100 books like Black Beauty

By Anna Sewell, Kristen Guest (editor),

Here are 100 books that Black Beauty fans have personally recommended if you like Black Beauty. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Tui Allen Author Of Ripple: A Dolphin Love Story

From the list on animal stories for love of our planet.

Who am I?

I’m a teacher, sailor, kayaker, and environmental-vegan animal lover. I live by the sea among marine wildlife. I grew up sailing, then sailed the Pacific on the tiny wooden boat that was my first marital home. We had no engine, no modern technology. Like the sea beings, we had a wing in the wind and a fin in the sea so we lived in their world, on their terms. Alone, helming under the stars, I dreamed of dolphin culture and mentally made lists of possible dolphin vocations. This helped me create fiction from the dolphin viewpoint. Input from scientists brought authenticity to my marine environmental fantasies and messages. 

Tui's book list on animal stories for love of our planet

Why did Tui love this book?

This book is about taking the physical path to spiritual freedom, without the need for any religion. It inspired me to cross oceans under sail, to complete ultra-distance multi-disciplinary sports events, and to build my own faith in the divineness of the natural world. Would you believe it helped me win bike races?

And I love that it does all this through the lens of a beautiful feathered sea being. This non-human viewpoint released the author from the prison of human arrogance. Glorious. And it inspired some wonderful music. 

By Richard Bach,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Jonathan Livingston Seagull as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This classic work is now available for the first time in paperback. Since 1951, when the last of the Witchcraft Acts was repealed, many books have been written about the reappearance of witchcraft and the development of a pagan theology. Churchmen have denounced it. Sociologists have wondered at it. Journalists have penned sensational stories about it. But until the publication of this book, no one had told the real story of it from the inside as frankly as it is told here.

Doreen Valiente, one of witchcraft's most widely known figures, was a close friend of the late Gerald Gardner,…


By Laura Hillenbrand,

Book cover of Seabiscuit: An American Legend

Avalyn Hunter Author Of Dream Derby: The Myth and Legend of Black Gold

From the list on thoroughbred horses and horse racing.

Who am I?

An old photograph shows a little blonde girl trying to climb a fence separating her from a pasture full of broodmares near Louisville, Kentucky. That was me, and I have never lost my fascination with these creatures of beauty, courage, and magic. Combine that with an equal passion for books, research, and writing, and you have the path leading to four books and hundreds of magazine articles on Thoroughbred horses over the last twenty years, with a fifth book due out next spring. The five books I’ve recommended are just a few of those that have provided touchstones and inspiration for my journey as a writer.

Avalyn's book list on thoroughbred horses and horse racing

Why did Avalyn love this book?

When I first picked up Seabiscuit, I was dubious; I had already read too many stories of champion racehorses that were either dry histories or overblown hero-worship.

A hundred pages later (where did the time go?) I was completely engrossed and headed for an all-night read. In Hillenbrand’s hands, carefully researched history became the foundation for a sweeping story of a great horse, the incredible cast of people who gave him what he needed to become a legend, and the world of horses, horse racing, and American life in the 1930s.

If I ever write anything half as good, I will be well content.

By Laura Hillenbrand,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of the runaway phenomenon Unbroken comes a universal underdog story about the horse who came out of nowhere to become a legend.

Seabiscuit was one of the most electrifying and popular attractions in sports history and the single biggest newsmaker in the world in 1938, receiving more coverage than FDR, Hitler, or Mussolini. But his success was a surprise to the racing establishment, which had written off the crooked-legged racehorse with the sad tail. Three men changed Seabiscuit’s fortunes:

Charles Howard was a onetime bicycle repairman who introduced the automobile to…

War Horse

By Michael Morpurgo, Tom Clohosy Cole,

Book cover of War Horse

Michele Sheldon Author Of The Mystery of The Missing Fur

From the list on animals, wildlife conservation, and kindness.

Who am I?

I’ve travelled to the Pantanal and along the Amazon both ways from Brazil and Colombia while I was teaching English in Brazil and will never forget the destruction of the Amazon. A visit to the gaping hole of Serra Pelada, a gold mine, had a lasting effect on me as did the forest fires and scorched earth, devoid of any bird or animal apart from the skinny cattle grazing amongst the blackened trees, stretching for miles. A run-in with a hyacinth macaw egg thief, who was smuggling the beautiful birds into Europe, spurred my interest in writing a children’s series which touches on conservation, endangered species, and illegal wildlife trafficking.

Michele's book list on animals, wildlife conservation, and kindness

Why did Michele love this book?

The story is narrated by Joey, a beautiful bay horse brought up on a farm, who is ‘called up’ during World War I to carry supplies, guns, and pull ambulances among the trenches of the Western Front. Joey witnesses the horror and futility of war with great compassion and a simplicity that still affects me today when I think of the 20 million people who died and the eight million horses, mules, and donkeys killed by their injuries, disease, and exhaustion. The book further resonates because I live in the town where Joey and 10 million soldiers and nurses, including my grandfather, left for France. The officers’ stables still stand at Shorncliffe Barracks and charity, the Shorncliffe Trust, is trying to get listed status to stop them being knocked down.

By Michael Morpurgo, Tom Clohosy Cole,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked War Horse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Michael Morpurgo's global bestselling children's book War Horse has been adapted into a picture book for the first time. Illustrated throughout, it brings the beloved children's classic to life for children aged 5 and up.

Master storyteller Michael Morpurgo has adapted his much-loved novel, War Horse, for a picture book audience. This powerful book for younger readers tells the enduring story of a friendship between a boy and his horse and is a gateway to help children understand the history and chaos of the First World War. As we move beyond centenary commemorations and continue to strive for peace across…

The Eighty-Dollar Champion

By Elizabeth Letts,

Book cover of The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, the Horse That Inspired a Nation

Catherine Ryan Hyde Author Of Seven Perfect Things

From the list on animals by people who actually understand them.

Who am I?

In addition to being the author of lots of books, I am a wrangler of lots of pets. I live with a dog, two cats, a Belgian warmblood horse who I rode in dressage for many years, and his pasture pal who is a miniature horse. I’m known for writing books with animals in which the animal is a character, not a caricature. So many authors don’t seem to know animals deeply, and so just insert them in a scene like a placeholder. But every animal is an individual, and I try to reflect that in my work.

Catherine Ryan's book list on animals by people who actually understand them

Why did Catherine Ryan love this book?

I’m breaking the rules by recommending two books by the same author, but I just had to. These are the two ultimate nonfiction books for horse lovers, though you really don’t need to be a horse person to love this book. Guy buys an old plow horse off the kill wagon and the horse goes on the win the national championship in jumping two years in a row. Who doesn’t love a good underdog story? Plus his whole family really loves the horse. There are pictures of his many children all lined up on the horse’s back. This is one of those feel-good books that you will remember. Even if you don’t remember specific details, you will remember the way it made you feel. 

By Elizabeth Letts,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Eighty-Dollar Champion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The dramatic and inspiring story of a man and his horse, an unlikely duo whose rise to stardom in the sport of show jumping captivated the nation  

Harry de Leyer first saw the horse he would name Snowman on a truck bound for the slaughterhouse. The recent Dutch immigrant recognized the spark in the eye of the beaten-up nag and bought him for eighty dollars. On Harry’s modest farm on Long Island, he ultimately taught Snowman how to fly. Here is the dramatic and inspiring rise to stardom of an unlikely duo. One show…

The Black Stallion

By Walter Farley,

Book cover of The Black Stallion

Amanda Wills Author Of The Lost Pony of Riverdale

From the list on capturing the bond between horses and people.

Who am I?

I have been mad about horses since I was tiny, and as soon as I started to read I devoured every pony book I could lay my hands on. My love of pony books led to a life-long passion for horses and I still ride every week. When I began writing fiction a decade ago, I decided to write the kind of pony books I loved reading when I was a child. Here I am, almost twenty books later, spending my days dreaming of horses, still a pony-mad girl at heart! 

Amanda's book list on capturing the bond between horses and people

Why did Amanda love this book?

This is a classic tale of a wild horse that only one person can tame, a trope that resonates with every horse lover the world over, me included!

A shipwreck leaves horse-mad Alec stranded on a desert island with the Black, a wild Arabian stallion. The pair must learn to trust each other if they are to survive.

But this is as much a story about horse racing as it is a shipwreck tale, and when Alec and the Black return home to America the Black’s incredible speed sees him taking part in a match race against the two fastest racehorses of the day.

The race scores high in the drama stakes, but for me it’s Alec’s bond with the Black that makes this book unforgettable.

By Walter Farley,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Black Stallion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First published in 1941, Walter Farley's best-selling novel for young readers is the triumphant tale of a boy and a wild horse. From Alec Ramsay and the Black's first meeting on an ill-fated ship to their adventures on a desert island and their eventual rescue, this beloved story will hold the rapt attention of readers new and old.

This book has been selected as a Common Core State Standards Text Exemplar (Grades 4-5, Stories) in Appendix B.

Distant Skies

By Melissa A. Priblo Chapman,

Book cover of Distant Skies: An American Journey on Horseback

Audrey Pavia Author Of Horses for Dummies

From the list on remarkable horses.

Who am I?

I have been obsessed with horses since I was 6 years old and spent much of my childhood riding bareback through the California countryside. After graduating from New York University with a degree in journalism, I went on to become a magazine editor. My love for horses never wained, and when I became editor of Horse Illustrated magazine, my passion and my profession combined. I have since authored seven books about horses, and currently live with two Spanish Mustangs named Rio and Milagro.

Audrey's book list on remarkable horses

Why did Audrey love this book?

Travel memoirs can be fun to read, but this one is riveting. Melissa Chapman and her horse Rainy traveled nearly 3,000 miles across America when the writer was in her early twenties. Before cell phones and GPS devices, “Missy” and Rainy trekked through backwoods and on state routes, rarely knowing where they would spend the night. Without faltering, Rainy helps Missy see America in ways most of us never do.

By Melissa A. Priblo Chapman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Part American road trip, part coming-of-age adventure, and part uncommon love story—a remarkable memoir that explores the evolution of the human-animal relationship, along with the raw beauty of a life lived outdoors.

Melissa Chapman was 23 years old and part of a happy, loving family. She had a decent job, a boyfriend she cared about, and friends she enjoyed. Yet she said goodbye to all of it. Carrying a puppy named Gypsy, she climbed aboard a horse and rode away from everything, heading west.

With no cell phone, no GPS, no support team or truck following with supplies, Chapman quickly…

A Long Way Gone

By Ishmael Beah,

Book cover of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

Shugri Said Salh Author Of The Last Nomad: Coming of Age in the Somali Desert

From the list on bringing other cultures to life.

Who am I?

I am at heart a storyteller, with a special interest in archiving and weaving the tales of my people to give you insight into a culture that is quite different from yours. Like an archaeologist digging a forgotten world, I want to bring these stories to life in the form of words. After a long day of animal herding and chores, my family and I would sit by the fire in a vast, open desert covered in blackness, and share century-old stories. My big ears consumed these stories like a thirsty desert after a long drought, so I could one day share this library of wisdom with others.

Shugri's book list on bringing other cultures to life

Why did Shugri love this book?

This memoir captures the journey of child soldiers during the civil war in Sierra Leone, and shows how once-innocent children with ordinary lives became killing machines in the hands of a ruthless rebel leader. Beah doesn't shy away from the gruesomeness of civil war, but there is beauty in how he weaves this memoir that reads like a novel. Though I am not usually a fan of books with a lot of violence, I was drawn to this one and could not put it down. I believe history is best learned from those who have first-hand experience. This is a one-of-a-kind book and to Beah’s credit, well-written as well. 

By Ishmael Beah,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked A Long Way Gone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become soldiers of choice. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them. What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this…

The Scorpio Races

By Maggie Stiefvater,

Book cover of The Scorpio Races

Laurel Wanrow Author Of The Unraveling

From the list on determined heroines who won’t be crossed.

Who am I?

I grew up camping and hiking, and spent my career teaching others about nature. I feel my best in the outdoors. Nature connections thread through my stories, to the point my kids joke my heroines are all geeky me. Well, true…or the geek I wish I was: one with secret magic to protect our earth. Folks know nature needs help, but my volunteer group still runs into roadblocks putting in native plant gardens. While I—and my characters—fight for protecting wild spaces, I appreciate that everyone’s fight is different and my keeper stories are those with determined characters—IRL or on the page—who turn the tables to succeed.

Laurel's book list on determined heroines who won’t be crossed

Why did Laurel love this book?

Puck is doing all she can to keep her and her brothers together after their parents die from an attack by bloodthirsty waterhorses surrounding their island home of Thisby. I admire how this one fantastical element changes a ‘normal’ life to an ‘otherworldly’ one, and makes the island a strong character in the story. Raising and racing waterhorses is Thisby’s livelihood, and dire circumstances lead to Puck competing for the annual Scorpio Race prize money as the first girl to race, against great odds by riding her beloved island pony. 

I love the feel of the small Thisby and its quaint community of characters. Some are mercenary, some tough, but, like Puck and love-interest Sean, most love the wild nature of the ocean and waterhorses, which is magic to me.

By Maggie Stiefvater,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Scorpio Races as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A spellbinding novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

Some race to win. Others race to survive.It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die. At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them. Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio…

Mary Barton

By Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, Jennifer Foster (editor),

Book cover of Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life

Don LePan Author Of Animals

From the list on to help us think of and want to help others.

Who am I?

Like just about everyone, I was taught in childhood that we should think of others and help others. But then we start to hear different messages: “it’s naïve to think you can make the world a better place,” “you’re better off trying to help yourself—don’t waste your time with misguided attempts to help others,” "it’s sanctimonious to be a do-gooder,” and on and on it goes. The fact is, we can help to make the world a better place (without being sanctimonious). And we all should. We can volunteer, donate to good causes, eat less meat (or no meat at all), fly and drive less (or not at all!). And, as these authors have shown, the books we write can also make a real contribution.  

Don's book list on to help us think of and want to help others

Why did Don love this book?

Gaskell wrote this novel at a time when workers and their families in Britain’s industrial cities labored under intolerable conditions, and it was all too common for their suffering “to pass unregarded by all but the sufferers,” as Gaskell puts it in her preface. Her aim in writing the novel was to bring their plight to the attention of those better off—and to engender sympathy for their plight in the hearts and minds of readers. In the first half of the novel, she succeeds completely; it would be impossible for any reader to remain unmoved while reading of the lives of the Wilson family and the Barton family. The second half of the novel succeeds less fully, but the first half remains as powerful a piece of writing as I have ever read.

By Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, Jennifer Foster (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Mary Barton first appeared in 1848, and has since become one of the best known novels on the 'condition of England,' part of a nineteenth-century British trend to understand the enormous cultural, economic and social changes wrought by industrialization. Gaskell's work had great importance to the labour and reform movements, and it influenced writers such as Charles Dickens, Thomas Carlyle and Charlotte Bronte.

The plot of Mary Barton concerns the poverty and desperation of England's industrial workers. Fundamentally, however, it revolves around Mary's personal conflicts. She is already divided between an affection for an industrialist's son, Henry Carson, and for…

Animal Liberation

By Peter Singer,

Book cover of Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement

Robert Zimdahl Author Of Agriculture's Ethical Horizon

From the list on beginning to think about the ethics of agriculture.

Who am I?

Several years ago I gave a paper - Human experiments in Teratogenicity - a brief exploration of the use of herbicides in the Vietnam. I was accused of and being a traitor to my discipline and siding with the environmentalists who wanted to diminish herbicide use in agriculture. I wasn't guilty as charged. The accusation encouraged me to explore agriculture's values and ethical foundation. I have continued to explore the ethics of agriculture, question the ethics of the whole agricultural enterprise. I've written, learned, and thought about the application of moral philosophy to agriculture. The book selected will help readers think about the questions and guide those interested in pursuing the application of moral philosophy to agriculture.

Robert's book list on beginning to think about the ethics of agriculture

Why did Robert love this book?

One of the very important agricultural issues is treatment of animals especially those grown in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

Singer was among the very first who wrote about how animals are treated by the agricultural enterprise and by people. He was among the first to tell us that animals can suffer and therefore we must consider our moral obligation to any creature that can suffer.

Animal science has made more progress than most other agricultural disciplines in changing the way animals are treated. There is still a long way to go.

By Peter Singer,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Animal Liberation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How should we treat non-human animals? In this immensely powerful and influential book (now with a new introduction by Sapiens author Yuval Noah Harari), the renowned moral philosopher Peter Singer addresses this simple question with trenchant, dispassionate reasoning. Accompanied by the disturbing evidence of factory farms and laboratories, his answers triggered the birth of the animal rights movement.

'An extraordinary book which has had extraordinary effects... Widely known as the bible of the animal liberation movement' Independent on Sunday

In the decades since this landmark classic first appeared, some public attitudes to animals may have changed but our continued abuse…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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