100 books like My Heart

By Corinna Luyken,

Here are 100 books that My Heart fans have personally recommended if you like My Heart. 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 Scarecrow

Colleen Rowan Kosinski Author Of A Home Again

From my list on picture books on diversity and feelings.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a lyrical writer and have a passion for quiet, thoughtful books. I wrote A Home Again when I became an empty nester. When my husband and I were discussing downsizing our home, I was surprised by the reactions of my grown children. They absolutely did not want us to sell their family home. That led me to think about how our house would feel if we left. A new book was born. My friends, a gay couple, had just bought a new home and I thought it would be wonderful to make the second family in the story two dads. We need to show children there is a diverse array of families in the world—but what connects them all is love.

Colleen's book list on picture books on diversity and feelings

Colleen Rowan Kosinski Why did Colleen love this book?

The Scarecrow is an emotional story about the unlikely friendship between a scarecrow and a baby crow. The story explores loneliness and the value of friendship. The writing in this story is gorgeous and the illustrations are simply beautiful. This, like all of my other picks, is evergreen and a treat for children and adults alike.

By Beth Ferry, Eric Fan (illustrator), Terry Fan (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Scarecrow 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 Junior Library Guild Selection | An Indie Next List Pick | An Amazon Best 3-5 Books of 2019 Selection

“An emotionally impactful exploration of love and loneliness, this is an essential addition to any picture book collection.” —School Library Journal (starred review)

Bestselling author Beth Ferry (Stick and Stone) and the widely acclaimed Fan Brothers (The Night Gardener) present a gorgeous and poignant picture book about two unexpected friends and the special connection they share.

This tender and affectionate story reminds us of the comforting power of friendship and the joy of helping others—a tale that will inspire and…


Book cover of Introducing Teddy: A Gentle Story about Gender and Friendship

Colleen Rowan Kosinski Author Of A Home Again

From my list on picture books on diversity and feelings.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a lyrical writer and have a passion for quiet, thoughtful books. I wrote A Home Again when I became an empty nester. When my husband and I were discussing downsizing our home, I was surprised by the reactions of my grown children. They absolutely did not want us to sell their family home. That led me to think about how our house would feel if we left. A new book was born. My friends, a gay couple, had just bought a new home and I thought it would be wonderful to make the second family in the story two dads. We need to show children there is a diverse array of families in the world—but what connects them all is love.

Colleen's book list on picture books on diversity and feelings

Colleen Rowan Kosinski Why did Colleen love this book?

Errol and Thomas (his teddy bear), are best friends. But Errol starts noticing that Thomas doesn’t seem to enjoy all the things they do together and seems to be sad. Eventually, Thomas admits to Errol that they had always felt like a girl bear and would like to be called Tilly. Errol doesn’t care about the bear’s gender—just that they are best friends. It’s a lovely story about unconditional love and acceptance.

By Jessica Walton, Dougal MacPherson (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Introducing Teddy 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?

Errol and his teddy, Thomas, are best friends who do everything together. Whether it's riding a bike, playing in the tree house, having a tea party or all of the above, every day holds something fun to do together. One sunny day, Errol finds that Thomas the Teddy is sad, and Errol can't figure out why. Then Thomas the Teddy finally tells Errol what Teddy has been afraid to say: 'In my heart, I've always known that I'm a girl teddy, not a boy teddy. I wish my name was Tilly.' And Errol says, 'I don't care if you're a…


Book cover of And Tango Makes Three

Thomas Tracy Author Of Scoochie & Skiddles: Scoochie's Adoption Story

From my list on about LGBTQ+ families.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a gay father of two transracially adopted daughters, I am constantly searching for books that feature families like mine. It is important for children to see families that look like theirs represented in their storybooks. Unfortunately, there is a limited number of children’s books spotlighting adoption and even less featuring LGBTQ+ families. I am happy to share this list of some of my favorites that represent diverse/LGBTQ+ families.   

Thomas' book list on about LGBTQ+ families

Thomas Tracy Why did Thomas love this book?

It is hard to imagine that And Tango Makes Three was revolutionary and controversial in 2015 when it was published, but it was. However, it is one of those books that paved the way for greater diversity in children’s literature. Like so many powerful books, And Tango Makes Three is based on the real experiences of two male penguins raising a baby penguin. It is a staple book for the personal libraries of all families interested in promoting family diversity. 

By Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell, Henry Cole (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked And Tango Makes Three 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?

One of the six political books for kids you should definitely read according to Zoe Williams in the Guardian, November 2018!

Roy and Silo are just like the other penguin couples at the zoo - they bow to each other, walk together and swim together. But Roy and Silo are a little bit different - they're both boys.

Then, one day, when Mr Gramzay the zookeeper finds them trying to hatch a stone, he realises that it may be time for Roy and Silo to become parents for real.


Book cover of The Big Umbrella

Norene Paulson Author Of What's Silly Hair Day with No Hair?

From my list on children’s picture books on inclusion.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a former middle school language arts teacher, I’ve witnessed firsthand the struggles some students face trying to be accepted and the heartbreak they experience when they are not. Every child deserves to be seen and appreciated for who they are and not be excluded or ostracized due to factors over which they have little control. I write and promote picture books about friendship, acceptance, and inclusion because everyone deserves to be included…always. 

Norene's book list on children’s picture books on inclusion

Norene Paulson Why did Norene love this book?

Two things first drew me to this story. First, in our hall closet there is also a big umbrella—a big white, blue-striped umbrella which when opened is roomy enough for all our family members. Second, I love the metaphors in the book…the umbrella = shelter, rainy weather = troubles/hard times, and the variety of characters under the umbrella = family, friends, strangers, and the best part is no one is left out from beneath the umbrella as it simply gets bigger to accommodate everyone’s needs. What a compassionate, empathetic message of inclusion.

By Amy June Bates, Juniper Bates,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Big Umbrella 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 subtle, deceptively simple book about inclusion, hospitality, and welcoming the ‘other.’” —Kirkus Reviews

“A boundlessly inclusive spirit...This open-ended picture book creates a natural springboard for discussion.” —Booklist

“This sweet extended metaphor uses an umbrella to demonstrate how kindness and inclusion work...A lovely addition to any library collection, for classroom use or for sharing at home.” —School Library Journal

In the tradition of Alison McGhee’s Someday, beloved illustrator Amy June Bates makes her authorial debut alongside her eleven-year-old daughter with this timely and timeless picture book about acceptance.

By the door there is an umbrella. It is big. It is…


Book cover of Tidesong

Stephanie Cooke Author Of Paranorthern: And the Chaos Bunny A-Hop-Calypse

From my list on magical middle-grade graphic novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, I was obsessed with the fantastical, especially when it came to books. I was constantly trying to find my own door to Narnia to go off on an incredible adventure. While I never found a door that led to another world, I found that books offered me a similar experience…and all from the comfort of my fave places to read. Magic is still something I’m enthralled with and love exploring in books I read as well as the ones I write. And these are some of my favorite magical graphic novels.

Stephanie's book list on magical middle-grade graphic novels

Stephanie Cooke Why did Stephanie love this book?

If, like me, you’re a fan of Studio Ghibli films like Spirited Away or Ponyo, then this graphic novel is for you. It not only tackles a story revolving around growing up with magic but it adds in many other things that many of us have struggled with such as family expectations, living up to your potential, and more. Of course, everything feels a little more exciting when magic is added to the mix, but those themes that exist in the real world ground this story and allow for a strong connection to Sophie, our young protagonist.

By Wendy Xu,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tidesong 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?

Perfect for fans of Studio Ghibli and The Tea Dragon Society, this is a magically heartwarming graphic novel about self-acceptance and friendship.

Sophie is a young witch whose mother and grandmother pressure her to attend the Royal Magic Academy—the best magic school in the realm—even though her magic is shaky at best. To train for her entrance exams, Sophie is sent to relatives she’s never met.

Cousin Sage and Great-Aunt Lan seem more interested in giving Sophie chores than in teaching her magic. Frustrated, Sophie attempts magic on her own, but the spell goes wrong, and she accidentally entangles her…


Book cover of Taran Wanderer

Jonathon Mast Author Of Stones and Swords

From my list on fantasy adventure for middle grade readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I loved cartoons growing up. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Thundercats? Gargoyles? All favorites. But so many of the cartoons never changed anything. There were never any real stakes. (Except for Gargoyles. I fell in love with that show because of its continuity!) I hungered for books where things mattered, where the main characters did things that changed from book to book. Give me adventures that change the world! Well, I found some of those books. Here are stories where the main characters are kids. And now I get to enjoy these same stories with my kids! 

Jonathon's book list on fantasy adventure for middle grade readers

Jonathon Mast Why did Jonathon love this book?

If you’ve wandered through kid’s fantasy for long, you’ve probably encountered The Black Cauldron. It’s a great book and well worth your time! That said, my favorite of the entire series is book four, Taran Wanderer. The other books in the series tell epic tales with huge stakes. This one, though, is all about Taran trying to figure out who he is and if he’s worth anything. He sets out on a quest, and his answer at the end shook me when I read it in… sixth grade? I might have been younger yet! I highly, highly recommend this book to kids trying to find themselves!

By Lloyd Alexander,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Taran Wanderer 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?

Taran the assistant Pig-Keeper has led heroic adventures and is a friend of princes, yet he is still troubled by his lowly status, and determined to discover the secret of his true identity.

He sets out to consult the powerful witches of Morva and the mysterious Mirror of Llunet. On his quest to find the truth, Taran must journey through distant realms and undertake a series of challenging tasks. But his greatest struggle is against his own pride and fears, as he learns where true greatness lies.

Taran Wanderer is the fourth book in Lloyd Alexander's classic fantasy epic The…


Book cover of Fairest

Elizabeth Lowham Author Of Beauty Reborn

From my list on giving new life to old fairy tales.

Why am I passionate about this?

My debut novel is a Beauty and the Beast retelling because I’ve been obsessed with fairy tales all my life, and I’m thrilled to share some of my favorite retellings with you! When I was a child, my grandma gave me an illustrated collection of fairy tales. She had grown up reading stories from Hans Christian Andersen and the Grimm brothers, and she wanted to share that with me. It was an interest I gladly adopted. I love seeing my favorite fairy tales told with new twists and elements that bring the stories to life all over again and let me fall in love with them one more time.

Elizabeth's book list on giving new life to old fairy tales

Elizabeth Lowham Why did Elizabeth love this book?

Gail Carson Levine has been one of my favorite authors all my life. She and my maternal grandmother are jointly responsible for my deep obsession with fairy tales.

While Ella Enchanted is more well known, Fairest is my favorite of her fairy tale novels. It’s a Snow White retelling that made me truly fall in love with the main character. Aza’s insecurities felt real to me, and I loved the twist that she is not fairest in all the land because of looks but, rather, because of her voice.

This story breaks me down and builds me back up again. I’ve reread it many times and intend to reread it many more.

By Gail Carson Levine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fairest 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?

Once upon a time, there was a girl who wanted to be pretty ...Aza's singing is the fairest in all the land, and the most unusual. She can "throw" her voice so it seems to come from anywhere. But singing is only one of the two qualities prized in the Kingdom of Ayortha. Aza doesn't possess the other: beauty. Not even close. She's hidden in the shadows in her parents' inn, but when she becomes lady-in-waiting to the new queen, she has to step into the light-especially when the queen demands a dangerous favor. A magic mirror, a charming prince,…


Book cover of You Are Enough: A Book about Inclusion

Norene Paulson Author Of What's Silly Hair Day with No Hair?

From my list on children’s picture books on inclusion.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a former middle school language arts teacher, I’ve witnessed firsthand the struggles some students face trying to be accepted and the heartbreak they experience when they are not. Every child deserves to be seen and appreciated for who they are and not be excluded or ostracized due to factors over which they have little control. I write and promote picture books about friendship, acceptance, and inclusion because everyone deserves to be included…always. 

Norene's book list on children’s picture books on inclusion

Norene Paulson Why did Norene love this book?

You Are Enough is a powerful book celebrating diversity and inclusion. I literally had goosebumps the first time I read it. Every line is poster-worthy and each page is amazingly illustrated with kids from diverse backgrounds and abilities. Working together, the text paired with the illustrations reinforce the messages that “our differences are what make us special,” “we all belong,” and “you are just right exactly as you are.” 

By Margaret O'Hair, Sofia Sanchez (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You Are Enough 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?

A positive, beautiful and inclusive picture book all
about celebrating being yourself from Down syndrome advocate Sofia
Sanchez!
Wouldn't it be boring if we were all the same? Being just
who we are is great!

This inclusive and empowering picture book from Sofia Sanchez,
a twelve-year-old model and actress with Down syndrome, reminds
readers how important it is to embrace what makes you unique,
be confident, and be proud
of who you are.

Imagine all of the wonderful things you can do if you don't let
anyone stop you! You are enough just how you are. Sofia is unique,
but…


Book cover of A Monster Like Me

Helen M. Pugsley Author Of The Tooth Fairy

From my list on learning the old legends.

Why am I passionate about this?

I remember being gifted a copy of a fairy tale book for children by someone my dad worked with as a kid. "Wow, these are really close to the originals," Mom murmured under her breath.
"Wait, there are originals?" That set off a chain reaction of a lifelong love of fairy tales, myths, legends, and folk stories. Writing The Tooth Fairy forced me to double-check my lifetime of accumulated knowledge. Plus, being trapped indoors with audiobooks during a global pandemic left me a lot more time to learn! In short: I simply love the old legends.

Helen's book list on learning the old legends

Helen M. Pugsley Why did Helen love this book?

This is a story about a girl with a port-wine stain under her eye. Looking different, people treat her differently. The main character, Sophie, copes by carrying around a book called "The Big Book of Monsters" and identifying the monsters and humans around her. I found Sophie pretty knowledgeable on the subject of old legends! There were a few I hadn't heard of and had to look up myself. I also like her character development, and how she becomes more empathetic. Overall, it was entertaining and informative.

By Wendy S. Swore,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Monster Like Me 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?

There are trolls, goblins, and witches. Which kind of monster is Sophie?

Sophie is a monster expert. Thanks to her Big Book of Monsters and her vivid imagination, Sophie can identify the monsters in her school and neighborhood. Clearly, the bullies are trolls and goblins. Her nice neighbor must be a good witch, and Sophie's new best friend is obviously a fairy. But what about Sophie? She's convinced she is definitely a monster because of the "monster mark" on her face. At least that's what she calls it. The doctors call it a blood tumor. Sophie tries to hide it…


Book cover of I Don't Want to Be a Frog

Janet Sumner Johnson Author Of Help Wanted, Must Love Books

From my list on children and their fathers.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a picture book author and mom, I am constantly inspired by the world around me. I love watching my children, and I love how they adore their dad and he adores them in return. So many of my stories have been inspired by their interactions. While I am no expert on fatherhood, I have been fortunate to have had a loving dad who played “Monster in the Middle,” who took us for rides on his motorcycle, and reminded us that we could accomplish anything we put our mind to. I love books that remind us of the power of a loving father-child relationship and hope you, too, will be lifted by these joyful stories.

Janet's book list on children and their fathers

Janet Sumner Johnson Why did Janet love this book?

I Don’t Want to be a Frog is a hilarious conversation between a young frog and his dad. When the young frog wants to be a cat, rabbit, pig, owl, or really anything but a frog, it’s up to his dad to stay calm and remind him why it’s so great being exactly who he is. I love that the dad is so matter-of-fact. That he never loses patience, and he never tells his son to just stop. True dad love is sometimes as simple as being there and answering questions. Oh, and the awesome ending will crack you up! Such a fun book.

By Dev Petty, Mike Boldt (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Don't Want to Be a Frog 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?

The hit book about a willful young frog with a serious identity crisis and his heard-it-all-before father is now available in paperback. Perfect for fans of Mo Willems’s Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! and Jon Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back!

Frog wants to be anything but a slimy, wet frog. A cat, perhaps. Or a rabbit. An owl? But when a hungry wolf arrives—a wolf who HATES eating frogs—our hero decides that being himself isn’t so bad after all. In this very silly story with a sly message, told in hilarious dialogue between a feisty young frog…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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