Best Children’s Authors from Cincinnati

March is National Reading Month, and today we’re celebrating our local authors. Cincinnati may not be the biggest city, but our presence on the literary scene is quite notable. (Ever heard of Otis the Tractor? We thought so!) Here are the best children’s authors from Cincinnati:

Loren Long

It would be impossible to make a list of Cincinnati children’s book authors and not include Mr. Long. He’s arguably the most famous, and for good reason: his Otis the Tractor books are insanely popular and beloved! Known primarily for his unique visual style (he was commissioned to create last year’s Zoo Babies poster), Long is the illustrator of President Obama’s Of Thee I Sing. And Little Tree, which he wrote and illustrated, is a poignant story about growing up that will absolutely make you cry.

Louise Borden

We love Louise Borden — she’s penned over 30 books for kids that are sure to inspire and encourage. A huge fan of H.A. Rey’s Curious George, Borden wrote the afterward of Cecily G. and the Nine Monkeys (the first book to mention Curious George), and The Journey that Saved Curious George, a true story about the real-life plight of Hans and Margaret Rey in 1940s Europe. Kids starting school absolutely need Kindergarten Luck and Off to First Grade on their shelves, and Cincinnati, Our City, Our Story is a must for all residents.

Will Hillenbrand
Bear and Bunny. Photo credit: Will Hillenbrand's website.
Bear and Bunny. Photo credit: Will Hillenbrand’s website.

Another local author known for his sweet illustrations, Hillenbrand’s books feature lovable animal characters kids will definitely relate to. We especially love Bear and Bunny, the tale of two forest friends in search of the perfect pet. Hillenbrand’s newest book, Share, Big Bear, Share! is coming in April; if you order that or any book from his website, he’ll personally sign and personalize an inscription for your kids.

Andrea Limke

Even if Andrea weren’t one of our beloved Cincinnati Parent Reporters, she’d still be on this list. Last year’s The Hippo on My Window seems especially relevant now, given the outpouring of support over Baby Fiona. If you haven’t ordered a copy, definitely do! Your kids will love this sweet tale of the power of imagination. {Read all about the story behind the story here!}

C.F. Payne
C. F. Payne's iconic Casey at the Bat
C. F. Payne’s iconic Casey at the Bat

Any baseball fan knows the work of C. F. Payne — he’s responsible for the illustrations in Shoeless Joe and Black Betsy, Lineup for Yesterday and, most famously, Casey at the Bat. More recently, Mousetronaut and Mousetronaut Goes to Mars (written by Mark Kelly), have been on many best-seller lists.


Do you have a story sitting around in your head, just waiting to be written? Write it! Then get it self-published at the Main Library’s Espresso Book Machine. This machine is one of a handful in the entire country, and prints, binds and trims retail quality paperback books complete with a unique ISBN. What are you waiting for?

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