Literature

children reaching for the stars

English author and professor Katherine Rundell thinks all of us – even adults – can benefit by reading books primarily meant for kids. Reading children’s books might inspire us to take chances, learn new things and go — literally and figuratively — to new worlds.

Children's book art of mother goose, peter rabbit, jack climbing a beanstalk and a lion

Remember when reading still felt magical? We talk to authors about Wonderland, magic wands, unicorns and other children's stories that inspire.

The house from Anne of Green Gables

Ebony Thomas is the author of “The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games.” For her the most important word in that title is "imagination." She believes that without imagination we can't change the world because we can't see it. We can't daydream a better world into existence. It's why she's always identified with another literary daydreamer — Anne of Green Gables.

A knight at the gates

A girl, a horse, and a magical sword save a kingdom in Robin McKinley's young adult classic, "The Blue Sword" — a book beloved by women of all ages. "Hild" author Nikola Griffith explains why. 

children's book illustration of a city street

There’s a book that author Ada Calhoun thinks of as both one of her favorites to read out loud with her son, as well as one that has inspired her own writing. It’s “A Street Through Time: The 12,000 Year Journey Along the Same Street ” — a story of one street, leading the reader through historical events and the passage of time, with the street itself starring as the main character.

pie

Lulu Miller, author of “Why Fish Don’t Exist,” first read the young adult book “The Search for Delicious” when she was in that transformative and uncertain stage in between childhood and adulthood.

Huck Finn

“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain is one of the most controversial books in the American literary canon, particularly because of its frequent use of the N word. But for Enrique Salmon, a young Native kid trying to master the English language, “Huckleberry Finn” was the book that launched his lifelong love of reading.

A wolf

"White Fang" by Jack London is a classic outdoor adventure story about a wild wolf-dog's struggle to survive in the Yukon Territory during the 1890's Gold Rush. Writer Quan Barry read it for the first time at age 11 and learned just how powerful a book can be. 

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