71 books like Olivia Flies High

By Lyn Gardner,

Here are 71 books that Olivia Flies High fans have personally recommended if you like Olivia Flies High. 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 Mr. Nobody's Eyes

Helen Laycock Author Of Glass Dreams

From my list on circus stories for readers eight and up.

Why am I passionate about this?

I remember reading Enid Blyton’s Mr. Galliano’s Circus as a child and was fascinated more by the idea of circus life than the actual performance aspect. I still adore watching high-quality circus feats performed by acrobats and love that frisson of excitement as everyone shuffles into their seats just before showtime. When I began writing children’s books, my aim was to give the child characters room to develop resilience and courage while encountering danger and adventure without the presence of adults. In order to do this, I had to somehow remove parental figures. Running away is the perfect literary device to achieve this which is how Glass Dreams came about.

Helen's book list on circus stories for readers eight and up

Helen Laycock Why did Helen love this book?

I’m a sucker for anything about chimps!

Set in post-war England, this charming story focuses on the relationship between 10-year-old Henry and Ocky, a mischievous chimpanzee he ‘accidentally’ steals from Mr Nobody at Blondini’s Circus.

After trouble at school and at home, and with the threat of having his secret friend discovered, Harry runs away with Ocky. Following a series of adventures, ending with a perilous situation at the seaside, Harry realises that not only is Ocky precious to Mr Nobody, but he is precious to his family too.

By Michael Morpurgo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mr. Nobody's Eyes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A tale of fun and friendship from former Children's Laureate and author of War Horse, Michael Morpurgo.

Harry heard the key turn in the lock. He had already made up his mind to run.

Harry is in trouble at school, and doesn't like his stepfather or the new baby. Then he befriends Ocky, a chimpanzee from the circus. Ocky's owner won't mind if Harry borrows her for a bit, will he?

But then Harry's stepfather and the police find out. Harry and the chimp are soon on the run!

A gripping and poignant animal adventure from the master storyteller of…


Book cover of Circus of Thieves on the Rampage, 2

Helen Laycock Author Of Glass Dreams

From my list on circus stories for readers eight and up.

Why am I passionate about this?

I remember reading Enid Blyton’s Mr. Galliano’s Circus as a child and was fascinated more by the idea of circus life than the actual performance aspect. I still adore watching high-quality circus feats performed by acrobats and love that frisson of excitement as everyone shuffles into their seats just before showtime. When I began writing children’s books, my aim was to give the child characters room to develop resilience and courage while encountering danger and adventure without the presence of adults. In order to do this, I had to somehow remove parental figures. Running away is the perfect literary device to achieve this which is how Glass Dreams came about.

Helen's book list on circus stories for readers eight and up

Helen Laycock Why did Helen love this book?

Who doesn’t enjoy a fast-paced caper?

This story is full of quirky illustrations, colourful characters, and funny footnotes. Often conversational, Sutcliffe frequently addresses the reader as he relays the shenanigans leading up to circus legend and aerialist supreme, Quennie Bombazine’s cunning plan to catch her nemesis, Armitage Shanks, while at the same time reuniting Hannah and Billy with their circus father.

I would say that for reluctant readers who enjoy visual prompts and more of a comic-style format, this would be perfect.

By William Sutcliffe, David Tazzyman (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Circus of Thieves on the Rampage, 2 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?

'Utterly madcap adventure of sabotage and adventure... wonderfully supported by equally crazy illustrations... nothing short of hilarious' The Guardian

'Funny, Bizarre and brilliantly illustrated by David Tazzyman, this is perfect for anyone who loves Mr Gum' Sunday Express on Circus of Thieves and the Raffle of Doom

Get ready for rampages, chunky tandem rides, marching dogs, escaped convicts, synchronised otters and so much more! Shank's Impossible Circus is back...

There are 7,362 things that Armitage Shank hates and at the top of the list (which includes puppies, rainbows, lifts and flashing trainers...) is being made a fool of. So, when…


Book cover of Circus Shoes

Helen Laycock Author Of Glass Dreams

From my list on circus stories for readers eight and up.

Why am I passionate about this?

I remember reading Enid Blyton’s Mr. Galliano’s Circus as a child and was fascinated more by the idea of circus life than the actual performance aspect. I still adore watching high-quality circus feats performed by acrobats and love that frisson of excitement as everyone shuffles into their seats just before showtime. When I began writing children’s books, my aim was to give the child characters room to develop resilience and courage while encountering danger and adventure without the presence of adults. In order to do this, I had to somehow remove parental figures. Running away is the perfect literary device to achieve this which is how Glass Dreams came about.

Helen's book list on circus stories for readers eight and up

Helen Laycock Why did Helen love this book?

I read that Noel Streatfeild actually spent time with a travelling circus to achieve authenticity in this story. Well, you can almost smell the greasepaint and sawdust.

Rather than being sent to separate orphanages, sheltered siblings Santa and Peter run away to Cob’s Circus where their Uncle Gus performs on the trapeze. Peter learns to ride and to understand animals, and Santa learns to tumble, but they need to persuade their uncle to like them and decide to keep them. Though old-fashioned, this tale is vivid with colour and spectacle, and the atmosphere so well-captured.

By Noel Streatfeild,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When their snobbish Aunt Rebecca dies, leaving them alone and penniless, Peter and Santa are faced with the dreadful prospect of life in separate orphanages. Desperate, they run away to find their only living relative - Uncle Gus - who works in a circus.



But Gus doesn't suffer fools gladly. To fit into his world, Peter and Santa must work harder than they've ever done in their lives.


Book cover of Diamond

Helen Laycock Author Of Glass Dreams

From my list on circus stories for readers eight and up.

Why am I passionate about this?

I remember reading Enid Blyton’s Mr. Galliano’s Circus as a child and was fascinated more by the idea of circus life than the actual performance aspect. I still adore watching high-quality circus feats performed by acrobats and love that frisson of excitement as everyone shuffles into their seats just before showtime. When I began writing children’s books, my aim was to give the child characters room to develop resilience and courage while encountering danger and adventure without the presence of adults. In order to do this, I had to somehow remove parental figures. Running away is the perfect literary device to achieve this which is how Glass Dreams came about.

Helen's book list on circus stories for readers eight and up

Helen Laycock Why did Helen love this book?

This book is part of the Hetty Feather collection, perfect for fans of this feisty Victorian heroine.

Recounted by ‘Diamond’ (formerly Ellen-Jane), the child acrobatic wonder, this is a story about running away FROM the circus. Bought for five guineas by cruel clown Beppo, Diamond is forced to become part of the Silver Brothers’ tumbling act at Tanglefield’s Travelling Circus. Although competent, she is mistreated and unhappy, but when Hetty Feather joins the circus as ringmaster ‘Emerald’, things begin to change…

By Jacqueline Wilson, Nick Sharratt (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Diamond wasn't always a star. Born to penniless parents who longed for a strong, healthy son, she was a dainty, delicate daughter - and a bitter disappointment.

Discovering an extraordinary gift for acrobatics, Diamond uses her talent to earn a few pennies, but brings shame on her family. When a mysterious, cruel-eyed stranger spots her performing, Diamond is sold - and is taken to become an acrobat at Tanglefield's Travelling Circus.

The crowds adore Diamond, but life behind the velvet curtains is far from glamorous. Her wicked master forces Diamond to attempt ever more daring tricks, until she is terrified…


Book cover of Water for Elephants

J.S. Wik Author Of Habitude

From my list on all of the romance and some of the suspense.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was always in love with love. I had my life all planned out, I was going to marry my high school sweetheart and have a family and live happily ever after. Newsflash, that didn’t happen and I’m glad it didn’t! As I’ve gotten older I still find myself in love with love, but now there are other things included with it such as quiet rebellion and a determination to simply be me. I find that I enjoy the suspense aspect because I know life isn’t perfect. We don’t all have stalkers or physically abusive exes, but books are a safe place to experience the emotions of these situations.

J.S.'s book list on all of the romance and some of the suspense

J.S. Wik Why did J.S. love this book?

Water for Elephants was a book I went into not knowing what to expect! It was another recommendation from my mom and she was so right!

I love watching people fall in love, especially when I’ve had my own trials and tribulations in relationships! Jacob and Marlena are such a testament to true love triumphing over everything, and that is my number one reason for suggesting this book!

It also gives an incredible depiction of the Great Depression. Because of this book, I came away with a better understanding of my grandparents’ childhood struggles.

By Sara Gruen,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Water for Elephants as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE INTERNATIONAL PHENOMENON AND NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
NOW A FILM STARRING REESE WITHERSPOON AND ROBERT PATTINSON

'Great story, loads of fun; hard to put down.' STEPHEN KING

The Great Depression, 1929.
When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and utterly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, grifters, and misfits in the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth: a second-rate travelling circus struggling to survive by making one-night stands in town after endless town. Jacob, a veterinary student now unable to finish his degree, is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. He…


Book cover of Nights at the Circus

Katy Darby Author Of The Unpierced Heart

From my list on historical fiction with wanton & wilful women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historical fiction author (one novel published by Penguin, plus several Sherlock Holmes stories with Belanger Books) – and I read it avidly too, although many of the Victorian novels I love were considered frighteningly modern in their day. I’m fascinated by the 19th century as both reader and writer because of the incredible changes (social and technological) it saw, and the resulting dramas and tensions that emerged. Literacy and literary culture exploded during Victoria’s reign, but it was also a time of astonishing contrast: poverty versus huge wealth, outward virtue versus secret vice, prejudice and injustice (especially regarding women’s rights) versus struggles for social progress… sound familiar?

Katy's book list on historical fiction with wanton & wilful women

Katy Darby Why did Katy love this book?

Angela Carter is famous for her sumptuous language, structural playfulness, genre-bending, and seductive, logic-defying plots – and if you like gorgeous lyricism, unforgettable characters, and magical realism (emphasis on the magical), you’ll fall in love with Nights at the Circus. In 1899, journalist Jack Walser meets six-foot-two circus aerialist Fevvers, “the Cockney Venus”. Raised in a brothel and a graduate of freak shows, she’s now a star of the Victorian stage – but are her wings real, as she claims? Walser becomes part of the circus in body and spirit, as, disguised as a clown, he follows Fevvers to St Petersburg and into the wilds of Siberia, where Fevvers must draw on all her cunning and strength to survive – let alone save Walser, too. 

By Angela Carter,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Nights at the Circus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction

From the master of the literary supernatural and author of The Bloody Chamber, her acclaimed novel about the exploits of a circus performer who is part-woman, part-swan

Sophi Fevvers-the toast of Europe's capitals, courted by the Prince of Wales, painted by Toulouse-Lautrec-is an aerialiste extraordinaire, star of Colonel Kearney's circus. She is also part woman, part swan. Jack Walser, an American journalist, is on a quest to discover Fevvers's true identity: Is she part swan or all fake? Dazzled by his love for Fevvers, and desperate for the scoop of…


Book cover of The Circus of Dr. Lao

Andy Kaiser Author Of In Tents

From my list on dark altered realities and other creepy places.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been drawn to the dark, mysterious, and weird. Originally influenced by science fiction and fantasy, then later by mysteries, suspense, thrillers, and horror, I loved the mental visuals and excitement of being in extreme, reality-bending situations. Combine these aspects, and that’s why I told my own story with these same themes: In Tents is my homage to small-town culture… twisted into a darker reality. 

Andy's book list on dark altered realities and other creepy places

Andy Kaiser Why did Andy love this book?

The earliest publication date of this collection goes all the way back to 1935. A strange circus comes to town, with the performers consisting of creatures who talk less about circusy things than they do about philosophy and some strangely specific moralizing. Those thought-provoking aspects are what stick in my mind now. What first drew me to the story was the mystery of the circus itself, and the wonderfully creative creatures inside of it. 

By Charles G. Finney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Abalone, Arizona, is a sleepy southwestern town whose chief concerns are boredom and surviving the Great Depression-that is, until the circus of Dr. Lao arrives and immensely and irrevocably changes the lives of everyone drawn to its tents.

Expecting a sideshow spectacle, the citizens of Abalone instead confront and learn profound lessons from the mythical made real-a chimera, a Medusa, a talking sphinx, a sea serpent, witches, the Hound of the Hedges, a werewolf, a mermaid, an ancient god, and the elusive, ever-changing Dr. Lao himself. The circus unfolds, spinning magical, dark strands that ensnare the town's populace: the sea…


Book cover of A Spark of Justice

Lin Senchaid Author Of Force of Chaos: The Coming of Age of the Antichrist

From my list on fast action stories to break a reading slump.

Why am I passionate about this?

I read broadly across many genres and know what it's like to get stuck in a rut and need to find something different to keep my interest. The books I've suggested all have a broad appeal and any one of them could break the dreaded slump. Even those that fall into a genre you don't normally read are likely to draw you into their own special magic.

Lin's book list on fast action stories to break a reading slump

Lin Senchaid Why did Lin love this book?

This one's a fast-moving mystery story that takes you behind the scenes of the circus! An insurance investigator, John Nieves, has to determine whether a lion tamer's death was an accident or murder, but the circus people play practical jokes on him, especially after they discover he has a childhood fear of clowns! The big cats feature in this but are well treated and John develops an affinity with a panther who had been refusing to eat. This one has tension, suspense, and a lot of laughs along with the glamour of the circus!

By J.D. Hawkins,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A fatal accident at the circus sparks an insurance investigation that leads John Nieves, a former New York cop, to a list of murder suspects. It seems that The Great Rollo, beloved of millions, had enemies... both at the circus and among his own family. All that is surreal and magical about the circus brings out Nieves' deepest fears, blinding him to the very real danger that is closer at hand. A bizarre series of revelations and coincidences keep Nieves' suspicions of the circus people high, even after the actual evidence suggests that the incident really was only an unfortunate…


Book cover of The Toymaker

Sam Gayton Author Of Lilliput

From my list on miniature stories about the miniature.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in featureless suburbia, where the streets of identical bungalows seemed scrubbed of anything miraculous. Maybe that’s why I came to be fascinated, as a kid, with the idea of tiny things. Here was magic that might exist in my backyard: miniature people trooping through lawns as if they were forests, riding ladybugs, and carrying bramblethorn spears! These daydreams formed some of the first stories I wrote, as a child. And they’ve continued to fascinate me as a reader, and a writer, ever since. I’ve tried to pick stories that might have slipped out of sight amongst ‘bigger’ brethren like The Burrowers and Gulliver’s Travels. I hope you enjoy them!

Sam's book list on miniature stories about the miniature

Sam Gayton Why did Sam love this book?

I just don’t know why this book isn’t talked about more. It’s so brooding and brilliant and horrifying. Heavily influenced by Philip Pullman’s masterful Clockwork (there’s sinister automata, and creepy clockmakers, and a snow-bound Germanic feel), it contains one of the most awful and terrifying antagonists in all of children’s literature. Nasty and enchanting — the very darkest and grimmest of tales.

By Jeremy de Quidt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Toymaker 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?

What good is a toy that will wind down? What if you could give a toy a heart? A real heart. One that beat and beat and didn't stop. What couldn't you do if you could make a toy like that?

From the moment that the circus boy, Mathias, takes a small roll of paper from the dying conjuror, his fate is sealed. For on it is the key to a terrifying secret, and there are those who would kill him rather than have it told.

Pursued by the sinister Dr. Leiter with his exquisite doll and malevolent dwarf, preyed…


Book cover of Geek Love

Alex Dolan Author Of The Euthanist

From my list on female protagonists who you hate to root for.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m obsessed with the exploration of what it means to be a human being. We’re coming into an era where we see more characters who aren’t good or evil but both—they possess the potential to save someone from jumping off a bridge one day and beating someone the next. We’re all capable of the greatest acts of kindness and the most abominable atrocities imaginable. I believe we need to be reminded of that fact so that when there comes a time when we can decide whether to hurt or to help someone, we become the better version of ourselves and make the right decision.

Alex's book list on female protagonists who you hate to root for

Alex Dolan Why did Alex love this book?

I know, I know…this is a book you’re either going to love or hate, and it’s probably on a lot of lists. I love this book because before it was as common to “break the rules” and write frankly about taboo subjects, Katherine Dunn dove headfirst into an ocean of taboo and told a story that’s as exquisitely heart-wrenching as it is ghastly.

Despite her flaws (and I mean flaws in character–I don’t consider her physical traits to be flawed at all), the protagonist, Oly, is driven by devotion to her family as much as anything.

By Katherine Dunn,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Geek Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A National Book Award Finalist: This 'wonderfully descriptive' novel from an author with a 'tremendous imagination' tells the unforgettable story of the Binewskis, a carny family whose mater- and paterfamilias have bred their own exhibit of human oddities. (The New York Times Book Review)

The Binewskis arex a circus-geek family whose matriarch and patriarch have bred their own exhibit of human oddities (with the help of amphetamine, arsenic, and radioisotopes). Their offspring include Arturo the Aquaboy, who has flippers for limbs and a megalomaniac ambition worthy of Genghis Khan, Iphy and Elly, the lissome Siamese twins, albino hunchback Oly, and…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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