Language arts teachers read and analyze literature with their students all day for hours at a time, guiding lessons on the nuances of the written word. It should come as no surprise, then, that many teachers have become successful authors in their own right. After days spent immersed in children’s literature, some teachers feel compelled to try their hand at the craft of writing. After their initial publishing success, some teachers leave their posts to become full-time authors while authors moonlight, working on their writing at night or during summers while continuing to teach. These teacher authors do amazing work, often writing for the kids they love to teach.

Here are 12 authors who are also teachers. They have written books that might very well be familiar to your students. Check them out, add them to your summer reading list, and who knows? You might be inspired to try your own hand at writing the next great novel for your own students.

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Rick Riordan

Featured teacher authors: Rick Riordan

About the teacher: Rick Riordan was a high school teacher for 15 years at both public and private middle schools in both California and Texas. In Texas, he taught at Saint Mary’s Hall and was honored with the school’s first-ever Master Teacher Award. Riordan taught English and history.

About the author: Riordan began writing mystery novels for adults while teaching full time, publishing the Tres Navarre series. He turned to children’s literature when he began writing the Greek-mythology inspired The Lightning Thief, the first book in the Percy Jackson series, as a bedtime story for his son. Now, Riordan is a number one New York Times bestselling author of many books. The Lightning Thiefhas been turned into a movie. Riordan has since adapted Greek, Roman, Norse, and Egyptian myths into modern middle-grade adventure stories.

See Rick Riordan’s Amazon page to view his best reads.

Elizabeth Acevedo

Elizabeth Acevedo

About the teacher: In 2010, after earning her MFA in creative writing from the University of Maryland, Elizabeth Acevedo participated in Teach for America. She taught eighth graders in Maryland.

About the author: Acevedo published her first book called Beastgirl & Other Origin Mythsin 2016. In 2018, The Poet Xrocketed her toward fame. The Poet X was a New York Times bestseller and won numerous awards including the Boston Globe-Hornbook Award, the Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature, the 2018 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, and the 2019 Michael L. Printz Award.

Check out her Amazon page to find out more. 

Eoin Colfer

Eoin Colfer

About the teacher: Irish teacher Eoin Colfer was the son of two teachers, so becoming a teacher himself was a natural fit. He worked as a primary school teacher in Wexford, Ireland before traveling the world with his wife and then moving on to a writing career.

About the author: Colfer’s first book was called Benny and Omar and was published in 1998. In 2001, Colfer achieved critical success with the publication of the first Artemis Fowl book. The subsequent series was so popular that Colfer left teaching to write full time. According to Colfer’s website, Artemic Fowl was named the public’s favorite Puffin Modern Classic of all time, has sold more than 25 million copies and has been translated into 40 languages. Artemis Fowl is the first in an eight-book series.

See Colfer’s books on his Amazon page.

Philip Pullman

Featured teacher authors: Philip Pullman

About the teacher: Philip Pullman graduated from Exeter College in Oxford and then, according to the autobiographical information on his website, started as a middle school teacher at age 25 before moving on to teach various classes at Westminster College.

About the author: Pullman is a renowned author most famous for the His Dark Materialstrilogy which includes the bestselling novel The Golden Compass (called Northern Lights in the United Kingdom). His first book was published in 1982 and he continues to write today. In 2005, he was the recipient of the Astrid Lindgren Award, an international award given to authors and illustrators dedicated to providing high-quality literature to children.

Learn more on his Amazon page.

Kate Messner

Kate Messner

About the teacher: Kate Messner may be one of the most prolific writers for children working today, but before turning to writing, she taught middle school English for 15 years. Perhaps it is her educator background that prompts her to lead the annual Teachers Write free online summer camp for teachers and librarians.

About the author: Today, Messner writes a wide variety of literature for children. She is the author of many nonfiction picture books including The Brilliant Deep and How to Read a Story as well as realistic fiction novels such as Breakout and The Seventh Wish. She continues to write her popular Ranger in Time series, which tells about the adventures of a time-traveling dog.

Check out her numerous works on her Amazon page.

Michael Morpurgo

Michael Morpurgo

About the teacher: Beloved British author Michael Morpurgo started work as a primary school teacher after graduating from King’s College London. His wife also worked as a teacher. Their love of children inspired them to start the charity Farms for City Children, which invites urban and suburban children to come with their teachers to work on a farm for a week. 

About the author: Morpurgo published his first writing in 1974 called It Never Rained: Five Stories. He went on to write more than a hundred novels and stories for children. The best known are War Horse and An Elephant in the Garden. Morpurgo held the Children’s Laureate role from 2003-2005.

See his Amazon page for more details.

Samira Ahmed

Featured teacher authors: Samira Ahmed

About the teacher: Popular young adult author Samira Ahmed was a high school English teacher before she became a full-time writer. She was born in India and grew up in Illinois, graduating from the University of Chicago. After college, Ahmed worked as a teacher, then in educational nonprofits.

About the author: Ahmed is the bestselling author of numerous YA novels including Love, Hate, and Other Filters and a Ms. Marvel comic book mini-series. Her novel Internment imagines a not-very-distant future in which the United States creates an internment camp for Muslims.

Click here to view her Amazon page.

Lisabeth Posthuma

Lisabeth Posthuma

About the teacher: Michigan YA writer Lisabeth Posthuma was a high school English teacher before she became a novelist. She also worked as a photographer before officially turning to writing.

About the author: Posthuma is the author of Baby and Solo and Songs Eight Six. On her website, she writes that Baby and Solowas inspired by her time working as a video store clerk, which she describes as “the best gig ever.”

Find out more on her Amazon page.

Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Lynda Mullaly Hunt

About the teacher: Today, Lynda Mullaly Hunt writes middle grade novels, a career that began when she started writing stories for her students. On her website, she writes, “I mostly wrote stories that had structural errors so that I could give the kids red pens, tell them to give me an “F” if they wanted, but they better be able to explain why. Kids relished the opportunity to fail the teacher, so they dug deep.”

About the author: Hunt is the author of several books including the award-winning and bestselling Fish in a Tree, about a young girl who struggles with dyslexia – and the teacher who finally helps her read.

Find out more on her Amazon page.

Zeena M. Pliska

Zeena M. Pliska

About the teacher: Zeena M. Pilska works as both a kindergarten teacher and children’s book author. She continues to work in Los Angeles schools and, according to her author biography, “she believes that the most important aspect of teaching is listening to children. A social justice activist and organizer for over 30 years, she brings race, class, and gender analysis to everything she does.”

About the author: Pilska is the author of Egyptian Lullaby and Hello Little One: A Monarch Butterfly Story.

Shannon Olsen

Featured teacher authors: Shannon Olsen

About the teacher: Shannon Olsen has worked for fifteen years as an elementary school teacher. She works in schools to this day and maintains an online store and blog for educators called Life Between Summers.

About the author: Olsen is the author of three books for children: Our Class is a Family, A Letter From Your Teacher on the First Day of School, and A Letter From Your Teacher on the Last Day of School. Each of her books are about building a sense of community in an elementary school classroom, and Olsen’s website contains free resources to pair with her books.

Find these amazing books and resources for teachers on her Amazon page.

Devin Siebold

Devin Siebold

About the teacher: Devin Siebold spent a decade as a middle and high school teacher in Florida before turning to comedy full time. Today, Siebold pulls from his teaching experience to author his debut book and as part of the Bored Teachers Comedy Tour.

About the author: Siebold’s first book, A Teacher in the Wild, is illustrated by Izzy B, who is a working elementary school art teacher. A Teacher in the Wild is about that moment all teachers know well – a student has spotted us outside our class. 

Teacher Authors Whose Books are Absolute Must-Reads