The best books about dreamers travelling to (and creating) new worlds

Who am I?

As a classic INFJ personality type I am your typical idealist and I'm drawn to stories about people who see what the world has become and want to change it and create something new. As a creative artist I also love stories about dreams and dreamers, whether that's literal or not. I was often told as a child that I lived in my own little world, caught up in daydreams, and to this day I most enjoy books that take me away from the trials of real life and bring me into some dream-like fantasy where the characters are dreamers, often creating their own vision of a perfect world.

I wrote...


By Lauren Hillman,

Book cover of Outcast

What is my book about?

Merissa is a faerie with no magic, no memory... and no friends. Until a hummingbird arrives with an ominous message: The Queen wants her dead. With the help of the hummingbird Chippen, Merissa sets out on a dangerous journey to find the one faerie who may know the truth about her past. But they only find more questions when they meet Griff, a gypsy boy with pale grey eyes and one heart-melting dimple and Merissa discovers a strange connection between them. Soon her past will endanger them all. But she is a faerie. And faeries are protectors. So if anything will help Merissa regain her lost powers it will be to save her friends.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Night Circus

Lauren Hillman Why did I love this book?

Some books just speak directly to a person’s soul and this one speaks to mine. This is a world in which I want to live. The actor in me loves the spectacle of the circus, the artist in me loves the beauty of magical tents (the ice garden being my favourite), and the writer in me loves the way it’s all described in such a poetic and lyrical way. Its biggest critics whine about it being slow but for people like me, I could have been happy if it lasted forever. It’s the only book I ever wanted to put down so I could continue daydreaming about being there.

By Erin Morgenstern,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked The Night Circus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Rediscover the million-copy bestselling fantasy read with a different kind of magic, now in a stunning anniversary edition to mark 10 years since it's paperback debut.

The circus arrives without warning. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Against the grey sky the towering tents are striped black and white. A sign hanging upon an iron gates reads:

Opens at Nightfall
Closes at Dawn

Full of breath-taking amazements and open only at night, Le Cirque des Reves seems to cast a spell over all who wander its circular paths. But behind the glittering acrobats, fortune-tellers…

Book cover of Strange the Dreamer

Lauren Hillman Why did I love this book?

I think it’s actually this book’s sequel, Muse of Nightmares, that really captured me. While I love the magical world Laini Taylor creates and her hero, the dreamer Lazlo Strange, from the first book I really fell in love with this story when we begin to enter actual dreams. I think the idea of meeting your soulmate in a dream is a truly romantic notion and something my younger self might have believed possible.

By Laini Taylor,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Strange the Dreamer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

'Prepare to be enchanted' Sun

The magical Sunday Times bestseller by Laini Taylor, author of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy


The dream chooses the dreamer.

Since he was five years old, Lazlo Strange has been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to go in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself - in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep to cut…

Book cover of The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Lauren Hillman Why did I love this book?

Thousands of magical worlds all wrapped into one. The hero of this story is from a world where words have real power and she is able to make things true by writing them. What writer wouldn’t love that concept? It’s hard to read this and not be dreaming of the things I would write into reality if I could.

By Alix E. Harrow,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Ten Thousand Doors of January as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A gorgeous, aching love letter to stories, storytellers, and the doors they lead us through...absolutely enchanting."—Christina Henry, bestselling author of Alice and Lost Boys

LOS ANGELES TIMES BESTSELLER! Finalist for the 2020 Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy Awards. 

In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely…

Book cover of His Dark Materials

Lauren Hillman Why did I love this book?

This children's classic had a huge effect on me. It’s one of those stories I read a long time ago but has always stuck with me. First, it’s the daemons, our souls that live outside our bodies as animals that best reflect who we are, that captured me. That concept alone was enough to make me love this story. But I think ultimately the reason this story still lives in me after all this time is because it’s really about children being able to view the world differently from adults, a concept I firmly believe in as a teacher.

By Philip Pullman,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked His Dark Materials as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

Now a major critically acclaimed BBC series

This special collection features all three titles in the award-winning trilogy: Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.

Northern Lights
Lyra Belacqua lives half-wild and carefree among the scholars of Jordan College, with her daemon familiar always by her side. But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a terrible struggle - a struggle born of Gobblers and stolen children, witch clans and armoured bears.

The Subtle Knife
Lyra finds herself in a shimmering, haunted otherworld - Cittagazze, where soul-eating Spectres stalk the streets…

Book cover of Alice in Wonderland

Lauren Hillman Why did I love this book?

Curiouser and curiouser. What's not to love about the story of a girl who travels down a rabbit hole and discovers a Wonderland? But my love of this story comes down to the funny observations of Alice. Her simple remarks on the absurdity of Wonderland translate so well into wise critiques of our own world. One of my favorites being her response to the caterpillar’s question of who she is. Alice replies, “I—I hardly know, Sir, just at present—at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.” How true, Alice, how true.

By Lewis Carroll, Illustrated by Rebecca Dautremer,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Alice in Wonderland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Alice sees the White Rabbit running by on the river bank, she follows him, tumbling down a Rabbit Hole into a magical world where nothing is ever as it seems...

Lewis Carroll's classic story has delighted children since 1865. One hundred and fifty years since its first publication, Hodder celebrates in style with this sumptuous new edition, illustrated by Rebecca Dautremer, whose dreamlike illustrations bring vibrant new life to Carroll's beloved characters. The original text appears complete and unabridged.

Rebecca Dautremer is the celebrated illustrator of The Secret Lives of Princesses.

You might also like...

The Edge of Too Late

By Jan Sikes,

Book cover of The Edge of Too Late

Jan Sikes Author Of The Edge of Too Late

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Avid reader Lover of Music Astral Traveler Tarot Reader Grandmother

Jan's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

What's the point of having it all when you have no one to share it with? Brandon Miller has everything—except a commitment from the woman he loves. Angela Cooper has deep scars from a previous marriage. She's not interested in a do-over with Brandon or anyone.

Yet, he arranges a romantic getaway to the historic Harbor Pointe Inn, where he plans to propose. Angela's got her camera in hand and ghosts on her mind, but they arrive to find a much more tangible horror. Accident or foul play? Angela becomes the next target, and when suspects can be worldly or otherworldly, danger and secrets lurk everywhere. Poised at the perilous edge of too late, Angela and Brandon face the fight of their lives.

The Edge of Too Late

By Jan Sikes,

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in multiracial people, librarians, and magicians?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about multiracial people, librarians, and magicians.

Multiracial People Explore 67 books about multiracial people
Librarians Explore 55 books about librarians
Magicians Explore 37 books about magicians