorite book of 2015 – and I read over 300 books in 2015! The sequel, The Long Game: A Fixer Novel is shaping up to be my favorite for 2016. I tried her series, The Naturals, from the library after eyeing the covers in bookstores over and over. I fell in love with that series, too. There’s a smart, sassy quality to both series that I adore. Jennifer Lynn Barnes is my go-to recommendation when I am talking to people about books for teens.
Capture the Flag was probably my first encounter with Kate Messner’s work and it remains my favorite book of hers to this day (although there is stiff competition!). I’ve also loved The Seventh Wish, All the Answers, and the Ranger in Time series (Rescue on the Oregon Trail – think Magic Tree House with a dog). She writes books – and characters – that connect with readers’ hearts. When she puts out a new book, I pay attention!
The Library Lovers series (Books Can Be Deceiving) is the only one of hers I have read from start to the latest installment. But I like her writing style so much, I’ve picked up and started her cupcake bakery series and her hat shop series. I haven’t had time to really dig into those series, but I love her writing style. Her books click for me no matter what series she is writing.
Knuffle Bunny. The Pigeon. Piggie and Gerald. Diva and Flea. Leonardo. Edwina. Amanda and her alligator. If you’ve read these, you know what I am talking about. Funny, clever writing. Endearing characters. If you don’t know what these books are, get to a bookstore immediately! I recommend starting with I Will Surprise My Friend! or I Am Invited to a Party! . I’ll say “you’re welcome” now. I know you’ll love them!
Donalyn Miller is known in teacher and literacy circles as “The Book Whisperer” (also the title of her first book). When Donalyn talks – about how to conference with readers, about what real readers do, about great books you should read – people listen. The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child and Reading in the Wild: The Book Whisperer’s Keys to Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits were my two favorite books when I was a teacher/ librarian. I love the practical advice given in them for teachers who want to build a classroom that celebrates reading. I recommended these to every teacher who talked to me about ways to improve the reading culture in their rooms. I attend any and every presentation she gives at a conference. I follow her recommendations on GoodReads and Twitter. She is the real deal for teacher resources. Even if I am not teaching when her next book comes out, I would buy it without hesitation.
We were first introduced to Jarrett Krosoczka’s work with the Lunch Lady graphic novel series (Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute). Then we checked out his picture books. When he released the first Platypus Police Squad middle grade novel, I hesitated, wondering if he could handle a longer form like this. I should not have hesitated! I remember being delighted at the intricate mystery in book one (Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked). We loved the whole series. When Jarrett said he was picking up the Jedi Academy series (started by Jeffrey Brown), I was completely on board. I have seen Jarrett present at conferences, and I will forever be a fan after the way he interacted with my son several years ago when we met him in person.
I don’t remember how we discovered the Percy Jackson series (The Lightning Thief ). I just remember our whole household fell hard for this series about a kid with ADHD who finds out he is the son of the god Poseidon. We have read them multiple times and have the books in multiple formats – physical, audio, graphic novel. We have read Riordan’s Egyptian series (starting with The Red Pyramid ), his crossover books between Percy, Annabeth, Carter and Sadie. We have started the Trials of Apollo series and are currently reading book 2 in his Magnus Chase series,Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book 2 The Hammer of Thor . The books are funny and completely engaging. The characters are kids you love spending time with. As long as Rick Riordan keeps writing them, our family will keep reading them.
So, what do you think of my list? Who would be on your “Must Buy” list of authors? Leave a comment below.