Cover for Author Studies in Your Homeschool showing covers of five biographies of authors.

Author Studies in Your Homeschool

One way to make learning fun in your homeschool is to have a “study of the month”.  You might study an artist, a musician, a scientist, or an author each month.  Or anyone or anything else you can think of!

Then, over the course of the month you can learn about that person or thing through books, videos, and hands on projects!

The post below lists several children’s authors that would be fun to include in Author of the Month studies along with books and videos.  There is a Who Was…biography for each author, which are great for 8-12 year olds.  Children can usually read one to two chapters a day and if we do them as a family read aloud, they usually take three days.  Some of the authors listed even have their own detailed unit studies that you can download!

Pinnable cover for Author Studies in Your Homeschool showing covers of five biographies of authors.

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William Shakespeare, English 1564-1616

Thought of as the greatest playwright of all time, Shakespeare is someone all students learn about at some point.  So why not when children are young?!  This FREE unit study contains lots of resources for introducing all ages of children to Shakespeare:

Cover for Shakespeare FREE Unit Study showing books and printable pages.

Jane Austen, English 1775-1817

You may think children need to be older before reading Jane Austen, but The Beautiful Cassandra is actually a great book to introduce her to younger children.  Austen wrote it around age 13 and it is only 72 pages long.  There is also a Who Was… biography for her and a book full of related projects!

Sale
The Beautifull Cassandra: A Novel in Twelve Chapters
  • Austen, Jane (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 72 Pages - 09/11/2018 (Publication Date) - Princeton University Press (Publisher)
Who Was Jane Austen?
  • Fabiny, Sarah (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 12/05/2017 (Publication Date) - Penguin Workshop (Publisher)
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Jane Austen for Kids: Her Life, Writings, and World, with 21 Activities (68) (For Kids series)
  • Sanders, Nancy I. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 144 Pages - 02/05/2019 (Publication Date) - Chicago Review Press (Publisher)

 

Brothers Grimm, German 1785-1863

The Brothers Grimm are known for their ‘grim’ fairytales, many of which have been ‘softened’ and turned into Disney movies.  Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Beauty and the Beast are a few of their best known.  Don’t you wonder what these brothers were really like?  Find out with their Who Was…biography and this short video.

Who Were the Brothers Grimm? (Who Was?)
  • Reed, Avery (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 08/11/2015 (Publication Date) - Penguin Workshop (Publisher)
The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales: An Illustrated Classic
  • Hardcover Book
  • Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 08/01/2017 (Publication Date) - Canterbury Classics (Publisher)

Edgar Allan Poe, American 1809-1849

Poe is another ‘grim’ author, but he also is a wonderful poet.  You can introduce him to your children with his Poetry for Young People book along with his Who Was… biography.  Check out this four minute video to learn more about him.

Who Was Edgar Allan Poe?
  • Gigliotti, Jim (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 08/11/2015 (Publication Date) - Penguin Workshop (Publisher)
Poetry for Young People: Edgar Allan Poe
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 48 Pages - 04/01/2008 (Publication Date) - Union Square Kids (Publisher)

 

Harriet Beecher Stowe, American 1811-1896

Stowe was an abolitionist whose best known book is Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which depicted the lives of enslaved African-American people. This book would be a good way to pull literature into a unit about the Civil War.  Learn more about Stowe with her Who Was… biography and this short video.

Who Was Harriet Beecher Stowe?
  • Rau, Dana Meachen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 04/21/2015 (Publication Date) - Penguin Workshop (Publisher)

Charles Dickens, English 1812-1870

Dickens is known as the greatest novelist of the Victorian Era.  His stories and books serve as commentaries on life during that era.  He often wrote about the poor social conditions of that time.  Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol are great stories to introduce children to Charles Dickens.  Here is a FREE unit study you can use to study him using A Christmas Carol as the piece of literature:

Cover for blog post Charles Dickens FREE Unit Study showing books and printable pages.

Walt Whitman, American 1819-1892

Whitman was best known for his poems, many of which were set around the Civil War.  One of his best known poems was O Captain! My Captain!, which he wrote about the death of President Lincoln.  While his poetry would be better to study in the high school years, his Who Was…biography is a great way to introduce him to younger students.

Who Was Walt Whitman?
  • Anderson, Kirsten (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 02/02/2021 (Publication Date) - Penguin Workshop (Publisher)

Jules Verne, French 1828-1905

Verne is known for his classic stories, Journey to the Center of the Earth, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Around the World in Eighty Days.  If you are looking for your middle schooler to read some classics, these are a great place to start.  Include his Who Was…biography and this 8-minute video describing how Verne was able to ‘see into the future’ and you will have many great rabbit trails to explore!

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Who Was Jules Verne?
  • Buckley Jr., James (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 06/07/2016 (Publication Date) - Penguin Workshop (Publisher)

Mark Twain, American 1835-1910

Samuel Clemens was an American humorist who wrote under the pen name Mark Twain.  Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are good read alouds to introduce children to the Mississippi River area in the mid-1800s.  His Who Was…biography and this eight minute video would be good additions to a study about him.

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Who Was Mark Twain?
  • Prince, April Jones (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 05/24/2004 (Publication Date) - Penguin Workshop (Publisher)

Lewis Carroll, English 1832-1898

Born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, Carroll is known for writing Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.  Read his Who Was…biography to learn more about the man who created these books that continue to influence pop culture today.  Then check out these ideas for throwing your own Mad Hatter Tea Party!

Who Was Lewis Carroll?
  • Pollack, Pam (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 10/03/2017 (Publication Date) - Penguin Workshop (Publisher)

Beatrix Potter, English 1866-1943

Beatrix Potter’s books are full of fun characters and great to tie into nature studies.  She herself was a natural scientist and a conservationist.  You can learn more about her with her Who Was… biography and this five minute video.

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Who Was Beatrix Potter?
  • Fabiny, Sarah (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 07/21/2015 (Publication Date) - Penguin Workshop (Publisher)
The World of Peter Rabbit: (The Original Peter Rabbit, Books 1-22)
  • Potter, Beatrix (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 407 Pages - 05/02/2020 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

 

Laura Ingalls Wilder, American 1867-1957

Laura Ingalls Wilder is a favorite author for many and her books are perfect for children.  Readers learn about westward expansion and Laura’s life through her books.  But to learn even more about her, especially her adult life, you can read her Who Was… biography and watch this video.  Also, check out this list of related activities and printables.

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The Little House
  • Boxed Set
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 2784 Pages - 05/30/1994 (Publication Date) - Harper Trophy (Publisher)
Who Was Laura Ingalls Wilder? (Who Was?)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Demuth, Patricia Brennan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 114 Pages - 12/26/2013 (Publication Date) - Penguin Workshop (Publisher)

 

A. A. Milne, English 1882-1956

Milne was a playwright before becoming famous for his series of Winnie-the Pooh stories.  Learn how his time playing in the woods with his son inspired his writing when you read his Who Was…biography.  Kids will also enjoy this short video biography.

Who Was A. A. Milne?
  • Fabiny, Sarah (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 06/01/2021 (Publication Date) - Penguin Workshop (Publisher)

J.J.R. Tolkien, English 1892-1973

Tolkien is well known for his Lord of the Rings trilogy as well as The Hobbit.  If these will be on your middle school reading list, then learn more about him with his Who Was…biography and this short video.

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Who Was J. R. R. Tolkien?
  • Pollack, Pam (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 07/21/2015 (Publication Date) - Penguin Workshop (Publisher)

Ernest Hemmingway, American 1899-1961

Hemmingway is regarded to be a classic American novelist and is known for his books such as For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea.  The Old Man and the Sea is a relatively short book and a good way to introduce him to middle schoolers.  You can learn more about him with his Who Was…biography and this short video.

Who Was Ernest Hemingway?
  • Gigliotti, Jim (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 03/01/2022 (Publication Date) - Penguin Workshop (Publisher)

E.B. White, American 1899-1985

White often wrote for magazines, but is best known for his children’s books, Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little and Trumpet of the Swan.  Learn what inspired him in his Who Was…biography or the artfully illustrated biography, Some Writer!

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Who Was E. B. White?
  • Herman, Gail (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 06/28/2022 (Publication Date) - Penguin Workshop (Publisher)
Sale
Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White
  • Sweet, Melissa (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 176 Pages - 10/15/2019 (Publication Date) - Clarion Books (Publisher)

 

Dr. Seuss, American 1904-1991

Ted Geisel wrote some of our most beloved children’s books under the pen name Dr. Seuss.  Since they were probably some of your children’s first books, he can make a great first author to study.  Learn more about Mr. Geisel with his Who Was… biography and this video.  There are many related activities you can do with these books and these STEM projects are a great place to start.  Check out our FREE Unit Study to learn all about him!

Cover for Dr. Seuss FREE Unit Study showing printables and book.

Roald Dahl, English 1916-1990

Your children are probably familiar with Dahl’s stories such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach and BFG.  His strange characters and interesting adventures makes one wonder what Roald Dahl himself was like!  Here is a FREE Unit Study to learn all about him:

Cover for Roald Dahl FREE Unit Study post showing printable pages and book.

Charles Schulz, American 1922-2000

The creator of Peanuts would be a fun and different ‘author’ to include in your studies! Read one of the many collections of his cartoons, check out his Who Was…biography, and learn how to draw Snoopy and Woodstock.

Who Was Charles Schulz?
  • Holub, Joan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 03/01/2022 (Publication Date) - Penguin Workshop (Publisher)

Stan Lee, American 1922-2018

Stan Lee is one of the best known comic book writers of all time and can be super fun to study.  Think of all the movie studies you can incorporate!  Here is a FREE Unit Study to learn all about him:

Cover for Stan Lee Unit Study showing book and several of the printable pages.

Maurice Sendak, American 1928-2012

You know this author as the writer of Where the Wild Things Are.  Learn more about why he was revolutionary in the children’s book genre from his Who Was…biography and this short video.

Who Was Maurice Sendak?
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Pascal, Janet B. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 06/27/2013 (Publication Date) - Penguin Workshop (Publisher)

Maya Angelou, American, 1928-2014

Maya Angelou was an amazing poet and memoirist.  While much of her well known work is appropriate for adults, she wrote poetry for children as well.  Some to start with are Life Doesn’t Frighten Me, Kofi and His Magic, or My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken and Me.  Your children can learn more about her life through her Who Was… biography and this short video. Listen to her read her poem, Still I Rise.

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Who Was Maya Angelou?
  • Labrecque, Ellen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 01/12/2016 (Publication Date) - Penguin Workshop (Publisher)

Judy Blume, American 1938-

Blume was one of the first young adult (YA) authors and wrote many books that helped children transition through adolescence.  Some of her popular novels are Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Blubber, and Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.  Learn all about Ms. Blume with her Who Is…biography and this interview.

Who Is Judy Blume? (Who Was?)
  • Anderson, Kirsten (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 10/02/2018 (Publication Date) - Penguin Workshop (Publisher)

R.L. Stine, American 1943-

Known as the “Stephen King of children’s literature”, Stine wrote the Fear Street and Goosebumps series among others.  Learn about what inspires him as an author with his Who Is…biography and this short video.

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Who Is R. L. Stine? (Who Was?)
  • Payne, M. D. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 08/06/2019 (Publication Date) - Penguin Workshop (Publisher)

JK Rowling, British, 1965-

JK Rowling is of course known for her best selling Harry Potter series.  You can learn more about her through her Who Is… biography and this four minute video. If your children are Harry Potter Fans, they will want to check  out the Wizarding World website.

Who Is J.K. Rowling? (Who Was?)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Pollack, Pam (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 08/02/2012 (Publication Date) - Penguin Workshop (Publisher)

Jeff Kinney, American 1971-

Kinney is known best for his Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.  Learn about the writing challenges he faced and his later successes in his Who Is…biography.  And watch this news story about him.

Who Is Jeff Kinney? (Who Was?)
  • Kinney, Patrick (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 08/18/2015 (Publication Date) - Penguin Workshop (Publisher)

Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani 1997-

As an author, Yousafzai is best known for her memoir, I Am Malala, which is about her work for women’s right to an education and how she was shot by the Taliban for it.  She also has written a picture book for younger children.  You can learn more about her life before she wrote her book and since in her Who Is…biography and through this short video.

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Who Is Malala Yousafzai? (Who Was?)
  • Brown, Dinah (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 08/11/2015 (Publication Date) - Penguin Workshop (Publisher)
Sale
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
  • The book is in pristine condition. Ships out in 24 hours. Cover is slightly worn around the edges
  • Yousafzai, Malala (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 368 Pages - 06/02/2015 (Publication Date) - Back Bay Books (Publisher)

Which author study have you done before or which one are you looking forward to studying?  Who else would you add?  There are so many more!