“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Few authors in our modern times have so succinctly encapsulated the potent impact of reading as Theodor Seuss Geisel – better known to children and parents around the globe as Dr. Seuss. Perhaps what is all the more beautiful about this particular line is that this nugget of wisdom isn’t found in a stuffy treatise on literature or a textbook on the finer points of style. It’s in a children’s book. A book of (often) colorful pages intended to expand the imagination and curiosity of the youngest readers.
That’s the power of children’s books. They are the first matches – figuratively! – we are gifted to ignite our creative and intellectual lives. They warm us, make us feel safe when we’re alone, give us the courage to face our fears and help us connect to our expanding world. They are our first books, as vital to our growth as our first steps or first words.
Of course, that makes the authors of said books the sages, stewards and mahatmas of the young mind. The words they write and the stories they craft give our children a voice. They gave us our voice. So, come each March 2, (uncoincidentally, on the birthday of Dr. Seuss), we come together to celebrate the written word with National Read Across America Day.
In honor of this, Washington Parent interviewed some of our favorite established and up-and-coming local authors on their experiences as authors, how they would encourage today’s kids & teens to read more and the significance of National Read Across America Day.
Meet These 11 Stewards of D.C.’s Young Minds
Brandt Ricca & Mat Miller
Ricca and Miller are the dynamic duo behind the “Barris Books” Series. Both LGBTQ+ small business owners working in D.C., they began collaborating on the series in the early days of the pandemic. The Barris Books stories are deeply personal to Ricca and come to life with the help of Miller’s hand-drawn illustrations. thebarrisbooks.com
Originally from Jamaica and raised in New York City, Carrington is an author, entrepreneur and literacy advocate living in Northern Virginia. Motivated to write by her mother’s devotion to education, Carrington’s first book, “Everyone, Just Like Me,” draws on her own experiences of motherhood to bring the love of reading to as many children as possible. readwithcarylee.com
“Coach Dez” Desmond Dunham
Youth sports expert Desmond Dunham has over two decades of coaching and teaching experience in the D.C. area. In that time, the teams he’s trained have gone on to win dozens of state and national championships in cross-country and track and field. His book, “Running Against The Odds,” shares his coming-of-age story of overcoming the odds on and off the track. coachdezdunham.com
Debbie Levy is a New York Times bestselling author of fiction, non-fiction and poetry for readers of all ages, though especially for young people. “Photo Ark ABC: An Animal Alphabet in Poetry and Pictures,” is a 2022 NCTE Notable Poetry Book. “I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark” is an indie and New York Times bestseller, 2017 Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner, 2016 National Jewish Book Award and an Orbis Pictus Award Honor Book for 2017. She also authored the award-winning graphic novel, “Becoming RGB: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Journey to Justice.” debbielevybooks.com
Ginger & Frances Park
The Park sisters are a powerhouse pair of entrepreneurs – they co-own the D.C. chocolate boutique Chocolate Chocolate – and critically acclaimed authors. Ginger and Frances’ books frequently draw on their Korean heritage, illustrating their family’s struggles under Japanese occupation, as well as their unique perspectives growing up as Korean Americans. parksisters.com
Joy Jones is an award-winning trainer, performance poet, playwright and author from Washington, D.C. She is the director of the arts organization The Spoken Word, founder of the Double Dutch team DC Retro Jumpers and contributor of op-eds to The Washington Post. Her book, “Tambourine Moon,” was selected as one of the best books for children by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (ALA) and featured on The Bernie Mac Show. joyjonesonline.com
Nineteen years as an in-classroom elementary school teacher for Montgomery County Public Schools couldn’t have prepared Kristin for the exhaustion she felt from the virtual learning environment brought on by the pandemic. However, she knew that her students were going through an even more challenging time, so she decided to share that story with her first children’s book, “Teacher, Tell Me What You See.”
Growing up, Leah Henderson’s family loved to travel, which is why she took notice of the lack of stories that resembled the world as she saw it, a world of adventure and discovery. Now, she strives to share that richness with young readers through her award-winning books like “The Magic in Changing Your Stars” (SCBWI Golden Kite Award finalist) and “One Shadow on the Wall” (Bank Street Best Book and Children’s Africana Book Award notable). leahhendersonbooks.com
Perhaps D.C.’s most prolific children’s book author, Mary Quattlebaum has written 27 award-winning books for young readers, starting with “Jackson Jones and the Puddle of Thorns” in 1994. She has enjoyed being part of Washington Parent magazine as a book reviewer and occasional article writer since 1997. Quattlebaum is a frequent guest speaker at schools and conferences around the country and teaches for the Vermont College of Fine Arts’ Writing for Children & Young Adults MFA program. maryquattlebaum.com
Why did you decide to write children’s books? What was it like to publish your first book?
Quattlebaum: I was working at Children’s National Medical Center years ago, and my good friend (and now husband) and I decided to also volunteer weekly with chronically ill kids and their writing. These kids were dealing with a lot, and we loved getting to know them and helping them to express themselves through their writing. Though I was writing poetry and fiction for adults at that time, those kids inspired me to try writing for an audience like them. It was and continues to be a wonderful challenge.
G. Park: I lost my father when I was 16 and my books reflect that loss. While I was compelled to immortalize my family history through my writing, it was an organic process of healing that led me on the path to writing children’s books. My father’s sudden passing made me yearn to know everything about my parents’ lives in Korea before their emigration to America. My mother served as the pipeline to the past, sharing stories of my father’s impoverished youth under Japanese rule and how he worked on a goat farm to help put food on the table. In vivid memory, she told me about her dangerous escape across the Korean border in 1947, prior to the outbreak of the Korean War, which was a triumphant yet heartbreaking story, because while my mother gained freedom, she lost a mother who never made it across the border.
My first book, “My Freedom Trip: A Child’s Escape from North Korea,” was a tribute to my mother and grandmother, so it made the book’s publication deeply rewarding. The response to the book was overwhelming, with many awards that included the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award. I was overjoyed by all the accolades, but most meaningful was how proud and honored my mother was of the book. The publisher invited my mother to the ALA Conference for booksellers and librarians to meet the heroine of the story. Needless to say, a very memorable time.
F. Park: I began writing at age 10, and a few years later, I found myself writing poems and songs. And years later, I wrote a picture book for a children’s literature course in college titled “Twelve Months” – I’m pretty sure I still have it! Years later, when my sister Ginger asked me if I wanted to co-author a children’s book with her, it felt very natural to say yes.
When our first book, “My Freedom Trip: A Child’s Escape from North Korea,” came out, it was both exciting and overwhelming. Our publisher rented a booth for our book at a large conference where we met librarians and teachers from across the country. And a large reception was held for us in the National Press Club. We weren’t expecting all that hoopla! “My Freedom Trip” would go on to win many accolades, including the 1999 International Reading Association Award.
Carrington: I decided to write my first book originally to teach my son a lesson. He was told by a kindergarten classmate that he should “only play with Black kids.” I wanted to find a book that was able to teach him that our differences are what make the world a better place. I, unfortunately, couldn’t find such a book that was appropriate for his age. My mother, who was at the time a literacy coach with the NYC Department of Education, encouraged me to write the book I was looking for.
To get the copy of my first published book was amazing, and the first person to read it was my son, who was the inspiration. He quickly found mistakes and I had to call my publisher and get those fixed right away :).
Jones: Ever since third grade, I’ve wanted to write books. Back then, I defined being a writer as being a novelist. Although I made good on my desire to become a published author, my first novel didn’t happen until 2020 with “Jayla Jumps In.” How did I feel when I finally saw my goal come to fruition? Bliss and transfiguration.
It also made me laugh. Why? Because I didn’t want to write that particular story about a girl who starts a Double Dutch team. Why not? Because I had actually started a Double Dutch team called DC Retro Jumpers. We do exhibitions all over town and have made a name for ourselves. We even got hired to do an exhibition tour in Russia. I’d done a whole lot of talking about Double Dutch; was there anything left to say? But when I sat down in front of the blank page, I found I had a story to tell.
Spenser: Publishing my first book this year was surreal. I couldn’t believe that my ideas were being read by people in an actual book. The process was a lot of fun and only a little stressful. My editors at Mascot Books were so supportive and answered all my crazy questions. I really enjoyed being able to work with the illustrator and see my ideas come to life. The best part was reading the book to my students and seeing their excitement as they connected to the students in the book who were learning virtually just like they did. When I read it to a class, I always hear kids say, “That was me; my baby sister was crying like in the book!” or “I tried to talk when I was muted, too!”
Dunham: I wanted to share my story to provide inspiration to others, especially young people. I experienced some challenges growing up that I think many people can relate to, so I hope my book engages readers in my journey in a way that motivates them to keep pursuing their passions and purpose.
Publishing my first book was a huge labor of love. The idea came to me about seven years ago, but I never felt like I had time to commit to it. When the pandemic hit, I was unable to coach for months, so I took the opportunity to start on it and thought that I would be done in about six months – 18 months later my book was finally complete!
I began writing children’s books because I loved reading children’s books – as a child, for sure, but also as an adult.
Henderson: While I’ve always loved writing, my interest in writing for children didn’t truly blossom until one of the children’s literature professors at my grad school encouraged me to take her workshop. From there, I fell in love with children’s books all over again. Then one possibility opened to another. Life is magical that way sometimes.
When my first book was published, I vividly remember a whirlwind of emotions. Elation, pride, fear, uncertainty, doubt, cluelessness and excitement continuously played with and against each other when I think back on my debut novel and year. This book I had worked so hard on, for over 10 years, was finally making its way into the world – whether I was ready or not. In 2017, when “One Shadow on the Wall” came out, I discovered so much about myself, the publishing business and writing, but I also learned about expectations, disappointments, hopes and possibilities. It was a roller-coaster year for sure. But more importantly, along the way, I found a wonderfully supportive and encouraging community of readers and fellow writers that thankfully continues to grow.
Levy: I began writing children’s books because I loved reading children’s books – as a child, for sure, but also as an adult. I’d been writing in other genres for a while, opinion/analysis pieces for the chain of legal [publications] I used to work for and freelance features for a variety of magazines and newspapers after that. I [then] decided to scratch the KidLit itch I’d been feeling and took a class at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, and then another. My teacher was the incomparable Mary Quattlebaum. I’d been feeling antsy and not really satisfied with the writing I’d been doing, but once I immersed myself in writing for children I realized this was something I would want to do for a long, long time.
My very first children’s book was a fun little book about visiting Washington, D.C., part of a series: “Kidding Around Washington, D.C.” I had taken it on just after I’d gone through diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer – this was back in 1996! The research and writing was such a welcome and necessary diversion and publication was a very happy experience!
Ricca: I went through a big personal change about five years ago, and generally in my life when I’ve had a day of “adult” stress, I find myself watching Disney or family movies, which makes me feel more grounded. I own a branding agency and consider myself a storyteller of my clients, so it felt like a natural fit to explore children’s literature of my favorite storytellers when I was a kid and use it as a way to navigate my own problems.
Miller: Most of my “creative side” is now spent in my career: rendering architecture and interiors or in interior design. I used to draw and paint all the time when I was younger, so I thought this would be a fun opportunity for me to get reacquainted with that creative side. Seeing a physical copy of the book and realizing it was published was surreal and super exciting.
How will you celebrate Read Across America Day this year?
G. Park: In the past, you might find me at a school reading one of my books or visiting my son’s class (he’s graduated from college now), but these are different times. I’ll likely be doing what I do every day, which is writing. I’ll also check in on social media, curious to see how everyone else is celebrating this special day during a pandemic. In any event, I hope every parent reads a good book with their child, because as the saying goes – reading is fundamental!
F. Park: Reading, writing and preparing for an upcoming two-day children’s conference.
Carrington: This Read Across America Day, I will be doing virtual visits to a few schools. Since I’ve been an author, I have not missed a Read Across America day or week. I am thankful that with Zoom, I can now read to multiple schools and classrooms across the country.
Jones: I work for D.C. Public Library, so we’ll definitely have a book display featuring Dr. Seuss’ books, as well as other great reads. Drop by my branch, Francis Gregory Library in SE D.C. We’ll probably have some kits with fun reading activities for young readers to take home to keep the good book vibe going.
Spencer: In my classroom, we will take time to drop everything and read just for fun! I also plan to have my students share the fairy tales that they’ve written and illustrated with our class. We will, of course, have to enjoy one of Dr. Seuss’ books as a read-aloud as well.
Dunham: I plan to donate books to College Bound and one of my partner schools in Washington, D.C.
Henderson: I will definitely have a book in hand – whether a friend’s or my own – sharing stories with young readers.
Ricca: By spending the morning with someone I deem a major literary influence in my life, reading Mary Oliver to start my day with reflection.
Miller: I’m planning to finally finish a book that I’ve been reading for way too long.
How important is it for young readers to engage with books that reflect who they are?
Quattlebaum: It’s very important for young people, especially if they are from marginalized groups, to see themselves reflected in books. This should start when they are very young, with board books, picture books, early readers and chapter books that encourage rich pre-literacy and emerging reader experiences and show that they have an important place in society. And as education professor Rudine Sims Bishop said, in her groundbreaking 1990 essay about books as “mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors,” it’s just as important for young readers, especially from the dominant culture, to see children different from them in books so they can learn about and value the lives of others.
G. Park: When I was growing up, there were few, if any, books on the Korean American experience. We were the only Korean family on our block, I was the only Korean child in the classroom and the library shelves were devoid of any relatable books to my life. At times, it was a lonely existence and I craved connections that weren’t there for me. So, yes, it’s very important that young readers are exposed to books that give them some sense of identity.
F. Park: When young readers find a character relatable, they feel more connected to the world they live in. And that’s important.
Carrington: It is very important for me to engage with young readers. That is one of the reasons I created my show “Read With Carylee” on YouTube. I wanted to foster the connection between authors and readers. That connection of knowing who writes the books they read opens up a different type of wonder for children.
“That’s the beauty of books – they work as both mirrors and maps, ways to see and identify yourself and a guide for leading you out into the world.”
Jones: Young readers need to read books that reflect who they are – and to read books about people, places and things that diverge from who they are. That’s the beauty of books – they work as both mirrors and maps, ways to see and identify yourself and a guide for leading you out into the world.
Dunham: It’s extremely important for young readers to engage with books that reflect who they are. We all want to be seen, affirmed and inspired by books, especially when we can see ourselves in the stories being shared.
Henderson: It is vitally important to be seen. Period. Whether that is in the books we read, performances we watch or in the leaders we champion. We all need reflections of ourselves out in the world. They not only affirm our place in it, but they also remind us that: yes, we can do “this,” too. It is also important for all of us to see, realize and understand the fully rounded reflections of those around us. We need to “see” and recognize possibility in each and every one of us.
Spenser: I feel that children need to see themselves in the books that they read in order to connect to the story. I decided to represent a diverse group of children in my book to represent all the students in our area and across the country who participated in online learning.
Levy: All children need to see themselves in books. Reading about someone who is like you is affirming, reassuring and fun! And all children need to see those who are not like themselves in books, too. I really think both of these propositions are self-evident!
Ricca: It can be a major moment in a young reader’s life to see themselves in stories. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I never saw myself in books growing up. With our series, we are throwing in sprinkles that are reflective of everyone.
Miller: I think it is very important, but I also think that reading books about people who are different from them is equally as important.
Do you have any advice on how to encourage children & teens to read more?
Quattlebaum: Whew, that’s a challenge, because contemporary kids have very busy lives, made especially complicated and stressful these days by the pandemic. One suggestion: start reading aloud regularly to kids at a very early age, when they are still infants, and visit your local library frequently when they are tots and preschoolers, letting them choose their own books and participate in library story times. In this way, books become associated with pleasure, comfort, independence and the excitement of self-directed learning. At home, you might have a shelf on the family’s bookshelf just for your kids’ books or a bookshelf in their rooms. Research has shown that positive early childhood experiences with books help predispose youngsters to become better and more frequent readers as they get older. And if parents have books at home and your kids see you reading, they learn, through your example, that reading is a valued, engaging activity. Try not to control the process but let kids choose their own books, respect their choice and listen when they talk about what they’ve read.
Encourage them to read what engages them! Maybe it’s comic books or graphic novels. Maybe it’s newspapers. Maybe it’s completely silly chapter books about chickens. Whatever it is, it’s reading! – Levy
G. Park: Build a library. When my son was growing up, we did just that. Each week, we bought a new book and before long, our bookshelves were lined with books. Having a fun weekly outing, time together, made it a fun adventure as opposed to putting a book in my son’s lap and telling him to read. It gets a little trickier with teens, but I know a lot of adult friends who didn’t read until we started a book club – a lot of them came out for the social aspect, but eventually turned into book lovers.
F. Park: Choose a stack of books from the library and try to read – for starters – 20 to 30 minutes a day. And if a book bores you, go on to the next. I’ve always felt that life is too short to read books that don’t speak to you on some level. There are so many interesting books out there; find the ones that will turn you into a lifelong reader.
Carrington: I encourage children to find the subject that excites them. When you find what you like, you will keep seeking out more.
Jones: Do you read? Or do you spend your downtime watching TV? When you go shopping, do you ever buy books? If you read, it’s more likely your kids will pick up the habit, too.
Spenser: My trick as a teacher is to consistently encourage children to look for “just right books.” They should try to find books that interest them and are not too difficult, but also not too easy. They need to enjoy the book they are reading but still challenge themselves a little. The more they practice this strategy the more they will realize that there are a ton of books out there that they love. Also, reading to children not only models good reading habits, but also exposes them to new topics, authors and words.
Dunham: I think we have to meet kids where they are – let’s get kids excited about reading by making TikTok videos, combining reading and gaming and sharing more on social media. When we make reading fun, cool and relatable, kids want to be a part of it.
Henderson: Besides making sure they see us reading and enjoying books, I think a love of reading can start with what makes them curious. We need to encourage children and teens to explore the stories, chapters and even images that make them lean forward, ready to ask questions or turn a page to learn more. What do they enjoy? Find books that open up that space even wider. From there, who knows what might pique their interest and become a moment of discovery?
Levy: Encourage them to read what engages them! Maybe it’s comic books or graphic novels. Maybe it’s newspapers. Maybe it’s completely silly chapter books about chickens. Whatever it is, it’s reading! Also, a reminder: pictures books can be enjoyed by all ages! I really hope adults never discourage older children from reading picture books, which can delight all different types of readers and learners.
Ricca: I think that with any reader, whether it be a teen or child, the trick is to expose them to stories that say something that relates to that time in their lives. Such as middle school problems, ninth-grade issues, things that we all went through when younger and would have grabbed a book off the shelf if it reflected us. Those stories can be encouraging.
Are you working on a book right now or do you have a book releasing soon?
Quattlebaum: The pandemic has delayed the publication of an early reader on hedgehogs, which is now scheduled to be published this summer. And I’m now finishing up two additional early readers on animals and a historic figure.
G. Park: Yes, I’m working on a historical children’s novel based on my very progressive grandmother whose life started out under Confucian rule in Korea – a time when girls stayed home while their brothers went off to school. My Confucian grandmother would eventually convert to Christianity, at a time when less than 1% of Koreans were Christians and become a revered missionary.
My historical middle-grade novel, “The Hundred Choices Department Store,” will be released on March 25 – my mother’s birthday – with a virtual book launch hosted by Politics and Prose on March 23 at 6:00 p.m. The book is inspired by my mother and her family who endured the Russian invasion of their hometown in northern Korea prior to the outbreak of the Korean War.
F. Park: My memoir titled, “That Lonely Spell: Stories of Family, Friends & Love,” will be published on March 25, 2022. For adults, [it] is a collection of 26 previously published personal essays. Kirkus Reviews calls it “A fresh take on the Korean American memoir by a writer from a generation whose voice has seldom been heard.”
I also have a children’s book titled, “Grandpa’s Scroll” – which I co-authored with my sister Ginger – coming out in March 2023.
Carrington: I am working on a children’s series which I hope to release later this year. My youngest son hasn’t been a part of the [previous] books that I have written, [so] this time I am writing about our life. Being their mom, there are so many adventures that we experience. I’ll be sharing that.
Jones: “Walking The Boomerang” is a novel for children that I’m finishing up right now. I’m excited because already it won the 2022 PEN/Phyllis Naylor Grant for Children’s and Young Adult Novelists for a novel-in-progress. My protagonist is a boy who gets kicked off the school bus and is forced to make a long and hated walk home every day. That walk transforms his life.
If you’ve ever had a problem with addiction, or know someone who has – then you know what a miracle it is when someone overcomes that addiction. I’m very happy and humbled to be co-authoring with Tom Adams a biography about the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12-Step recovery movement called “Bill and Lois Wilson: The Marriage That Changed The World.”
Spenser: I am in the process of writing a chapter book that might appeal to upper elementary school and middle school kids. It’s a story that shows two different points of view. One chapter will focus on how a young girl sees the events that take place in her life and the next chapter shows how her mom experiences the same events. It goes through some difficult events in their lives and describes how they work through them with the support of friends and family.
Dunham: I am now working on the hardcover, audiobook and Spanish translation versions of “Running Against The Odds,” which will be released starting this spring. I’m also starting an adaptation to the book, which will be for young readers. That one will be released in 2023.
Henderson: I have at least 10 ideas swimming in my brain at any given moment, sometimes more. So I am always working on something. Either creating something new, tweaking something that’s not quite right or revising something that is due. My brain rarely rests.
“Daddy Speaks Love” came out in January, so I am still busy with events for that and I have another book coming out next spring followed by a few anthology contributions and a picture book called “Your Voice, Your Vote” in 2024.
Levy: I just had a book come out in the fall: “Photo Ark ABC: An Animal Alphabet in Poetry and Pictures.” For animals from A to Z – armadillo to zebra finch – the book pairs my playful poems with the stunning photography of National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore. The photographs are part of Sartore’s mission to photograph all the animal species in human care, with special attention to rare and endangered species. I have a virtual event for the book on World Wildlife Day, March 3, with Politics & Prose. All are welcome!
Ricca: I recently submitted the third in the “Barris Book” series, “Barris and the Girl of Norizon,” which concludes the narrative on Barris Hart. Currently, I am writing the “Bernice Books,” which is a spinoff series of tales of Barris’ sister, Bernice Hart.
Miller: I am working on illustrating the third (and final) book in the “Barris Books” series, which will be released this spring. I know Brandt is well ahead of me and working on the sequel to this series.
What are your top three book recommendations for kids & teens?
Quattlebaum: This is so hard! There are so many amazing books that I love, so I just had to put down four: “Hello, Universe” by Erin Entrada Kelly, “Starfish” by Lisa Fipps, “American Born Chinese” by Gene Yang, “The Undefeated” by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson.
G. Park: For kids: “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White, “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein and “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown. For teens: “A Step from Heaven” by An Na, “The Crossover” by Kwame Alexander and “Stargirl” by Jerry Spinelli.
Jones: Oh, there are so many I love! Who can choose just three? The best book is the one that captures your interest. The one YOU want to read. Is it a classic, fine. Is it a comic book – great. If no one else thinks it’s literahture – who cares? Read to feed your mind and imagination. Any book that does that is a good book.
Spenser: Just three? That’s going to be hard to limit myself. “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon” by Grace Lin, an excellent fantasy story that incorporates Chinese folklore and friendship. “Because of Winn Dixie” by Kate Dimillio. Anything by Jason Reynolds! I just bought “Stuntboy” for my daughter, which is about a kid superhero who worries a lot (what his mom calls anxiety).
Two of my favorites for teens right now are “Patron Saints of Nothing” by Randy Ribay (mystery) and “The Bridge Home” by Padma Venkatraman (adventure).
Dunham: I recommend “Ghost” by Jason Reynolds, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens” by Sean Covey and “Monster” by Walter Dean Myers.
Henderson: One of my favorite picture books is “A Story About Afiya” written by James Berry, illustrated by Anna Cunha. Every time I pass that book on one of my bookshelves, I can’t help but smile, and often take it out to reread. I’m also looking forward to reading Antwan Eady and Gracey Zhang’s “Nigel and the Moon” when it arrives on my doorstep. And for middle schoolers, I really enjoyed “Amari and the Night Brothers” by B.B. Alston.
Ricca: “The Girl Who Drank the Moon” by Kelly Barnhill, “Amelia Bedelia” by Peggy Parish and “The Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum.
Miller: “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein, the “Madeline” books by Ludwig Bemelmans and “The Hunger Games” series by Suzanne Collins.
To learn more
Quattlebaum: Those interested in learning more about local authors might visit the website of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington, a group of D.C.-area authors, illustrators, organizations and librarians involved in children’s books and media: childrensbookguild.org.