Every great author started out as a kid. Before the best sellers, fan clubs, and beloved stories we know today, the world's most celebrated writers had regular-kid problems just like you.
- Sam Clemens (aka Mark Twain) loved to skip school and make mischief, with his best friend Tom, of course!
- A young J. R. R. Tolkien was bitten by a huge tarantula—or as he called it, “a spider as big as a dragon.”
- Toddler Zora Neale Hurston took her first steps when a wild hog entered her house and started chasing her!
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Everybody loves a good story—and we all know that a well-told story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. This is a book about how the stories of sixteen famous authors began.
Some of them knew from very early on that they were going to be writers. Edgar Allan Poe, the legendary author of “The Raven” and “The Tell-Tale Heart,” used to recite poetry and dress up as a ghost to frighten grown-ups at parties.
And the poet Langston Hughes spent hours in his local library, reading collections of mythology, verse, and African American history.
Other kid authors had to overcome obstacles on the road to success. Laura Ingalls Wilder, the writer of Little House on the Prairie, grew up on the frontier, where she faced harsh winters and attacks by locusts.
And then there is J. K. Rowling. Long before she wrote the best-selling Harry Potter novels, she was just another kid in middle school trying to make decent grades and fend off bullies. Believe it or not, she often found herself getting into fights! She took comfort in writing stories about feisty heroines who fought back against evil villains.
And finally we have Jeff Kinney, whose most formidable foes were his three siblings. Every morning, Jeff and his siblings found themselves in a heated competition to determine who would use the bathroom first. Jeff took the “wimpy moments” of his childhood and turned them into Diary of a Wimpy Kid, one of the most successful children’s book series of all time.
We all have a story to tell, and whether or not you grow up to become a great writer, all those stories start in the same place: childhood. Some kids are born storytellers, others learned to take their unique experiences and turn them into tales that would entertain and inspire. We know how their stories ended, but how much do you really know about how their stories began? We’re going back to the beginning to find out!