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) July.

Hermann Hesse

July 2, 1877

Hermann Hesse was born in Calw, Germany. Since the age of 12, he wanted to be a poet. He once admitted that he was “not a very manageable boy” in school, one who did not enjoy the framework of a typical education. Hesse deeply opposed Germany's fighting in World War I and essentially became an expatriate, opting for citizenship in Switzerland instead. His first notable work, Peter Camenzind, was published in 1904. Hesse received critical acclaim for many of his novellas, including Siddhartha, which recounted his travels in India. He won the 1946 Nobel Prize for Literature and died in 1962.

Franz Kafka

July 3, 1883

Franz Kafka, born in what is now considered the Czech Republic, had a difficult childhood that shaped his writing; the problematic relationship with his father inspired the plight of many of his characters who fought some overbearing force that had the ability to destroy a man's self-worth. In spite of his upbringing, Kafka was able to study law at University of Prague and, afterward, move to Berlin to focus on writing. He published his most famous short story, "The Metamorphosis," in 1915, about ten years before his death from tuberculosis. Kafka was self-conscious about his remaining works and requested that his literary executor not release them to the public posthumously, but this advisor went against Kafka's wishes and continued publishing Kafka's backlog until 1931.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

July 4, 1804

Nathaniel Hawthorne is regarded as one of the most masterful executors of the allegorical, or symbolic, tale. He grew up in Salem, Massachusetts, where his family had a long ancestral history, and he committedly defended Puritan ideals. The novel that made him famous, The Scarlet Letter, posed ideas that transcended those normal for that time; through this novel, he expressed deep concern over the concepts of sin and guilt and explored the human condition in a realistic way through complicated relationships among the novel's characters. Hawthorne's legacy as a master of symbolism lives on. The Scarlet Letter, The House of Seven Gables, “Young Goodman Brown,” and many more of his detailed works continue to be analyzed in classrooms. Hawthorne died in his sleep in 1864.

Nancy Farmer

July 7, 1941

Phoenix-native Nancy Farmer has traveled a great deal of her life but actually did not start seriously writing until the age of 40. As a child, she grew bored in school and eventually began playing hooky and going to the public library instead. In adulthood, she spent over a year monitoring water weeds in Mozambique; after that, she helped control the tsetse fly population on the banks of Zambezi River, in Zimbabwe. She began writing after the birth of her son left her restless from being confined to her house. Her famous science fiction novel The House of the Scorpion won the National Book Award (Children's Literature) in 2002 and a Newbury Honor award in 2003.

Malala Yousafzai

July 12, 1997

Malala Yousafzai is a young Pakistani activist best known for her advocacy for female education, particularly in the Swat Valley, where she is from. Her captivating memoir I Am Malala explores the political and cultural history of Pakistan and Swat and describes for the reader the events leading up to and the aftermath of October 9, 2012, during which a member of the Taliban stopped Malala's school bus and shot her in the head. Miraculously, Malala survived this brutal act, and has since continued her activism. She is the youngest-ever recipient of the Nobel Peace prize.

Brian Selznick

July 14, 1966

Writer and illustrator Brian Selznick grew up in New Jersey and began attending the Rhode Island School of Art and Design in 1988. His first book, called The Houdini Box, was published while he was working for Eeyore's Books for Children. Selznick provides other authors with his illustrations, many of which have won awards; the artwork in his own book The Invention of Hugo Cabret won the Caldecott Medal in 2008. His second novel, Wonderstruck, also combines words and illustrations.

John Hersey

July 17, 1914

Hersey was born in China to American parents. He believed his childhood to be normal, although he knew little about American culture. Due to his father's becoming ill, the family moved back to the United States when Hersey was ten. While attending Yale and Cambridge University, he worked several jobs, including librarian, tutor, and lifeguard; these jobs gave him a deep understanding of the "common man," one that showed in his writing. He first published the entire Hiroshima in the New Yorker in 1946, and then as a novel later that year; the book humanizes the victims of the 1945 nuclear bomb explosion, recounting how the event affected ordinary individuals. Hersey died in 1993 at the age 78.

Cormac McCarthy

July 20, 1933

Originally born Charles McCarthy in Rhode Island, McCarthy changed his first name to Cormac after the Irish king. He attended the University of Tennessee from 1951 to 1952, served in the US Air Force, and returned to the university several years later to publish short stories "A Drowning Incident" and "Wait for Susan" in a literary magazine. McCarthy received several fellowships, such as the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Writing, that aided him in his expenses. His post-apocalyptic novel The Road, published in 2002, won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature. Other notable works include Child of God (1973), All the Pretty Horses (1992), and No Country for Old Men (2005), all of which have been made into movies. One even directed by James Franco.

Ernest Hemingway

July 21, 1899

Ernest Hemingway was born in Cicero, Illinois. He went overseas to serve as an ambulance driver in the Italian army in 1918. Through the mentorship of Gertrude Stein, Hemingway was able to learn from many great writers of his era. In 1925, Hemingway and his wife attended the Festival of San Fermín in Pamplona, which inspired his first novel, The Sun Also Rises. He spent much of the 1930s going on adventures, such as participating in bullfights, big-game hunting, and deep-sea fishing. In 1951, Hemingway authored The Old Man and the Sea, the novel that finally won him a Pulitzer Prize. Overall, the writer produced seven novels, two works of nonfiction, and six collections of short stories. He died on July 2, 1961, in Ketchum, ID.

John Gardner

July 21, 1933

Born in Batavia, New York, Gardner had parents who were passionate about Shakespeare's work. His brother died in a tractor accident; Gardner was the one driving the vehicle, and due to his own guilt, he suffered from nightmares and flashbacks for his whole life. By 1970, Gardner had become a professor at University of Detriot. His most famous works include Grendel, a retelling of the Beowulf legend, and The Sunlight Dialogues, which follows an estranged police officer as he pursues a madman called the Sunlight Man. Gardner died in a motorcycle accident in September 1982.

S.E. Hinton

July 22, 1948

Born in Tulsa, OK, Susan Eloise Hinton loved books throughout her childhood, but always felt "unsatisfied" with the quality of the young adult literature she read. Her writing career began in high school; her observations and abhorrence of certain divisions among her classmates inspired her best-selling young adult novel The Outsiders. This title rose Hinton to fame, and after a three-year writer's block, she continued her run as the voice of the youth, writing several more YA novels, children's books, and even a couple of adult novels.

George Bernard Shaw

July 26, 1856

Dublin-native George Bernard Shaw disliked any organized instruction as a child. In 1876, he moved to London as a young adult and established himself as a prominent music and theatre critic. He began his writing career as a novelist, producing works such as The Quintessence of Ibsenism, but later settled into the role of playwright. Pygmalion (1912) proves Shaw's talent; the play combines drama, comedy, and social issues in a masterful way. Shaw died in 1950 after authoring more than sixty original plays.

Aldous Huxley

July 26, 1894

Huxley, born in England to an intellectual family, contracted eye disease in 1911; as a result, he was practically blind for two years and remained blind in one eye for the rest of his life. This obstacle forced him to abandon his ambitions to work in the scientific field and focus on writing instead. He wrote a great deal of satirical work, but he is best known for his dystopian novel Brave New World (1932), which offers a dark perspective on the future of humanity. After the publishing of this book, he moved to the United States and produced a huge body of work: novels, screenplays, essay, and nonfiction. He died of cancer in 1963.

Emily Brontë

July 30, 1818

The fifth child of the Brontë family, Emily Brontë experienced a quiet childhood in the town of Thornton, Yorkshire, England. She originally had five siblings, but two sisters died young due to tuberculosis. The Brontë sisters Charlotte, Emily, and Anne all published their work under pseudonyms; for instance, Emily published Wuthering Heights in 1847 under the name "Ellis Bell." Wuthering Heights, in spite of its being Emily Brontë's only novel, became a renowned classic work of British literature and a prime example of the Gothic genre. In December of 1848, Emily also died of tuberculosis.