I think every author has their favorites and I figure they’re their favorites because they’re the ones they’ve read. Here are the ones I’ve read (most or all of):
This is probably my favorite because Nancy Lamb did a lot of the work for me. She read some of the best books about writing, then summarized them and applied them to writing for children (which most writers of books about writing don’t do). Every time I get in a jam, I go to this book first.
I had a hard time buying this book. It goes against my personal standards to buy things that have swearing in them or on them. Movies can’t be helped and, nowadays, books can’t be helped. Anyway, I finally talked myself into this book after much research and pondering. I’m glad I did even though I will never say the title. (I don’t care if people think I’m a prude.) The second one in the series has a Roman numeral II after the title and it is also good. James Frey will teach you about Premise. Nancy Lamb also talks about him and this book in her book, but you’ll want to go to the horse’s mouth for the in-depth coverage.
OK, this third one (Browne and King) is the only non-fiction book I’ve read all the way through (though I may have read all of Frey’s book too, just not all at once). It’s the most helpful on how to clean up your writing. I’m not sure that every single thing applies to writing for children though, so I wish they’d write one tailored for that arena. Nevertheless, in general an excellent and much-recommended book.