Of course I chose Kate DiCamillo as the first author. She has written books for all levels, and she has a great story. You can check her out at http://www.katedicamillo.com/. She holds a special place in my heart since one of her books, Because of Winn Dixie was my daughter's "first favorite book," in her words, and I was the one to read it aloud to her.
Hope you enjoy Kate DiCamillo's books as much as we do here at my library!