This year we're honoring the classic literature of our favorite authors. What better way to do that than by celebrating each of their birthdays? Every month on the Prestwick House Blog, you'll find free literary resources — including crossword puzzles, posters, lesson plans, eBooks, How to Teach resource guides, and more — to commemorate the dates of birth for our honorary authors. Share the never-to-be-forgotten works of iconic writers with your students and make use of these resources in your classroom this (and every) February.

Kathryn Stockett

Born February 6, 1969

Born and raised in the South, Stockett witnessed the mistreatment of African American women firsthand. When she grew older, she resolved to use her childhood experiences as the fulcrum of her enlightening literary masterpiece, The Help. Stockett's novel was rejected by nearly sixty literary agents before its publication in 2009, but has since sold more than ten million copies, and has been translated in 42 different languages.

Charles Dickens

Born February 7, 1812

Often considered the Victorian era's greatest novelist, Charles Dickens authored a number of British classics, including A Tale of Two Cities, A Christmas Carol, and Great Expectations. Dickens was raised in poverty; by the age of twelve, his parents had removed him from school to work in a boot-blacking factory. At age sixteen, Dickens began work as a freelance reporter—within ten years, he published his first novel, Oliver Twist. Charles Dickens died unexpectedly in 1870, leaving his final masterpiece, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, incomplete.

Kate Chopin

Born February 8, 1850

The author of two novels and over one hundred short stories, Kate Chopin is celebrated as one of America's earliest feminist writers. After the criticism she received upon the publication of The Awakening, Chopin considered herself a failed novelist and wrote only short stories for the remainder of her career. Today, more than a century after her death, The Awakening is highly acclaimed for its declaration of female agency.

Art Spiegelman

Born February 15, 1948

Art Spiegelman is observed as one of America's most impactful cartoonists—his masterpiece Maus I is one of the first graphic novels to be considered momentous in academia. Spiegelman's novel was based on his own parents' experiences as World War II victims in the Auschwitz concentration camp. This work not only earned Spiegelman the first Pulitzer Prize awarded a graphic novel (1992), but also a display at New York's Museum of Modern Art.

Toni Morrison

Born February 18, 1931

As a child, Toni Morrison loved to read; her father's stories, which descended from the African American tradition, influence her work even today. Her most highly acclaimed novels, Beloved and The Bluest Eye, are known for their rich use of dialogue, emotional intensity, and vivid portrayals of African American life. Among her many achievements are a Nobel Prize in Literature, a Pulitzer Prize, and a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Amy Tan

Born February 19, 1952

Amy Tan knew she wanted to be an author after winning an essay contest at the age of eight. Tan's novels are known to often explore the Chinese-American experience, and her most famous work, The Joy Luck Club, is no exception. Tan's novel won the Los Angeles Times Book Award, was translated into twenty five different languages, and was later pictured on the big screen, a movie for which Tan co-wrote the screenplay.

Jonathan Safran Foer

Born February 21, 1977

During his freshman year at Princeton University, Jonathan Safran Foer took an introductory writing course with Joyce Carol Oates—the successful author of nearly forty novels—who encouraged Foer to channel his energy into writing. After graduating from Princeton in 1999, Foer continued expanding his thesis, publishing it as his first novel Everything is Illuminated in 2002. Foer is now the author of five works, two of which have been adapted to film.

John Steinbeck

Born February 27, 1902

Once a manual laborer himself, Steinbeck wrote insightful examinations of the social and economic issues faced by middle-class American workers during the Great Depression. The Stanford University drop-out is perhaps best known for his 1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award. Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize for Literature six years before his death in December 1968.