100 books like Crankenstein

By Samantha Berger, Dan Santat (illustrator),

Here are 100 books that Crankenstein fans have personally recommended if you like Crankenstein. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Battle Bunny

Frans Vischer Author Of Fuddles

From my list on children’s books that tickled my toes.

Who am I?

Since I was a child I’ve loved comedy. Whether it’s Daffy Duck, the Pink Panther movies, or a Carl Hiaasen novel, I like to laugh and make people laugh. I grew up drawing cartoons, and as a Disney animator I learned the importance of creating characters that audiences could believe and empathize with. Humor has no geographic, religious, or racial boundaries – the human condition is universal, and humor speaks to us all, regardless of language. I strive to write and draw characters that connect with readers and then put them in silly, odd but believable situations to extract the maximum entertainment.

Frans' book list on children’s books that tickled my toes

Frans Vischer Why did Frans love this book?

I love this concept of a boy turning a saccharine, boring picture book called Birthday Bunny into Battle Bunny. A pencil his weapon of choice, he attacks the book, driven by his creativity, and turns it into a book he actually wants to read. A daring idea from the author, this hilarious and engaging book is something any young boy can relate to.

By Jon Scieszka, Mac Barnett, Matt Myers (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Battle Bunny 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?

Encourage creativity with this wildly entertaining picture book mash-up from the minds of Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett.

Alex has been given a saccharine, sappy, silly-sweet picture book about Birthday Bunny that his grandma found at a garage sale. Alex isn’t interested—until he decides to make the book something he’d actually like to read. So he takes out his pencil, sharpens his creativity, and totally transforms the story!

Birthday Bunny becomes Battle Bunny, and the rabbit’s innocent journey through the forest morphs into a supersecret mission to unleash an evil plan—a plan that only Alex can stop.

Featuring layered, original…


Book cover of The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs

Maxine Rose Schur Author Of Finley Finds His Fortune

From my list on children’s stories with the magic of three.

Who am I?

I teach writing for children and I’ve analyzed the elements that make a winning story. One of these elements is the magic of three. My idea for Finley Finds his Fortune, was sparked by a desire to write a folk tale with the magic of three and also by my visit to Whitechurch, the last working watermill in England. I was awed by the power and beauty of its water wheel so I wove a water mill into my story. To do this, I had to first study how a mill works. That’s what I love about writing children’s booksthat I can explore my own personal interests and passions.

Maxine's book list on children’s stories with the magic of three

Maxine Rose Schur Why did Maxine love this book?

As author John Scieszka himself says he’s sold “bazilions of books” so he sure doesn’t need my endorsement but this is such a funny book I couldn’t resist. Yes, it tells the familiar story of the three little pigs but it does so in a wildly unfamiliar wayfrom the wolf’s point of view. Alexander T. Wolf tells the reader what really happened and professes his innocence. Despite having a cold, he was baking a cake for his dear grandmother when he needed to borrow a cup of sugar from the neighboring pig. What happens next he declares was not his fault yet he’s gotten a bad rap ever since. This is an offbeat, fractured fairytale that completely reverses the message of the original tale to give a new one: there are always two sides to every story.

By Jon Scieszka, Lane Smith (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The wolf gives his own outlandish version of what really happened when he tangled with the three little pigs.


Book cover of Max Spaniel: Dinosaur Hunt

Frans Vischer Author Of Fuddles

From my list on children’s books that tickled my toes.

Who am I?

Since I was a child I’ve loved comedy. Whether it’s Daffy Duck, the Pink Panther movies, or a Carl Hiaasen novel, I like to laugh and make people laugh. I grew up drawing cartoons, and as a Disney animator I learned the importance of creating characters that audiences could believe and empathize with. Humor has no geographic, religious, or racial boundaries – the human condition is universal, and humor speaks to us all, regardless of language. I strive to write and draw characters that connect with readers and then put them in silly, odd but believable situations to extract the maximum entertainment.

Frans' book list on children’s books that tickled my toes

Frans Vischer Why did Frans love this book?

Charming artwork, with a touch of the silly, like all of Catrow’s books. Catrow gets into the head of his adorable mutt main character as he searches the house and backyard, coming up with all sorts of household and garden items that have no remote connection to dinosaurs. Undaunted, our hero continues his search, interpreting tools and toys for dino body parts, until miraculously his creature comes to life!

By David Catrow,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Max Spaniel 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?

Max Spaniel considers himself a dinosaur hunter and finds all sorts of objects in his back yard as proof that they exist.


Book cover of The Essential Calvin and Hobbes

Annie Barrows Author Of The Best of Iggy

From my list on classic heroes with poor impulse control.

Who am I?

I am the author of The Best of Iggy, which is the first in a series of middle-grade books about nine-year-old Iggy Frangi, who never met an impulse he didn’t like, and therefore is often in trouble with cold, calculating types like, for instance, grownups. In Iggy’s opinion—and mine—he is creative, brave, resourceful, hardworking, and absolutely full to the brim of good intentions. He’s also really really sorry about the thing he did to his teacher. He thought it would be funny. But it wasn’t. He knows that now, and he’ll never do it again. Though he’ll probably do something else. Oh well. At least he has the following heroes for company.

Annie's book list on classic heroes with poor impulse control

Annie Barrows Why did Annie love this book?

Everyone should spend 30 minutes each day admiring Calvin and Hobbes, the best comic strip ever made.

Calvin is one of the truly magnificent heroes of children’s literature, an embodiment of all the imaginative and moral power that kids have and grownups don’t.

His best friend, Hobbes, is a profound thinker as well as an intermittently alive stuffed tiger, and together they live, squabbling and happy, in their own crazed world, triumphing over parents, teachers, and other authorities with dazzling illogic and hairbreadth escapes to other realities, much more interesting than this one, where you can evade chores by traveling into a future when they’ve already been done or mysteriously shrink to the size of an insect and wreak revenge on bullies.

By Bill Watterson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Essential Calvin and Hobbes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

The award-winning cartoonist details the further adventures of Calvin, a mischievous young boy with boundless energy and imagination, and his lovable stuffed tiger.


Book cover of The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit: A Jewish Family's Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World

Andrea Rugh Author Of Egyptian Advice Columnists: Envisioning the Good Life in an Era of Extremism

From my list on how culture influences Middle Eastern history.

Who am I?

From over three decades of work on development projects in countries of the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Africa, I am convinced that when efforts fail, it is invariably because we lack the cultural understanding of what people want or how we provide it. These books all reinforce my point by either underlining the way culture shapes the way people see the world or by showing how when we neglect culture, we do so at our own peril. Culture can be discovered through multiple entry points with these books offering a good start. Even something as mundane as advice columns in newspapers offer political insights when plumbed for the meanings below the surface.

Andrea's book list on how culture influences Middle Eastern history

Andrea Rugh Why did Andrea love this book?

This book describes the rich multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-lingual communities that co-existed peacefully in Alexandria and Cairo in the 1940s and early 1950s. They forged close ties in such public domains as commerce and schooling, while keeping their family and religious lives mainly private and marrying within the community. By the mid-50s as Arab-Israeli problems spread to Egypt, the Nasser government stoked animosity against the Jews and other non-Muslim communities, forcing many to migrate. The book shows graphically how even during normal times cultural communities distinguish between areas where it is safe to mingle with outsiders and those where it is better to draw tight boundaries against penetration if they are to sustain their uniqueness. The latter are mostly areas that define them, including religion, values, and bloodlines.

By Lucette Lagnado,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In vivid and graceful prose, Lucette Lagnado re-creates the majesty and cosmopolitan glamour of Cairo in the years between World War II and Gamal Abdel Nasser's rise to power. Her father, Leon, was a boulevardier who conducted business on the elegant terrace of Shepheard's Hotel, and later, in the cozy, dark bar of the Nile Hilton, dressed in his signature white sharkskin suit. But with the fall of King Farouk and Nasser's nationalization of Egyptian industry, Leon and his family lose everything. As streets are renamed, neighborhoods of their fellow Jews disbanded, and the city purged of all foreign influence,…


Book cover of Heft

Barbara Boehm Miller Author Of When You See Her

From my list on plus-sized protagonists.

Who am I?

Being overweight presents an intriguing paradox: being physically large and hard to miss, but also being essentially invisible and easy to ignore. Having struggled with weight for my entire life, I’m very familiar with this juxtaposition of opposites. I wanted to write a novel with a plus-sized protagonist set in a different time, the late 1970s in this case, before the notions of size positivity and body diversity had come to life in society’s collective imagination. For me, this was a way of making fat people more visible in books, especially as main characters. I put together this list of books for the same reason. 

Barbara's book list on plus-sized protagonists

Barbara Boehm Miller Why did Barbara love this book?

Unlike the other recommendations, the plus-sized protagonist in this book is a man. Arthur Opp is a lonely shut-in who has lost his career, his friend, and his family of origin. His main solace is his correspondence with a former student, who, one day, asks him for help in guiding her son, Kel. 

From that point forward, the story is told from the alternating perspectives of Arthur and Kel. Both are plagued by isolation and tragedy. Though Arthur views himself as part of the shared soul of the lonely, he nonetheless begins to welcome people back into his life again and extols the virtues of found family to Kel.

This is a haunting, yet hopeful, book that stays with the reader for a very long time.

By Liz Moore,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Former academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn't left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Twenty miles away, in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career-if he can untangle himself from his family drama. The link between this unlikely pair is Kel's mother, Charlene, a former student of Arthur's. After nearly two decades of silence, it is Charlene's unexpected phone call to Arthur-a plea for help-that jostles them into action. Through Arthur and Kel's own quirky and lovable voices,…


Book cover of Chulito

Carla Trujillo Author Of What Night Brings

From my list on queer teenage love by and about people of color.

Who am I?

I wrote my first novel in a quest to create a story about a girl who loves girls surviving a violent, repressive world. Reading novels pertinent to the life I’ve lived was both affirming and life-saving. After graduate school, I developed a class at UC Berkeley where I focused on novels written by and about women of color, knowing compelling stories gave the students a chance to live in someone else’s universe. I still believe books can change hearts and minds, and reading them propels me to continue seeking well-told stories by authors—particularly writers of color—who have the courage to put their words on the page. 

Carla's book list on queer teenage love by and about people of color

Carla Trujillo Why did Carla love this book?

I liked this novel because it is rough, heartfelt, and engaging. This story is unusual in that the protagonist, Chulito, a 16-year-old Puerto Rican high school dropout, lives in the South Bronx and is in love with his childhood friend Carlos, but with the barrio’s rampant, ongoing homophobia, he attempts to play straight. Chulito is recruited by a local dealer to sell drugs, and though he acts the tough guy, his love for Carlos persists, even though he struggles to keep his true desire secret. Everything changes when Carlos comes home for the summer after his first year of college and Chulito’s life breaks free.

Their love for each other rises above the trove of hostile masculinity surrounding them, bringing vibrancy to their lives. Yet the struggles persist, as Chulito needs to negotiate the options available for a queer high school dropout caught between limited choices. I enjoyed Rice-Gonzalez’s vibrant…

By Charles Rice-Gonzalez,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A tremendous debut...full of heart and courage and a ferocious honesty."-Junot Diaz, author of The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Set against a vibrant South Bronx neighborhood and the queer youth culture of Manhattan's piers, Chulito is a coming-of-age, coming out love story of a sexy, tough, hip hop-loving, young Latino man and the colorful characters who populate his block. Chulito, which means "cutie," is one of the boys, and everyone in his neighborhood has seen him grow up--the owner of the local bodega, the Lees from the Chinese restaurant, his buddies from the corner, and all of his…


Book cover of The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld

Mark Bulik Author Of The Sons of Molly Maguire: The Irish Roots of America's First Labor War

From my list on Irish American true crime.

Who am I?

I’ve been a newspaperman for 40 years, the last 25 at The New York Times, and crime is the meat and potatoes of the business. My mother came from an Irish American clan in the Pennsylvania township where the Molly Maguires were born – my great-uncle died at 13 in the mine where the Mollies made one of their first recorded appearances. So I’ve been fascinated by Irish American true crime ever since the Sean Connery film The Mollies Maguires came out in 1970. I’ve spent most of my adult life researching the subject, and have given lectures on it all over the country.

Mark's book list on Irish American true crime

Mark Bulik Why did Mark love this book?

This work came out in the Roaring Twenties, but the gangsters of that decade had nothing on the 19th-century outfits like the Dead Rabbits and the Gas House Gang.

When the dive bars have names like the Tub of Blood and they’re kept in business by the likes of Razor Riley, One-Lung Curran, and Stumpy Malarkey, you can’t go wrong. But to me the most compelling part was Asbury’s account of New York’s horrendous Civil War draft riots.

The Molly Maguires of Pennsylvania were born in opposition to that same draft, after a Protestant Republican allied with the coal industry used conscription to try to rid the coal fields of Irish Catholic Democrats and mine labor activists before a crucial election. 

By Herbert Asbury,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Gangs of New York as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First published in 1928, Herbert Asbury's whirlwind tour through the low-life ofnineteenth-century New York has become an indispensible classic of urban history.

Focusing on the saloon halls, gambling dens, and winding alleys of the Bowery and the notorious Five Points district, The Gangs of New York dramatically evokes the destitution and shocking violence of a turbulent era, when colorfully named criminals like Dandy John Dolan, Bill the Butcher, and Hell-Cat Maggie lurked in the shadows, and infamous gangs like the Plug Uglies, the Dead Rabbits, and the Bowery Boys ruled the streets. A rogues gallery of prostitutes, pimps, poisoners, pickpockets,…


Book cover of Mallory's Oracle

Christa Loughlin Author Of The Pallbearer

From my list on mystery thrillers that keep you glued to the pages.

Who am I?

I have always had a passion for anything crime fiction—books, movies, podcasts, or TV shows. It didn’t matter. I loved it all. It was probably because I grew up in a family with six police officers that seldom talked about anything unrelated to policing. I was like a sponge and picked up some terminology and learned about different police procedures they would discuss. There was rarely a family gathering that didn’t have some type of story or anecdote being shared by each of them and I always found myself being drawn right in. For those reasons, I fell in love with trying to figure out the who’s, how’s and why’s of any story. 

Christa's book list on mystery thrillers that keep you glued to the pages

Christa Loughlin Why did Christa love this book?

Kathy Mallory is a character unlike any other. Kathy was a child of the streets who had the good fortune of being adopted into the loving home of a police officer who saw her brilliance and resourcefulness even at a young age. Years later, Kathy has become an NYPD officer who brings justice to victims through her own sense of right and wrong. She is a street-hardened, lone wolf who doesn’t stop until she gets what she wants. I love the complexity of this tough-as-nails female officer who bends all the rules in her pursuit of justice. This book is so well written I immediately read every book I could find by this author.

By Carol O'Connell,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Mallory's Oracle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jonathan Kellerman says Mallory's Oracle is "a joy." Nelson DeMille and other advance readers have called it "truly amazing, " "a classic" with "immense appeal." It is all of that, and more: a stunning debut novel about a web of unsolved murders in New York's Gramercy Park and the singular woman who makes them her obsession.

At its center is Kathleen Mallory, an extraordinary wild child turned New York City policewoman. Adopted off the streets as a little girl by a police inspector and his wife, she is still not altogether civilized now that she is a sergeant in the…


Book cover of The Emperor's Children

Jillian Medoff Author Of When We Were Bright and Beautiful

From my list on very rich families with very dark secrets.

Who am I?

According to Entertainment Weekly, I’m a “bestselling author who has made a name for [myself] with uncannily insightful takes on the dark side of family institutions.” But really, I’m just a novelist who has always been fascinated by the myriad ways we play out our unresolved issues from childhood, again and again, over the course of our lives. Although my books are very different from each other, they all focus on the interrelationships among family members (traditional families, work families, etc.). In my most recent novel, When We Were Bright and Beautiful, I look at how wealth, privilege, and power can corrupt even the most loving relationships.

Jillian's book list on very rich families with very dark secrets

Jillian Medoff Why did Jillian love this book?

The Emperor’s Children is a brilliant novel about three college friends making their way in the world, each representing a different social stratum. Marina Thwaite, an “It” girl from a wealthy, intellectual, and well-known family is the epitome of class and privilege. But then her idealistic, ambitious cousin arrives, and life gets complicated. A story of ambition, illusions, delusions, and self-invention, The Emperor’s Children is a dazzling novel.  

By Claire Messud,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With an introduction by Neel Mukherjee.

In Manhattan, just after the century's turn, three thirty-year-old friends, Danielle, Marina and Julius, are seeking their fortunes. But the arrival of Marina's young cousin Bootie - fresh from the provinces and keen, too, to make his mark - forces them to confront their own desires and expectations.

The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud is an American classic: a sweeping portrait of one of the most fascinating cities in the world, and a haunting illustration of how the events of a single day can change everything, for ever.


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