By Rachel Muenz
It’s a common story: An author gets published at a very young age. For a few weeks, she is the centre of media attention, people rave about her talent, her book may sell well, but then she vanishes from the literary world, never to be heard of again.
But there are some young authors who have had a more lasting impact. Here are five child authors who have managed to hit bestseller lists, get movie deals and otherwise stay noticed after their first success.
While the initial buzz over Greven’s first book, How to Talk to Girls, has died down somewhat, Greven has continued to roll out titles at a steady pace. His second, third and fourth books, How to Talk to Moms, How to Talk to Dads and How to Talk to Santa were all published this year and his fifth, How to Talk to Grandparents, is on the way. He’s also been on many TV shows and Twentieth Century Fox recently snagged movie rights for How to Talk to Girls, published when Greven was nine. Greven’s debut also made the New York Times Bestseller list in 2008.
Susan Eloise Hinton
Written when she was 15, Hinton’s first novel, The Outsiders, went on to become a classic. Her story also got turned into a movie and is still set reading in many high schools across North America. Though her website says all the media attention made her unable to write for three years, Hinton went on to write eight more books for teens. Two of those, That Was Then, This is Now and Rumble Fish were also made into movies in the 1980s. Most recently, Hinton released two children’s books Big David, Little David and The Puppy Sister.
Korman’s first book, This Can’t be Happening at Macdonald Hall, started as a Grade 7 English assignment and eventually became a series published by Scholastic. The books follow the adventures of two troublemaking friends, Bruno, and Boots, at their boarding school. The Montreal-born author is now one of the most popular children’s authors and is still widely read today. He has published 55 books, according to his website, and is working on an adventure trilogy called Titanic.
At age 15, Paolini started writing Eragon, the first book in his popular series, The Inheritance Cycle. Initially published by his family’s company in 2001, the book was picked up by Knopf in 2002 and has steadily increased in popularity since, turning Paolini into a New York Times Bestselling author. The movie version of Eragon hit theatres in December 2006 but there are no plans yet for movie versions of the second or third installments, Eldest and Brisingr. The third book in the series, Brisingr, was released to the huge hype in September 2008. And though Paolini meant for The Inheritance Cycle to be a trilogy, he figured he had too much material for Brisingr and decided to add a fourth and final book to the series which he is working on now.
Valitchka wrote his second book, Superheroes Don’t Have Dads, at age eight. The book won a contest and got him a publishing deal with Baico Publishing, eventually becoming a bestseller after selling more than 10,000 copies. At age 10, he won the Top 20 Under 20 Award for working to promote literacy, stop bullying and encourage other children to make smart choices. He published seven more books and continues to do motivational speaking at age 14.
Check back later this week for a more in-depth profile and interview of James Valitchka.
– with files from Harpercollins.ca, BBC.com, USAtoday.com, Gordonkorman.com, Amazon.com, Scholastic.com, Sehinton.com, Alagaesia.com, Jamesvalitchka.com, Chapters.indigo.ca and Wikipedia