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)

What is 13,694 x 600? (BW Can Do Math Too!)

Now that all 13, 694 participants have turned in their Feed Your Brain Summer Reading logs (with at least 600 minutes each), BW was able to sit down to figure out the approximate total number of minutes read this summer by kids all across the country (see him concentrating?)

DRUMROLL PLEASE . . . . BW is thrilled to announce the GRAND TOTAL is:

OVER* 8,216,400 Minutes Read!!!

*(Because we know that many of you bookworms read well beyond the 600 minute minimum, but BW only has so many fingers to count on.)

Anyway– Wahoo, guys! That’s a LOT of brain food! Said Maxwell, age  9, one of our Top Readers from San Antonio, “Thank you, Half Price Books, for the summer reading program. I’ve read lots of books with the gift cards. I’ve read the whole Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Captain Underpants and Magic Treehouse series. Thank you for the support. I can always find good books I like at a good price at your stores. P.S. We have to read 10-20 books every 6 weeks at my school, and Half Price Books always has what I want.”

Here are some of our Top Readers, who logged the most minutes in their stores’ age groups:



Clockwise from top left: Lorelei, Store 051 (Greenfield, WI); Kyanna, Store 041 (Madison, WI); Megan, Store 051; Peyton, Store 041; Jordan & Talia, Store 063 (Pittsburgh); Lydia Jay, Store 063.

We also had one very special reader, Kiara, whose dad is stationed overseas (first in Afghanistan, then Italy). Kiara was another Top Reader from our Madison store, and she and her mom Karen read over 7,000 minutes this summer! Karen said that she & Kiara read an average of 10 books per day, some of those being chapter books (and since Kiara is only 4, that’s a pretty big deal).

Give them a round of applause! (and one for you too– be sure to keep feeding your brains all school year!) 

 — Kate (and BW)