100 books like No Pretty Pictures

By Anita Lobel,

Here are 100 books that No Pretty Pictures fans have personally recommended if you like No Pretty Pictures. 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 All the Light We Cannot See

Martin Dugard Author Of Taking London: Winston Churchill and the Fight to Save Civilization

From my list on fighter pilots Winston Churchill Battle of Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, there was a young boy who made model airplanes and hung them on his bedroom ceiling with fishing lines and thumbtacks as if the planes were dogfighting. The aircraft were inspired by a movie called The Battle of Britain and were the same Messerschmitts, Spitfires, and Hurricanes. The boy grew up and began writing books for a living, making it his mission to help people love history as much as he did. One day, it dawned on him to write about his long-ago planes and their epic battle. I am that boy, and that's when I wrote my book. 

Martin's book list on fighter pilots Winston Churchill Battle of Britain

Martin Dugard Why did Martin love this book?

I love well-researched fiction that reads like history. I love this book enough that I’ve read it twice. I keep it in a special section of my library reserved for books that I will never give away or loan to friends for fear of never getting them back.

I love that this book inspires me to write fiction, something I ought to get cracking on now that I’ve written almost thirty history books. I love the characters, I love that I can’t put them down (even when I know what is next), and I love revisiting my time with the good guys and bad guys as the story reveals itself. 

By Anthony Doerr,

Why should I read it?

42 authors picked All the Light We Cannot See as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE 2015 PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR FICTION

A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II

Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.'

For Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, the world is full of mazes. The miniature of a Paris neighbourhood, made by her father to teach her the way home. The microscopic…


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 Pink and Say

Lois Lowry Author Of On the Horizon

From my list on war through the eyes of children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’d like to say I have no expertise in this topic. And yet…don’t we all?  We’ve all lived through it. I was born in 1937—in Honolulu, the daughter of a US Army officer. WW II was a pervasive part of my childhood, as my father spent time in the Pacific and then after the war ended, we lived in Occupied Japan for some years.  But war had always been a part of my family’s history, as is true for so many people. My great grandfather left a written account of his capture and imprisonment during the Civil War.  And much more recently, my own son, an Air Force pilot, died in the cockpit of a F-15.  Ironically, he had married a German wife, and he is buried in her village cemetery near her grandfather, who served on the Russian front years earlier.  His child, my granddaughter, puts flowers on both of those graves. All of these pieces of my own history combine, I think, to create this passion I have for the telling and retelling of stories that can make us more aware of the futility of war.

Lois' book list on war through the eyes of children

Lois Lowry Why did Lois love this book?

I love this book, which combines a true story from the Civil War with gorgeous illustrations by the amazingly gifted author.  Pink, who is white, and Say, who is Black, are two young Union soldiers, little more than boys…as my own great grandfather once was.  Their survival depends upon their relationship, and the story, as retold by Polacco, reminds us—as all these books do—of our interdependence.

By Patricia Polacco,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Sheldon Russell Curtis told this story to his daughter, Rosa, she kept every word in her heart and was to retell it many times.
     I will tell it in Sheldon's own words as nearly as I can.

He was wounded in a fierce battle and left for dead in a pasture somewhere in Georgia when Pinkus found him. Pinkus' skin was the color of polished mahogany, and he was flying Union colors like the wounded boy, and he picked him up out of the field and brought him to where the black soldier's mother, Moe Moe Bay, lived. She…


Book cover of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes

Lois Lowry Author Of On the Horizon

From my list on war through the eyes of children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’d like to say I have no expertise in this topic. And yet…don’t we all?  We’ve all lived through it. I was born in 1937—in Honolulu, the daughter of a US Army officer. WW II was a pervasive part of my childhood, as my father spent time in the Pacific and then after the war ended, we lived in Occupied Japan for some years.  But war had always been a part of my family’s history, as is true for so many people. My great grandfather left a written account of his capture and imprisonment during the Civil War.  And much more recently, my own son, an Air Force pilot, died in the cockpit of a F-15.  Ironically, he had married a German wife, and he is buried in her village cemetery near her grandfather, who served on the Russian front years earlier.  His child, my granddaughter, puts flowers on both of those graves. All of these pieces of my own history combine, I think, to create this passion I have for the telling and retelling of stories that can make us more aware of the futility of war.

Lois' book list on war through the eyes of children

Lois Lowry Why did Lois love this book?

Sadako Sasaki was a real child, one who survived the bombing of Hiroshima but who died from its aftereffects a number of years later. Hospitalized and terminally ill, she folded origami cranes, hoping magically, and fruitlessly, that they would bring her luck and save her life. A statue of Sadako stands outside of the Peace Museum in Hiroshima; I visited there a few years ago and was reminded again of the tragedy of war.

By Eleanor Coerr, Ronald Himler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes 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?

“An extraordinary book, one no reader will fail to find compelling and unforgettable.” —Booklist, starred review

The star of her school’s running team, Sadako is lively and athletic…until the dizzy spells start. Then she must face the hardest race of her life—the race against time. Based on a true story, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes celebrates the courage that makes one young woman a heroine in Japan. 

"[The] story speaks directly to young readers of the tragedy of Sadako's death and, in its simplicity, makes a universal statement for 'peace in the world.” —The Horn Book "The story is…


Book cover of Survivors: Children's Lives After the Holocaust

Helen Roche Author Of The Third Reich's Elite Schools: A History of the Napolas

From my list on childhood in Nazi Germany.

Why am I passionate about this?

Why did I end up spending almost a third of my life researching Nazi boarding schools, and childhood under the Third Reich more generally? I sometimes wonder if it was because I myself was sent to boarding school at the age of nine – somehow, I can sympathise with what these children had to endure, as well as knowing full well from a historian’s perspective which hardships were truly unique to a National Socialist elite education, and which were simply the kind of heart-ache that’s common to any institution which takes children away from their parents at a young age… 

Helen's book list on childhood in Nazi Germany

Helen Roche Why did Helen love this book?

I first had the privilege of reading Survivors when we were searching for a new professor of transnational history in my department at Durham University; Rebecca is now a treasured colleague, and her ability to tell these child survivors’ stories is second to none! Her writing is humane, passionate, and exquisite. I would recommend this book to anyone who truly wants to understand the impact of the Holocaust on those who survived it as children.

By Rebecca Clifford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the 2021 Wolfson History Prize and a finalist for the 2021 Cundill History Prize

Told for the first time from their perspective, the story of children who survived the chaos and trauma of the Holocaust-named a best history book of 2020 by the Daily Telegraph

"Impressive, beautifully written, judicious and thoughtful. . . . Will be a major milestone in the history of the Holocaust and its legacy."-Mark Roseman, author of The Villa, the Lake, the Meeting

How can we make sense of our lives when we do not know where we come from? This was a pressing…


Book cover of A Wolf in the Attic: The Legacy of a Hidden Child of the Holocaust

Helen Epstein Author Of The Long Half-Lives of Love and Trauma

From my list on trauma and recovery.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a longtime American journalist and former New York University Professor of Journalism who has written 10 books of non-fiction, several addressing issues of trauma. I was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia to two survivors of the Holocaust and was a baby immigrant to the U.S. after the Communist take-over of 1948. Although I have written a lot about the arts (music, books, and theater), I have also had a long-term interest in the psychological effects of psychic trauma in survivors of racism, antisemitism, sexism, genocide, war, illness, and natural disaster. My upcoming book is The Year of Getting Through It about being diagnosed with and undergoing treatment for endometrial cancer during COVID.

Helen's book list on trauma and recovery

Helen Epstein Why did Helen love this book?

A Wolf in the Attic by Sophia Richman is a book written by a psychotherapist who was hidden in an attic in Poland as a Jewish child during the second world war. She describes this experience (she was told to never utter a sound) as well as its impact on her relationship with her parents and her life after the war in Paris and then in New York City. She maintained her reluctance to speak in public until very late in life and this book is a kind of coming out for what is now known as a “hidden child” or “child survivor.” I found it fascinating to read how a psychologist analyzes her own childhood and the life choices she makes as an adult.

By Sophia Richman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Wolf in the Attic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Wolf in the Attic: Even though she was only two, the little girl knew she must never go into the attic. Strange noises came from there. Mama said there was a wolf upstairs, a hungry, dangerous wolf . . . but the truth was far more dangerous than that. Much too dangerous to tell a Jewish child marked for death. One cannot mourn what one doesn't acknowledge, and one cannot heal if one does not mourn . . . A Wolf in the Attic is a powerful memoir written by a psychoanalyst who was a hidden child in Poland…


Book cover of The Mascot: Unraveling the Mystery of My Jewish Father's Nazi Boyhood

Susan J. Eischeid Author Of Mistress Of Life And Death: The Dark Journey of Maria Mandl, Head Overseer of the Women's Camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau

From my list on Holocaust books exploring the precious lives lost.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been drawn to the Holocaust ever since a school project in the tenth grade. Later, as I worked to become a professional musician, the passion to learn more about the topic never left me. When I was first asked to perform some music of the Holocaust, the reaction of the audience (tears) and my own realization that through the power of this music, I could return a voice to so many who had their own voices so cruelly silenced changed my life. To date, I have interviewed multiple survivors of the Holocaust. Many became very dear friends, and my life has been infinitely enriched by knowing them. 

Susan's book list on Holocaust books exploring the precious lives lost

Susan J. Eischeid Why did Susan love this book?

This book, based on a true story, absolutely blew my mind when I first read it, and I have re-read it multiple times since!

I am still overwhelmed by the sheer fact of survival of the main character, a young Jewish boy who survived a massacre in the Holocaust and then went into hiding as a mascot in the SS. I also identified strongly with his son, who researched and wrote the book and encountered frequent naysayers who questioned the validity of his father’s memories. As someone who has approached the Holocaust as a non-traditional writer, I have struggled with similar challenges.

This book, for me, remains an unforgettable and remarkable read.

By Mark Kurzem,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The "spellbinding" (The New York Times) true story of a Jewish boy who became the darling of the Nazis

When a Nazi death squad massacred his mother and fellow villagers, five-year-old Alex Kurzem escaped, hiding in the freezing Russian forest until he was picked up by a group of Latvian SS soldiers. Alex was able to hide his Jewish identity and win over the soldiers, becoming their mascot and an honorary "corporal" in the SS with his own uniform. But what began as a desperate bid for survival became a performance that delighted the highest ranks of the Nazi elite.…


Book cover of The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible....on Schindler's List

Elaine Orr Author Of Falling Into Place

From my list on World War II for teens who love a good story.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the U.S. author of more than thirty books, many of them traditional or cozy mysteries. As the daughter and niece of several World War II veterans, I grew up hearing some of their experiences – they left out the horror. But I did see the impact those travesties had on gentle people. I often marveled at the courage of those who fought without weapons to survive the deprivation and loss of many loved ones. And I’m glad I had opportunities to visit Germany and Japan as an adult, to see the friendships our nations foster today.

Elaine's book list on World War II for teens who love a good story

Elaine Orr Why did Elaine love this book?

As a child, Leon Leyson (originally Lieb Lejzon) and his family of observant Jews moved from rural Poland to Krakow, where they became part of the Jewish ghetto and were eventually sent to Nazi concentration camps. Cruelty and near starvation would have led to death had not Oskar Schindler added them to his employees, first at an enamelware plant and later at an armaments factory.

Lieb had to stand on a box because he was so small. As Leon Leyson, he wrote the book as an older man, long a U.S. citizen, and educator. Through a child’s eyes, the horrors of the camps seem even more surreal. Lieb lost family members, but Schindler’s pragmatism and timely bribery of Nazi officials saved Lieb and many more from the Final Solution. 

By Leon Leyson, Marilyn J. Harran, Elisabeth B. Leyson

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Boy on the Wooden Box 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?

Leon Leyson (born Leib Lezjon) was only ten years old when the Nazis invaded Poland and his family was forced to relocate to the Krakow ghetto. With incredible luck, perseverance and grit, Leyson was able to survive the sadism of the Nazis, including that of the demonic Amon Goeth, commandant of Plaszow, the concentration camp outside Krakow. Ultimately, it was the generosity and cunning of one man, a man named Oskar Schindler, who saved Leon Leyson's life, and the lives of his mother, his father, and two of his four siblings, by adding their names to his list of workers…


Book cover of Nicky & Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued

Karen Gray Ruelle Author Of The Grand Mosque of Paris: A Story of How Muslims Rescued Jews During the Holocaust

From my list on courage during the holocaust.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the author/illustrator of over 20 books for children, ranging from whimsical fiction about anthropomorphic cats and rambunctious dogs to serious nonfiction about hidden children, unusual heroes and surprising spies of WWII and the Holocaust. Several of my nonfiction books, including The Grand Mosque of Paris, were created in collaboration.

Karen's book list on courage during the holocaust

Karen Gray Ruelle Why did Karen love this book?

In 1938, a young Englishman named Nicholas Winton canceled his ski vacation. Instead, he went to Prague to help the Jewish children seeking refuge there from the Nazis. Up until the start of the war in 1939, he made arrangements to send nearly 700 children to safety in England. He did everything from raising funds and locating foster families, to obtaining travel documents—even forging them when necessary. Then he went home and never told anyone what he had done. Fifty years later, his wife found all the records he’d kept and she tracked down as many of those children as she could. A now-famous video clip from a British TV show, “That’s Life,” shows an elderly and very surprised Nicholas as dozens of those he saved stand up in the audience to thank him. Among them was Vera Diamontova, who was just eleven years old when Nicholas saved her life.…

By Peter Sis,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Nicky & Vera as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

In 1938, twenty-nine-year-old Nicholas Winton saved the lives of almost 700 children trapped in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia-a story he never told and that remained unknown until an unforgettable TV appearance in the 1980s reunited him with some of the children he saved.

Czech-American artist, MacArthur Fellow and Andersen Award winner Peter Sis dramatises Winton's story in this distinctive and deeply personal picture book. He intertwines Nicky's efforts with the story of one of the children he saved-a young girl named Vera, whose family enlisted Nicky's aid when the Germans occupied their country. As the war passes and Vera grows up, she…


Book cover of Chance: Escape from the Holocaust: Memories of a Refugee Childhood

Allan Zullo Author Of Survivors: True Stories of Children in the Holocaust

From my list on about children in the Holocaust.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have penned more than 120 nonfiction books on a broad range of subjects for general audiences and middle-school readers, including five books about the true-life experiences of young people during the Holocaust.  The most heartbreaking, yet inspiring, moments in my decades-long writing career have been my interviews with Holocaust survivors, who, as children, relied on their courage, their faith, their smarts—and sometimes their luck—to endure years of unbelievable terror.

Allan's book list on about children in the Holocaust

Allan Zullo Why did Allan love this book?

Through his poignant words and stark drawings, Uri—a renowned children’s book author and illustrator—recounts his harrowing eight-year childhood ordeal when he and his Jewish family fled from the Nazis.  The book is an absorbing first-person narrative that describes his constant fear, daily hunger and recurring loneliness as he and his family eluded the enemy at every turn.  Uri’s haunting, imaginative drawings help bring this riveting true story into sharp, emotional focus.

By Uri Shulevitz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Chance 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?

From a beloved voice in children's literature comes this landmark memoir of hope amid harrowing times and an engaging and unusual Holocaust-related story. With backlist sales of over 2.3 million copies, one of FSG BYR's most acclaimed picture-book creators details the eight-year odyssey of how he and his Jewish family escaped the terrors of the Nazis by fleeing Warsaw for the Soviet Union. It was during those years, with threats at every turn, that the young Uri experienced his awakening as an artist, an experience that played a key role during this difficult time. By turns dream like and nightmarish,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in children in the Holocaust, Holocaust survivors, and childhood?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about children in the Holocaust, Holocaust survivors, and childhood.

Children In The Holocaust Explore 14 books about children in the Holocaust
Holocaust Survivors Explore 52 books about Holocaust survivors
Childhood Explore 194 books about childhood