While many authors deserve the credit for the recent renaissance of young adult and middle grade fiction, there’s one in particular who was a catalytic force in propelling literature for children into the larger sphere, driving millions of readers to bookstores, and sparking a massive, global movement of fans. Earlier books on quirky, sweet, delightful subjects gave way to progressively darker ones that still retained a characteristic whimsy and sense of humor, and this author’s fame only grew with each title. The author’s public appearances were greeted by thousands of screaming fans, and the books led to movie adaptations and to a whole new fandom.
You might thinking I’m talking about John Green, the current media darling, who’s been repeatedly credited with making YA mainstream, but, actually, I’m not. I’m talking about J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter series, which weren’t just groundbreaking and didn’t just inspire a new revival in children’s literature. They shaped an entire generation.