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) May.

Chris Cleave

Born May 14, 1973

British writer and journalist Chris Cleave spent his early childhood in West Africa and his adult life studying experimental psychology at the University of Oxford in England. These two factors, combined with a brief stint spent working in an asylum detention center, helped set the stage for his critically acclaimed novel, Little Bee. Cleave lives with his wife and three children in London and continues to write about serious topics with a witty and dry-humored perspective.

Laura Hillenbrand

May 15, 1967

Favoring a simple and minimalist style of writing, American author Laura Hillenbrand has two New York Times best sellers that were both adapted into blockbuster films. Unbroken, the second of Hillenbrand's books, was praised by Time magazine as being the best nonfiction book of 2010; it held the number one spot in hardcover for nearly fifteen weeks. Hillenbrand has lived in Washington, DC, for more than 25 years. Debilitating vertigo has greatly limited her ability to travel, though she has made strides in overcoming the disease.

Gary Paulsen

May 17, 1939

Best known for his young adult novels that involve the outdoors and wilderness, Gary Paulsen has been luring readers into these unexplored areas for nearly thirty years, ever since the publication of his critically acclaimed book, Hatchet, in 1987. After having spent a great deal of time experimenting with survival in the woods himself, Paulsen began penning the story of Brian, a thirteen-year-old boy whose vacation is ruined when his plane crash-lands in the Canadian wilderness, stranding him for 54 days. Paulsen has written over 200 novels and continues to both write and wander throughout the woods near of his New Mexico home.

Lorraine Hansberry

May 19, 1930

A celebrated playwright and writer, Lorraine Vivian Hansberry had the ability to shine a light on the living conditions of black American citizens during segregation. Her most famous work, A Raisin in the Sun, opened on Broadway in 1959; it became the first play written by a black woman ever to be performed there. The drama, whose title is from the Langston Hughes poem, "Harlem: A Dream Deferred," brought Hansberry instant success. Since its debut, A Raisin in the Sun has been made into a movie, a TV adaption and seen several revivals on the stage. Hansberry died of pancreatic cancer in 1965.

Mitch Albom

May 23, 1958

A literary Jack-of-all-trades, Mitch Albom, besides being a successful and celebrated author, had earlier careers as a screenwriter, journalist, musician, radio and television broadcaster. With the publication of his two famous works, Tuesdays with Morrie (nonfiction) and The Five People You Meet in Heaven (fiction), however, Albom quickly achieved fame as the writer of inspirational and philosophical books. Over 10 million copies of each book have been sold worldwide, and Tuesdays with Morrie was on the New York Times bestseller list for over 200 weeks. Albom now lives in Detroit, Michigan, with his wife and continues to write for the Detroit Free Press.

Steven D. Levitt

May 29, 1967

Steven D. Levitt, an Economics professor living in Chicago, became famous after the 2005 publication of his best-selling book, Freakonomics. The nonfiction piece sold over four million copies worldwide and merged pop culture with finance to create a down-to-earth, layman's-terms explanation of the world of economics. The approach, however, was slightly eccentric: How drug dealers operate on sound economic principles, how parenting may not affect education at all, and how corruption works in sumo wrestling. When he is not with his wife or teaching at the University of Chicago, Levitt maintains a blog site named after Freakonomics and a podcast that is available on iTunes and NPR.