The best books about imagination and the places it takes you

Why am I passionate about this?

I often turned to my imagination when I was a child. Nobody Can Take My Happy Away was inspired by the times I was bullied. My peers teased me about my clothes, my teeth, my home, and how I talked. I wanted to hide from everyone, so I had fewer opportunities to make friends. Because I lived in my own head, I found acceptance in the world of make-believe. I read books about strange worlds with characters that thrived in their surroundings. Eventually, it didn’t matter if someone teased me at school. Reading these books helped me be myself. I found strength in being the odd one out.


I wrote...

Nobody Can Take My Happy Away

By Jessica Arnold,

Book cover of Nobody Can Take My Happy Away

What is my book about?

Emily is the new girl at school. She learns quickly that her first day at a new school isn’t going to go the way she expected. She gets teased about her appearance among other things. At first, Emily thinks that there is something wrong with her, and wonders if there is something she can fix about herself to get the other kids to stop teasing her.

She soon learns that the problem isn’t her, it’s them. Together with some new friends that she initially overlooks due to her worries, they bring about change at their school with confidence, communication, and teamwork. This is a book about the challenges a child faced in school, and how she was able to get her “happy” back.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Lorax

Jessica Arnold Why did I love this book?

I love the colorful illustrations and the silliness of Dr. Seuss books. This book delivers a positive message about our natural resources in a way all can understand. The message is taking responsibility for the problems we create. The seed represents hope for the future.

When I was a child, I went to see an outdoor screening of The Lorax at a local festival. I won a copy of the book and it’s been special to me ever since. I think it reinforced the idea that no matter how old you are, you can change things for the better. I also wanted to share something positive through my books.

I use color in the illustrations in my books because when I was a kid, I loved picture books and they were helpful when I was having difficulty with my learning disabilities and how others perceived me. I was ten years old when I wrote this story so it came straight from my heart. I had experienced bullying and wanted others to know you can get past it and thrive.

By Dr. Seuss,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Lorax as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

The Lorax is the original eco warrior and his message still rings loud today in this fable about the dangers of destroying our forests, told in the trademark rhyme of the irrepressible Dr. Seuss.

"Mister! He said with a sawdusty sneeze, I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees."

The Lorax is a hilarious and timeless story with the trademark humour and silly rhymes of Dr. Seuss, that packs a punch with its ecological message without feeling heavy-handed or worthy. The Lorax is the original eco warrior as he tries to save the Truffula trees from the greedy once-ler's…


Book cover of Where the Wild Things Are

Jessica Arnold Why did I love this book?

I’m recommending this book because of the imaginative world of monsters the author created. The book has a straightforward message about how the boy could be in a world where things could be wild and untamed if he chose. Even after all the fun he had, he was exhausted by the over-the-top antics of the monsters.

I love the illustrations, which really tell the story. Max was having amazing fun and that was very appealing to me at a young age. My main takeaway was that Max got a dose of his own medicine, and realized it’s okay to be adventurous and energetic, but we all need to rest and time to think about things.

We borrowed this book from the local library, and my mother shared that it was one of her childhood favorites. She would read this book and others at a college library with her own mother while her father attended classes. I see sharing our favorite books and memories with each other as a way to connect with other generations through imagination.

By Maurice Sendak,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked Where the Wild Things Are as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Read-along with the story in this book and CD edition!

One night Max puts on his wolf suit and makes mischief of one kind and another, so his mother calls him 'Wild Thing' and sends him to bed without his supper.

That night a forest begins to grow in Max's room and an ocean rushes by with a boat to take Max to the place where the wild things are. Max tames the wild things and crowns himself as their king, and then the wild rumpus begins.

But when Max has sent the monsters to bed, and everything is quiet,…


Book cover of Coraline

Jessica Arnold Why did I love this book?

I like how the illustrations in this book support the story. At the beginning of the story, things seem quite normal, but it quickly goes to an exciting place. Once Coraline realizes she can have anything, she thinks this will be the norm.

When her second mother lets her know there’s a price to pay, the story turns darker. The book reminded me of Hansel and Gretal, especially when Coraline realized she no longer had the freedom to leave.

I was fascinated with how the world of imagination infringed on the real world. I like the contrast between the two and the way these things clashed. As an author, I sometimes get to go to imaginative places, but I do get to return when I want.

By Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russell (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Coraline 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?

"Sometimes funny, always creepy, genuinely moving, this marvellous spine-chiller will appeal to readers from nine to ninety." - "Books for Keeps". "I was looking forward to "Coraline", and I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I was enthralled. This is a marvellously strange and scary book." - Philip Pullman, "Guardian". "If any writer can get the guys to read about the girls, it should be Neil Gaiman. His new novel "Coraline" is a dreamlike adventure. For all its gripping nightmare imagery, this is actually a conventional fairy story with a moral." - "Daily Telegraph". Stephen King once called Neil Gaiman 'a treasure-house…


Book cover of The Bad Beginning

Jessica Arnold Why did I love this book?

I read all thirteen of these books and I found them to be a fast read. I found them to be riveting because I kept wondering how bad things were going to get for the children in the story.

I liked how the author kept you concerned for the children to the very end. I kept asking myself, when will someone stop Count Olaf? I loved how unusually bright and innovative the Baudelaire children were. I connected to this story because I like stories of unique people who face challenges and eventually come out on top.

By Lemony Snicket,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Bad Beginning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Lemony Snicket's The Bad Beginning is the first book in the globally bestselling series A Series of Unfortunate Events. This exclusive gold foiled 20th anniversary hardback gift edition commemorates the miserable fact that every child in the world has wanted this brilliantly funny book for twenty years.

Perfect for fans of Roald Dahl and Mr Gum, young readers of 9 to 11 will adore the mischievously dark humour. Lemony Snicket's 'A Series of Unfortunate Events' has been made into a blockbuster Hollywood film starring Jim Carrey and is also a hit Netflix TV series. Now with new anniversary blurb by…


Book cover of Imagine

Jessica Arnold Why did I love this book?

This interactive book inspired me to look at ordinary things in a new way. The pictures are great, they take you to new places using everyday things and people as a stepping stone. My favorite part of the book is the dial that allows you to switch faces. Common objects take on a whole new life in this book. I remember having a lot of fun looking at it.

This book felt more like playtime than reading, and that’s what I loved about it when I was a child. It made me decide to be an author and illustrator creating imaginative books. The style and theme of this book are my ideal inspiration for future projects. I want to write stories that exist for the sake of making happy memories.

By Norman Messenger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Imagine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Inspiring, intriguing, endlessly entertaining -- Norman Messenger's interactive book allows us to step out of our everyday lives, shed our preconceptions, and experience a little magic.

IMAGINE . . . a ladder without steps, a clock without hands, a racket without strings, a kiss without a mouth. Imagine a world where the hills have faces and wherever you went, you'd have someone to talk to. Imagine flipping a series of flaps to form fantastical creatures or turning a wheel to fit the top of one face on the bottom of another. Imagine that Norman Messenger's quirky, humorous suggestions, ingenious visual…


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Rip Current

By Sharon Ward,

Book cover of Rip Current

Sharon Ward Author Of In Deep

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Even as a kid, I was intrigued by the underwater world, so as an adult, I learned to scuba dive. I took to it like a fish to water, and my husband and I spent the next several years traveling to tropical islands to experience the local dive conditions whenever possible. I loved learning how every island had a different culture and a different undersea environment. Since I love tropical islands, scuba diving, mysteries, and adventure stories, these books really hit my sweet spot.

Sharon's book list on mysteries set on a tropical island

What is my book about?

Unsettled weather has caused life-threatening rip currents to sprout up seemingly at random in the usually tranquil sea around Grand Cayman. Despite posted warnings to stay out of the surf, several women lose their life when caught in the turbulent waters. Fin attempts some dangerous rescues, and nearly loses her own life in the process.

Meanwhile, Fin and the team at RIO are struggling to find more sources of funding for the Institute’s important research, and danger arises from an unexpected source while Fin and hot movie star Rafe Cummings are filming an upcoming documentary. When a young internet influencer…

Rip Current

By Sharon Ward,

What is this book about?

Unsettled weather has caused life-threatening rip currents to sprout up seemingly at random in the usually tranquil sea around Grand Cayman. Despite posted warnings to stay out of the surf, several women lose their life when caught in the turbulent waters. Fin attempts some dangerous rescues, and nearly loses her own life in the process.
Meanwhile, Fin and the team at RIO are struggling to find more sources of funding for the Institute’s important research, and danger arises from an unexpected source while Fin and hot movie star Rafe Cummings are filming an upcoming documentary.
Soon after a young internet…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in imagination, life satisfaction, and pollution?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about imagination, life satisfaction, and pollution.

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