Children's Book Authors: "How to Teach Kids to Love Books"

These popular authors share how they passed down their love of reading.
By Mary Kate Frank
Oct 15, 2014



Children's Book Authors: "How to Teach Kids to Love Books"

Oct 15, 2014

Emily Jenkins
Author of Toys Go Out
“A key to growing readers is: never shame their choices. At the library, I let my kids get anything they want. Then we get 48 other library books, too (those are my choices); come home; and pile them on the table. I put no pressure on them to read my favorites. I read aloud whatever they choose, without any judgment.”



R.J. Palacio

Author of Wonder and 365 Days of Wonder
“When my older son was learning to read, I actually made some Star Wars early chapter books to help get him interested. But the greatest ‘trick’ is to find the greatest books! Our family go-tos were Mr. Gumpy’s Outing by John Burningham, Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears a Who!—I still know most of it by heart—and Lemons Are Not Red by Laura Vaccaro Seeger.”

Lauren Tarshis

Author of the I Survived series
“My kids and I used to throw ‘reading parties,’ where we would take a stack of books, a few stuffed animals, and a basket of snacks to a shady spot on our lawn. We’d spread a blanket and pass an hour or even two reading outside. A few times, we fell asleep surrounded by books and cookie crumbs.”

Mo Willems

Author of Knuffle Bunny and The Pigeon Needs a Bath
“For younger kids, ‘reading’ to them really means listening to the kid’s interaction with the story. Also, it’s good to get a shame-ectomy. That will allow you to be loud, silly, and funny with any book.”

Jeff Kinney

Author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series
“My favorite book to read aloud to my kids is Freckle Juice by Judy Blume. It’s funny and a great story, just the right length for bedtime! Right now, I’m reading my sons my newest book, which hasn’t gone to the printer yet, and I always try to stop for the night on cliff-hanger moments. It keeps them wanting more.”

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PHOTOS: RJ Palacio: Russell Gordon; Lauren Tarshis: David Dreyfuss; Mo Willems: Marty Umans; Emily Jenkins: Heather Weston; Jeff Kinney: Jonathan Beckerman

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