Today, we’re wishing the legendary children’s book author Lois Lowry a very happy 75th birthday! One of our all-time favorite authors of children’s literature, Lowry published her first kids book in 1977, and has since penned over 30 more. To celebrate Lowry’s birthday, we’ve put together a list of the all-time best authors of children’s literature written in English, from the contemporary to the classic, from the wildly magical to the wittily familiar. Here, we’re defining “children’s literature” as being novels aimed at the 9 to 13 set, a little bit young for YA proper, but well into the chapter book stage and getting ready for more meaty fare. After all, there’s no better way to prepare a child for a life of creativity and curiosity than to give them a bunch of great books during their formative years. Or at least we think so. Click through to read our list — and since we wanted to make this list three times over (but you’ve gotta stop somewhere), be sure to chime in with your own favorites in the comments!
Lois Lowry, whose novels consistently blow us away, is one of only five authors who have been awarded the Newbery Medal twice — once for Number the Stars in 1990, and again for The Giver in 1993 (two more of her doubly awarded peers are also on our list!). Lowry does not shy away from disturbing or difficult topics — the Holocaust, dystopian futures, terminal illness — but instead addresses them head on with grace and captivating ability. Two decades later, we’re still arguing with our friends over whether Jonas dies or finds salvation at the end of The Giver. The question, like the book, still feels urgent, which is how we know she’s one of the best.