I was discussing author studies a couple of weeks ago with a teacher, thinking about why we have them and who would be the best authors to use. At present they appear in Yr2 – significant authors, Yr3 – authors and letters and Yr 6 – authors and texts.
Why should we have an author study?
- to become familiar with the range of work of an author
- to introduce children to authors outside of their experience, or
- to develop a deeper understanding of an author that is already familiar
- to identify patterns across an author’s work
and implicit in all of this is to experience the joy of reading. Ideally when looking for an author it needs to be someone who has a range of work that can be accessed by all children in the class. Usually author studies tend to be based around fiction but there is absolutely no reason why non-fiction shouldn’t be chosen. So I am going to start off my top 5 list with two non-fiction authors and include a poet.
I have been a big fan of Macaulay’s work and have blogged about him before. He has a range of work, mostly non-fiction but also includes some fiction. As an author and illustrator, there are very definite patterns across his texts about construction and in the fiction confusion. The previous blog post shares a video of Macaulay talking about his work. I think this is an author for KS2 (Yr3 and Yr6). See his full range of books here. It would be a great idea for children to produce a book in the style of Macaulay about the school building and would definitely be an author to use if there is building works going on somewhere near the school.
This author/illustrator is new to me but I now have quite an extensive collection of his books and some of his titles appear in our texts that teach lists. There are very definite patterns across his texts in terms of what he writes about, his illustrations, and why he writes about these things. I particularly like the idea that he is often stimulated to write about things that his children have commented on or asked about. The books that I am enjoying at the moment are How To Clean a Hippopotamus, Down, Down, Down and Hottest, Coldest, Highest, Deepest. See his full range of books here. This author would make a suitable author study for Yr2 or Yr3 andwould enable cross-curricular links.
Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross
Both of these author/illustrators are prolific in their own right but also together. They have produced the marvellous Tadpole’s Promise and the Dr Xargyle series. Again there are patterns across their texts, humour being one of the main themes, and in the illustrations. See their full range of books here. Suitable for Yr2 and Yr3.
Langston Hughes is an amercian poet from 1902 – 1967. I first came across his work in the wonderful book Classic Poetry An illustrated collection selected by Michael Rosen. His poetry has a song-like quality and clearly expresses his feelings about social injustice and what it meant to be black in America at that time. Many of his poems can be found online. This is a poet study suitable for Yr6.
Catherine Rayner has full range of books, some of which appear on our texts that teach lists. Her books are gentle and beautifully illustrated. Augustus and His Smile is also published as a dual language text in a whole range of languages and English making this author accessible to many children. See some of her books here. This is an author suitable for Yr2.