100 books like Leon and Bob

By Simon James,

Here are 100 books that Leon and Bob fans have personally recommended if you like Leon and Bob. 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 Larky Mavis

Tricia Tusa Author Of Is That You, Eleanor Sue?

From my list on truly unique children’s tales.

Why am I passionate about this?

I decided at the age of 5 that I wanted to write and illustrate books for children. That is exactly what I have been doing the last 40 years of my adult life. I find that I walk around seeing and hearing the world as potential stories. It’s fun! I can not imagine doing anything else for a living! I recommended the 5 books that I did because they are a little strange and curious and thought-provoking. The art, as well. Therefore, they feel like they emerged from the author/illustrator from that place within, way down deep, where only authentic expression of self can be found. 

Tricia's book list on truly unique children’s tales

Tricia Tusa Why did Tricia love this book?

This feels like a fairy tale, of sorts. A curious feel to it. It is touching and evocative and strange - in that good and compelling way. Larky Mavis is somehow an endearing outcast in her small village. Is she a gypsy, is she homeless? The village sees her as socially unacceptable. Not “normal.” It would be interesting to hear the child reader’s take. I would guess a child would relate to Larky’s guilelessness - her open heart and her trust in others. Larky finds 3 peanuts. She does not eat the third one because she sees a baby inside. Perhaps a metaphor for seeing the potential in life if one’s heart is open enough. She shares her delightful discovery with others from town.

These individuals feel they are more the expert in knowing what is inside this peanut. One declares it a worm, another a mouse, another a deformed…

By Brock Cole,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Larky Mavis 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?

Another orginal picture-book fairy tale

Larky Mavis, an eccentric soul, finds three peanuts in the middle of the road. The first tastes like liver and onions. The second, like bread pudding. And the third -- well, inside the third is a baby. Larky Mavis decides to name it Heart's Delight and to take care of it. She shows it to the teacher, and he says it looks like a worm. She asks the parson to christen it, but he thinks it's a mouse. And when she asks the doctor to help her teach the baby to say "Ma," he thinks…


Book cover of Little Bear's Friend

Elise Broach Author Of The Miniature World of Marvin & James

From my list on early readers with funny animal friendships.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the author of nearly thirty books for children, ranging from board books to young adult novels. This list combines two of my great loves: animals and early readers. I love animals because they are funny, amazing, and mysterious, and they have brought me so much joy throughout my life. I love early readers because they are small books about big feelings—big problems, big dramas, big adventures. The words may be simple, but there is nothing simple about the emotions in these stories. For beginning readers, these first, short chapter books are the gateway to a lifetime of literary pleasures. Below are a few of my favorites, old and new. 

Elise's book list on early readers with funny animal friendships

Elise Broach Why did Elise love this book?

The Little Bear series is my all-time favorite of the early reader genre; Minarik’s wisdom about childhood worries and pleasures shines on every page, and Sendak’s rich, delicate drawings gorgeously render an entire world. In this gentle tale of friendship, Little Bear meets a human girl, Emily, who is lost in the woods. He helps her find her family, and soon they are fast friends, playing games, helping Duck baby-sit, and even attending a party at Owl’s house. When Emily’s doll Lucy breaks her arm, only Little Bear knows what to do. But when the summer ends, will Little Bear ever see Emily again?  

By Else Holmelund Minarik, Maurice Sendak (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Little Bear's Friend 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?

Little Bear makes a new friend but misses her when summer ends.

One summer Little Bear makes friends with a girl named Emily and her doll Lucy. But when summer ends, Emily must leave. Little Bear is sad—until he finds a way to stay close to his new friend even when she is far away.

Little Bear's Friend is among the beloved classic Little Bear books from Else Holmelund Minarik and Maurice Sendak. The first, Little Bear, launched the I Can Read early reader series in 1957.

In the Little Bear stories, we meet Little Bear, whose adventures are filled…


Book cover of Eulalie and the Hopping Head

Tricia Tusa Author Of Is That You, Eleanor Sue?

From my list on truly unique children’s tales.

Why am I passionate about this?

I decided at the age of 5 that I wanted to write and illustrate books for children. That is exactly what I have been doing the last 40 years of my adult life. I find that I walk around seeing and hearing the world as potential stories. It’s fun! I can not imagine doing anything else for a living! I recommended the 5 books that I did because they are a little strange and curious and thought-provoking. The art, as well. Therefore, they feel like they emerged from the author/illustrator from that place within, way down deep, where only authentic expression of self can be found. 

Tricia's book list on truly unique children’s tales

Tricia Tusa Why did Tricia love this book?

This Is David Small’s very first book that he both wrote and illustrated. I came upon this book in my mid-twenties. I have cherished it ever since. Great artwork with a limited palette due to the archaic 4-color printing process used back then. With this book, it works! Beautiful artwork and humorous wording. Mother Lumps and her baby daughter, Eulalia, are frogs. A mother’s favorite thing happens - Mother Lumps encounters another mother claiming her children are perfect and, therefore, she is perfect as a mother. Grrrrr. Walking along, they encounter a doll left behind at a picnic. They think the doll is a real child. Mother Lumps sees her as abandoned and takes her home. It is so adorable how the story unfolds. I tear up every time. A lovely message is conveyed.

By David Small,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Eulalie and the Hopping Head 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?

A reissue, in a larger format, of the first picture book by Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator David Smalls.


Book cover of Ruby the Copycat

Tricia Tusa Author Of Is That You, Eleanor Sue?

From my list on truly unique children’s tales.

Why am I passionate about this?

I decided at the age of 5 that I wanted to write and illustrate books for children. That is exactly what I have been doing the last 40 years of my adult life. I find that I walk around seeing and hearing the world as potential stories. It’s fun! I can not imagine doing anything else for a living! I recommended the 5 books that I did because they are a little strange and curious and thought-provoking. The art, as well. Therefore, they feel like they emerged from the author/illustrator from that place within, way down deep, where only authentic expression of self can be found. 

Tricia's book list on truly unique children’s tales

Tricia Tusa Why did Tricia love this book?

Ruby is new to school as she enters Miss Hart’s class. Ruby’s desk is right behind Angela’s. Angela seems to be a self-possessed, lovely young girl and, right away, Ruby is quite taken with Angela.  She wants to be her friend. Perhaps Ruby wants to be noticed and equally admired by this potential new friend, and so she imitates Angela in every way. It gets old fast. Miss Hart handles the situation admirably well, with utmost respect and sensitivity. (I wish I had encountered more teachers like that as a kid.)  Rathmann captures kids’ innocent foibles, well. The artwork is adorable and expressive and loose. Great humor. Full of humanity. 

By Peggy Rathmann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ruby the Copycat 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?

Let the Scholastic Bookshelf be your guide through the whole range of your child's experiences--laugh with them, learn with them, read with them!

It's the first day of school, and Ruby is new. When her classmate Angela wears a red bow in her hair, Ruby comes back from lunch wearing a red bow, too. When Angela wears a flowered dress, suddenly Ruby's wearing one, too. Fortunately, Ruby's teacher knows a better way to help Ruby fit in--by showing how much fun it is to be herself!

Book cover of Two Naomis

Tamara Ellis Smith Author Of Here and There

From my list on helping kids rethink home after divorce.

Why am I passionate about this?

When my sister got divorced, she and my nephew, Jordy, moved in with our parents. My mother was—and still is—a big music fan, and she decided to play the same music in her house that Jordy’s dad played in his. The music became a bridge; a way for Jordy to feel like he was at home in both places. I loved this and kept it tucked away for years before Here and There came to me. I feel passionate about helping kids find a way to feel safe and comfortable in themselves—no matter where they are or what they’re going through—and all the books on my list do this brilliantly.

Tamara's book list on helping kids rethink home after divorce

Tamara Ellis Smith Why did Tamara love this book?

I’m cheating and throwing in a middle grade novel! It’s that good! This one can be read independently or as a read-aloud. (Side note: I still read every night to my 14- and 10-year-olds and plan to for as long as they’ll let me.) A story about redefining family, Two Naomis explores the growing relationship—first antagonistic and slowly becoming loving—between Naomi Marie and Naomi Edith, whose parents become seriously involved. Hilarious and full of heart, this story is a great contemporary take on divorce and blended families. And Audrey and Olugbemisola are brilliant human beings and make a kick-ass writing team to boot!

By Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, Audrey Vernick,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Two Naomis 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?

A realistic contemporary story of two girls whose divorced parents begin to date—perfect for fans of Lisa Graff, Sara Pennypacker, and Rita Williams-Garcia. “A smart, endearing story about two girls who are blending families, growing up, and building a friendship.” (Kirkus starred review)

Other than their first names, Naomi Marie and Naomi Edith are sure they have nothing in common, and they wouldn’t mind keeping it that way.

Naomi Marie starts clubs at the library and adores being a big sister. Naomi Edith loves quiet Saturdays and hanging with her best friend in her backyard. And while Naomi Marie’s father…


Book cover of Uglies

Candace Kade Author Of Enhanced: Volume 1

From my list on young adult near future novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

My family moved from America to rural China when I was four. We never stayed in one place for very long. Ever since, I’ve been searching for home in books and countries around the world. The themes of home, belonging, and identity are important ones to me that I explore in my young adult novels. My love of travel, martial arts, and tech also lend themselves well to writing fast-paced adventure books with epic battles and fight scenes. I hope you enjoy the novels on this list as much as I do!

Candace's book list on young adult near future novels

Candace Kade Why did Candace love this book?

I rarely read a book twice, but this is one of the few that I’ve read multiple times because it is such a unique premise. The concept of people going from “ugly” to “pretty” on their sixteenth birthday (thanks, futuristic technology) is such an interesting one to dive into. 

Also, I love how the main character straddles both the world of the pretties and that of the uglies—not knowing where she belongs. As a third culture kid, and someone who frequently feels like a misfit, I really related to her.

By Scott Westerfeld,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Uglies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 11, 12, 13, and 14.

What is this book about?

Soon to be a major motion picture streaming on Netflix!

The first installment of Scott Westerfeld’s New York Times bestselling and award-winning Uglies series—a global phenomenon that started the dystopian trend.

Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. In just a few weeks she’ll have the operation that will turn her from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty. And as a pretty, she’ll be catapulted into a high-tech paradise where her only job is to have fun.

But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to become a pretty. When Shay runs away, Tally…


Book cover of Sophie's Squash

Sara Levine Author Of Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons

From my list on for engaging kids on Zoom and FaceTime.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an award-winning author of picture books for kids. I’m also a veterinarian and science educator, and many of my books have a STEM focus. I write books that are interactive, engaging, and playful. I do this by using humor and by writing in a question-and-answer format that encourages children to think and call out answers before the page-turn. During this time when so many of us have not been able to be in the same room with the kids we read with and to, I’ve found interactive books to be the best at holding attention and connecting. I hope they work well for you, too.

Sara's book list on for engaging kids on Zoom and FaceTime

Sara Levine Why did Sara love this book?

Sophie befriends a squash meant for dinner, and her parents respect this relationship, her emotions, and her decision-making. Even after the squash begins to rot. There’s gentle humor here, but it’s not a laugh-out-loud book, or an overtly interactive book. So why list it here? Because it’s just fantastic storytelling that never fails to completely capture the online attention of classrooms of kids I’ve read it to (and a niece more times than I can count). A perfect story can do that. And it has a scientific solution to the dilemma! I adore and recommend it for that reason as well.

By Pat Zietlow Miller, Anne Wilsdorf (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sophie's Squash as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?



On a trip to the farmers' market with her parents, Sophie chooses a squash, but instead of letting her mom cook it, she names it Bernice. From then on, Sophie brings Bernice everywhere, despite her parents' gentle warnings that Bernice will begin to rot. As winter nears, Sophie does start to notice changes.... What's a girl to do when the squash she loves is in trouble?

The recipient of four starred reviews, an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor, and a Charlotte Zolotow Honor, Sophie's Squash will be a fresh addition to any collection of autumn books.


Book cover of Meddling Kids

Elijah Menchaca Author Of They Met in a Tavern

From my list on heroes haunted by their adventures.

Why am I passionate about this?

The past is a powerful thing. It’s what we turn to when confronted with the question “how did we get here?” When I began my journey as an author in earnest, that was the question I was facing, and it was the one I wanted my characters to explore. But one book wasn’t enough to satisfy me, and I went searching for other titles that scratched that same itch of examining and confronting our pasts to work out our future. For me, these books were the ones that struck that cord the hardest.

Elijah's book list on heroes haunted by their adventures

Elijah Menchaca Why did Elijah love this book?

Meddling Kids asks the question, “What would it be like if the Scooby gang retired because they were traumatized by a case where the monsters were real?” And the answer is a story about bravery, overcoming personal demons, and seeing through the rose colored glasses. It gets a little weird in places, but overall it’s a good and uplifting time.

By Edgar Cantero,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Meddling Kids as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A nostalgic and subversive trip rife with sly nods to H. P. Lovecraft and pop culture, in the vein of It and Stranger Things.

An exuberant and wickedly entertaining celebration of horror, love, friendship, and many-tentacled, interdimensional demon spawn. SUMMER 1977. The Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in Oregon's Zoinx River Valley) solved their final mystery and unmasked the elusive Sleepy Lake monster-another low-life fortune hunter trying to get his dirty hands on the legendary riches hidden in Deboen Mansion. And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those…


Book cover of The Secret to Hummingbird Cake

Shawna Holly Author Of The Stories We Keep: A Novel of Motherhood, Mental Health & Hope

From my list on capturing the power of friendship and family.

Why am I passionate about this?

Realistic, contemporary fiction is my jam. I’m in love with the genre for many reasons, but the most significant is this: In life, we often find it difficult to reveal our struggles to others, for fear of being exposed, seen as weak, “crazy”, or incapable. However, in the magical world of contemporary fiction, we allow ourselves to relate without fear of judgment or shame and because how we relate is different for all of us, these raw, emotional stories are some of the most powerful ones to be told. Why? Because it is in these stories that we see ourselves, and in them, we find hope.

Shawna's book list on capturing the power of friendship and family

Shawna Holly Why did Shawna love this book?

Oh, sweet, southern goodness! Set in Bon Dieu, Louisiana, this is the story of three childhood best friends, Carrigan, Ella Rae, and Laine—each a character which is expertly crafted with their own quirks, mannerisms, goals, and faults.

One of my favorite things about this novel is the way in which Bon Dieu, itself, becomes a central character in the story as we get to know its charm, humor, and yes, its not-so-great sides too. A wonderful read for anyone who enjoys a good Southern drama and a bond of sisterhood which prevails over everything else. Bring the tissues though…you’re going to need them!

By Celeste Fletcher McHale,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Secret to Hummingbird Cake as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Friends since kindergarten, Carrigan, Ella Rae, and Laine thought they'd been through everything together. But when cancer threatens to rip the trio apart, their world spins in a way they've never known before. Through it all, will they discover the secret to the divine taste of hummingbird cake-and to friendships that never end?

In the South you always say "yes, ma'am" and "no, ma'am." You know everybody's business. Football is a lifestyle not a pastime. Food-especially dessert-is almost a religious experience. And you protect your friends as fiercely as you protect your family-even if the threat is something you cannot…


Book cover of The Giving Tree

Gary Bernard Author Of The Moth and the Sun

From my list on picture books that promote creativity and critical thinking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always found the art of storytelling to be important. It’s taken me to places I’ve dreamed of as well as places others have created. Drawing has always been my passion, and the desire to entertain audiences of all ages has matured with time. When I realized I could make my own stories and illustrate them, it was clear that it was something I wanted to do. I always appreciated books that spoke up to me rather than down or too simply. The books on this list do just that.

Gary's book list on picture books that promote creativity and critical thinking

Gary Bernard Why did Gary love this book?

I wasn’t the strongest reader as a child, but the simple, wavy line drawings drew me in. They told the story just as well as the words, and the level of emotion behind them brings me back every time.

The book’s profound message of what “giving” is, together with the passage of time and the bond between the two characters, is not only intriguing for all ages, but demonstrates what love, kindness, and simple friendship mean. Everything about it marked me and created a long-standing change in my thinking.

By Shel Silverstein,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Giving Tree 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?

As recommended by Meghan Markle as the one book she can't wait to share with her child - the timeless fable about the gift of love

Once there was a little tree ... and she loved a little boy.

So begins the classic bestseller, beautifully written and illustrated by the gifted and versatile Shel Silverstein.

Every day the boy would come to the tree to eat her apples, swing from her branches, or slide down her trunk ... and the tree was happy. But as the boy grew older he began to want more from the tree, and the tree…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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