Our Story Begins

Your Favorite Authors and Illustrators Share Fun, Inspiring, and Occasionally Ridiculous Things They Wrote and Drew as Kids

Our Story Begins

For Ages: 8 - 12
From award-winning author Elissa Brent Weissman comes a collection of quirky, smart, and vulnerable childhood works by some of today’s foremost children’s authors and illustrators—revealing young talent, the storytellers they would one day become, and the creativity they inspire today.

Everyone’s story begins somewhere…

For Linda Sue Park, it was a trip to the ocean, a brand-new typewriter, and a little creative license.
For Jarrett J. Krosoczka, it was a third grade writing assignment that ignited a creative fire in a kid who liked to draw.
For Kwame Alexander, it was a loving poem composed for Mother’s Day—and perfected through draft after discarded draft.
For others, it was a teacher, a parent, a beloved book, a word of encouragement. It was trying, and failing, and trying again. It was a love of words, and pictures, and stories.

Your story is beginning, too. Where will it go?

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More Books from this Author

Nerd Camp 2.0
The Short Seller
Nerd Camp
Standing for Socks
Maybe a Fox
Counting Crows
Mogie
The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp
Freedom Over Me
Ashley Bryan's Puppets
Can't Scare Me!
Who Built the Stable?
The Great American Whatever
Five, Six, Seven, Nate!
Better Nate Than Ever
Bulldozer Helps Out
Bulldozer's Big Day
Smile, Lily!
Tippy-Tippy-Tippy, Splash!
The Boss Baby
The Bossier Baby
The Farmer and the Clown
Boot & Shoe
The Lost Girls
wtf
Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I Am
The Shiloh Collection
A Shiloh Christmas
The Alice Collection/The Middle School Years
The Alice Collection/Alice in Elementary
The Houdini Box
Violent Ends
Catching the Wild Waiyuuzee

About the Authors

Elissa Brent Weissman
Alisha Shaw

Elissa Brent Weissman

Elissa Brent Weissman is the author of The Short Seller, Nerd Camp, Nerd Camp 2.0, and Standing for Socks as well as The Trouble with Mark Hopper. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Visit her at EBWeissman.com.

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Kathi Appelt
Photograph courtesy of the author

Kathi Appelt

Kathi Appelt is the author of the Newbery Honoree, National Book Award finalist, PEN USA Literary Award–winning, and bestselling The Underneath as well as the National Book Award finalist The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, Keeper, and many picture books including Counting Crows. She has two grown children and lives in College Station, Texas, with her husband. Visit her at KathiAppelt.com.

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Ashley Bryan
Photo Credit:

Ashley Bryan

Ashley Bryan grew up to the sound of his mother singing from morning to night, and he has shared the joy of song with children ever since. A beloved illustrator, he was recently named a Newbery Honoree for his picture book, Freedom Over Me. He has also been the recipient of the Coretta Scott King—Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award; the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award; has been a May Hill Arbuthnot lecturer; a Coretta Scott King Award winner; and the recipient of countless other awards and recognitions. His books include Freedom Over Me; Sail Away; Beautiful Blackbird; Beat the Story-Drum, Pum Pum; Let It Shine; Ashley Bryan’s Book of Puppets; and What a Wonderful World. He lives in Islesford, one of the Cranberry Isles off the coast of Maine.

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Tim Federle
Photograph © Beowulf Sheeha

Tim Federle

Tim Federle is the award-winning author of the autobiographical novels Better Nate Than Ever and its sequel Five, Six, Seven, Nate! (Lambda Literary Award winner), which were named best books of the year by the New York Times and the American Booksellers Association, respectively, and was highly recommended by Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda, who called the series, “a wonderful evocation of what it’s like to be a theater kid.” The Great American Whatever was inspired by an accident near Tim’s high school in Pittsburgh that changed the community forever. It is his first novel for young adults. Connect with the author on Instagram and Twitter at @TimFederle, and at TimFederle.com.

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Candace Fleming
Michael Lionstar

Candace Fleming

Candace Fleming is the acclaimed author of numerous books for children, including Ben Franklin’s Almanac, an ALA Notable Book and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults; as well as Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!; Gabriella’s Song; and When Agnes Caws; all ALA Notable Books. She lives in a suburb of Chicago.

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Marla Frazee
Photograph © Marla Frazee

Marla Frazee

Marla Frazee was awarded a Caldecott Honor for All the World and A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever, and the Boston Globe Horn Book Award for Picture Book for her wordless book The Farmer and the Clown. She is the author-illustrator of many books, including The Boss Baby, the book that inspired the DreamWorks Animation film Boss Baby. She has illustrated many acclaimed picture books, including God Got a Dog by Cynthia Rylant; Stars by Mary Lyn Ray; and Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers. She is also the illustrator of the New York Times bestselling Clementine chapter book series by Sara Pennypacker. The mother of three grown sons, she lives in Pasadena, California. Visit her at MarlaFrazee.com.

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Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Jarrett Krosoczka graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and is the author and illustrator of many great picture books including Punk Farm, Good Night, Monkey Boy, Baghead, Max for President, and the Lunch Lady graphic novel series. He lives in Northampton, MA, with his family.

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Peter Lerangis
Photograph by Joseph Lerangis

Peter Lerangis

Peter Lerangis is the author of many books for young readers, including wtf, Smiler’s Bones, the Watchers series, The Sword Thief, and the New York Times bestselling 39 Clues series. Peter lives with his wife and two sons in New York City. Visit him at PeterLerangis.com.

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Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Photo Copyright: Gilbert

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor has written more than 135 books, including the Newbery Award–winning Shiloh, the Alice series, and Roxie and the Hooligans. She lives in Gaithersburg, Maryland. To hear from Phyllis and find out more about Alice, visit AliceMcKinley.com.

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Rohmann, Eric

Eric Rohmann is the Caldecott Medal–winning illustrator of My Friend Rabbit and received a Caldecott Honor for Time Flies. He has both written and illustrated numerous books for children, including Oh, No! and Bone Dog. He lives in Oak Park, Illinois.

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Dan Santat
Photograph courtesy of the author

Dan Santat

Dan Santat is the Caldecott Medal–winning and New York Times bestselling author and illustrator of The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, as well as the illustrator of many other picture books, including Crankenstein by Samantha Berger. Dan lives in Southern California with his wife, two kids, and various pets.

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Brian Selznick

Brian Selznick is the author and illustrator of the bestselling The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which was awarded the Caldecott Medal and was a National Book Award finalist. He is also the illustrator of many books for children, including Frindle and Lunch Money by Andrew Clements, as well as the Doll People trilogy by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin, and The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins by Barbara Kerley, which was a Caldecott Honor Book. Mr. Selznick divides his time between Brooklyn, New York, and San Diego, California.

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