100 books like I Am David

By Anne Holm, L.W. Kingsland (translator),

Here are 100 books that I Am David fans have personally recommended if you like I Am David. 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 Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Johanna van Zanten Author Of The Imposter

From my list on how the Second World War affected regular people and their families.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child with older sisters, I read their books beyond my age level under the blankets with a flashlight in bed at night. I became a reading addict. Raised in The Netherlands with the Second World War casting its large shadow on our lives, I only became interested, after my parents were gone, in how people survived and had to find their courage under impossible circumstances. They would never talk about those occupation years. My search into history led me to find the answers.

Johanna's book list on how the Second World War affected regular people and their families

Johanna van Zanten Why did Johanna love this book?

I loved this non-fiction book, and reading it, I often broke down in tears, realizing this personal and innocent true teenage story was all leading up to the tremendous death of millions of innocent people.

This is the only Anne Frank book that I recommend to everybody from a young age. It is THE introduction to the real events of World War 2.

By Anne Frank, B.M. Mooyaart (translator),

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Anne Frank 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?

With 30 per cent more material than previous editions, this new contemporary and fully anglicized translation gives the reader a deeper insight into Anne's world. Publication of the unabridged Definitive Edition on Penguin Audiobook, read by Helena Bonham-Carter, coincides.


Book cover of The Sympathizer

Devin Murphy Author Of The Boat Runner

From my list on books with super shady characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a total sucker for people who are so complicated I can’t get a read on them. This love comes from growing up without any extended family. When I heard little bits of my parents’ pasts, it felt like the world got more interesting, and I wanted to dig in to know everything there was to know about what shaped them and, by proxy, what shaped me. I’m drawn to shady characters who don’t want to give up the goods, as they present a joyful challenge by withholding mystery, and those types of characters are the ones I love to read and write about.

Devin's book list on books with super shady characters

Devin Murphy Why did Devin love this book?

I’ve never encountered such a duplicitous and complicated character as the Captain. Having to survive life in Vietnam before and during America’s entry into the war, and after as an immigrant in America, I kept thinking I understood why the character behaved the way he did. His actions made sense. Then I’d get what I thought was a glimpse at his heart and intentions and know I had him all wrong, only to turn the page and see a completely different facet of him again.

Over and over his past and present and desires for the future kept morphing him. The stunning thing about this story is I totally understood why he would be this complex as each section doled out enough clues how someone like him could be so strange and malleable and twisted up in the most odd and fascinating ways. 

By Viet Thanh Nguyen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION 2016

It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. The general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, unaware that one among their number, the captain, is secretly observing and reporting on the group to a higher-up in the Viet Cong. The Sympathizer is the story of this captain:…


Book cover of The Book Thief

Irving Belateche Author Of The Origin of Dracula

From my list on refresh legends, myths, and historical events.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved novels that reinvent and refresh history and legends. They take these building blocks of culture and make them personal and emotional. These novels breathe new life into ancient tales and historical events, so they resonate with relevance. They reveal hidden depths and connections within familiar stories, transforming them into vibrant tales. This genre makes legend and history feel personal by taking me on one character’s unique journey, transforming the exploration of the past into a deeply engaging experience.

Irving's book list on refresh legends, myths, and historical events

Irving Belateche Why did Irving love this book?

This novel doesn’t reinvent history, but it does something I found just as engaging. It gave me a deeply emotional experience of a historical event; as the story unfolds, you feel the personal impact of Nazi Germany and World War II on the life of an ordinary young girl.

You also get a 2nd perspective on this tragic time, just as emotional, through the story’s narrator, Death. This unconventional lens used to witness this dark time in history made every detail of this novel emotional and moving.

By Markus Zusak,

Why should I read it?

31 authors picked The Book Thief 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?

'Life affirming, triumphant and tragic . . . masterfully told. . . but also a wonderful page-turner' Guardian
'Brilliant and hugely ambitious' New York Times
'Extraordinary' Telegraph
___

HERE IS A SMALL FACT - YOU ARE GOING TO DIE

1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.
Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.

SOME IMPORTANT…


Book cover of After the War

Kathy Clark Author Of Ivan's Choice

From my list on youth during the Holocaust.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a child of Holocaust survivors. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I truly appreciated the horrendous circumstances that they lived through. But even more than their plight and will to survive, I was impressed with the heroism of the people willing to sacrifice their lives in order to help others. It is their story, above all else that I want to tell in my books.

Kathy's book list on youth during the Holocaust

Kathy Clark Why did Kathy love this book?

I like this book because it shows in an exciting and engaging way, that a war is not over, just because it is declared to be over. For many survivors, such as Ruth Mendenberg, it is the beginning of a new war in which they fight to re-establish their identity and their right to a place to call home once again.

By Carol Matas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked After the War 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?

"Didn't the gas ovens finish you all off?" is the response that meets Ruth Mendenberg when she returns to her village in Poland after the liberation of Buchenwald at the end of World War II. Her entire family wiped out in the Holocaust, the fifteen-year-old girl has nowhere to go.
Members of the underground organization Brichah find her, and she joins them in their dangerous quest to smuggle illegal immigrants to Palestine. Ruth risks her life to help lead a group of children on a daring journey over half a continent and across the sea to Eretz Israel, using secret…


Book cover of The Diary of Laura's Twin

Kathy Clark Author Of Ivan's Choice

From my list on youth during the Holocaust.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a child of Holocaust survivors. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I truly appreciated the horrendous circumstances that they lived through. But even more than their plight and will to survive, I was impressed with the heroism of the people willing to sacrifice their lives in order to help others. It is their story, above all else that I want to tell in my books.

Kathy's book list on youth during the Holocaust

Kathy Clark Why did Kathy love this book?

This story effectively unites the present with the past. Two girls anticipate their Bat Mitzvah in very different circumstances. Laura learns to appreciate the freedoms she has to make her own choices through the past life of a girl the same age as her but facing severe limitations. It is a thought-provoking book for young teens.

By Kathy Kacer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Diary of Laura's Twin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Title: The Diary of Laura's Twin <>Binding: Paperback <>Author: KathyKacer <>Publisher: SecondStoryPress


Book cover of The Gospel Truth

Glen Huser Author Of Firebird

From my list on historical fiction featuring journeys.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I was an avid reader and particularly fell in love with historical fiction. My favourite corner for reading was on top of the woodbox by my grandmother’s cookstove. Warm and cozy, I delved into such books as Geoffrey Trease’s Cue for Treason and Jack Schaeffer’s Shane. How wonderful to land for a few hours in the world of Shakespeare’s London or the grasslands of the frontier west. When I worked as a children’s librarian and then began writing books myself, this early love has remained with me—so it factored into the books I chose for schools—and some of the novels I wrote such as The Runaway and Firebird.

Glen's book list on historical fiction featuring journeys

Glen Huser Why did Glen love this book?

This verse novel primarily sets the stage for a crucial journey Phoebe, a sixteen-year-old slave, living on a Virginia tobacco plantation in 1858, decides to make that will take her north to freedom. I like to write poetry myself and have favourites among verse novels that have proliferated in recent years. This is one of them. The poetry here is beautifully-crafted and underlines the power of language Phoebe has discovered, having taught herself to read. Pignat alternates viewpoints as she presents a cast of characters that includes a Canadian doctor posing as a birdwatcher who helps slaves escape. Bird imagery is a motif throughout the book—so apt in detailing a flight to a new world.

By Caroline Pignat,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Gospel Truth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

Award-winning author Caroline Pignat’s new historical novel recreates the world of a Virginia tobacco plantation in 1858. Through the different points of view of slaves, their masters and a visiting bird-watcher the world of the plantation comes to live in this verse novel. Phoebe belongs to Master Duncan and works in the plantation kitchen. She sees how the other slaves are treated – the beatings and whippings, the disappearances. She hasn’t seen her mother since Master Duncan sold her ten years ago. But Pheobe is trying to learn words and how to read and when she is asked to show…


Book cover of The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963

Frances M. Wood Author Of Daughter of Madrugada

From my list on bringing American history alive for middle graders.

Why am I passionate about this?

A reader. A librarian. A writer. I majored in History/English in college, partly because I love historical novels. When my editor asked that my second book be set during the California Gold Rush, I knew I wanted to write from the Mexican point of view - I’m a quarter Mexican. I soon found myself deep in research, learning about those years when Mexico owned what is now the American Southwest. Writing Daughter of Madrugada left me wondering: were some of my own ancestors displaced by American encroachment?

Frances' book list on bringing American history alive for middle graders

Frances M. Wood Why did Frances love this book?

This is one of the funniest, and saddest, books ever. When Kenny starts telling the story, it’s dead winter in Flint. Michigan. Cold enough to make your spit freeze. Momma, who grew up in Alabama, begins yearning for the South. By reputation, Momma’s momma is the strictest, meanest grandma ever. Kenny - who’s never met her - decides Grandma Sands must look like a troll. Dad and Momma decide that Grandma Sands is the perfect person to straighten out big brother Byron, who shows signs of turning into a juvenile delinquent. So... Join the Watsons. Get in their car (also known as the Brown Bomber), listen to the tires roll onto I-75, and imagine what’s going to happen when Byron meets his doom.

By Christopher Paul Curtis,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Newbery and Coretta Scott King Honoree about an unforgettable family on a road-trip during one of the most important times in the civil rights movement.

When the Watson family-ten-year-old Kenny, Momma, Dad, little sister Joetta, and brother Byron-sets out on a trip south to visit Grandma in Birmingham, Alabama, they don't realize that they're heading toward one of the darkest moments in America's history. The Watsons' journey reminds us that even in the hardest times, laughter and family can help us get through anything.

"A modern classic." -NPR

"Marvelous . . . both comic…


Book cover of Days of Terror

Glen Huser Author Of Firebird

From my list on historical fiction featuring journeys.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I was an avid reader and particularly fell in love with historical fiction. My favourite corner for reading was on top of the woodbox by my grandmother’s cookstove. Warm and cozy, I delved into such books as Geoffrey Trease’s Cue for Treason and Jack Schaeffer’s Shane. How wonderful to land for a few hours in the world of Shakespeare’s London or the grasslands of the frontier west. When I worked as a children’s librarian and then began writing books myself, this early love has remained with me—so it factored into the books I chose for schools—and some of the novels I wrote such as The Runaway and Firebird.

Glen's book list on historical fiction featuring journeys

Glen Huser Why did Glen love this book?

I’ve read this book several times and I don’t believe I ever manage to get through it without shedding a few tears. Have tissues handy. A Mennonite family living in Ukraine in the 1920s has their village destroyed by Russian soldiers. The central character, ten-year-old Peter Neufeld, makes a decision to help his older brother Otto escape after he’s participated in counter-attacks, going against the family’s adherence to passive resistance. The Neufelds decide to leave a land of oppression and move to Canada where they will make an effort to assimilate rather than live apart as they have in Ukraine. It’s a journey filled with challenges and heartbreak, but always with the strength of love of family and humanity as a sustaining factor.

By Barbara Claassen Smucker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Days of Terror as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Chronicles the plight of the Neufelds in 1917, who suffer religious persecution as Mennonites in war torn Russia and who seek a new life in Canada


Book cover of Journey to the River Sea

Glen Huser Author Of Firebird

From my list on historical fiction featuring journeys.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I was an avid reader and particularly fell in love with historical fiction. My favourite corner for reading was on top of the woodbox by my grandmother’s cookstove. Warm and cozy, I delved into such books as Geoffrey Trease’s Cue for Treason and Jack Schaeffer’s Shane. How wonderful to land for a few hours in the world of Shakespeare’s London or the grasslands of the frontier west. When I worked as a children’s librarian and then began writing books myself, this early love has remained with me—so it factored into the books I chose for schools—and some of the novels I wrote such as The Runaway and Firebird.

Glen's book list on historical fiction featuring journeys

Glen Huser Why did Glen love this book?

I’m always on the lookout for fiction in which the writing itself is dazzling. Eva Ibbotson’s prose is truly something to savour and this novel is the jewel in her crown. Maia, an orphan, is sent from England to stay with distant relatives, the Carters, in Manaus, Brazil. The family is weird and mean but Maia finds two young friends—Clovis, an actor, and Finn, who is partly a Brazilian native, but heir to his British grandfather’s fortune. Clovis longs to return to England and Finn happily changes places with him. Finn and Maia journey down the Amazon (the “River Sea”) to live with his Xanti people. Expect humour, high adventure, and a richly-detailed look at life in early 20th century Brazil.

By Eva Ibbotson, Kevin Hawkes (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Journey to the River Sea 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?

It is 1910 - Maia, orphaned at 13, travels from England to start a new life with distant relatives in Manaus, hundreds of miles up the Amazon. She is very unhappy with her exceptionally bizarre new family but befriends Finn, a mysterious English boy who lives with the local Indians and shares her passion for the jungle. Then Finn's past life catches up with him and they are forced to flee far upriver in a canoe, pursued by an assortment of brilliantly eccentric characters that only Eva Ibbotson could invent.


Book cover of What Is the What

Harriet Levin Millan Author Of How Fast Can You Run

From my list on astonishing idealism and survival in East Africa.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I first met Michael Majok Kuch and he asked me if I was interested in writing his life story, I knew nothing about South Sudan. Over the next several years, we met weekly. I’d interview him, write a chapter, research it, and then show it to him for his approval. I read everything I could find on South Sudan and the adjacent countries. In fact, I became so obsessed with Michael's culture that once I read Francis Mading Deng's Dinka Folktales, Mike’s sister arranged a meeting between Francis Mading Deng and me. These books prepared me for writing How Fast Can You Run, helping other “Lost Boys” of Sudan reunite with their mothers.

Harriet's book list on astonishing idealism and survival in East Africa

Harriet Levin Millan Why did Harriet love this book?

When One Book, One Philadelphia called me in my office at Drexel University and asked me to select 10 students to interview 10 South Sudanese refugees for a One Book project, I read Dave Egger’s epic tale of Valentino Achak Deng’s survival as a so-called “Lost Boy" of Sudan. Valentino along with thousands of other “Lost Boys” was forced to separate from his parents at a young age and trek thousands of miles across Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya without resources to food or water to arrive at several refugee camps. This is Valentino’s story yet it resonates with fleeing people worldwide. Anyone who lives in freedom will stop and listen to the plight of others after reading this astonishing book.

By Dave Eggers,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked What Is the What 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?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The epic novel based on the life of Valentino Achak Deng who, along with thousands of other children —the so-called Lost Boys—was forced to leave his village in Sudan at the age of seven and trek hundreds of miles by foot, pursued by militias, government bombers, and wild animals, crossing the deserts of three countries to find freedom.

When he finally is resettled in the United States, he finds a life full of promise, but also heartache and myriad new challenges. Moving, suspenseful, and unexpectedly funny, What Is the What is an astonishing novel that…


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