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12 Beloved Children's Authors Who Also Wrote for Grown-Ups

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You've probably heard by now that Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has a new book releasing this week, and it is definitely not for children. But Rowling isn't the first well-known author of kids' books to take a stab at writing for adults. Here are 12 others.

1. Judy Blume

Almost everyone has read a Judy Blume book or two, and it's no surprise: classic middle-grade hits like Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Freckle Juice, Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great and, of course, Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, have sealed Blume's place in the annals of timeless children's literature.

But the author is no one trick pony. Her first probably-not-for kids book, Forever, debuted in 1975, hot on the heels of Blubber's instant success. But parents weren't expecting the tale of a high-school senior's decisions about sex and love, or her friend's attempted suicide. The book has been the target of censorship since its publication, and clocked in at number 7 of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books 1990-2000. And it doesn't end there; Blume's book Wifey, about a woman who decides to shake up her routine by having an extramarital affair only to discover that her husband has also been having an affair, came out in 1978. Since then, Blume has written both adult and children's fiction, including the Superfudge series for kids and Summer Sisters, which is obviously for adults.

2. Lemony Snicket

A Series of Unfortunate Events is undoubtedly for children, but the man behind Lemony Snicket, Daniel Handler, has been concurrently publishing books for the over-18 set since 1998 with the release of The Basic Eight. Watch Your Mouth, Adverbs and Why We Broke Up followed between various Snicket titles, as Handler was promoting the Unfortunate Events books as "Lemony Snicket's handler" or as Snicket himself.

3. Shel Silverstein

Silverstein's career was eclectic, ranging from children's poetry to Broadway comedy and Johnny Cash songs. But it turns out the guy who gave us Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic started out in Playboy with an illustrated travel journal and drawing cartoons for columnist John Sack. Later, these cartoons would be expanded into a book titled Uncle Shelby's ABZ, which so closely resembled his children's book in both format and cover that later printings included the subtitle "A Primer for Adults Only."

4. Dr. Seuss

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You'd be hard-pressed to find a literate person alive today who hasn't read a book by Dr. Seuss. (Are any of you reading this?) But most people don't know that when Theodor Geisel moved to Random House, he did so on one condition: he wanted to write a book for adults. That book, The Seven Lady Godivas: The True Facts Concerning History’s Barest Family, came with all the signature Seussian perks: humor, illustrations by the author himself, and a strong moral theme. Unfortunately, it was a complete flop; he sold only 2500 of the 10,000 copies printed, and later said "I attempted to draw the sexiest babes I could, but they came out looking absurd."

5. Anthony Horowitz

The author of the Alex Rider series of spy novels for kids and young adults has written more than fifty books, almost all of which are for kids. But in 1999, Horowitz decided to try his hand at the adult market and penned William S., the first of five thrillers for grown-ups, and in 2010 released a series of graphic novel horror stories called Edge, which are definitely not for kids.

6. Roald Dahl

You know Roald Dahl as the guy behind well-loved favorites like Fantastic Mr. Fox, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and (my favorite) Matilda. But aside from his 17 books and three poetry collections for kids, Dahl penned macabre short stories and novels for adults, and racked up three Edgar Awards for his efforts. One of his more successful stories, "The Man from the South," was featured twice on Alfred Hitchcock Presents and in Quentin Tarantino's Four Rooms. A review for his 1979 novel, My Uncle Oswald, said that Dahl's work for adults provided "effortless reading and some amusing scenes, mostly of the kind film makers have taught us to call soft porn."

7. Rick Riordan

You can't really escape Percy Jackson, the boy who discovers he's the son of Poseidon. The feature films plus graphic novels, tie-in merchandise, (low, low) rumblings of a potential theme park ride and, of course, the 10 Olympian Demigod series books have some people calling Percy Jackson the "next Harry Potter." But lots of fans have no idea that Rick Riordan also has novels for adults, which have been in publication since 1997. The grown-ups-only Tres Navarre series, beginning with best-seller Big Red Tequila, follows an unlicensed Texas P.I. with a penchant for tequila and Tai Chi.

8. A. A. Milne

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Winnie-the-Pooh's creator will always be remembered as the father of Christopher Robin and his adorable band of stuffed companions. But Milne wasn't happy about the Pooh-sized shadow his children's books cast over his career as a playwright. Though Milne enjoyed a successful literary career in the U.S. and abroad, and continued writing detective novels, articles and plays for almost 30 years after Pooh's first appearance, he was always most famous for his children's work.

9. Jane O'Connor

Fancy Nancy was a big hit at our house, and pretty much everywhere, if 300+ weeks on the New York Times Best-Seller List and a Broadway musical adaptation are any indications. (They are.) Author Jane O'Connor has written more than thirty children's books, all Fancy Nancy-related, but her first adult novel, Dangerous Admissions: Secrets of a Closet Sleuth came out in July 2007.

10. Dennis Lee

If you remember Alligator Pie, you know Dennis Lee. Rumor has it that the book is so popular in Canada that any random passersby can be counted on to recite a few lines. That poll was non-scientific and may be biased, but the poet behind the children's classics Jelly Belly, Dinosaur Dinner, and Garbage Delight also made sure to compose a few books for adults. His poetry and prose collections Civil Elegies, Body Music, Un, and Yesno are less popular than his children's books, but critically acclaimed and worth checking out.

11. Philip Pullman

Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy — which includes The Golden Compass (or Northern Lights, if you aren't in the U.S.), The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass — is unquestionably the author's most famous work. All three books and their companion titles have been bestsellers in the U.S., despite being repeatedly challenged in schools and, when the film released, on the streets. But Pullman has been writing adult fiction since 1972, when he released The Haunted Storm, which according to the author was "published by a publisher who didn't realize it wasn't a very good book." His most recent title is a fictionalized account of the life of Jesus, in which the Virgin Mary has twin boys, one named Jesus and the other named Christ.

12. R.L. Stine

R.L. Stine has been called "Stephen King for kids," and chances are, you've read lots of his hundreds of Fear Street and Goosebumps books. The good news is that we don't have to resort to pint-sized thrills and chills anymore, because Stine's first horror novel for adults is coming out in October, 2012. According to an early press release, "In Red Rain, Stine uses his unerring knack for creating terror to tap into some very grownup fears." Get excited, people!

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The Brain Chemistry Behind Your Caffeine Boost
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Whether it’s consumed as coffee, candy, or toothpaste, caffeine is the world’s most popular drug. If you’ve ever wondered how a shot of espresso can make your groggy head feel alert and ready for the day, TED-Ed has the answer.

Caffeine works by hijacking receptors in the brain. The stimulant is nearly the same size and shape as adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that slows down neural activity. Adenosine builds up as the day goes on, making us feel more tired as the day progresses. When caffeine enters your system, it falls into the receptors meant to catch adenosine, thus keeping you from feeling as sleepy as you would otherwise. The blocked adenosine receptors also leave room for the mood-boosting compound dopamine to settle into its receptors. Those increased dopamine levels lead to the boost in energy and mood you feel after finishing your morning coffee.

For a closer look at how this process works, check out the video below.

[h/t TED-Ed]

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5 Tips for Becoming A Morning Person
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You’ve probably heard the term circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm is an internal clock that influences your daily routine: when to eat, when to sleep, and when to wake up. Our biological clocks are, to some extent, controlled by genetics. This means that some people are natural morning people while others are night owls by design. However, researchers say the majority of us fall somewhere in the middle, which is good news if you want to train yourself to wake up earlier.

In addition to squeezing more hours out of the day, there are plenty of other good reasons to resist hitting the snooze button, including increased productivity. One survey found that more than half of Americans say they feel at their best between 5 a.m. and noon. These findings support research from biologist Christopher Randler, who determined that earlier risers are happier and more proactive about goals, too.

If you love the idea of waking up early to get more done, but you just can't seem to will yourself from out under the covers, here are five effective tips that might help you roll out of bed earlier.

1. EASE INTO THE HABIT.

If you’re a die-hard night owl, chances are you’re not going to switch to a morning lark overnight. Old habits are hard to break, but they’re less challenging if you approach them realistically.

“Wake up early in increments,” Kelsey Torgerson, a licensed clinical social worker at Compassionate Counseling in St. Louis suggests. “If you normally wake up at 9:00 a.m., set the alarm to 8:30 a.m. for a week, then 8:00 a.m., then 7:30 a.m.”

Waking up three hours earlier can feel like a complete lifestyle change, but taking it 30 minutes at a time will make it a lot easier to actually stick to the plan. Gradually, you’ll become a true morning person, just don’t try to force it to happen overnight.

2. EXERCISE IN THE MORNING.

Your body releases endorphins when you exercise, so jumping on the treadmill or taking a run around the block is a great way to start the day on a high note. Also, according to the National Sleep Foundation, exercising early in the morning can mean you get a better overall sleep at night:

“In fact, people who work out on a treadmill at 7:00 a.m. sleep longer, experience deeper sleep cycles, and spend 75 percent more time in the most reparative stages of slumber than those who exercise at later times that day.”

If you don’t have much time in the morning, an afternoon workout is your second best bet. The Sleep Foundation says aerobic afternoon workouts can help you fall asleep faster and wake up less often throughout the night. “This may be because exercise raises your body’s temperature for about four to five hours,” they report. After that, your body’s core temperature decreases, which encourages it to switch into sleep mode.

3. MAKE YOUR BEDROOM IDEAL FOR SLEEP.

Whether it’s a noisy street or a bright streetlight, your bedroom environment might be making it difficult for you to sleep throughout the night, which can make waking up early challenging, as you haven’t had enough rest. There are, however, a few changes you can make to optimize your room for a good night’s sleep.

“Keep your bedroom neat and tidy,” Dr. Nancy Irwin, a Los Angeles-based doctor of psychology on staff as an expert in sleep hygiene at Seasons Recovery Centers in Malibu, suggests. “Waking up to clutter and chaos only makes it more tempting to crawl back in bed.”

Depending on what needs to be improved, you might consider investing in some slumber-friendly items that can help you sleep through the night, including foam earplugs (make sure to use a vibrating alarm), black-out drapes, light-blocking window decals, and a cooling pillow

Another simple option? Ditch the obnoxious sound of a loud, buzzing alarm.

“One great way to adapt to rising earlier is to have an alarm that is a pleasing sound to you versus an annoying one,” Dr. Irwin says. “There are many choices now, whether on your smartphone or in a radio or a freestanding apparatus.”

4. TAKE THE TIME TO PROPERLY WIND DOWN.

Getting up early starts the night before, and there are a few things you should do before hitting the sack at night.

“Set an alarm to fall asleep,” Torgerson says. “Having a set bedtime helps you stay responsible to yourself, instead of letting yourself get caught up in a book or Netflix and avoid going to sleep.”

Torgerson adds that practicing yoga or meditation before bed can help relax your mind and body, too. This way, your mind isn’t bouncing from thought to thought in a flurry before you go to bed. If you find yourself feeling anxious before bed, it might help to write in a journal. This way, you can get these nagging thoughts out of your head and onto paper.

Focus on relaxing at night and stay away from not just exercise, but mentally stimulating activities, too. If watching the news gets your blood boiling, for example, you probably want to turn it off an hour or so before bedtime.

5. GET YOUR DAILY DOSE OF LIGHT.

Light has a immense effect on your circadian rhythm—whether it’s the blue light from your phone as you scroll through Instagram, or the bright sunlight of being outdoors on your lunch break. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, scientists compared the sleep quality of 27 subjects who worked in windowless environments with 22 subjects who were exposed to significantly more natural light during the day.

“Workers in windowless environments reported poorer scores than their counterparts on two SF-36 dimensions—role limitation due to physical problems and vitality—as well as poorer overall sleep quality," the study concluded. "Compared to the group without windows, workers with windows at the workplace had more light exposure during the workweek, a trend toward more physical activity, and longer sleep duration as measured by actigraphy.”

Thus, exposing yourself to bright light during the day may actually help you sleep better at night, which will go a long way toward helping you wake up refreshed in the morning.

Conversely, too much blue light can actually disturb your sleep schedule at night. This means you probably want to limit your screen time as your bedtime looms closer.

Finally, once you do get into the habit of waking up earlier, stick to that schedule on the weekends as much as possible. The urge to sleep in is strong, but as Torgerson says, “you won't want your body and brain to reacclimate to sleeping in and snoozing.”

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