78 books like Masterpiece

By Elise Broach, Kelly Murphy (illustrator),

Here are 78 books that Masterpiece fans have personally recommended if you like Masterpiece. 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 From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Jennie Yabroff Author Of If You Were Here

From my list on young readers set in old-school NYC.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in California, I was enchanted by the idea of New York City—largely due to the visions of it I found in the books on this list. I’ve now lived in NYC for 20 years and love matching real locations with their versions in my imagination. In my time in the city I’ve been a staff writer for Newsweek Magazine, an editor at Scholastic, and a freelancer for many publications including The New York Times and The Washington Post. I’m currently working on a second novel. 

Jennie's book list on young readers set in old-school NYC

Jennie Yabroff Why did Jennie love this book?

In this book, a sister and brother escape the horrors of suburban Connecticut and take refuge in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where they discover an art mystery that leads them to a wealthy surrogate grandmother. Beyond the iconic setting, this story has an irresistible only-in-New York feeling to it, so that you can’t help believing it all might have really happened, or still could happen.

Book cover of Chasing Vermeer

Wendy McLeod MacKnight Author Of The Frame-Up

From my list on middle grade that promote a love of art.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been obsessed with art since I was a kid. When I look at art, I see stories, not just about what I’m seeing, but about what it was like when the painting was created: was the artist tired, grumpy, frustrated? Why’d they paint it the way they did? Sadly, my artistic talent is limited, but fortunately, I can tell stories. After visiting William Orpen’s painting of Mona Dunn at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, I couldn’t help wondering why he made her look so pensive. The only way I could answer that question was by writing my own story about Mona and the other paintings in the gallery!

Wendy's book list on middle grade that promote a love of art

Wendy McLeod MacKnight Why did Wendy love this book?

This book is a modern classic and no wonder – delightful characters, a twisty-turny mystery, and best of all: art. The way Balliett introduces kids to the world of art through puzzles, codes, wordplay, is clever and thrilling and had me completely entranced. The world of art theft is both thrilling and chilling, and this book takes us both places.

By Blue Balliett, Brett Helquist (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Chasing Vermeer 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?

This bewitching first novel is a puzzle, wrapped in a mystery, disguised as an adventure and delivered as a work of art. When a book of inexplicable occurences bring Petra Andalee and Calder Pillay together, strange things start to happen- seemingly unrelated events connect, an eccentric old woman seeks their company, and an invaluable Vermeer painting disappears. Before they know it, the two find themselves at the centre of an international art scandal. As Petra and Calder are drawn clue by clue into a mysterious labyrinth they must draw on their powers of intuition, their skills at problem solving, and…


Book cover of The Painting

Wendy McLeod MacKnight Author Of The Frame-Up

From my list on middle grade that promote a love of art.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been obsessed with art since I was a kid. When I look at art, I see stories, not just about what I’m seeing, but about what it was like when the painting was created: was the artist tired, grumpy, frustrated? Why’d they paint it the way they did? Sadly, my artistic talent is limited, but fortunately, I can tell stories. After visiting William Orpen’s painting of Mona Dunn at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, I couldn’t help wondering why he made her look so pensive. The only way I could answer that question was by writing my own story about Mona and the other paintings in the gallery!

Wendy's book list on middle grade that promote a love of art

Wendy McLeod MacKnight Why did Wendy love this book?

My vocabulary for analyzing any piece of art is through storytelling; I can’t tell you how often I’ve looked at a painting and wishing I could step inside at that very moment. It’s a lot of the inspiration behind my own book. But in The Painting, Charis Cotter turns this idea on its head, leaving us wondering if stepping inside a painting would be all we think it would be. This story of suspense and fear and loss is a page-turner!

By Charis Cotter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Painting as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

A haunting, beautiful middle-grade novel about fractured relationships, loss, ghosts, friendship and art.

Annie and her mother don't see eye to eye. When Annie finds a painting of a lonely lighthouse in their home, she is immediately drawn to it--and her mother wishes it would stay banished in the attic. To her, art has no interest, but Annie loves drawing and painting.

When Annie's mother slips into a coma following a car accident, strange things begin to happen to Annie. She finds herself falling into the painting and meeting Claire, a girl her own age living at the lighthouse. Claire's…


Book cover of The Strange and Deadly Portraits of Bryony Gray

Wendy McLeod MacKnight Author Of The Frame-Up

From my list on middle grade that promote a love of art.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been obsessed with art since I was a kid. When I look at art, I see stories, not just about what I’m seeing, but about what it was like when the painting was created: was the artist tired, grumpy, frustrated? Why’d they paint it the way they did? Sadly, my artistic talent is limited, but fortunately, I can tell stories. After visiting William Orpen’s painting of Mona Dunn at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, I couldn’t help wondering why he made her look so pensive. The only way I could answer that question was by writing my own story about Mona and the other paintings in the gallery!

Wendy's book list on middle grade that promote a love of art

Wendy McLeod MacKnight Why did Wendy love this book?

As a kid, I was always enthralled by the idea of paintings coming to life. Blame it on old Vincent Price movies and Scooby-Doo cartoons!  This book is clever and creepy, and at its heart, speaks to the power art has to change the world by unleashing truths we might not want to talk about. You may want to read some of this book with the lights on! (I did!)

By E. Latimer, E. Latimer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Strange and Deadly Portraits of Bryony Gray as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

Lemony Snicket meets Oscar Wilde meets Edgar Allan Poe in this exciting and scary middle-grade novel inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray -- a family curse is unleashed!

Bryony Gray is becoming famous as a painter in London art circles. But life isn't so grand. Her uncle keeps her locked in the attic, forcing her to paint for his rich clients . . . and now her paintings are taking on a life of their own, and customers are going missing under mysterious circumstances.

When her newest painting escapes the canvas and rampages through the streets of London, Bryony…


Book cover of Steve the Dung Beetle on a Roll

Hayley Rose Author Of Gomer the Gassy Goat

From my list on to inspire a love of reading.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a chocolate loving writer, goat yoga enthusiast, and author of several successful children’s books specializing in early learning, along with an award-winning line of gratitude coloring journals. I hope to inspire a love of reading through education and laughter. My latest book, Gomer the Gassy Goat has sold over 21,000 units since 2021, and was recently referenced in The New York Times about the importance of using humor in books for kids to inspire a love of reading. “Not every book has to reach a lesson. Sometimes it can just be fun.” - Mr. Price

Hayley's book list on to inspire a love of reading

Hayley Rose Why did Hayley love this book?

Who doesn’t love a book about poop... Steve the Dung Beetle rolls this ball of dung past all the animals on the Savanah and along the way he teaches them why the dung beetle is so important to the environment. The illustrations are just fabulous and zookeepers write about the more endangered animals mentioned in the book. But I think the biggest plus are the poop jokes on the back of the book. Guaranteed laughs...

Book cover of How to Tell If You Are Human: Diagram Poems

Mark Yakich Author Of Poetry: A Survivor's Guide

From my list on poems for people who don’t usually read them.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child I did not enjoy reading of any kind, detested English class, and loathed poetry in particular. I simply couldn’t comprehend what relevance poems had to my life. Then, while living overseas, in my mid-twenties in a country in which I didn’t speak the language well and had no friends, I took refuge in an English-language bookstore. There, I would find the slimmest books I could find, which happened to be poetry collections, and I’d pull one down hoping for commiseration. At some point, I realized that I could make certain friends with certain poems. Twenty-five years of growing friendships later, now I read and write poetry for a living.  

Mark's book list on poems for people who don’t usually read them

Mark Yakich Why did Mark love this book?

This book will challenge your notion of what a poem is or can be. Let it. Subtitled “Diagram poems,” these works mix both word and illustration to get at their playful effects. The illustrations come from “found” or ephemeral sources, e.g., a manual on textiles, or a guide to common beetles of North America, or a grammar on computer languages, or the layouts of American playgrounds. The interplay in the poems creates a wonderful uncanniness. The friction, say, caused when you read “You are special” next to a few numbered puzzle pieces in Figure A. and “Everyone is special” next to a completed puzzle in Figure B, and yet when you try to superimpose the one on the other, you realize that some of the pieces have had to adjust themselves to fit the whole. The sudden epiphany is: How special is anyone? And yet answering that question…

By Jessy Randall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Tell If You Are Human as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With an entirely new approach to poetry and the art of collage, Jessy Randall transforms diagrams, schematics, charts, graphs, and other visual documents from very old books into poems that speak to the absurdities, anxieties, and joys of life in this modern age.


Book cover of Bud

Why am I passionate about this?

Lots of us rely occasionally on technology to help us entertain a young child, but the connection we form when looking at a book together cannot be beaten. I have found, both personally and professionally, that great books are born when a kind of magical mix-up is created in a child’s imagination between the words you read and the pictures they see. It feels so wonderful when this happens that they want to revisit the book again and again. I have written many books for young children over more than 20 years, and I am always striving to help cast that magical spell.

Fiona's book list on families and growing up–the funny bits, the comforting bits. . .and the scary bits

Fiona Munro Why did Fiona love this book?

This story is full of drama and laughs. I loved the detail in the artwork and the wit–the four beetles that patrol the garden are called . . . Ringo, John, Paul and George! 

I had never really thought how much every tiny seed growing in our garden or in the park has to face before it grows up! There are worries and dangers around every corner, but, like a child, if that seed is nurtured and protected by friends and family, it can grow tall, bloom, and reach for the sky whilst grounded by strong roots we cannot see. Bud is a tale that brings tears to my eyes. 

By Laura Hambleton,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Empire in Black and Gold

Rohan Monteiro Author Of Keep Calm and Go Crazy: A Guide to Finding Your Inner Hero

From my list on fantasy that is off the beaten path.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been passionate about Fantasy ever since I found a used copy of the Dragonlance Chronicles in a second-hand book store in India. I was 10 years old and immediately fell in love with the idea of fantasy worlds with magic and dragons. Soon after I read Terry Brooks, Neil Gaiman, Piers Anthony, RA Salvatore, Edgar Burroughs, and a host of other writers from the 1980s. What I like about the books I've chosen is that these characters are memorable. They are stories that can be re-read because the plot doesn't feel like rehashed tropes. The uniqueness of the settings, the challenges they face, and the solutions they engineer are what make them worth reading.

Rohan's book list on fantasy that is off the beaten path

Rohan Monteiro Why did Rohan love this book?

Ten glorious books about deceitful spiders, brave dragonflies, and steadfast beetles. In a world where people possess the traits of different insects, the wasps are expanding their empire. One lone beetle decides to challenge them. Shadows of the Apt turns traditional fantasy on its head by bringing together a whole new set of protagonists - Mantis who are skilled swordsmen beyond compare, Spiders who can craft deceitful webs of intrigue, Ants who can operate within a hive mind, and the like. The storytelling is unique for never before have there been characters like this, on a scale as massive as the insect kingdom.

By Adrian Tchaikovsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Empire in Black and Gold as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Empire in Black and Gold is the first instalment in the critically-acclaimed fantasy series Shadows of the Apt by Adrian Tchaikovsky.

The days of peace are over . . .

The Lowlands' city states have lived in peace for decades, hailed as bastions of civilization. Yet that peace is about to end. A distant empire has been conquering neighbours with highly trained soldiers and sophisticated combat techniques. And the city states are its desirable new prize.

Only the ageing Stenwold Maker - spymaster, artificer and statesman - foresees the threat, as the empires' armies march ever closer. So it falls…


Book cover of The Everlasting Story of Nory

Lawrence J. Cohen Author Of Unplug and Play: The Ultimate Illustrated Guide to Roughhousing with Your Kids

From my list on to help you remember what it was like to be a child.

Why am I passionate about this?

One of the main things I do for work is encourage parents to awaken their playful and empathic hearts and play with their kids—roughhousing play, dramatic play, games—and really listen to their kids. The connection this brings is unmistakable, and irreplaceable. Because so many adults, myself included, seem to have forgotten what it was like to be a child, I am always amazed when someone gets it. These are five books that brought me back there, from writers who somehow remembered, and share that understanding with compassion. (I was limited to books, but if I could have included a movie I would recommend C’mon C’mon.)

Lawrence's book list on to help you remember what it was like to be a child

Lawrence J. Cohen Why did Lawrence love this book?

I read every Nicholson Baker book as soon as it arrives, and not just because I knew him before he published his first short story.

My favorite novels of his explore what it is to be a thinking (and sometimes, overthinking) human being.

In The Everlasting Story of Nory, he applies his wit and wisdom to the mind of a nine-year-old girl, and he captures beautifully what that time of life is like.

By Nicholson Baker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Our supreme fabulist of the ordinary now turns his attention on a 9-year-old American girl and produces a novel as enchantingly idiosyncratic as any he has written. Nory Winslow wants to be a dentist or a designer of pop-up books. She likes telling stories and inventing dolls. She has nightmares about teeth, which may explain her career choice. She is going to school in England, where she is mocked for her accent and her friendship with an unpopular girl, and she has made it through the year without crying.

Nicholson Baker follows Nory as she interacts with her parents and…


Book cover of Beetle Boy

Virginia Clay Author Of Warrior Boy

From my list on told from the point of view of animals.

Why am I passionate about this?

I live in Nairobi, and my first book, Warrior Boy, is set here in Kenya. I live in a house that used to be an animal foster home. The previous owner left, but some of the non-human residents remained, including a gazelle, 25 tortoises, six cats, two dogs, a monkey, a snake, some fish, guinea pigs, and chickens. They all have such diverse personalities, and my children and I will often amuse each other by performing whole scenes involving the various animals and their voices. I could not help but write my next book, Forever Home, from their perspective. I hope you enjoy my book recommendations, all of which have helped me write my book. 

Virginia's book list on told from the point of view of animals

Virginia Clay Why did Virginia love this book?

Technically, Beetle Boy is not told from an animal’s POV (or even a beetle’s POV for that matter), but an important part of the main human character’s journey is that he learns how to understand what the beetles are saying. Young people have a special ability to communicate with animals, and because you are reading this, it is highly likely you are one of those. So, please enjoy this super fun, heartwarming tale, and be encouraged that if you think you understand animals—you probably do. Conversely, if you think I am ridiculous, then I suggest you learn how to listen to animals and minibeasts as soon as possible. You don’t want to become one of those adults Roald Dhal calls “stodgy” now do you?

By M. G. Leonard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Beetle Boy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

In this “hugely entertaining adventure with . . . characters worthy of Roald Dahl,” a boy searches for his father with help from an extraordinary beetle (The Guardian).

Darkus Cuttle can’t believe his eyes when a huge insect drops off the pants leg of his horrible new neighbor. It’s a giant beetle—and it seems to want to communicate with him. But how can a boy be friends with a beetle? And what does a beetle have to do with the disappearance of his dad and the arrival of the terrifying Lucretia Cutter, with her taste for creepy fashion?

The first…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about beetles, New York City, and William Shakespeare.

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