Five children’s authors that are perfect for children to discover

It is through the collision of reality and the multiplication of experiences that each child takes on its path to adulthood. But his personality and his convictions, he also shaped them from the imaginations in which he was immersed and the stories that were told to him. In our series “The childhood of books”, we invite you to discover the amazing diversity of children’s literature. A look back at some of today’s great authors in this first installment.

Lisa Antoine-Pénelon, librarian in Grenoble, contributed to this article with Éléonore Cartellier, Anne-Marie Monluçon, Chiara Ramero and Fanny Rinck.

Children’s literature is a particularly dynamic sector, multiplying the possibilities of discovery for new or experienced readers. But how do you orient yourself among all the stories, novels, albums, historical fiction or series to find the titles that will appeal to your child? The works of these five authors and illustrators, relevant today to young audiences, offer many ways to begin the journey.

Beatrice Alemagna

This author and illustrator was born in Bologna. Cradle of the adventures of Pippi Longstocking and the novel Baron Perche, by Italo Calvino, Beatrice Alemagna decided at the age of 8 to become a painter and author of books. What he has completely succeeded in doing is about fifty published books, including many translated my lovewhich is published in Helium.

his album A big day on the left, with Albin Michel jeunesse, several times awarded, shows a child who is forced to go out in the rain instead of playing his video game. We see there the “melted” style of Beatrice Alemagna, where the materials seem to blend, while providing comfort and texture. Spikes of bright colors seem to light up his illustrations.

Presenting the album “Un grand jour de rien” when it was released in 2016.

His books are considered objects with layers, collages, atypical formats and sometimes very little text, but leave a lot of room for interpretation by the adult reader and the child listening. His last book Goodbye Snow White revisits the story that leaves the floor to the mother-in-law in all her cruelty, her ambivalence and her pain. The subject matter always has multiple levels of reading which makes his work accessible to many ages and allows for different interpretations.

Marie-Aude Murail

Member of the “Charter of Youth Authors and Illustrators” and decorated with many prizes including the prestigious “Hans Christian Andersen Prize”, awarded to her in 2022, Marie-Aude Murail is one of the pillars of French children’s literature. .

He was born in 1954 in Le Havre, in a family of artists. Later, when asked “How do you become a children’s author?” “, he answers:” We became like that by chance and we remain like that through conviction. Most of his work, published in L’École des loisirs, is aimed at teenagers. He gets closer to their world and brings the characters to life that they can identify with, with a pendulum movement between recognition and projection, to imagine other possibilities and other horizons. He supports the idea that the audience should feel that he loves his characters and his readers.

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Among his most famous novels, such as Oh son! (2000), homely (2004), Long live the Republic! (2005) or Miss Charity (2008), the series follow each other: Emilian (1989-1992), Nils (1991-1998) and Malo de Lange (2009-2012) conquering the hearts of teenagers, the spypublished by Bayard since 2001, that of young readers.

Now, Sauveur & Fils, around a psychologist who helps troubled youth, is in its seventh season, the second part of the comic book adaptation of Miss Charitywhich tells the adventures of a little girl full of curiosity in the good English society of the XIXe century, will soon appear and the police investigations on the streets of Le Havre (written with his brother Lorris) are now three: Angie, remember september and So why not a hotel?.

Jean-Claude Mourlevat

Is recommending reading books for young people by Jean-Claude Mourlevat original? This former German teacher, passed through the theater, as a translator and director, translated into twenty languages ​​as well as Braille, awarded the prestigious Astrid-Lindgren prize in 2021, enjoys an international reputation.

Read more: Summer reads: seven books to pack in your kids’ suitcases

Many adults have read to their children and grandchildren, or had their students read, some of his memorable books. At the end of primary, we can read The Child of the Searewriting through transposition into the contemporary era of Tom Thumb of Perrault, combined – specialists speak of “contamination”, if one interweaves several literary sources – with memories of Hansel and Gretel, by Brothers Grimm. But the author’s true genius lies elsewhere. This changed Faulkner’s exploitation of his polyphonic novel While I was dying. Mourlevat writes in the silences of Perrault’s story, he gives voice to all the characters, including, in a virtuoso way, all the brothers of this quiet little Poucet.

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Some remember having to re-read the chapter on the conflict of oaths in successive nights. The Ballad of Cornebique to their children who stamped with joy and rushed to use these old and delicious insults.

Gallimard Youth/Folio Junior

The new novel Jefferson, intended for children aged 9 and up, deals with serious topics, with nuances, and a tonal agility that allows you to go from the most terrifying suspense to outright laughter. or subtle humor. The story begins after the murder of a hairdresser, a badger named Edgar, in which the hero, Jefferson, a young hedgehog, is accused. The investigation, launched with his friend, the pig Gilbert, to escape the miscarriage of justice, is the cause of the plot. It is only related to the animal cause in the second step: it turns out that the victim secretly campaigned for this cause, criticizing the way animals suffer in slaughterhouses.

The dialogues between the characters are worth their weight in gold, especially thanks to the repeated use of these animal characters in human expressions, the figurative meaning comes to double the literal meaning. So the “old goat” is an old goat, a judge’s wife…

Claude Boujon

Claude Boujon was also a painter, sculptor and puppeteer. Author and illustrator, he is one of the key figures for young audiences, of kindergarten age. What is remarkable, in the texts as in the drawings, is their simplicity, combined with great expressiveness. It’s all in the posture, the look, the onomatopoeia.

His universe is extremely rich and deceptively easy, because to enter an album by C. Boujon is to enter literature, to pass through a small door to open the relationships between the characters, in power of words, of the reader’s questions. This is the fox staring, straight in the eye, on the cover of Enjoy your lunch! Mr. Fox.

Good appetite Monsieur Fox album cover

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The incipit sets in motion a search, always with humor: “Once upon a time there was a young wolf who did not know he was a wolf”, in The apprentice wolfo “When the witch Ratatouille compares herself to the picture in the magazine, she thinks she’s ugly”, in Ah! good soups.

With Claude Boujon, it’s about living together, like the separationdelicious story of the neighborhood, and the the intruder, where the Ratinos face a “mountain of flesh”. There is also a question of books, on Great bookand on The Perched Toad, where the hero “can spend whole days with his nose in a book”. One of his funniest texts, The blue chairis the story of a friendship and an ode to imagination because “A chair is magic. We can change it. »

Susie Morgenstern

Born in the United States in 1945, writing since the late 1970s, Susie Morgenstern is an important author of children’s literature. His works are moving and complex. Having written many for elementary school-aged readers, in recent years he has turned to a more mature audience with texts of teenage desire such as touch mepublished in 2020, or technology and inter-generational relations with iM@mie.

His most iconic works are aimed at readers aged 8 to 12 with The sixth, Joker, Love letters from 0 to 10or The two sides of friendship. While the first two books focus on school, the last two on the list are beautiful reflections on love and friendship between generations and between religions.

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