Best Kids' Books By NJ-based Writers

4/24/14 - By Rachel Sokol

The Garden State is home to many children's writers who introduce educational and whimsical new stories to today's kids. As we continue to ease into Spring, why not head to your local library, bookstore, or Web site and surprise your children with a cherished book written by a NJ-based parent? These new releases are fun reads for the whole family and delving into them will support those nearest and dearest to us--our fellow New Jerseyans.


In Tea Party Rules, Cub discovers a backyard tea party—with cookies! The tea party’s hostess has several strong opinions on how Tea Party must be played, which Cub struggles to follow. A story about friendship, Tea Party Rules (K.G. Campbell, Ills.) is for cubs, fancy girls, and cookie lovers everywhere. Winner of the Ezra Jack Keats award, Tea Party Rules is for ages 3-5 year olds; complete with 40 beautifully illustrated pages. Written by Ame Dyckman of Lawrenceville, she says her beloved New Jersey town has it all: “nature, an awesome library, and a fabulous cafe with super-yummy treats—especially cookies! We really love it here.”

Edison native Dr. Michael Provitera, a social network expert, and his young daughter Janet created Happy Go Lucky story and coloring book. He is currently working on turning the book into a series. “This book, written for 8 to 12 year olds, will touch the hearts of families everywhere,” he says. “The story is about an only child's love for a Maltese puppy.”

Michele Bledsoe, who grew up in Bayonne, is the author and illustrator of a newly released children's book called The Secret Kingdom, a collection of paintings and poetry celebrating the world of dreams.  “I was inspired to become an artist by the beautifully illustrated children’s books I grew up with,” she explains. She and her artist husband Richard pooled their talents and imaginations to write poems based on Michele’s mysterious art, and the result was this colorful collection.

South/Central Jersey native Len Saunders just re-released two children's story books: Spunky the Monkey and Joey the Kangaroo that combine reading and exercise. “The books are from my Adventure In Exercise series,” he explains. “Children need motivational ways to get active. Many of them spend countless hours involved in technology instead of activity. The 'An Adventure In Exercise' book series was designed to motivate young children, ages 2-7, to get off the couch and exercise.”

Lifestyle and wellness enthusiast CC Minton of West Orange is the author of Daddy’s Greek Potato Pie (E’lana Lemon, ills.) a book about healthy eating. “The ingredients in the story teach children about the new food pyramid,” she says. The characters of Dylan and Drew know daddy’s veggie pie is “good” for them, but aren’t sure why, so they’re pleasantly surprised to find it’s tasty. Fun Fact: Over the winter holidays, Supreme Bakery in West Orange sold Minton’s husband’s Greek Potato Pie.

Lynne Silber of Belle Mead is the author of five children's books which are part of the Remote Control Adventures series. Each book features siblings Zack and Lana Landon as they gain access to TV Land through their magical remote control. Upon entering TV Land, they realize the characters from their favorite shows need their help—an evil TV producer wants to rewrite scripts so the villains win. The siblings must escape TV Land safely and rewrite the scripts to restore order. Silber's targeted readers are 6- to -9 year olds just starting chapter books.

Although it’s definitely Spring, it’s still chilly out there, so don’t shy away from snow-themed books quite yet! Susan Saunders is a Mountain Lakes native, and co-author—with Rob Watts—of Snowpocalypse. In this children’s book, which Saunders also illustrated, a young boy named Walter Applethorpe who wishes for a snow day to get out of a test, but gets more than he bargained for when the snow brings more than his little town can handle…