10 books like Catherine, Called Birdy

By Karen Cushman,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Catherine, Called Birdy. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Great Gilly Hopkins

By Katherine Paterson,

Book cover of The Great Gilly Hopkins

Being raised in foster care is tough. But Gilly Hopkins is tougher by far. Known to be completely unmanageable, brash, and bitter, Gilly has been shuttled from one family to the next. When she is sent to stay with the Trotters, she knows it won’t be for long. She can outlast them! She can outlast anyone! But the Trotters aren’t that easily thrown. So even with her angry blow-ups, her gum-chewing scowls, and her every attempt to get herself sent away once again, Gilly might have finally met her match. For girls who are having tough times, tough Gilly is an excellent protagonist who can model the benefits of learning to control your anger and finding alternative ways to express your frustration while keeping true to yourself. 

The Great Gilly Hopkins

By Katherine Paterson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Great Gilly Hopkins as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The timeless Newbery Honor Book from bestselling author Katherine Paterson about a wisecracking, ornery, completely unforgettable young heroine. 

Eleven-year-old Gilly has been stuck in more foster families than she can remember, and she's hated them all. She has a reputation for being brash, brilliant, and completely unmanageable, and that's the way she likes it. So when she's sent to live with the Trotters—by far the strangest family yet—she knows it's only a temporary problem.

Gilly decides to put her sharp mind to work and get out of there fast. She's determined to no longer be a foster kid. Before long…


Journey for a Princess

By Margaret Leighton,

Book cover of Journey for a Princess

I first read this book a dozen times in junior high, borrowed it on interlibrary loan several times in adulthood, and eventually bought a second-hand copy. Leighton's 1960 book was rather eye-opening after a steady diet of girl power books, as it features a princess who doesn't take up a sword or rebel against society. And yet, I absolutely adored Elstrid, thrilling as she learned to navigate the complexities of her medieval world. This is by far the most historical and political book on this list, based on real people. The only drawback to this book is that the princess never scrubs a floor. But you certainly believe she knew each one of her scullery maids by name!

Journey for a Princess

By Margaret Leighton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Journey for a Princess as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The child begins to enjoy fantasy stories that have rich imaginative nature about self and the surroundings.


The Black Cauldron

By Lloyd Alexander,

Book cover of The Black Cauldron

I read the second book in the Prydain Chronicles first, so it remains my favorite for introducing me to this magical version of medieval Wales and an Assistant Pig-Keeper. While I, like Taran, wanted to avoid the mundanities of life and skip straight to the magic swords, it was the grounding in the reality of chores that made me believe in the world. It also made me believe that if I had the good fortune to discover a portal to Prydain, that I could at least take up a career in the scullery, the forge, or possibly as a pig-keeper, while I waited to be discovered for the princess-in-disguise that I surely must be.

The Black Cauldron

By Lloyd Alexander,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The peaceful land of Prydain is under threat. The evil Lord of Annuvin is using the dark magic of the Black Cauldron to create a terrifying army of deathless warriors.

The Cauldron must be destroyed, and Taran joins Prince Gwydion and his faithful knights, Ellidyr and Adaon, in this perilous quest. Taran is desperate to wear his first sword and prove his worth amongst such noble men. But their adventure will demand great sacrifices, as each warrior fulfils his destiny in totally unexpected ways.

The Black Cauldron is the second book in Lloyd Alexander's classic fantasy epic The Chronicles of…


The Tale of Gwyn

By Cynthia Voigt,

Book cover of The Tale of Gwyn

When I first encountered this book in the late 1980s, it was titled Jackaroo--named for the Robin Hood-like folk hero in the non-magical secondary world called the Kingdom. However, the star of the story is Gwyn, so the renaming makes sense. The book is riveting in its action moments, but somehow I'm even more drawn to the scenes of daily toil. I have absolutely no idea how Voigt can make scrubbing the floor seem so important! (This is the real floor-scrubbing book of this list.) The Tale of Gwyn evokes a medieval European past that feels more real than the best-researched historical novel. Hopefully the series rebrand draws the wide readership it deserves--it is both exciting and thoughtful, bleak and hopeful, and I return to it again and again. 

The Tale of Gwyn

By Cynthia Voigt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a fantastical kingdom ravaged by famine and poverty, the prospect of hope lies with a mythical masked hero in this, the first book in the Tales of the Kingdom series from Newbery Medalist Cynthia Voigt.

In a distant time, a kingdom is starving. With winter upon them, there is little hope, except for the legend of Jackaroo: a masked outlaw who comes at night to aid the destitute and helpless. But Gwyn, the innkeeper’s daughter, is too practical for false hopes. She believes Jackaroo is nothing more than a fairy tale told to keep children hopeful till the next…


The Wolf Hunt

By Gillian Bradshaw,

Book cover of The Wolf Hunt: A Novel of the Crusades

Gillian Bradshaw is one of the best historical fiction writers I know of, and everyone else should know of her too. The Wolf Hunt is based on Bisclavret, one of the Lais of Marie de France, and fairly drips with historical detail (please use a coaster). The fantasy element is the major plot point, but the magic that allows for it is so subtle and low-key that I nearly forgot to classify the book as historical fantasy. This is a grown-up Catherine, Called Birdy in its ability to evoke a medieval mind and setting, minus the humor, plus more romance. And while there's no floor-scrubbing, it has big floor-scrubbing energy.

The Wolf Hunt

By Gillian Bradshaw,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE WOLF HUNT is a breathtaking and romantic adventure. When Marie Penthievre of Chalendrey is abducted and taken to Brittany's court she vows never to dishonour her family by marrying a Breton. There is only one who might change her mind: Tiarnan of Talensac, a handsome and noble knight...and a werewolf. But Tiarnan marries someone else - and when his new wife learns of his secret, she betrays him. When the widow joins forces with Tiarnan's enemy, Marie realises something is dreadfully wrong. Only she is clear headed enough to rescue Tiarnan and return him to his rightful status -…


A Girl from Yamhill

By Beverly Cleary,

Book cover of A Girl from Yamhill: A Memoir

Beverly Cleary's kid's books have been enjoyed by many generations of readers. I loved her true to life, tinged with humor books as a reader, teacher, and writer.

Like me, many readers wonder about the lives of people we admire and luckily Cleary has written a riveting, direct, and insightful memoir that helps us connect her fiction with her real-life experiences. Throughout Cleary comes across as someone we wish we knew.

A Girl from Yamhill

By Beverly Cleary,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Girl from Yamhill as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Told in her own words, A Girl from Yamhill is Newbery Medal-winning author Beverly Cleary's heartfelt and relatable memoir-now with a beautifully redesigned cover! Generations of children have read Beverly Cleary's books. From Ramona Quimby to Henry Huggins, Ralph S. Mouse to Ellen Tebbits, she has created an evergreen body of work based on the humorous tales and heartfelt anxieties of middle graders. But in A Girl from Yamhill, Beverly Cleary tells a more personal story-her story-of what adolescence was like. In warm but honest detail, Beverly describes life in Oregon during the Great Depression, including her difficulties in learning…


The Genius Under the Table

By Eugene Yelchin,

Book cover of The Genius Under the Table: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain

What was life like under the Stalinist Soviet regime? Author Eugene Yelchin vividly and often hilariously recounts his own experiences during those repressive, poverty-stricken, and politically difficult times. Filled with Yelchin’s charming black and white drawings, readers of all ages will applaud Yelchin while learning much about those long-ago times in a country still run by a repressive regime. This timely, poignant book is a great read.

The Genius Under the Table

By Eugene Yelchin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An Association of Jewish Libraries Sydney Taylor Honor Winner

With a masterful mix of comic timing and disarming poignancy, Newbery Honoree Eugene Yelchin offers a memoir of growing up in Cold War Russia.

Drama, family secrets, and a KGB spy in his own kitchen! How will Yevgeny ever fulfill his parents’ dream that he become a national hero when he doesn’t even have his own room? He’s not a star athlete or a legendary ballet dancer. In the tiny apartment he shares with his Baryshnikov-obsessed mother, poetry-loving father, continually outraged grandmother, and safely talented brother, all Yevgeny has is his…


A Year Without Mom

By Dasha Tolstikova,

Book cover of A Year Without Mom

This engaging graphic novel follows twelve-year-old Dasha as she is forced to separate from her mom who leaves for America to make a better life for the two of them. The spare yet touching text brings us into Dasha’s world in Russia and her fears and hopes for a new life. Based on Tolstikova’s own experiences, the book draws the reader into Dasha’s fears and joys.

A Year Without Mom

By Dasha Tolstikova,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Year Without Mom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It is the early 1990s in Moscow, and political change is in the air. But Dasha is more worried about her own challenges as she negotiates family, friendships and school without her mother. Just as she begins to find her own feet, she gets word that she is to join her mother in America - a place that seems impossibly far from everything and everyone she loves.

Dasha Tolstikova's major talent is on full display in this gorgeous and subtly illustrated graphic novel.


Stitches

By David Small,

Book cover of Stitches

In this riveting memoir told through minimum text and vivid black and white graphic art, we learn of the hardships, sorrow, and choices Small dealt with as a young man. Although heartbreaking, this is ultimately a story of courage despite a painful upbringing. The reader senses how art helped Small cope with sadness, disappointment, and confusion growing up in a difficult family.

Stitches

By David Small,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

David Small, a best-selling and highly regarded children's book illustrator, comes forward with this unflinching graphic memoir. Remarkable and intensely dramatic, Stitches tells the story of a fourteen-year-old boy who awakes one day from a supposedly harmless operation to discover that he has been transformed into a virtual mute-a vocal cord removed, his throat slashed and stitched together like a bloody boot. From horror to hope, Small proceeds to graphically portray an almost unbelievable descent into adolescent hell and the difficult road to physical, emotional, and artistic recovery.

A National Book Award finalist; winner of the ALA's Alex Award; a…


Beyond the Bright Sea

By Lauren Wolk,

Book cover of Beyond the Bright Sea

Being abandoned and set adrift as an infant sure is tough. But Crow, now twelve, is ready to face the realities of who she is and where she came from. When a mysterious light appears on the island from which she was sent, Crow becomes involved in a trip of discovery with hidden treasure, shipwrecks and danger aplenty. Crow’s tenacious journey kept me on the edge of my seat, waiting breathlessly to find out what would happen next. But it was her courage and determination to discover who her family is and to ultimately discover what family is truly about that kept me turning the pages.  

Beyond the Bright Sea

By Lauren Wolk,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Beyond the Bright Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Harper Lee has a worthy successor. Wolk is a big new talent' - The Times

Crow has lived her whole life on a tiny, starkly beautiful island. Her only companions are Osh, the man who rescued her from a washed-up skiff as a baby and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their neighbour across the sandbar. But it is only when a mysterious fire appears across the water that an unspoken question of her own history forms in Crow's heart, and an unstoppable chain of events is triggered. Crow sets out to find her lost identity - and, ultimately, to learn…


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