Thursday 20 March 2014

Books for Kids to Inspire your Writing - by the Fall Fourteeners

Like most writers, we Fall Fourteeners started out as fierce readers. Many of us spent a significant amount of our formative years with our nose in a book. So we thought we would pass along some of our favorite titles during the Chapter Book Challenge, just to give you some inspiration. Maybe your masterpieces will be on this list in a few years!

I suppose it’s no surprise that, with most of us getting ready to publish our first book in a series, our list is pretty series heavy. But there’s a reason for that. In kidlit, especially in that transition from Easy Readers to Juvenile Novels, kids want something fun, they want it fast, and when that first book is done, if they’ve connected, they want more.

In one of our author’s homes, the Stink Moody series sucked a second grade reluctant reader in and hasn’t let go. If you haven’t read Stink, you’ve probably heard about his big sister, Judy Moody. She had a movie made about her a few years ago. Between Judy and Stink, girls and boys have plenty of books to choose from. Both series are well written and fun for kids and adults as well. A quick read, they’re a great transition from chap books to novels. (A note about reluctant readers: Most of the Stink and Judy Moody books have audiobooks as well. So if you have a reader who doesn’t seem to get excited about reading, we suggest a read-along. The narrators are engaging and the stories captivating enough to make even the longest car ride go just a little quicker.)

Now, if you’re looking for a little mystery to solve, there are a ton to choose from. The Magic Treehouse Mystery series and the A-Z Mystery series come highly recommended by several of us, but let’s not forget the Cam Jansen Mysteries and Scooby Doo. And then there’s the Boxcar Children. These chapter books can engage the imagination like no others. Good writing, interesting plot twists and kids saving the day are sure to capture a reader’s attention.

Do you remember the Choose Your Own Adventure Books? If you don’t, you’ve missed out on something amazing. But did you know they have a series of CYOA books for younger readers as well? While the books don’t offer as many complicated page turning directions and outcomes, all of the power remains in the hands of the readers. One of our members claims it was these books that first inspired her to write. She said something about controlling the fate of an imaginary person and sending them to their doom when the fancy struck her. The rest of us just smiled and nodded.

So we’ve covered contemporary books and mysteries, but what about the books with humor? We have two series to suggest, both written by Dav Pilkey. The first is the Captain Underpants series. Need we say more? Just the name of the main character will have curious minds leafing through the covers. The second is the Ricky Ricotta series about a mouse who, with the help of his trusty robot, saves the Earth from invaders from other planets. And if that’s not enough, in true Pilkey fashion, the titles are incredible. Who could resist Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot vs. the Mutant Mosquitos from Mercury? One of our members reports being inspired to try his hand at writing for children while watching his own children crack up at Pilkey’s mini-classics. With their sophisticated (if somewhat crude) wordplay and headlong, twisting plots, the Captain Underpants books are great inspiration for YA!

And finally, we have the classics. The Ramona Series, The Fudge Series, Mrs. Piggle Wiggles Series, ANYTHING by Roald Dahl. You get the picture.

The bottom line is there are a ton of chapter books out there to choose from. And, as YA writers, we’re counting on the idea that for every child, there is that special book that will unlock her imagination and make her thirsty for reading for the rest of her life! Who knows… maybe that book that you’ve been thinking about for years is just the book they’ve been waiting to discover!

Good luck on the challenge and we hope you uncover some hidden gems along the way!


The Fall Fourteeners are a group of authors who are gearing up for their YA debuts this Fall. Representing different genres, they came together by way of their love of all things books and a publishing timeline. Please check us out at for more information about us and our upcoming books.  



Chapter book Challenge member Linda Schueler has generously offered this next prize, a copy of The Observation Deck by Naomi Epel. Linda wrote about the prize in a blog post on her site: 
"It’s a book that comes with a set of cards. The book contains secrets from various writers that literary escort Epel accumulated over a number of years. So you can go through the book/deck in chronological order and work through a story from conception to finish. But what if you already have a manuscript? The beauty of this book/deck combination is that you can use it in many ways. Just use the chapter’s prompt to tweak a manuscript."
All you have to do is comment on this post to be entered in the drawing. Must be a signed-up member of the Chapter Book Challenge to qualify. Comment before noon on March 27th, 2014. Winner will be chosen by a random number generator on March 27th, 2014 at noon. 


And now to announce the winner of the paperback copy of "The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Attributes" by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi.

The winner is:

Kelly Vavala!

Congratulations, Kelly! Please contact me with an address to send your prize.


  1. The book series which hooked me on kidlit was the Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander.
    Congratulations, Kelly.
    I was given a set of inspirational illustrators' cards by another writer, so the Observation Deck sounds like it'll fit right in to my routine.
    Thanks for the opportunity and motivation!

  2. I enjoy reading all my favourites with my girls again... Keeps me young. Loved anything by Roald Dahl and so do they!