Some of these links are affiliate links, but our team stands behind our recommendation of these great books by some amazing local Jacksonville authors.
The start of the school year has arrived and those lazy summer days are behind us. To help get our minds refocused and back into the world of academia, we’ve rounded up several books all written by local authors.
Several years ago, Melissa Cinotti Folette created a story called Crunchy the Frog – A Sticky Situation
. Her goal was to bring laughter and learning together so that children are learning without even realizing it! You may recognize the Cinotti’s name, and you’d be right to assume she is a part of the Cinotti Bakery family business. Melissa incorporates her background in a unique way as the story takes place in the Pancake Forest with characters like chocolate, gumdrop, and marshmallow frogs hopping about.
Jill Grens is a retired elementary school teacher with many years of storytelling behind her. Jill’s students often referred to her as Dr. Seuss, speaking often in rhyme without even realizing it. Fun fact, “Mrs. Grens” was actually my 3rd grade teacher! She’s written several great books with a fun lesson to be learned in each. A good place to start is Zippy the Catapillar and the Big Race
. In a story involving uncertainty, Zippy has to make some choices about how he feels and what his attitude will be.
In 2016, mother-daughter due Natalie McGriff and Angela Nixon came up with the idea to create comic-style books empowering girls of color to embrace themselves and their looks after 7 year old Natalie struggled with her self-esteem. In this series, a girl named Moxie McGriff uses her puff of hair to transform her into a superhero! The Adventures of Moxie McGriff
series, is inspired, designed, and co-written by Natalie.
If we are talking children’s books by local authors, might I suggest a book by yours truly? I wrote a book a few years ago called Mackie-Who? for my daughter’s first birthday. I wanted her to have a gift that would stand the test of time, and teach her a valuable lesson in life. In it, Mack the dog parades around in a variety of different characters trying to figure out who he should be. In the end, his sweet friend Ruth helps him to discover that perhaps being himself is the very best version to be.
Bigger kids who enjoy science should definitely check out Jennifer Swanson’s Astronaut-Aquanaut book from the National Geographic Kids series. She is an award winning author of over 35 nonfiction books and her passion for science resonates in all of her books. Being a Jacksonville resident herself, this is an especially unique opportunity for her to show us how the space and ocean go together.
Sometimes the best way to learn history is through fictional mysteries that make it fun and interesting. Jane Wood writes mystery and adventure novels for kids ages 8-14 that take place in places that we’ve all heard of but could stand to learn more about. In her book, Voices in St. Augustine
, the main character heads to the nation’s oldest city to discover a bit about himself while hearing voices from people who lived there in the past.
is a story set in the 1960’s and 70’s right here in our very own city. Author Darlyn Finch Kuhn explores love and loss, spirituality and crisis, redemption and forgiveness in this story about a little girl growing up in a family with a volatile mother, a loving but very ill father, a brother who flees the country to evade the draft, a foster sister whose life is consumed by waiting for her real parents to return, and a best friend who likes to beat her up. She survives on stories told to her by her father, particularly the one about “sewing holes” – creating beauty out of what seems to be nothing. It’s an interesting glimpse into what life was like in this city for a family going through real life challenges together.
Heading into the cooler weather (eventually), it might be worth taking some time to read through Terri Mashour’s Backcountry Trails of Florida. Terri worked for nearly a decade as a land manager in Florida forests, so she definitely knows a variety of places to discover that you and I would never think of. Her guide has 100 off-the-grid hikes in every corner of the state of Florida. It’s perfect for planning the next adventure with the kids.
Another local option that I think will end up being a great read is 15 Views of Jacksonville: Short Stories from a Bold City
. It’s the first-ever anthology of stories set in Jacksonville, Florida—written by fifteen authors with strong ties to the city. Check out their Kickstarter campaign, which is fully funded meaning the project will soon be coming to life, for more information about the kinds of stories that we will see from this project.
These are just a few of our favorites from local Jacksonville authors, happy reading and if you know of another local author worth checking out, let us know in the comments!
Ashley Davis is a wife and mother, a writer and lover of words. She’s a Jacksonville native and currently resides in Jacksonville Beach with her husband and two little ones. Ashley believes that investing in the moments where we experience new places, cultures, and things is what makes life a most enjoyable adventure! Follow her on Instagram @ashleyndavis or through her website at www.ashleyndavis.com.