66 books like Once I Knew

By Victoria Lynn,

Here are 66 books that Once I Knew fans have personally recommended if you like Once I Knew. 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 On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

C.S. Johnson Author Of Slumbering

From my list on book series for growing kids into lifelong readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a writer and a mom, and a former teacher, and someone who constantly has to pay attention to the world we live in today, I feel especially compelled to find a good balance for parents to help their kids love reading without compromising their childhood innocence. As adults, we know we live in a broken world. But telling kids about these things without giving them a reason to hope for a better future or without giving them a good role model is more detrimental than helpful. It dooms them to nihilism and cynicism, and only a mature mind is able to successfully break free from that mind trap. 

C.S.'s book list on book series for growing kids into lifelong readers

C.S. Johnson Why did C.S. love this book?

The Wingfeather Saga is a great in-between series for fans of Narnia and Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings (I did read The Hobbit to my kids but they didn’t always get why things were funny or scary, and I think with the later Harry Potter books especially, it would be more in my interest to start those when my children are over 10 so they can grow up along with Harry in the series). 

The Wingfeather Saga starts off a little darker, with a family dealing with the past and the secrets. Two boys, Janner, Tink, and their sister, Leeli, are all gifted objects, and they set out to find answers; in the process, they are captured and their mother and grandfather step up to help them. Part fantasy, with a historical feel to it, the book centers on unraveling a mystery while facing down fearful creatures…

By Andrew Peterson,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness 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?

After living for years under the occupation by the evil Fangs of Dang, the Igiby children find a map rumoured to lead to the lost Jewels of Anniera - the one thing the Fangs will do anything to find. The family is thrown headlong into a perilous adventure, uncovering truths about who they are that will change their world forever.

Repackaged with new illustrations, this is the opportunity to discover the Wingfeathers.


Book cover of Kingdom's Dawn

Hosanna Emily Author Of The Torch Keepers

From my list on non-magical fantasy for truth seekers.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I roamed the forests and imagined I was on epic adventures to change the world with a sword, live epically, and be part of a Kingdom. I dove into stories like that, stories that whetted my appetite to see Truth discovered and the world’s eyes opened to the beauty and purpose one has when following that Truth. As I followed Jesus and fell in love with Him, He guided me to create those stories, and I love writing beautiful words in novels, poems, and children’s books. I hope you become a dreamer again and believe there’s a Kingdom that’s calling.

Hosanna's book list on non-magical fantasy for truth seekers

Hosanna Emily Why did Hosanna love this book?

Kingdom’s Dawn is a favorite book from my pre-teen/teenage years! Not only do you fall in love with the unique, heroic characters, but the adventures are riveting, drawing on the child-like tugging in your heart to do something big and live for a kingdom. The swords and adventures, tales of courage and heroism, all point to a deep truth that encouraged me as a young reader and still today.

By Chuck Black,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Kingdom's Dawn 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 Riveting Medieval Parallel to the Bible

Good and evil clash. Leinad and Cedric are determined to not only survive, but claim hope and victory! In Kingdom’s Dawn, Leinad and Tess, along with all the king’s people, must escape slavery by the powerful Lord Fairos. Kingdom’s Hope finds them free and arriving in the Chessington Valley. But when they forget the king, will Kergon and the Kessons capture them for good? After many years, Kingdom’s Edge finds Cedric living a hopeless life until a stranger appears with powerful words of a new kingdom and a grand army. Finally, Kingdom’s Reign…


Book cover of The Sword, the Ring and the Parchment

Hosanna Emily Author Of The Torch Keepers

From my list on non-magical fantasy for truth seekers.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I roamed the forests and imagined I was on epic adventures to change the world with a sword, live epically, and be part of a Kingdom. I dove into stories like that, stories that whetted my appetite to see Truth discovered and the world’s eyes opened to the beauty and purpose one has when following that Truth. As I followed Jesus and fell in love with Him, He guided me to create those stories, and I love writing beautiful words in novels, poems, and children’s books. I hope you become a dreamer again and believe there’s a Kingdom that’s calling.

Hosanna's book list on non-magical fantasy for truth seekers

Hosanna Emily Why did Hosanna love this book?

I devoured this book and the entire series following The Sword, the Ring, and the Parchment as a younger reader! Not only were the adventures exciting and the book full of plot twists and cliff hangers, but it also explains truth in a simplistic, easy-to-understand way. The book is family friendly and has encouraged many readers we’ve recommended it to. It’s a story I’ll go back to again and again to experience the thrill of becoming a young warrior training with a sword in a world where two kingdoms battle for control, one of evil, darkness, and chains and the other a loving King who offers hope, truth, and a personal relationship with himself.

By Ed Dunlop,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first book in the Terrestria Chronicles medieval allegory series. Young Josiah is a slave to Argamor, a powerful warlord with plans to wrest the Terrestrian throne from King Emmanuel. When Josiah’s escape attempt fails, Emmanuel rescues him from Argamor, adopting him into the Royal Family.

The Terrestria Chronicles allegory series was written with a three-fold purpose: to honor Jesus Christ as King, to challenge young readers to love and serve Him, and to teach them to guard their hearts for Him. The focus of the series is always on the King.

Fast-paced action… powerful imagery… heart-pounding adventure… These life-changing…


Book cover of The Bark of the Bog Owl

Hosanna Emily Author Of The Torch Keepers

From my list on non-magical fantasy for truth seekers.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I roamed the forests and imagined I was on epic adventures to change the world with a sword, live epically, and be part of a Kingdom. I dove into stories like that, stories that whetted my appetite to see Truth discovered and the world’s eyes opened to the beauty and purpose one has when following that Truth. As I followed Jesus and fell in love with Him, He guided me to create those stories, and I love writing beautiful words in novels, poems, and children’s books. I hope you become a dreamer again and believe there’s a Kingdom that’s calling.

Hosanna's book list on non-magical fantasy for truth seekers

Hosanna Emily Why did Hosanna love this book?

The Bark of the Bog Owl satisfied my urging desire for adventure and a mission for a higher calling as a pre-teen reader! The fast-paced escapades were so realistic I wanted to search my own forest home for mystical creatures to befriend and go on adventures with. As I dreamed of belonging to a greater kingdom, this book was a taste of that fulfillment. Even as an adult reader, I go back to this series to re-realize that life is a purposeful adventure with God, and the truth within has stuck with me over the years.

By Jonathan Rogers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bark of the Bog Owl 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?

Courage and a heart for adventure drive twelve-year-old shepherd boy Aidan Errolson. When the bark of the bog owl echoes from the forest across his father’s well-tended pastures, Aidan dreams of wild places still untamed and quests not yet pursued.

Aidan’s life changes forever on the day Bayard the Truthspeaker arrives at Longleaf with an astonishing pronouncement: it is Aidan’s destiny to be the Wilderking, who will ascend to the throne from Corenwald’s wildest places. Only the Wilderking can balance his people’s civilizing impulses with the wildness that gives Corenwald its vitality. But not just yet. Many trials and adventures…


Book cover of Van Diemen's Women: A History of Transportation to Tasmania

Chris Lawlor Author Of An Irish Village: Dunlavin, County Wicklow

From my list on lesser-known aspects of Irish history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an Irish writer and historian. I always enjoyed history, even in school, and I went on to study it at Maynooth University, receiving a BA. I became a history teacher and eventually head of the history department in Méanscoil Iognáid Rís. I began writing local history articles for the Dunlavin arts festival and the parish magazine. I went back to university and got a first-class honours MA from Maynooth, before being awarded a PhD from DCU. I’ve won the Lord Walter Fitzgerald prize and the Irish Chiefs’ Prize, and my students were winners in the Decade of Centenaries competition. Now retired, I continue to write and lecture about history!

Chris' book list on lesser-known aspects of Irish history

Chris Lawlor Why did Chris love this book?

Many Irish history books mention the fate of prisoners, often involving transportation to Australia. This book picks up the narrative where they left off. The authors have meticulously pieced together the story of those on board the convict ship Tasmania, which left Ireland for Van Dieman’s Land in 1845, carrying 138 female convicts. The book tells the stories of voiceless people at the bottom of the social scale (being both convicted and female). The process of transportation is explored in detail and the women’s new lives in Tasmania are examined. Two women, Eliza Davis (infanticide) and Margaret Butler (stealing potatoes) form the centre-piece of the study. Both later married and had families and descendants, leaving a legacy in their new home. A sad, informative but ultimately hopeful read.

By Joan Kavanagh, Dianne Snowden (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Van Diemen's Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On 2 September 1845, the convict ship Tasmania left Kingstown Harbour for Van Diemen's Land with 138 female convicts and their 35 children. On 3 December, the ship arrived into Hobart Town. While this book looks at the lives of all the women aboard, it focuses on two women in particular: Eliza Davis, who was transported from Wicklow Gaol for life for infanticide, having had her sentence commuted from death, and Margaret Butler, sentenced to seven years' transportation for stealing potatoes in Carlow. Using original records, this study reveals the reality of transportation, together with the legacy left by these…


Book cover of Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II

Steven Rogers Author Of A Letter to My White Friends and Colleagues: What You Can Do Right Now to Help the Black Community

From my list on reasons behind the enormous racial wealth gap.

Why am I passionate about this?

Steven Rogers is a retired professor from Harvard Business School (HBS) where he created a new course titled, “Black Business Leaders and Entrepreneurship.” He has written more HBS case studies with Black protagonists than anyone in the world. He is an HBS and Williams College alum. He majored in Black history. He has taught at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and West Point U.S. Military Academy. He has published 3 books including Entrepreneurial Finance (4 editions), Successful Black Entrepreneurs, and A Letter to my White Friends and Colleagues: What You Can Do Now to Help the Black Community.

Steven's book list on reasons behind the enormous racial wealth gap

Steven Rogers Why did Steven love this book?

The wealth gap between Blacks and Whites in the U.S. is enormous! Whites have 10 times the wealth as Blacks. The disparity is not because Whites are smarter or have worked harder. This book does a masterful job of clearly explaining one of the reasons behind the wide wealth gap. 

Most people are aware of the fact that 246 years of slavery was a successful government policy that intentionally enriched Whites while simultaneously impoverishing Blacks. But most people are not aware that a new system with the same dual objectives, followed the abolition of slavery in 1865. This book tells the story of Black Codes, Vagrancy Laws, and convict leasing that occurred for 60 years after the passage of the 13th Amendment, emancipating Black enslaved people. These government supported policies replaced slavery as the new program to subsidize White wealth creation at the expense of millions of Blacks. 

Douglas Blackman…

By Douglas A. Blackmon,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Slavery by Another Name as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This groundbreaking historical expose unearths the lost stories of enslaved persons and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back into the shadow of involuntary servitude shortly thereafter in “The Age of Neoslavery.”

By turns moving, sobering, and shocking, this unprecedented Pulitzer Prize-winning account reveals the stories of those who fought unsuccessfully against the re-emergence of human labor trafficking, the companies that profited most from neoslavery, and the insidious legacy of racism that reverberates today.

Following the Emancipation Proclamation, convicts—mostly black men—were “leased” through forced labor camps operated by state and federal governments. Using a…


Book cover of First Comes Marriage

Victoria Chatham Author Of His Unexpected Muse

From my list on endings with happy everafters for any era.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in Clifton, in the city of Bristol, England. Clifton is known for its elegant Georgian and Regency architecture. Growing up in these surroundings gave me an impression of what life might have been like for the people who lived there, the families upstairs and servants belowstairs. In front of a few houses on some streets, there are still stone blocks at the curb, worn smooth from countless feet entering and exiting their carriages. I have used Clifton as a setting in some of the books I have written, hoping to make those scenes more realistic and bring history alive for my readers. 

Victoria's book list on endings with happy everafters for any era

Victoria Chatham Why did Victoria love this book?

This is the first book in The Huxtables family series. The author blends wit, charm, and family foibles just as easily as does Georgette Heyer. The banter between the siblings is a joy to read. Even when fortune comes their way in the unexpected elevation of one family member who inherits an earldom, the characters stay true to themselves. 

By Mary Balogh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The arrival of Elliott Wallace, the irresistibly eligible Viscount Lyngate, has thrown the sleepy village of Throckbridge into a tizzy. It soon becomes clear that Elliot seeks a convenient marriage to a suitable bride, and desperate to rescue her eldest sister Margaret from a loveless union, Vanessa Huxtable - a proud and daring, a young widow - offers herself up instead.

In need of a wife, Elliott takes the audacious widow up on her unconventional proposal while he pursues an urgent mission of his own. But then a strange thing happens: as the wedding night approaches they become inexplicably drawn…


Book cover of Water, Stone, Heart

Allison M. Azulay Author Of Propositions and Proposals

From my list on romance in any style and era.

Why am I passionate about this?

I freely admit to reading romances―"Nurse Janes," as one of my teachers used to call them―whenever I need a break from heavier material or just from life. While I have some favorite authors (who doesn't?), I do not limit myself to any particular era or style of romance. To me, romance has many shades and flavours, and I enjoy them all. Believe you me, choosing just five to recommend was no piece of cake.

Allison's book list on romance in any style and era

Allison M. Azulay Why did Allison love this book?

I was pleasantly surprised at how sweet and truly romantic Will North's Water, Stone, Heart turned out to be. I wandered lazily through the Cornish countryside with the main character, meeting quirky locals, becoming fascinated by the mystery of the artist who had settled in a seaside village. And at the conclusion I felt comfortably satisfied. A lovely read. Who says men can't write romance?

By Will North,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Forty year-old Nicola Rhys-Jones is a woman in hiding. Fleeing an abusive husband, she finds refuge in Boscastle, a village on the rugged coast of Cornwall, England. Andrew Stratton is an American professor of architectural theory. Shocked out of his academic bubble when his ambitious wife leaves him, he signs up for something tangible: a course in the art of stone wall-building—in Boscastle.

From the moment they meet, Nicola and Andrew are attracted to each other, but at daggers drawn. Nicola, sexy yet sarcastic, is an expert at fending off men. In Andrew, she meets her match: quick-witted, funny, yet…


Book cover of Harvest

Tom Pugh Author Of The Devil's Library

From my list on historical adventures that make you think.

Why am I passionate about this?

People give me funny looks when I say my historical novels are autobiographical. Yes, I spend months doing research, but the idea for The Devil’s Library actually came from a motorbike trip through Europe (think horses for motorbikes) and the friendship at its heart is partly a homage to the Shane Black scripted buddy movies I grew up with (Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout...). Every great historical novel is a journey from the present to the past, in other words. We take something with us when we crack the spine. And – when it works – find something life-changing to bring back home with us at The End. 

Tom's book list on historical adventures that make you think

Tom Pugh Why did Tom love this book?

Another perfectly realised novel, in which the ancient traditions of an isolated English village are lovingly resurrected and described – before being savagely undermined by enclosure. Harvest has both a murder and plenty of mystery but it’s really about desperation in the face of unstoppable, inhuman change. Crace writes prose as if it's poetry, most movingly about the villagers’ bewilderment and fury in the face of incomprehensible threats – and the sheer speed at which an entire way of life can disappear. It’s enough to make you wonder what, if anything, will remain of our most cherished traditions.

By Jim Crace,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2015 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
Winner of the 2014 James Tait Black Prize
Shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize
Shortlisted for the 2013 Goldsmiths Prize
Shortlisted for the 2014 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction

As late summer steals in and the final pearls of barley are gleaned, a village comes under threat. A trio of outsiders - two men and a dangerously magnetic woman - arrives on the woodland borders triggering a series of events that will see Walter Thirsk's village unmade in just seven days: the harvest blackened by smoke and fear, cruel…


Book cover of Letters To The Damned

Jaq D Hawkins Author Of Dance of the Goblins

From my list on non-fantasy books for fantasy readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been an avid reader across many genres since I learned to read as a child and have wandered into all sorts of categories to find literature I love. Fantasy became my first love, but that didn't mean I had to abandon everything else. I like finding great books that don't make the big publisher lists with their generic output. Since the rise of indie publishing, I've developed a habit of sampling anything that sounds like it might be interesting and have found some amazing and very original stories!

Jaq's book list on non-fantasy books for fantasy readers

Jaq D Hawkins Why did Jaq love this book?

Sometimes Fantasy can be dark or even cross into the realm of Horror. The concept of this book certainly would appeal to most Fantasy readers. An old, out-of-use post box in a small English village is reputed to be a conduit for local residents to ask for favours from dead relatives. Cris Lopez from California, mourning the loss of his estranged wife whom he still loves, sees a tabloid story about the box and decides a change of scene would do him good. His desire to have some hope of contact with his deceased wife is something he's not ready to admit to himself.

Rather than terrifying, this one moves into the weird, or I should say wyrd. It has all the earmarks of magical English villages and folklore brought to life.

By Austin Crawley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Cris Lopez has just lost his wife. His hopes of ending their separation ended with a freak accident that robbed him of even the chance to say goodbye. When a tabloid newspaper prints an article about an uncanny post box in a small English village that supposedly transports letters to dead relatives, Cris' natural scepticism is overshadowed by the thought that a change of scene might help him come to terms with his loss.However, the residents of the village refuse to discuss supernatural intervention and having long since abandoned his childhood faith, Cris' logical mind won't accept the outlandish tale.Eerie…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in villages, truth, and diving?

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