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5 Kids Books Written by Authors in Southwest Missouri

Help your kids brush up for back to school by reading one of the wonderful children’s books written by local authors in southwest Missouri.

by Katie Pollock Estes

Aug 2021

Eloise Estes reading Crawly School for Bugs.
Photo by Danielle GiarratanoEloise Estes digs into one of her favorite books, Crawly School for Bugs by David L. Harrison.

1…. Crawly School for Bugs

Written by David L. Harrison

If I had a dollar for every time my kids have asked me to read them this delightful book of poems, I’d be rich. There are rhymes, and giggles, and bugs of all sorts in the very not-bug-like setting of a school. If your kids like to imagine critters living human-like lives, they’ll enjoy this book by prolific Springfield author David L. Harrison.

2. What Did Your Dinosaur Do Today?

Written by Tiffany Tutu

Illustrated by Chrisara Designs

My 5-year-old daughter loves this imaginative book, new in 2021 from a local writer and pair of illustrators. It has sweet drawings of friendly dinosaurs doing the cutest things—blowing bubbles, making s’mores and riding an itty bitty bike. The rhyming copy is so fun to read aloud.

3. Old Cemetery Road (Series)

Written by Kate Klise

Illustrated by M. Sarah Klise

Sisters Kate and Sarah Klise have created a book series with a spooky theme and unusual format: The story is told entirely in letters the characters write to each other. One of the main characters is a ghost, and the book is packed with a million punny character names (There’s a book publisher named Paige Turner.) My soon-to-be-third-grader is working his way through the series now.

Crawly School for Bugs by David L. Harrison
Crawly School for Bugs by David L. Harrison
What Did Your Dinosaur Do Today? written by Tiffany Tutu
What Did Your Dinosaur Do Today? written by Tiffany Tutu, illustrated by Chrisara Designs
Old Cemetery Road (Series) written by Kate Klise
Old Cemetery Road (Series) written by Kate Klise, illustrated by M. Sarah Klise
S is for Show Me: A Missouri Alphabet written by Judy Young
S is for Show Me: A Missouri Alphabet written by Judy Young, illustrated by Ross B. Young
Thanks, Grandpa, for Taking Me Fishing written by Vannetta Groeteke
Thanks, Grandpa, for Taking Me Fishing written by Vannetta Groeteke, illustrated by Nikki Turvin

4. S is for Show Me: A Missouri Alphabet

Written by Judy Young

Illustrated by Ross B. Young

Children’s poet Judy Young was a Springfield-area resident when she and her husband created this alphabet book. The oldest title on our list (published in 2001), assigns every letter of the alphabet a little bit of Missouri flair: D is for dogwood, B is for Big Spring. It’s a fun way to learn the ABC’s with a little local pride woven in.

5. Thanks, Grandpa, for Taking Me Fishing

Written by Vannetta Groeteke

Illustrated by Nikki Turvin

This book celebrates that sweet, relaxing summer activity that kids can do with their loved ones. It’s written by a 417-lander who competitively fishes on a national level and has a true love for the sport. The book’s illustrator is a Missourian too and resides in Pleasant Hope.

Find books No. 1–4 at Pagination Bookshop (1150 E. Walnut St., Springfield), and No. 5 at bookstore.dorrancepublishing.com.

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