For many children of the late 90s and early 2000s, CS Davis is a household name. Davis wrote several hundred influential children’s books that helped shape children during their developing years. His popularity seemed to know no limits until a shocking turn of events flipped his life upside down.
Davis was a talented writer from a young age. His earliest work, Jerry and the Tooth Fairy was written when he was eight years old. Inspired by true events, this book would go on to be a best seller at a Ruth Oak Elementary School’s annual community yard sale, and would serve as his inspiration to continue writing.
As he got older, Davis wrote more books based on personal life events. He had many flops including Hank and the Bad Birthday Gift, Grandma Smells Like Old Paper, and Where Did My Puppy Go?, but it wasn’t until his formative years and the book Charlie’s Hair Down There that he began getting national recognition for his works.
Davis’s teenage years were a wealth of inspiration for many of his greatest works. Charlie Loves Sandy tells the story of an unrequited love between a turtle and the object of his affection, Sandy the Sand Crab. His book Charlie is Better Off Without Her teaches young readers to keep their chins up regardless of life’s obstacles. Charlie Can’t Live Without Sandy continues the series, teaching kids that it’s okay to feel sadness. The series concludes with Charlie and the Volcano, a story in which Charlie marches headlong into an active volcano, only to be saved at the last minute by his best friend Craig.
The Charlie books are still regarded as some of his best, and they paved the way for books written in his later teen years. Sleepover at Craig’s details a playful sleepover between 2 young rabbits, Gary and Craig, bound to each other by friendship. In A Night Inside Craig, Gary finds himself living inside of his best friend and goes on a journey of self-discovery as the other rabbit. After the final book of the series, Sandy and Craig and the Rabbit Hunter, Davis would take a year off when two of his schoolmates go missing and are never found. His most popular work was written in his early twenties. Horton’s Huge Mistake tells the story of Horton, a lovable monkey who accidentally drops his 2 favorite bananas down a well. Some would say that this is where Davis peaked. After Horton, much of his work became dark, gaining negative attention nationwide from children’s book associations claiming that they weren’t fit for children.
Unrelenting, Davis’s passion for writing carried on. In Frank and the Funny Mushrooms, Frank the pig eats a delightful treat that sends him on a magical journey of self-discovery. In Frank and the Monsters, Frank has to hide from a group of angry faeries after he accidentally steals a backpack full of magical faerie dust. Eventually Frank wins in the end when he traps the angry faeries in a well. It was around this time in his life when CS Davis overdosed on cocaine.
He was in critical condition for several months before being released from the hospital. All that he had built - a lifetime of fame, fortune and success - came crashing down around him. This was a major turning point for Davis, who checked himself into rehab and spent the next six months getting clean.
Davis has since said that he plans on retiring from writing. He says the glitz and the glamor is too easy to get caught up in, but that you can expect to see one more book out of him. “You lose sight of the important things”, he said in an exclusive interview. “That life ain’t for me any more”.
When asked where he planned on going after retiring, he simply smiled and said “To be with my love”.
Look for CS Davis’s new book Charlie and the Magic Well in stores this fall!