BW Picks: 5 Obscure Children’s Books by Famous Authors

Hi Kids (and Kids-at-Heart),

BW here. I’m currently on my 15-minute break between Acts I & II of a story time for National Literacy Month, and I wanted to share a couple of cool links about children’s books written by authors who are usually remembered only for their adult-geared works (via BrainPickings). These books might not be the great masterpieces that these writers are famous for, but it’s always refreshing to discover that the author of that serious tome on your reading list was able to tap into his playful side once in awhile and appeal to a younger group of readers.  

1. Aldous Huxley

Best known for: Brave New World. Serious book about homogeneity and mass consumption.

Less known for: The Crows of Pearblossom. Children’s story about two crows trying to start a family.

 2. Leo Tolstoy

Best known for: Anna Karenina, War & Peace. Celebrated but lengthy Russian novels.

Less known for: Classic Tales and Fables for Children. Get the Tolstoy experience for 1/100th of the time investment.


3. Virginia Woolf

Best known for: To the Lighthouse, Orlando, Mrs. Dalloway. Depicts art, British society, early Feminism

Less known for: The Widow and the Parrot. A short story that teaches kids the value of kindness to animals.


4. Mary Shelley

 Best known for: Frankenstein. An AI experiment goes hideously wrong, creates a lonely, dangerously strong monster who desperately wants a friend.

Less known for: Maurice, or the Fisher’s Cot. A lonely boy searches for a family, doesn’t kill anyone in the process.

5. Langston Hughes

Best known for: Harlem Renaissance poetry & short stories with jazz and social activism themes, such as “The Weary Blues,” “A Dream Deferred,” and Not Without Laughter.

Less known for: The First Book of Jazz. A children’s introduction to the music, rhythm & culture of American Jazz and Blues.

Be sure to check out the links for 7 more children’s books written by authors famed for their adult literature. Can you think of any that aren’t on the list? What about grown-up books written by celebrated children’s authors?

 Happy reading!

 BW (and Kate)

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