94 books like 16 Words

By Lisa Rogers, Chuck Groenink (illustrator),

Here are 94 books that 16 Words fans have personally recommended if you like 16 Words. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré

Ronni Diamondstein Author Of Jackie and the Books She Loved

From my list on inspire young people to be readers and writers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a reader and a writer for as long as I can remember, so books about reading, writing, and storytelling have always interested me. As a school library media specialist for over 30 years, I have read thousands of picture books and placed wonderful books in the hands of thousands of young people. Several of these books were mentor texts when I wrote my picture book biography. I want young people to be inspired to read and write, and I hope these books will do that for the adults who select them and the children who read them.

Ronni's book list on inspire young people to be readers and writers

Ronni Diamondstein Why did Ronni love this book?

I have always been fascinated by storytelling, and this book about a librarian pleases me so! What I especially love about this book is the metaphoric writing device of planting story seeds and how Pura Belpré, storyteller, puppeteer, and New York City’s first Puerto Rican librarian, shared her tales from her homeland along her journey.

The lyrical writing captures the magic of Belpré’s stories, inspiring readers to read and write. 

By Anika Aldamuy Denise, Paola Escobar (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Planting Stories 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?

FOLLOW LA VIDA Y EL LEGADO OF PURA BELPRE, THE FIRST PUERTO RICAN LIBRARIAN IN NEW YORK CITY

When she came to America in 1921, Pura carried the cuentos folkloricos of her Puerto Rican homeland. Finding a new home at the New York Public Library as a bilingual assistant, she turned her popular retellings into libros and spread story seeds across the land. Today, these seeds have grown into a lush landscape as generations of children and storytellers continue to share her tales and celebrate Pura's legacy.

This portrait of the influential librarian, author, and puppeteer reminds us of the…


Book cover of Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks

Jasmine A. Stirling Author Of A Most Clever Girl: How Jane Austen Discovered Her Voice

From my list on women writers and artists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an award-winning author who grew up in a family of painters, poets, sculptors, and novelists; people who designed their lives around, and dedicated their lives to, artistic expression. I knew I wanted to be a writer at age three when I began dictating a poem every day to my mom. I first fell in love with Jane Austen as a student at Oxford, where I read my favorite of her novels, Persuasion.

Jasmine's book list on women writers and artists

Jasmine A. Stirling Why did Jasmine love this book?

This book inspired my family to start reading poetry together, to create playlists of poets of the Harlem Renaissance, and even to have a Calico Critters poetry reading with tiny dollhouse books (the elephants and hedgehogs are especially good poets). 

Exquisite’s extraordinary illustrations and playful prose, which honors Gwendolyn’s rhythms, take us through the poet’s childhood love of poetry—she begins writing as early as 7. Poetry is Gwendolyn’s world. Eventually, her poems are published—first in her neighborhood, then in her city and beyond—but they don’t pay the bills. Then one day a phone call delivers the news: She is the first Black writer to win the Pulitzer Prize! I adored this book, about how art can elevate and bring joy to everyday life—with all its limitations—and gifted it to several families this year.

By Suzanne Slade, Cozbi A. Cabrera (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Exquisite as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

A picture-book biography of celebrated poet Gwendolyn Brooks, the first Black person to win the Pulitzer Prize

Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000) is known for her poems about "real life." She wrote about love, loneliness, family, and poverty-showing readers how just about anything could become a beautiful poem. Exquisite follows Gwendolyn from early girlhood into her adult life, showcasing her desire to write poetry from a very young age. This picture-book biography explores the intersections of race, gender, and the ubiquitous poverty of the Great Depression-all with a lyrical touch worthy of the subject. Gwendolyn Brooks was the first Black person to…


Book cover of Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen: The Story of Six Novels, Three Notebooks, a Writing Box, and One Clever Girl

Elizabeth Brown Author Of Like a Diamond in the Sky: Jane Taylor's Beloved Poem of Wonder and the Stars

From my list on children’s books about writers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an author and a college writing professor with an MFA in Creative Writing. Additionally, I am involved in and teach other art forms and the humanities including music, film, and literature. I enjoy researching and writing about literary figures, musicians, and other creatives, all of which have been a focus in my children’s books.

Elizabeth's book list on children’s books about writers

Elizabeth Brown Why did Elizabeth love this book?

A luminous portrait of Jane Austen chocked full of spirited text and shimmery illustrations that capture the times. The story highlights the beginnings of Austen’s great career as a novelist from her youngest days all the way to famous writer. It’s a great addition to any classroom or library. Like Jane Taylor before her, Austen’s success paved the way for women authors to come.

By Deborah Hopkinson, Qin Leng (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen 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?

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen is one of our greatest writers.

But before that, she was just an ordinary girl.

In fact, young Jane was a bit quiet and shy; if you had met her back then, you might not have noticed her at all. But she would have noticed you. Jane watched and listened to all the things people around her did and said and locked those observations away for safekeeping.

Jane also loved to read. She devoured everything in her father's massive library, and before long she began creating her own stories. In her…


Book cover of Rise! From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou

Nina Nolan Author Of Mahalia Jackson: Walking with Kings and Queens

From my list on women who shaped history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a picture-book author who wrote about Mahalia Jackson so more people would feel the sense of awe about her that I do. When I first read how she was treated by our own country, I was furious. But her amazing grace allowed me to focus on the positive aspects of her life, like she did.

Nina's book list on women who shaped history

Nina Nolan Why did Nina love this book?

Soaring words honor the phenomenal wordsmith, Maya Angelou. Tough topics are tackled with compassion. The broad range of colors in the illustrations echo the broad range of emotions in this beautiful tribute to a national treasure. A forward by Ms. Angelou’s grandson and helpful backmatter cradle the text (like the cover art cradles).

By Bethany Hegedus, Tonya Engel (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Rise! From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, this beautiful biography of Maya Angelou describes how she rose above a childhood of trauma and emotional pain to become one of the most inspiring voices of our lifetime.

Writer, activist, trolley car conductor, dancer, mother, and humanitarianMaya Angelou's life was marked by transformation and perseverance. In this comprehensive picture-book biography geared towards older readers, Bethany Hegedus lyrically traces Maya's life from her early days in Stamps, Arkansas through her work as a freedom fighter to her triumphant rise as a poet of…


Book cover of Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People

Elizabeth Brown Author Of Like a Diamond in the Sky: Jane Taylor's Beloved Poem of Wonder and the Stars

From my list on children’s books about writers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an author and a college writing professor with an MFA in Creative Writing. Additionally, I am involved in and teach other art forms and the humanities including music, film, and literature. I enjoy researching and writing about literary figures, musicians, and other creatives, all of which have been a focus in my children’s books.

Elizabeth's book list on children’s books about writers

Elizabeth Brown Why did Elizabeth love this book?

Monica Brown’s picture book biography of Pablo Neruda is a wonderfully written account of his life and the creation of his beautiful writing and poems that sing, even under the weight of tremendous struggles. The lyrical text soars on the page while Julie Paschkis’ colorful illustrations capture the heart and soul of the poet of the people. This is a must-read!

By Monica Brown, Julie Paschkis (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pablo Neruda as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

A stunning picture book biography from Monica Brown and illustrator Julie Paschkis about one of the world's most enduring and popular poets, Pablo Neruda

Once there was a little boy named Neftalí who loved wild things wildly and quiet things quietly. From the moment he could talk, he surrounded himself with words. Neftalí discovered the magic between the pages of books. When he was sixteen, he began publishing his poems as Pablo Neruda.

Pablo wrote poems about the things he loved―things made by his friends in the café, things found at the marketplace, and things he saw in nature. He…


Book cover of On Wings of Words: The Extraordinary Life of Emily Dickinson

Ronni Diamondstein Author Of Jackie and the Books She Loved

From my list on inspire young people to be readers and writers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a reader and a writer for as long as I can remember, so books about reading, writing, and storytelling have always interested me. As a school library media specialist for over 30 years, I have read thousands of picture books and placed wonderful books in the hands of thousands of young people. Several of these books were mentor texts when I wrote my picture book biography. I want young people to be inspired to read and write, and I hope these books will do that for the adults who select them and the children who read them.

Ronni's book list on inspire young people to be readers and writers

Ronni Diamondstein Why did Ronni love this book?

Jennifer Berne is one of my favorite nonfiction authors, and this book is at the top of my list. I enjoyed the sprinkling of verses from Emily Dickinson’s poems throughout the lyrical narrative about her life.

The dreamy illustrations complement the language and imagery of Dickinson’s poems. I love this book because it tenderly tells Dickinson’s story and will inspire young poets to write.

By Jennifer Berne, Becca Stadtlander (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On Wings of Words as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

An inspiring and kid-accessible biography of one of the world's most famous poets.

Emily Dickinson, who famously wrote "Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul," is brought to life in this moving story. In a small New England town lives Emily Dickinson, a girl in love with small things-a flower petal, a bird, a ray of light, a word. In those small things, her brilliant imagination can see the wide world-and in her words, she takes wing. From celebrated children's author Jennifer Berne comes a lyrical and lovely account of the life of Emily Dickinson: her…


Book cover of The Little Books of the Little Brontes

Ronni Diamondstein Author Of Jackie and the Books She Loved

From my list on inspire young people to be readers and writers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a reader and a writer for as long as I can remember, so books about reading, writing, and storytelling have always interested me. As a school library media specialist for over 30 years, I have read thousands of picture books and placed wonderful books in the hands of thousands of young people. Several of these books were mentor texts when I wrote my picture book biography. I want young people to be inspired to read and write, and I hope these books will do that for the adults who select them and the children who read them.

Ronni's book list on inspire young people to be readers and writers

Ronni Diamondstein Why did Ronni love this book?

I wonder what sparks a writer’s interest in writing and telling stories, and my next pick addresses just that. What I loved about this book was the insight into what was the catalyst for the books the Brontës would eventually write as adults.

It is a sweet story about resilient youngsters who dwell in their imaginations. Readers like me will be inspired by this delightful story of the young Brontë siblings, who love to make up stories, create little books, and grow up to become great writers. This celebration of reading and writing warms my heart so much! I love this book because it will spark the imagination of young readers.  

By Sara O'Leary, Briony May Smith (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Little Books of the Little Brontes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

The inspiring true tale of young siblings who loved to make stories — and grew up to be among English literature's finest writers. A picture book for fans of Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein.

Many years ago, the four motherless children of the Brontë family — Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne — lived in a windswept house by the moors with their father. Although their lives were often filled with sadness and their world was only as large as the distance they could walk, their INNER worlds were bound only by their imaginations. Hungry for stories, these children devoured novels and…


Book cover of The Power of Her Pen: The Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel L. Payne

Ronni Diamondstein Author Of Jackie and the Books She Loved

From my list on inspire young people to be readers and writers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a reader and a writer for as long as I can remember, so books about reading, writing, and storytelling have always interested me. As a school library media specialist for over 30 years, I have read thousands of picture books and placed wonderful books in the hands of thousands of young people. Several of these books were mentor texts when I wrote my picture book biography. I want young people to be inspired to read and write, and I hope these books will do that for the adults who select them and the children who read them.

Ronni's book list on inspire young people to be readers and writers

Ronni Diamondstein Why did Ronni love this book?

I often wonder what inspires someone to write, and in this book, Lesa Cline-Ransome does a great job of explaining how Ethel Payne became such a groundbreaking journalist.

I love that this book will inspire young readers to listen to stories like Ethel Payne did her entire life. The distinctive illustrations complement the lyrical text beautifully. What I also like about this book is that it’s a great example of writing articles. The book shows Ethel’s passion for the written word as a journalist and her persistence in telling the stories.

By Lesa Cline-Ransome, John Parra (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Power of Her Pen 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?

"A powerful story." -The Horn Book

"A worthy addition to children's biography collections." -Booklist

"A solid treatment of an important but little-known figure, and it may prompt kids to think about the role and composition of a free press." -BCCB

"Cline-Ransome tells [Ethel Payne's] story with economy and drive. 'Somebody had to do the fighting,' she quotes Payne saying, 'somebody had to speak up.'" -Publishers Weekly

Renowned author Lesa Cline-Ransome and celebrated illustrator John Parra unite to tell the inspiring story of Ethel Payne, a groundbreaking African American journalist known as the First Lady of the Black Press.

"I've had…


Book cover of The Reminders

Jennifer Salvato Doktorski Author Of The Summer After You and Me

From my list on set in New Jersey by NJ authors.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a proud Jersey girl who grew up walking to the ice cream shop where Tony Soprano took his last breath and spending summers “Down the Shore,” near the MTV house, where Snookie and Co. tried to claim the Jersey Shore as their own. When I was younger, outsiders almost had me convinced those overdone jokes about New Jersey were on to something. After traveling the world and living in other places, I realized how much my home state had to offer. My four young adult novels feature proud Jersey girl protagonists and two of my books are set at the real Jersey shore—The Summer After You and Me and August and Everything After.

Jennifer's book list on set in New Jersey by NJ authors

Jennifer Salvato Doktorski Why did Jennifer love this book?

I was honored to read an early draft of this novel by fellow human and Jerseyite, Val Emmich, and was immediately taken with the voice of Joan, a 10-year-old girl with a special condition that gives her the ability to remember everything, but is afraid of being forgotten. To remedy that, she wants to win a prestigious songwriting contest by writing a song that makes people both want to dance and cry (two of the strongest feelings in her opinion). So she strikes a deal with Gavin, an adult songwriter who she believes can help her make that happen. Jersey City is the primary setting for this novel, a city that along with its many other charms, offers spectacular views of the New York City skyline. 

By Val Emmich,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A wonderful and unusual story told in a beautifully understated way. Quietly magnificent' Ruth Hogan, author of The Keeper of Lost Things

Ten-year-old Joan was born with a rare gift: she can remember every single day of her life in perfect detail. She can tell you how many times her mother has uttered the phrase 'it never fails' in the last six months (twenty-seven), or what she was wearing when her grandfather took her fishing on a particular Sunday in June years ago (fox socks).

But Joan doesn't want to be the girl who remembers everything - she wants to…


Book cover of The Season of You & Me

Jennifer Salvato Doktorski Author Of The Summer After You and Me

From my list on set in New Jersey by NJ authors.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a proud Jersey girl who grew up walking to the ice cream shop where Tony Soprano took his last breath and spending summers “Down the Shore,” near the MTV house, where Snookie and Co. tried to claim the Jersey Shore as their own. When I was younger, outsiders almost had me convinced those overdone jokes about New Jersey were on to something. After traveling the world and living in other places, I realized how much my home state had to offer. My four young adult novels feature proud Jersey girl protagonists and two of my books are set at the real Jersey shore—The Summer After You and Me and August and Everything After.

Jennifer's book list on set in New Jersey by NJ authors

Jennifer Salvato Doktorski Why did Jennifer love this book?

Set at the Jersey Shore, this book by fellow New Jersey native Robin Constantine, is my book’s soul sister (right down to the cover) and Robin is my kindred author spirit. We both write about our home state, rock bands, and first loves in a way that only Jersey girls can. By chance, I read this book while vacationing in Cape May, the town that formed the template for the backdrop of this wonderful love story, which made both experiences even more memorable. Needless to say, I was thrilled when Robin invited me to do a book signing with her in her hometown of Bayonne, New Jersey at an amazing indie bookstore called The Little Boho Bookshop.

By Robin Constantine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Season of You & Me 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?

From Robin Constantine, author of The Promise of Amazing and The Secrets of Attraction, comes a funny and heartfelt summer romance set in New Jersey. Perfect for fans of Sarah Mlynowski, Jenny Han, and Morgan Matson. Cassidy Emmerich is reeling from a sudden, humiliating breakup. The last thing she wants to do is stick around and be reminded of her ex everywhere she goes. On impulse, she decides to spend the summer with her father and his family at their Jersey Shore bed-and-breakfast. A different scene and a new job working as a camp counselor seem like the perfect recipe…


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