12 Interesting Facts: Children’s Authors

Have you ever wondered about the authors and illustrators behind your favorite kids books? What did they do before becoming famous? How many jobs might they have had? What is something weird that not many people know? We've collected some interesting facts about popular authors for you, along with links to their noteworthy books.

  1. Eric Carle: The Very Hungry Caterpillar - Eric Carle was recruited by the German Army to dig trenches for the war effort. Eric was born in New York, but his family moved back to Germany when he was 6. Eric was conscripted at 15 to dig trenches along the Siegfried Line.
  2. Beatrix Potter: The Tale of Peter Rabbit - Beatrix Potter was obsessed with fungi. She wrote a paper titled "On the Germination of the Spores of Agaricineae," in which she proposed her own theory on how fungi reproduced.
  3. Dav Pilkey: Dog Man - The author of Captain Underpants, Dog Man, and more changed his name to "Dav" after his name was misspelled on a nametag when he worked at Pizza Hut in his youth.
  4. H.A. Rey: Curious George - Shortly before the Nazi occupation, H.A. Rey and his wife Margret fled Paris in 1940 on bicycles carrying the manuscript of the first Curious George book. It was nearly seized by an official who had suspected they were spies.
  5. Yuyi Morales: Dreamers - As a child, author and illustrator Yuyi Morales dreamed of a UFO swooping down and the extraterrestrials taking her away.
  6. Dan Gutman: My Weird School - Before his My Weird School series, Dan Gutman's first job was working at a video game magazine called Video Games Player. The magazine launched shortly after the Pac-Man craze of 1982.
  7. Shannon Messenger: Keeper of the Lost Cities - Shannon Messenger originally started college as an art major and dreamed of being a Disney animator, but it did not work out. Her hands could not recreate what was in her mind.
  8. Kwame Alexander: The Crossover - Kwame Alexander is unafraid to try new things. While helping to build a library in Ghana, Kwame was fed a stew with grasscutter meat. He has also tried chocolate-covered bugs and snails.
  9. Grace Lin: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon - Grace Lin dreamed of becoming a famous ice skater and took lessons as a child. Luckily for us, she wasn't very good and would go on to create award-winning kids' books like Where the Mountains Meet the Moon.
  10. J. M. Barrie: Peter Pan - J.M. Barrie gave the rights to his novel, Peter Pan, to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in 1929. The hospital still benefits from royalties, books, and play performances to this day.
  11. Mary Pope Osborne: Dinosaurs Before Dark - The Magic Tree House series writers are sisters, Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce, along with Mary's husband, Will Osborne. The original 54 books written by the trio were illustrated by Sal Murdocca, and soon after, AG Ford joined the illustration team.
  12. L. Frank Baum: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - Before his Oz book was published in 1900, L. Frank Baum wrote and published an extensive guide to raising a rare and valuable breed of chickens called Hamburgs, which were all the rage in the 1880s.