100 books like Girl in the Blue Coat

By Monica Hesse,

Here are 100 books that Girl in the Blue Coat fans have personally recommended if you like Girl in the Blue Coat. 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 The Breadwinner

Ellen Schwartz Author Of Heart of a Champion

From my list on children’s books about social justice.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up during the civil rights movement in the US, and my ancestors—the lucky ones—escaped pogroms in eastern Europe at the turn of the 20th century and made it to North America. (The unlucky ones were slaughtered in the Holocaust.) So I suppose it is natural that I would be drawn to write stories about the struggle to overcome persecution, racism, and injustice. I love creating characters who, at the beginning of the story, don’t know that they have what it takes to fight for justice, but then slowly build the confidence and courage to make a difference. And writing about these triumphs is fun, too!

Ellen's book list on children’s books about social justice

Ellen Schwartz Why did Ellen love this book?

From our comfortable perch in North America, it’s almost impossible to imagine how children—girls, especially—survive in Afghanistan under Taliban rule. The Breadwinner made it real to me, with all the oppression that the main character, eleven-year-old Parvana, experiences and all the courage she demonstrates. This book showed me the common humanity we share with people whose lives are so different from our own. And it forced me to ask myself: Could I have been as brave and resourceful as Parvana?

By Deborah Ellis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Breadwinner as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Afghanistan: Parvana's father is arrested and taken away by Taliban soldiers. Under Taliban law, women and girls are not allowed to leave the house on their own.

Parvana, her mother, and sisters are prisoners in their own home. With no man to go out to buy food, they face starvation.

So Parvana must pretend to be a boy to save her family. It is a dangerous plan, but their only chance. In fear, she goes out - and witnesses the horror of landmines, the brutality of the Taliban, and the desperation of a country trying to survive. But even in…


Book cover of The Crazy Man

Gina McMurchy-Barber Author Of Free as a Bird

From my list on heroes who have a disability.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in the 60s and 70s, when people were often uncomfortable with anyone who had a disability. My sister had Down syndrome and this drew a lot of negative attention. I struggled with being overprotective of her and often angry at those who treated her differently. When I grew up I became an advocate, not only for my sister, but for others who struggled with being accepted because of physical or developmental disabilities. Early on I worked in a pretty awful institution. What I learned there inspired my novel, Free as a Bird. Like my sister, I moved on to do other things, including archaeology, journalism, and teaching for 27 years.

Gina's book list on heroes who have a disability

Gina McMurchy-Barber Why did Gina love this book?

Twelve-year-old Emmaline and her mother are desperate for help with their farm and agree to take on Angus who has just been released from a hospital for patients with mental illness. At first they have the same fears and prejudice as people in town, but they come to learn that Angus is gentle and extremely knowledgeable. Thanks to him they have the best crop they’ve ever had. The most heroic point in the story is when one of the locals, Harry Record, leaves Angus far from town during a snowstorm with the expectation he will die. But as Angus struggles for safety he finds Harry’s little boy who was accidentally stranded in the storm and near death and gets him to the hospital in time to save his life. 

Quote: "That man is from the mental, stay away from him." 

This book was lovely to read because it was written…

By Pamela Porter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It is 1965, and 12-year-old Emaline, living on a wheat farm, must deal with a family that is falling apart. When her dog, Prince, chases a hare into the path of the tractor, she chases after him, and her father accidentally runs over her leg, leaving her with a long convalescence and a permanent disability. Even worse, from Emaline's point of view, is that in his grief and guilt, her father shoots Prince and leaves Emaline and her mother on their own.

Despite the neighbors' disapproval, Emaline's mother hires Angus, a patient from the local mental hospital, to work their…


Book cover of The Hate U Give

Mary Jennifer Payne Author Of Enough

From my list on unforgettable protagonists in urban settings.

Why am I passionate about this?

Born the same year as Winona Ryder, Tupac Shakur, and Elon Musk, I’m a Toronto-based writer of novels, short fiction, graphic stories, nonfiction, and scripts for film and television. My YA books include the graphic novella The Lion of Africa, the supernatural, climate change-fuelled Daughters of Light trilogy, and the hard-hitting Since You’ve Been Gone. My writing gives voice to strong, diverse protagonists in urban settings who are dealing with seemingly insurmountable challenges. I’ve been a special education teacher for more than 20 years and my characters are often inspired by the amazing young people I’ve worked with. The cities in my work are living, breathing entities that shape the plot and the protagonist’s character.

Mary's book list on unforgettable protagonists in urban settings

Mary Jennifer Payne Why did Mary love this book?

When it comes to unforgettable protagonists fifteen-year-old Starr Carter definitely tops the list. Her father, Maverick, is also someone that I was left wanting to know more about and, luckily, Concrete Rose (Thomas’s follow-up to THUG), gives us the backstory to his life.

The Hate U Give details Starr’s journey as she struggles with deciding whether or not to testify in front of a grand jury after her best friend, Khalil, is killed by a police officer. The settings of the novel are critical to Starr’s inner conflict as she grapples with having to navigate between her home in Garden Heights, a tight-knit but underserved community where the lack of good schools and employment opportunities allows gangs and gun violence to flourish, and the wealthy neighbourhood where she attends private school.

By Angie Thomas,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Hate U Give 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?

Now a major motion picture, starring Amandla Stenberg

No. 1 New York Times bestseller

Winner of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize * Goodreads Choice Awards Best of the Best * National Book Award Longlist * British Book Awards Children's Book of the Year * Teen Vogue Best YA Book of the Year

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a…


Book cover of My Name is Seepeetza

Ellen Schwartz Author Of Heart of a Champion

From my list on children’s books about social justice.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up during the civil rights movement in the US, and my ancestors—the lucky ones—escaped pogroms in eastern Europe at the turn of the 20th century and made it to North America. (The unlucky ones were slaughtered in the Holocaust.) So I suppose it is natural that I would be drawn to write stories about the struggle to overcome persecution, racism, and injustice. I love creating characters who, at the beginning of the story, don’t know that they have what it takes to fight for justice, but then slowly build the confidence and courage to make a difference. And writing about these triumphs is fun, too!

Ellen's book list on children’s books about social justice

Ellen Schwartz Why did Ellen love this book?

Before I read this book, in the 1990s, I had never heard of Canada’s residential school system for Indigenous children. I was horrified, and also ashamed to have been so ignorant. Over the years, I have heard many Indigenous authors speak and have read many books on the subject, and have come to realize that the residential school tragedy is parallel to the Holocaust for Jews—my family’s story. This is the book that opened my eyes.

By Shirley Sterling,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Name is Seepeetza as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Her name was Seepeetza when she was at home with her family. But now that she's living at the Indian residential school her name is Martha Stone, and everything else about her life has changed as well. Told in the honest voice of a sixth grader, this is the story of a young Native girl forced to live in a world governed by strict nuns, arbitrary rules, and a policy against talking in her own dialect, even with her family. Seepeetza finds bright spots, but most of all she looks forward to summers and holidays at home.


Book cover of The Island on Bird Street

Annika Thor Author Of A Faraway Island

From my list on for children and young people on war and refugees.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a descendant of Jewish refugees, from pogroms in Russia and from Nazi persecution in Germany, I grew up with stories of war, exile, and loss. As a writer, these themes have been very important for me, not only in the series of four books about Stephie and Nellie, but also in a novel for adults and a picture book for younger children. As a reader, I am interested in stories that deal with the same themes – stories that may be set in the past, the present, or the future. As a mother and grandmother, I know that good books can help us talk to our young about the most difficult matters.

Annika's book list on for children and young people on war and refugees

Annika Thor Why did Annika love this book?

"It was like living on a desert island. Instead of the sea, there were houses and people around me." Aleks, aged 11, uses a metaphor fetched from his favorite book, Robinson Crusoe, to describe his own struggle for survival. But his "island" is a ruined house in the ghetto, where he hides after having been separated from his father during a raid by the Nazis. Just as resourceful and inventive as his literary role model, Aleks manages to fend for himself while hoping for his father to return.

Uri Orlev, himself a survivor of the Warsaw ghetto and Bergen-Belsen, succeeds in combining a classic adventure story with a realistic narrative of the Holocaust. I don't know how he does it, but I know that his book is a masterpiece.

By Uri Orlev, Translated by Hillel Halkin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

During World War II a Jewish boy is left on his own for months in a ruined house in the Warsaw Ghetto, where he must learn all the tricks of survival under constantly life-threatening conditions.


Book cover of The German Army and Nazi Policies in Occupied Russia, 1941-45

Antonio J. Muñoz Author Of Nazi Occupation Policies in the East, 1939-1944

From my list on the Holocaust and the Nazi Occupation of Eastern Europe.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Cuban refugee. I came with my family in the early 1960s a few years after the Cuban revolution. I served 4 years in the U.S. Marines. I went to school and in 1982 married. Both of my daughters became college professors. The younger works for the CUNY system, while the oldest teaches at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. I have always had a passion for modern European history. It grew from an interest in military history when I was a Marine.

Antonio's book list on the Holocaust and the Nazi Occupation of Eastern Europe

Antonio J. Muñoz Why did Antonio love this book?

Professor Theo J. Schulte has written a well-documented, well researched study of the Ostheer (German Army in the East) covering the Russian campaign.

I loved this book because, like almost all of the recommendations that I have listed, it is a single volume with a concise yet thorough enough study of the German Army and its connection to the Genocide and Democide in the Soviet Union.

The book taught me that there was a reason why, during the war, out of the approximately twenty-five million Soviet citizens who died in the war, thirteen million were civilians. The reason, Schulte points to, is the purposeful targeting of the civilian population for murder (Democide).

The book made me realize that the study of Nazi policies in the East should not only include the Holocaust, but should also cover the “other” deaths that occurred as well.

By Theo J. Schulte,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The German Army and Nazi Policies in Occupied Russia, 1941-45 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Whereas it is now generally accepted that the Wehrmacht leadership became deeply implicated in Nazi war crimes and atrocities in occupied Soviet Russia during the Second World War, little is known about the responses of the lower ranks to these policies. This study of two rear areas examines these responses in respect of such issues as POW treatment, partisan warfare, relations with the civilian populations, economic policy and attitudes towards the SS. Above all it moves into the territory of the social history of the Wehrmacht, based on documents and statistical data.


Book cover of The Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles Under German Occupation 1939-1944

Jenny Harrison Author Of Dead Before Curfew

From my list on the human cost of war.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Jenny Harrison and my writing career started in 1997 in South Africa with Debbie's Story, which to my astonishment, became a bestseller. Thinking this was going to be an easy route to fame and fortune, I continued writing after migrating to New Zealand. Alas, the road to a bestseller is rife with disappointment but that didn't stop me from writing a bunch of paranormal and humorous novels. Circumstances led me to writing about families caught up in World War II. I don’t write about battles or generals, I write about ordinary people who face the unimagined cost of war and survive.

Jenny's book list on the human cost of war

Jenny Harrison Why did Jenny love this book?

Forgotten Holocaust is a non-fiction account of the suffering of the Polish people during World War II. Most books on the Holocaust focus on the terrible travail of the Jewish people, which was immense and must never be either underestimated or forgotten. In Poland 3 million Polish Jews died but 3 million Polish Gentiles also died. It is only since the end of Communism in 1989 that the true heroism of the Polish people has come to light. At the Jewish Memorial, Yad Vashem, in Israel, there are more Polish Gentiles listed as Righteous Among the Nations than any other nation. Lukas’s book opened my eyes to this forgotten history. 

By Richard C. Lukas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Forgotten Holocaust has become a classic of World War II literature. As Norman Davies noted, "Dr. Richard Lukas has rendered a valuable service, by showing that no one can properly analyze the fate of one ethnic community in occupied Poland without referring to the fates of others. In this sense, The Forgotten Holocaust is a powerful corrective." The third edition includes a new preface by the author, a new foreword by Norman Davies, a short history of ZEGOTA, the underground government organization working to save the Jews, and an annotated listing of many Poles executed by the Germans for trying…


Book cover of The Ravine: A Family, a Photograph, a Holocaust Massacre Revealed

Isabel Vincent Author Of Overture of Hope: Two Sisters' Daring Plan that Saved Opera's Jewish Stars from the Third Reich

From my list on heroes and anti-heroes in WW2 and the Holocaust.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became interested in the Holocaust and the Second World War during my senior year of high school. I took a literature class entitled “Man’s Inhumanity to Man,” which focused a great deal on the literature that emerged from the Holocaust. At the end of the year, I had the great honor to meet author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel who had actually read my essay (my teacher knew him, and gave it to him to read) and encouraged me to keep writing. I am fascinated by stories of survival and the quiet heroism that characterized women like Ida and Louise Cook.

Isabel's book list on heroes and anti-heroes in WW2 and the Holocaust

Isabel Vincent Why did Isabel love this book?

Historian Wendy Lower focuses on a single photograph taken in October 1941 that shows a group of soldiers shooting a woman who clutches the hand of a little boy just before they fall into a mass grave in Miropol, Ukraine.

This is a gripping and impeccably researched account of the killers, the victims, and the photographer who took the haunting image. Lower combs through public records and archives, and relies on interviews with local residents to reconstruct mass atrocities. Lower’s descriptions of her dogged determination to reconstruct the scene of the crime reads like a thriller.

By Wendy Lower,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner, 2022 National Jewish Book Award

Shortlist, 2022 Wingate Literary Prize

A single photograph—an exceptionally rare “action shot” documenting the horrific final moment of the murder of a family—drives a riveting process of discovery for a gifted Holocaust scholar


In 2009, the acclaimed author of Hitler’s Furies was shown a photograph just brought to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The documentation of the Holocaust is vast, but there are virtually no images of a Jewish family at the actual moment of murder, in this case by German officials and Ukrainian collaborators. A Ukrainian shooter’s rifle is inches from a…


Book cover of The Diary of Anne Frank

Teena Raffa-Mulligan Author Of Just Write: An easy guide to story writing

From my list on books that helped shape me as a writer.

Why am I passionate about this?

I can’t remember a time in my life without stories in it. I grew up in an English/Italian family where everyone’s tales about their lives captured my imagination. Books also opened a window into the wonderful world of stories and my ambition to be a writer was born. I decided to write for children in 1971 after our son was born. Ten years of rejections later, my author dream came true and my first picture book was published. It was a stranger danger story that attracted some publicity, which led to invitations to speak at schools. Inspiring children to go on their own story writing adventure has become one of my greatest joys.

Teena's book list on books that helped shape me as a writer

Teena Raffa-Mulligan Why did Teena love this book?

I came across Anne Frank’s diary when I was a little younger than she was when she began writing it. It had a powerful impact on me because it was a true story that offered an insight into the heart and mind of a girl close to my own age who had not survived the Holocaust. It showed me that personal experiences written in an authentic voice are an important part of our storytelling culture. They have the power to change readers’ thinking and develop empathy. Like Anne, I wanted to become a published author, but at the time I had no idea so much of my writing life would be spent focusing on fact rather than fiction.

By Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Diary of Anne Frank by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett

"This Drama Play is a wonderful addition to anyone who has a passion for Anne Frank related reading. A dramatization for the stage and ready for anyone, including schools, to use."


Book cover of Yellow Star

Sharon K. Mayhew Author Of Keep Calm and Carry On, Children

From my list on children persevering through WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

My life has been blessed by having British grandparents who lived very long lives. Grandad was in the RAF and Nanny sewed for the War Effort during WWII. They rarely spoke of their experiences until they reached their early 90s. Their memories, other family members, and friends inspired me to research the children who persevered through Operation Pied Piper. I also visited related locations in England gathering more information. The Greatest Generation had a huge impact on who I am as a person and how I treat others. My recommendation list is a sampling of some of my favorite books about perseverance. 

Sharon's book list on children persevering through WWII

Sharon K. Mayhew Why did Sharon love this book?

The author does an outstanding job telling her Aunt Sylvia’s story. Sylvia was one of the twelve children to survive the Lodz Ghetto during the Holocaust. This book will capture you from page one through the end. Parts of the book literally took my breath away. By the end, I was in tears. There are no words to describe the heroes who survived the Holocaust.

By Jennifer Roy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"In 1945 the war ended. The Germans surrendered, and the ghetto was liberated. Out of over a quarter of a million people, about 800 walked out of the ghetto. Of those who survived, only twelve were children. I was one of the twelve." For more than fifty years after the war, Syvia, like many Holocaust survivors, did not talk about her experiences in the Lodz ghetto in Poland. She buried her past in order to move forward. But finally she decided it was time to share her story, and so she told it to her niece, who has re-told it…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the German occupation of Europe, the Holocaust, and missing persons?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the German occupation of Europe, the Holocaust, and missing persons.

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