100 books like Island of the Blue Dolphins

By Scott O’Dell,

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

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Anne of Green Gables

By L.M. Montgomery,

Book cover of Anne of Green Gables

Bruce Bishop Author Of Unconventional Daughters: An Engrossing Family Saga on Two Continents

From the list on Nova Scotia, Canada.

Who am I?

I developed a love for James A. Michener’s sweeping novels as a young man, which coincided with an early stage of my career as a travel journalist. I was fortunate to find myself in places all over the globe that he had written about, and these countries were somehow made more vivid to me because of his words. It wasn’t until the onset of Covid-19 in 2020 that I switched from writing non-fiction to fiction. In doing so, I realized that the small part of the world in which I had been born and raised – Nova Scotia, Canadawas as fascinating and interesting as any place I had visited. 

Bruce's book list on Nova Scotia, Canada

Why did Bruce love this book?

I’m convinced that many young readers in the last century (and this one) have been compelled to become writers themselves if they read Anne of Green Gables (published in 1908) and became enmeshed in the life of spunky, red-haired orphan, Anne Shirley.

The story takes place in Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island, and recounts the tale of a child who is mistakenly placed in the care of a pair of middle-aged siblings on their farm.

While I became addicted to reading every Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew novel when I was young, Anne of Green Gables was a book special to my heart because it was set in the same part of the world in which I was born.

By L.M. Montgomery,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked Anne of Green Gables as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Anne of Green Gables is the classic children's book by L M Montgomery, the inspiration for the Netflix Original series Anne with an E. Watch it now!

Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert are in for a big surprise. They are waiting for an orphan boy to help with the work at Green Gables - but a skinny, red-haired girl turns up instead. Feisty and full of spirit, Anne Shirley charms her way into the Cuthberts' affection with her vivid imagination and constant chatter. It's not long before Anne finds herself in trouble, but soon it becomes impossible for the Cuthberts to…


By Frank Herbert,

Book cover of Dune

Kim Alexander Author Of The Sand Prince

From the list on fantasy that make you feel like you’ve been there.

Who am I?

I’m a writer of epic fantasy and paranormal romance, and my obsession is writing about the fashion, food, language, and social politics of the worlds I create. World building is vital if you intend to create a lived-in backdrop for your story, but intricate, elaborate world building will only take you so far. You (the author) must have a cast of characters equally well developed. I’ve tried to take lessons away from every book I’ve read and every author I’ve interviewed and worked to balance characters to fall in love with against places that feel absolutely alive. Their joy/terror/love/hate/experience becomes the readers. It’s that combination that makes a book unforgettable.

Kim's book list on fantasy that make you feel like you’ve been there

Why did Kim love this book?

Well, I suppose a few words have been devoted to Dune already, but I’m going to chime in!

I read Dune the first time as a teenager, and found some of it (Paul’s adventures, everything to do with Jessica) exciting and engrossing. On the other hand, some of it I couldn’t puzzle out—mostly politics. Now, that’s my favorite part! Honestly, I got my first and most vital lesson in world building from Dune, and it remains a huge influence on my writing.

What does it smell like, this new world? What happens if you get caught outside in a storm? What do your clothes look like and do they mark you as an outsider? What do you eat and when? And so on, ad infinitum. And I loved the quotes that open the chapters, so much that I created my own book-within-a-book just so I could similarly quote it.

By Frank Herbert,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Before The Matrix, before Star Wars, before Ender's Game and Neuromancer, there was Dune: winner of the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards, and widely considered one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written.

Melange, or 'spice', is the most valuable - and rarest - element in the universe; a drug that does everything from increasing a person's lifespan to making interstellar travel possible. And it can only be found on a single planet: the inhospitable desert world of Arrakis.

Whoever controls Arrakis controls the spice. And whoever controls the spice controls the universe.

When the Emperor transfers stewardship of…


By Lily King,

Book cover of Euphoria

Muna Shehadi Author Of The First Wife

From the list on knocking you off your ass-umptions.

Who am I?

People either love or hate surprises, but in a book, done well, they’re always welcome—whether we race to the last page to find them or they hip-check us along the way. I started my career writing comedy romance—comfort reads but with few surprises. Now in my novels, I make sure to give readers plenty they don’t expect, whether it’s a character who isn’t what s/he seems, a contradictory situation gradually made clear, or a jaw-dropping twist. Pulling off a successful surprise is one of my favorite parts of writing—therefore my love of books that take me somewhere I didn't expect.

Muna's book list on knocking you off your ass-umptions

Why did Muna love this book?

This book surprised me on all counts. I’m not crazy about historical fiction because real lives are seldom as beautifully crafted as fictional ones and often make for dull novels. I knew nothing about Margaret Mead and cared less about archeology. Plus jungles... ew. I’d make a dismal explorer! But this book gripped me with fantastic settings and characters, and a sexy love triangle juiced it up. The story also challenged my so-far unexamined ideas about the Western study of societies and civilizations and left me thinking some good deep thoughts long after I finished. A brilliant book that tries to do a lot of things and manages all of them.

By Lily King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The New York Times Top Ten Bestseller

From the author of Writers & Lovers, Euphoria is Lily King's gripping novel inspired by the true story of a woman who changed the way we understand our world.

'Pretty much perfect' - Curtis Sittenfeld, author of Rodham

In 1933 three young, gifted anthropologists are thrown together in the jungle of New Guinea. They are Nell Stone, fascinating, magnetic and famous for her controversial work studying South Pacific tribes, her intelligent and aggressive husband Fen, and Andrew Bankson, who stumbles into the lives of this strange couple and becomes totally enthralled. Within months…

Klara and the Sun

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Book cover of Klara and the Sun

Therese Down Author Of The Estate Agent

From the list on lighting up your imagination and your soul.

Who am I?

I love stories grounded in realism - but which also explore that there may be more to life than meets the eye; reasons beyond reason, for the way we dream, love, and think, and which come from unexpected sources. I love books whose characters really 'live', and stay with me, long after I've finished reading. I aspire to create such characters. In my novels, I seek to explore important themes from perspectives that often pitch rationality against what it cannot explain, or dismiss. The fiction I most love does this – whether it exploits mythology, suggests life beyond life, or uses magical realism to add ‘other’ dimensions to the ordinary. "There are more things… Horatio…"

Therese's book list on lighting up your imagination and your soul

Why did Therese love this book?

This astonishing novel from literary Nobel-prize-winning author, Kazuo Ishiguru, gripped me from page 1 and kept me in thrall, to the end.

It bloomed, slowly, but steadily, into a panoramic narrative, artfully focalised from a unique perspective. In a society growing resentful of the androids it has created, to be ‘friends’ to its neurally ‘uplifted’ children, one android, Klara, speaks with a voice - and evident ‘soul’.

Truly innocent, and movingly vulnerable, Klara trusts the sun - on whose energy she relies for life - to help her meet the needs of those she learns to love. But, can they love Klara? A beautiful, extraordinary story, written by an author unsurpassed in his narrative skill.

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked Klara and the Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*The #1 Sunday Times Bestseller*
*Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2021*
*A Barack Obama Summer Reading Pick*

'A delicate, haunting story' The Washington Post
'This is a novel for fans of Never Let Me Go . . . tender, touching and true.' The Times

'The Sun always has ways to reach us.'

From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watches carefully the behaviour of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass in the street outside. She remains hopeful a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges…

Orphan Island

By Laurel Snyder,

Book cover of Orphan Island

Jenny Hubbard Author Of And We Stay

From the list on girls on islands.

Who am I?

Good question. I’ve always found equilibrium in quiet, unpopulated spaces—woods, gardens, and, of course, books. Now, at 56, even though I am happily married and close to friends and family I love, I seek the solitude that nurtured me in childhood. I wonder why. Did the pandemic nudge me to embrace my most essential self? This is why I chose the theme “Girls on Islands” because even if it’s not our natural state, don’t we all experience isolation? Yet, as John Donne reminds us, no girl is an island; she is “a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” The following works of fiction embody this duality.

Jenny's book list on girls on islands

Why did Jenny love this book?

Long-listed for the National Book Award in 2017, this fable may have been written for kids, but it has haunted me for four years. A green wooden boat delivers one child per year to a magical, adult-free island. But the boat does not depart empty; an older child must climb aboard. This elegant allegory invites readers of any age to contemplate what childhood is and what it means to have to leave it behind.

By Laurel Snyder,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A National Book Award Longlist title!

"A wondrous book, wise and wild and deeply true." —Kelly Barnhill, Newbery Medal-winning author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon

"This is one of those books that haunts you long after you read it. Thought-provoking and magical." —Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series

In the tradition of modern-day classics like Sara Pennypacker's Pax and Lois Lowry's The Giver comes a deep, compelling, heartbreaking, and completely one-of-a-kind novel about nine children who live on a mysterious island.

On the island, everything is perfect. The sun rises in a sky filled with dancing…

The Carnival at Bray

By Jessie Ann Foley,

Book cover of The Carnival at Bray

Sasha Dawn Author Of Blink

From the list on realistic teen characters.

Who am I?

Human psychology has always fascinated me, and studying what drives human behavior is necessary in writing realistic characters. I bring psychological studies into every novel I write, and realistic characters, often flawed, always receive top billing. One of my hallmarks is presenting a story’s setting as a supporting character, as well—much like the books I’ve recommended. I have written and published seventeen titles, chock full of the many facets of the human condition, whether I’m writing for teens (as Sasha Dawn) or adults (as Brandi Reeds). The books on my list inspire, entertain, and perhaps most importantly feel. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Sasha's book list on realistic teen characters

Why did Sasha love this book?

Foley depicts a struggle of finding oneself and learning where one belongs, and holding onto the everchanging definition especially when the geography surrounding us suddenly changes. Maggie and her family migrate from Chicago to Ireland, leaving behind her favorite uncle, and musical influence, the wayward Kevin. Add to this the backdrop of the anticipation of attending a Nirvana concert and you have all the fixings for a well-rounded tale of love, loss, and living. Having had the pleasure of meeting Foley a time or two, I can attest that her sense of setting is as apparent in her identity as an Irish Chicago resident as ever, and this comes through in her characters, who illustrate the same.

By Jessie Ann Foley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

ALA 2015 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults
Chicago Weekly Best Books of 2014
A Michael L. Printz Honor Award Winner
Winner, 2014 Helen Sheehan YA Book Prize
Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2014
Finalist, William C. Morris Award

It's 1993, and Generation X pulses to the beat of Kurt Cobain and the grunge movement. Sixteen-year-old Maggie Lynch is uprooted from big-city Chicago to a windswept town on the Irish Sea. Surviving on care packages of Spin magazine and Twizzlers from her rocker uncle Kevin, she wonders if she'll ever find her place in this new world. When first…

This One Summer

By Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki (illustrator),

Book cover of This One Summer

Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan Author Of Brain Camp

From the list on scary books for kids.

Who am I?

Both of us grew up in the suburbs, which were honestly kind of boring, especially in the summer—so early on, we turned to books and telling stories to entertain ourselves and others. Susan writes stuff that relies on imagination, fantasy, and creepy stuff—and because she’s kind of immature (what nice people call “a kid at heart”), she also writes a ton of kids’ TV. Laurence’s imagination is more about mysteries and humor—he’s written detective novels and short stories. Writing together is awesome: despite minor differences, we share anxiety, similar senses of humor, and a love of storytelling. In addition to Brain Camp, we wrote the graphic novel City of Spies, as well as the YA dystopian trilogy, Wasteland.

Susan's book list on scary books for kids

Why did Susan love this book?

Okay, this one isn’t scary. But This One Summer is an awesome coming-of-age GN about two young girls who spend a fateful summer at a lake house. While the themes of family dysfunction and the onset of sexual understanding make this skew a little older, the Tamakis really capture the details of not just summer, summer crushes, and summer communities, but also friendship and tween girls in general. Funnily enough, the two of us always hated summer – as kids, we spent them indoors with equal parts air conditioning, books, TV, and for Susan, cats. (Umm, and it hasn’t really changed that much since then.)

By Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked This One Summer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Every summer, Rose goes with her mum and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It's their getaway, their refuge. Rosie's friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose's mum and dad won't stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. It's a summer of secrets and sorrow and growing up, and it's a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.

A Wrinkle in Time

By Madeleine L'Engle,

Book cover of A Wrinkle in Time

Mark David Gerson Author Of The MoonQuest

From the list on fantasy that will make you devour the series.

Who am I?

One of the reasons I prefer novels to short stories as both reader and writer is that I like to immerse myself in fictional worlds and forge ongoing relationships with the characters who live in them. Often, in fact, I experience something resembling grief when I reach the end of a beloved book and am forced to say goodbye to the people and places that have so captured my imagination through all those pages. And that’s as true for the books I write as for those I read. For me, whether I’m writing it or reading it, that’s the major attraction of a compelling series!

Mark's book list on fantasy that will make you devour the series

Why did Mark love this book?

Most people read young adult fantasy when they’re in their teens. That wasn’t true for me.

In fact, ironically for someone who would end up writing fantasy, I didn’t read much of it until I was well beyond my teens. That’s when I discovered YA authors like Madeleine L’Engle, Michael Ende, and Ursula K. Le Guin. L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, however, was the first.

At the time, I was refocusing my life—away from the logical and intellectual and toward the spiritual and numinous, not unlike Wrinkle’s main characters, whose journey became a powerful metaphor for my own creative and spiritual awakening.

Moreover, that the now-classic book was rejected 26 times over two years was a potent lesson in perseverance. It still is.

By Madeleine L'Engle,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked A Wrinkle in Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Puffin Classics: the definitive collection of timeless stories, for every child.

We can't take any credit for our talents. It's how we use them that counts.

When Charles and Meg Murry go searching through a 'wrinkle in time' for their lost father, they find themselves on an evil planet where all life is enslaved by a huge pulsating brain known as 'It'.

Meg, Charles and their friend Calvin embark on a cosmic journey helped by the funny and mysterious trio of guardian angels, Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which. Together they must find the weapon that will defeat It.…

Memoirs of a Geisha

By Arthur Golden,

Book cover of Memoirs of a Geisha

Michael Grothaus Author Of Beautiful Shining People

From the list on reads set in Japan.

Who am I?

I’ve spent a lot of time in Japan, and my new novel, Beautiful Shining People, is a direct result of two profound experiences I had there. The first was when I was hiking through the hills of Kyoto late one night and turned around to see a glowing creature–some have said they think I saw a kami. The second experience happened when I was in Hiroshima at the Peace Park. I immediately started crying, seeing all the schoolchildren learning about the horrible atrocity committed against their ancestors. I have no idea why it affected me so much, but it was one of the most moving experiences of my life.

Michael's book list on reads set in Japan

Why did Michael love this book?

Memoirs of a Geisha is the only book I’ve actually dreamed about while reading – that’s how much it gripped me.

Not only are the characters richly drawn, the cultural details and world of pre-war Japan are so immersive you’ll feel like you are walking the streets of the Kyoto of almost a century ago. This book also fascinates me because it is the only one Arthur Golden ever wrote.

I don’t know why he never wrote again, but how could he top it? It’s the perfect novel.

By Arthur Golden,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Memoirs of a Geisha as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'An epic tale and a brutal evocation of a disappearing world' The Times

A young peasant girl is sold as servant and apprentice to a renowned geisha house. Many years later she tells her story from a hotel in New York, opening a window into an extraordinary half-hidden world of eroticism and enchantment, exploitation and degradation and summoning up a quarter of a century of Japan's dramatic history.

'Intimate and brutal, written in cool, lucid prose it is a novel whose psychological empathy and historical truths are outstanding' Mail on Sunday

The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963

By Christopher Paul Curtis,

Book cover of The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963

Frances M. Wood Author Of Daughter of Madrugada

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

Who am I?

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

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.

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…

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