Think back to your favorite books from your childhood. Some authors know how to make a life-long impression on their readers. It’s no surprise that, with a 46-year history, many outstanding authors and illustrators have contributed to Cricket Media magazines. Still, you probably couldn’t guess how many of your favorite authors have graced the pages of our children’s magazines! We’ve already featured several award-winning illustrators who were featured in Cricket Magazine. Now, get ready for the writers!
Isaac Bashevis Singer
Even among a host of terrific authors, Singer stands out as especially accomplished. After all, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1978 and the National Book Award twice. He also received a Newbery Honor three times! On top of that, his work actually inspired the title of CRICKET Magazine! In his book A Day of Pleasure: Stories of a Boy Growing Up In Warsaw, a cricket chirping all night is said to be “telling a story that would never end,” just like our long-running magazine!
Some of his most famous books include A Crown of Feathers and Other Stories, Zlateh the Goat and Other Stories, and The Fearsome Inn. CRICKET Magazine first published one of his stories (“Why Noah Chose the Dove”) in our very first issue in 1973. Although Singer sadly passed away in 1991, you can still often find his work reprinted in the pages of CRICKET as recently as 2015!
How many books do you think it would be possible to write in a lifetime? 100? Maybe 200? Accomplished author Jane Yolen has written over 375 books for kids and adults! She got her start writing a newspaper for her apartment building with her brother when she was a kid, selling it for five cents per copy, and has been writing ever since! A two-time Caldecott Medal winner, some of her books include Owl Moon, The Emperor and the Kite, The Devil’s Arithmetic, Girl in a Cage, the Great Alta series, the Young Merlin trilogy, and many, many more! Especially known for fantasy, science fiction, and historical fiction, she’s also a prolific short story writer and poet. Several of her stories appeared in CRICKET Magazine, including “Catbride” and “Princess Heart O’ Stone” in 1978.
Right now, Neil Gaiman’s enjoying an explosion of popularity on televisions around the world. His TV miniseries, Good Omens, launched earlier this year, for which he served as showrunner and writer as well as having co-written the novel of the same name. His book, American Gods, was adapted into a TV series beginning in 2017. And the TV series Lucifer, which began in 2016, is based on a character he created for the graphic novel series, The Sandman.
Needless to say, Gaiman’s list of writing awards is as long as some of our arms, including a Newbery Medal, Carnegie Medal, Ray Bradbury Award, Bram Stoker Award, and Hugo Award, among others. You might recognize him as the author of Coraline, Stardust, Anansi Boys, and The Graveyard Book. You may not recognize him as the author of “Chivalry,” a story about an woman who finds the Holy Grail. It appeared in Cicada Magazine, but you can read it in his collection of short stories, Smoke and Mirrors.
Every issue of CRICKET Magazine ends with wise words from “Old Cricket.” But even most longtime fans don’t realize that acclaimed author Lloyd Alexander ghostwrote ‘Old Cricket’s” columns for many years! Alexander, the Newbery Medal and National Book Award-winning author of the Chronicles of Prydain (The Black Cauldron), also served on the Cricket Advisory Board and helped develop the idea of a bug comic strip for CRICKET Magazine! Given the huge influence that Welsh mythology and history had on his writing, many fans are surprised to learn that he was born and raised in Philadelphia. Alexander passed away in 2007, but his work remains popular with children and young adults to this day. We found this fun “Meet Your Author” profile of Alexander in the first issue of CRICKET!
Each winter, children enjoy the picture book Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. But did you know that this book first began as a story in CRICKET Magazine with black-and-white illustrations?CRICKET published the story in December 1985, while the picture book version was released in 1989 (receiving a Caldecott Honor). Kimmel, the author of over 50 books, is especially well-known for his retellings of folktales and legends from around the world, including several books about the famous trickster spider Anansi. Some of his popular books include The Gingerbread Man, Anansi and the Magic Stick, The Three Little Tamales, Cactus Soup, Gershon’s Monster, and more.
Kimmel says of his work,
“Kids, once they get to a certain age, absolutely love scary stories, dark, creepy tales. So that’s the kind of book I always loved and the kind of book I liked to write. What I say to every beginning writer is ‘write what you love, write the kind of story you’d want to read as a kid.’ I’m still doing that.”-Eric Kimmel. PGH City Paper
Walter Dean Myers
Walter Dean Myers dropped out of school at age 17 to join the military, but that didn’t stop him from writing over 100 books for kids and young adults and becoming a National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. He was also a five-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Award, which honors African-American authora. Some of his most famous books include Monster (which was nominated for the National Book Award and later adapted into a graphic novel), Fallen Angels, Shooter, and many historical fiction and nonfiction books. One of his short stories, “The Cub,” appeared in CRICKET Magazine in 1987. It follows a grandfather and grandson who try to free a trapped bear cub without angering its mother.
Walter Dean Myers’ name might sound familiar to those who have read Sharon Creech’s book, Love That Dog. In this book, whose title is inspired by Myers’ poem “Love That Boy,” the main character loves Myers’ poetry so much that he gets him to visit his class in school!
Ursula K. Le Guin
Of all of the authors on this list, Le Guin is unique for having been published in SPIDER Magazine! Her story, “Catwings” appeared in the first issue of SPIDER in January 1994. This story is about exactly what you might expect: a family of cats born with wings! “Catwings” is actually part of a series of four children’s picture books. Le Guin, who passed away in 2018, was the acclaimed author of many science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories for adults and children. Best known for her “Earthsea” and “Hainish Cycle” books, she became the first woman to win the Hugo Award and Nebula Award for her book, The Left Hand of Darkness. A documentary about her work, Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin, came out in 2018, premiering on PBS.
Did you grow up reading work by any of these authors? What was your favorite childhood story? We’d love to hear about your experiences!