Join the thousands of parents and supporters of Missouri's public schools to learn what you can do to help!

Reading Lists & Famous Missouri Authors


Not long ago, we talked about how reading is one of the most important things a student can do to keep his or her learned skills sharp. Even though summer has come to an end, it’s not too late to make the most of summer reading lists.

The Huffington post recently shared a list of ten summer reading list books that will change your life. Among them were Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, and others.

While these are all excellent suggestions for summer reading, we could easily add ten more books that were written by well-known Missouri authors like Mark Twain, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Maya Angelou.

Below are six of Missouri’s most famous authors, and at least one recommendation from each for your “After Summer” reading list.

Maya Angelou
Did you know that Maya Angelou was a Missourian? Angelou was born in St. Louis, and she was regarded for more than her poetry. Angelou published books of essays, books of poetry, and autobiographies, the most well-known of which was I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri, and was a star of the Harlem Renaissance. He published more than 60 books, including poetry collections, children’s books, and short stories. Though better known for poems like The Negro Speaks of Rivers, he also published a well-known collection of poems for young people called The Dream Keeper.

Mark Twain
Samuel Longhorne Clemens, who wrote under the pen name Mark Twain, was born in Hannibal, Missouri. Two of his best-known books are The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is often called “the Great American Novel”, but is also one of the most-challenged and most-banned books of all time. Be sure you understand the context of this book before you read it with your son or daughter.

Laura Ingalls Wilder
Wilder spent the last 60 years of her life in Mansfield, Missouri, where she penned the children’s book series Little House on the Prairie. The books, later turned into a long-running and family-friendly television series, goes into detail about the day-to-day life of the Ingalls family living on their Kansas homestead in the late 1800s.

T.S. Eliot
Like Maya Angelou and Langston Hughes, Eliot was known for his poetry. Eliot’s most famous works include Four Quarters, The Wasteland, and The Hollow Men. Eliot’s works are staples of Modernist poetry.

Kay Thompson
You may not recognize Kay Thompson’s name, but chances are good that you recognize the name Eloise, from her series of children’s books about the antics of a six-year-old by the same name: Eloise, Eloise in Paris, Eloise at Christmastime, and Eloise in Moscow. Thompson was born in St. Louis, Missouri.

Who is your favorite Missouri-born author? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Reading is one of the best things students can do to keep their skills sharp. As Summer blends into Fall, MOParent hopes you’ll encourage your kids to continue to read—and maybe even to read a few books by famous Missouri authors—all year long.


3550 Amazonas Drive, Jefferson City, MO 65109. 573-638-4825