81 books like Painting the Black

By Carl Deuker,

Here are 81 books that Painting the Black fans have personally recommended if you like Painting the Black. 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 Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran

Dan Largent Author Of Before We Ever Spoke

From my list on baseball is part of the theme.

Why am I passionate about this?

Before he became a bestselling author with his debut novel, Before We Ever Spoke, Dan Largent spent the better part of two decades as a high school baseball coach. In 2010, he guided Olmsted Falls High School to its first-ever State Final Four and was subsequently named Greater Cleveland Division I Coach of the Year. Dan stepped away from his duties as a baseball coach in 2017 to spend more time with his wife, April, and their three children Brooke, Grace, and Luke. He has, however, remained close to the game he loves by turning doubles into singles as a member of Cleveland’s finest 35 and over baseball league.

Dan's book list on baseball is part of the theme

Dan Largent Why did Dan love this book?

Keith Olberman said that The Bullpen Gospels, "Might be one of the best baseball books written in forty years." 

I would like to go a step further and say that it is THE best baseball book that has been written. Ever. Even better than Ball Four, to me, because it takes place during the modern era of baseball and was written by Hayhurst as he played professionally. 

Hayhurst gives readers a realistic view into what it is really like to be like the majority of minor league players, “Bonus Babies” aside, as he pulls the veil back on professional baseball. 

By Dirk Hayhurst,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Upon its release, The Bullpen Gospels was a direct hit to the New York Times bestseller list. With comparisons to Jim Boutons's Ball Four, The Bullpen Gospels is slated to be a classic of the genre.

From the humble heights of a Class-A pitcher's mound to the deflating lows of sleeping on his gun-toting grandmother's air mattress, veteran reliever Dirk Hayhurst steps out of the bullpen to deliver the best pitch of his career--a raw and unflinching account of his life in the minors.

Whether training tarantulas to protect his room from thieving employees in a backwater hotel or absorbing…


Book cover of The Teammates: A Portrait of Friendship

Dan Largent Author Of Before We Ever Spoke

From my list on baseball is part of the theme.

Why am I passionate about this?

Before he became a bestselling author with his debut novel, Before We Ever Spoke, Dan Largent spent the better part of two decades as a high school baseball coach. In 2010, he guided Olmsted Falls High School to its first-ever State Final Four and was subsequently named Greater Cleveland Division I Coach of the Year. Dan stepped away from his duties as a baseball coach in 2017 to spend more time with his wife, April, and their three children Brooke, Grace, and Luke. He has, however, remained close to the game he loves by turning doubles into singles as a member of Cleveland’s finest 35 and over baseball league.

Dan's book list on baseball is part of the theme

Dan Largent Why did Dan love this book?

Ted Williams is my favorite baseball player of all time, so naturally, I have read almost every book ever written about him. This book, however, isn’t just about the “Splendid Splinter”. 

The Teammates takes place in the fall of 2001, as Ted Williams is dying and right around one of the most challenging times our country has endured. It revolves around the life-long friendship of 4 aging Red Sox teammates: Ted Williams, Dom DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky, and Bobby Doerr.

This is a book about four friends and teammates at the end of their time on this planet, and well-aware of that fact, who demonstrate that they will be there for each other all the way to the end. This is a short book and a fast read at only 218 pages (with pictures), but it is impactful far beyond its word count.

By David Halberstam,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

More than 6 years after his death David Halberstam remains one of this country's most respected journalists and revered authorities on American life and history in the years since WWII. A Pulitzer Prize-winner for his ground-breaking reporting on the Vietnam War, Halberstam wrote more than 20 books, almost all of them bestsellers. His work has stood the test of time and has become the standard by which all journalists measure themselves.

The Teammates is the profoundly moving story of four great baseball players who have made the passage from sports icons--when they were young and seemingly indestructible--to men dealing with…


Book cover of The Bad Guys Won

Dan Largent Author Of Before We Ever Spoke

From my list on baseball is part of the theme.

Why am I passionate about this?

Before he became a bestselling author with his debut novel, Before We Ever Spoke, Dan Largent spent the better part of two decades as a high school baseball coach. In 2010, he guided Olmsted Falls High School to its first-ever State Final Four and was subsequently named Greater Cleveland Division I Coach of the Year. Dan stepped away from his duties as a baseball coach in 2017 to spend more time with his wife, April, and their three children Brooke, Grace, and Luke. He has, however, remained close to the game he loves by turning doubles into singles as a member of Cleveland’s finest 35 and over baseball league.

Dan's book list on baseball is part of the theme

Dan Largent Why did Dan love this book?

While I am a Cleveland Indians fan, my favorite national league team to root for as a child was the New York Mets - especially the flamboyant and talented 1986 team that partied their way to a World Series trophy. 

In The Bad Guys Won, famed columnist and bestselling author Jeff Pearlman manages to weave all of the craziness of that ‘86 team into a wonderful memoir of a team that had the talent to have been a dynasty in Major League Baseball for years to come. Unfortunately for the Mets, and due to many of the behaviors of the colorful characters chronicled in the book, that dynasty never came to fruition.

By Jeff Pearlman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Jeff Pearlman has captured the swagger of the '86 Mets. You don't have to be a Mets fan to enjoy this book—it's a great read for all baseball enthusiasts." —Philadelphia Daily News

Award-winning Sports Illustrated baseball writer Jeff Pearlman returns to an innocent time when a city worshipped a man named Mookie and the Yankees were the second-best team in New York.

It was 1986, and the New York Mets won 108 regular-season games and the World Series, capturing the hearts (and other assorted body parts) of fans everywhere. But their greatness on the field was nearly eclipsed by how…


Book cover of Glory Days in Tribe Town: The Cleveland Indians and Jacobs Field 1994-1997

Dan Largent Author Of Before We Ever Spoke

From my list on baseball is part of the theme.

Why am I passionate about this?

Before he became a bestselling author with his debut novel, Before We Ever Spoke, Dan Largent spent the better part of two decades as a high school baseball coach. In 2010, he guided Olmsted Falls High School to its first-ever State Final Four and was subsequently named Greater Cleveland Division I Coach of the Year. Dan stepped away from his duties as a baseball coach in 2017 to spend more time with his wife, April, and their three children Brooke, Grace, and Luke. He has, however, remained close to the game he loves by turning doubles into singles as a member of Cleveland’s finest 35 and over baseball league.

Dan's book list on baseball is part of the theme

Dan Largent Why did Dan love this book?

My list could not be complete without a book about my beloved Tribe, and like most Clevelanders, watching the Indians of the mid-90’s was as good as it gets. Whether you are a Cleveland fan, or not, Glory Days in Tribe Town is a phenomenal book that chronicles one of the most intriguing Major League Baseball teams of the past 30 years. 

The Indians had 455 consecutive sold-out crowds home, many of whom stayed until the final out regardless of the score because they knew that the Tribe’s potent offensive could always overcome a deficit in the bottom of the 9th.  

The combination of two of Cleveland’s most iconic voices in Terry Pluto and Tom Hamilton makes this a must-read for any baseball fan.

By Terry Pluto, Tom Hamilton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Glory Days in Tribe Town as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Relive the most thrilling seasons of Cleveland Indians baseball in recent memory! Remember the excitement of those first years at Jacobs Field? When it seemed the Indians could find a way to win almost any game? When screaming fans rocked the jam-packed stands every night? When a brash young team snapped a forty-year slump and electrified the city? Those weren’t baseball seasons, they were year-long celebrations. Step back into the glory days with sportswriter Terry Pluto and broadcaster Tom Hamilton as they share behind-the-scenes stories about a team with all-stars at nearly every position . . . a sparkling new…


Book cover of Mirror in the Sky

Katie Kennedy Author Of What Goes Up

From my list on with parallel worlds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a history instructor and often think about alternate historical outcomes, but you don’t get to choose those. Wish the Spanish Armada hadn’t sunk? Tough luck. But you can take a novel in any direction—kill a character, bring them back, let them fall in love, make them eat an egg salad sandwich… When the book itself is about parallel worlds, it increases those possibilities exponentially. In What Goes Up, Rosa and Eddie have very different backgrounds—Earth is two different worlds for them. What happens when there’s another world out there and they meet themselves in a different place? As one character asks, how much do you trust yourself?

Katie's book list on with parallel worlds

Katie Kennedy Why did Katie love this book?

Mirror in the Sky is about what happens to a girl who’s just trying to navigate through high school and family situations when a planet incredibly similar to Earth is discovered–and news spreads that people may have doubles on the new planet, called Terra Nova. (The main character’s name is Tara, so there’s a play on words, and a riff on the theme, here.) Mirror in the Sky is more about reactions on Earth to news of the new planet and less a sci-fi adventure.

Readers wanting hard sci-fi–tentacled aliens with ray guns–may be disappointed, but readers who want a contemporary with another world as a backdrop might take a look.

By Aditi Khorana,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mirror in the Sky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Another Earth meets Perks of Being a Wallflower in this thoughtful, mesemerizing debut and subject of a TedX talk about the discovery of a mirror planet to Earth and how it dramatically changes the course of one Indian-American girl's junior year.

“[O]ne of the most powerful reads of the year. A novel about family, race, and discovering who you are, Mirror in the Sky promises a unique read that blends YA contemporary struggles with imaginative science fiction."
—Paste Magazine

For Tara Krishnan, navigating Brierly, the academically rigorous prep school she attends on scholarship, feels overwhelming and impossible. Her junior year…


Book cover of The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things

Kris Dinnison Author Of You And Me And Him

From my list on YA with fabulous plus-size heroines.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always felt like a bit of a misfit. I was taller, bigger, and clumsier than the other kids. I listened to the wrong music, wore the wrong clothes, and read the wrong books. I wasn’t cool. And when I became a high school teacher, I saw many kids, especially young women, who I could see felt the same. When Young Adult literature came into its own, I really loved all the wonderful ways YA stories were telling the stories of the kids who didn’t fit in, and it made me want to read them, and eventually write one of my own.

Kris' book list on YA with fabulous plus-size heroines

Kris Dinnison Why did Kris love this book?

This book was one of the first I read that featured a main character who looked like me. I love the humor, honesty, and insight of Virginia, which is perfectly captured in the diary format of the writing. And the book takes a hard but hopeful look at the ideas of perfection and expectations and all the ways we are flawed, but also worthy of love.

By Carolyn Mackler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things 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?

Fifteen-year-old Virginia feels like a fat, awkward outsider in her perfect family, especially next to her golden-boy big brother Byron. She's got a lot to deal with - her weight, her best friend moving away, the mean girls at school - not to mention a boy who seems to like her! To survive, she decides to follow the 'Fat Girl Code of Conduct' to make herself acceptable, unnoticed ... invisible.

It seems to be working until something unthinkable happens and, before her eyes, Virginia's flawless family begins to fall apart. As her world spins out of orbit, Virginia realises that…


Book cover of The Duff

Whitney D. Grandison Author Of The Right Side of Reckless

From my list on YA romances with bad boys to swoon over.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been reading ever since kindergarten, and when I entered high school and discovered YA books, I found my home. Even when I read adult books now, I tend to gravitate towards rough-around-the-edges male leads. There’s just something fun and tempting about an anti-hero, bad boy, or morally gray male lead that always delivers spice and yearning. I’m a sucker for those bad boys who are only good for the girl who has their heart. While not all of my male leads are “bad boys,” naturally, I do tend to find myself writing quite a few of them and enjoying them, especially when you can show they’re multidimensional and have a soft side. 

Whitney's book list on YA romances with bad boys to swoon over

Whitney D. Grandison Why did Whitney love this book?

Two words: Wesley Rush. I’m a sucker for a bad boy with charisma. And Bianca—my girl!—definitely gives Wesley a run for his money. I love her feistiness. Wesley dubs Bianca the “Designated Ugly Fat Friend” which is a huge no-no, but somehow he and Bianca began a steamy enemies with benefits fling and I lived for it. Naturally, their walls began to come down the closer they got, and there’s a line in the book (I will not spoil it) that took my breath away and made me fall completely in love with Wesley. Skip the movie, read the book! I loved Keplinger’s authentic uncensored teen voice in this. It made me a fan.

By Kody Keplinger,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Duff as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is smart, cynical, loyal - and well aware that she's not the hot one in her group of friends. But when high-school jock and all round moron Wesley Rush tells her she's a DUFF - a Designated, Ugly Fat Friend - Bianca does not the see funny side. She may not be a beauty but she'd never stoop so low as to go anywhere near the likes of Wesley ... Or would she? Bianca is about to find out that attraction defies looks and that sometimes your sworn enemies can become your best friends ...

With a…


Book cover of Good Different

Calyssa Erb Author Of Maya Plays the Part

From my list on children’s books with neurodivergent protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a young child, I lived in stories. However, as I got older, I lost my connection to writing and imagining. It was through a late-identified diagnosis of autism that I was able to reconnect with my creativity. Now, through my work as a children’s publishing specialist and volunteer at children’s book festivals, I am a champion of kids being able to see themselves in the stories that are published and promoted. I believe that young readers can develop a love of reading and a kindness for others through books that show the diversity of humanity.

Calyssa's book list on children’s books with neurodivergent protagonists

Calyssa Erb Why did Calyssa love this book?

I don’t often reach for verse novels, but Good Different wouldn’t let me put it down. Meg Eden Kuyatt created a character in Selah that was so reflective of my own experience that I ached and rooted for her to succeed. Her desire to be seen and heard is one that I know so many young readers relate to and is such a strength of this work. 

By Meg Eden Kuyatt,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Good Different 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 debut novel-in-verse about understanding and celebrating
your own difference.
Selah knows her rules for being normal.

This means keeping her feelings locked tightly inside, despite
the way they build up inside her as each school day goes on, so
that she has to run to the bathroom and hide in the stall until she
can calm down. Selah feels like a dragon stuck in a world of humans,
but she knows how to hide it.

Until the day she explodes and hits a fellow student.

As her comfortable, familiar world crumbles around her, Selah
starts to figure out more…


Book cover of Restart

Dayna Lorentz Author Of Wayward Creatures

From my list on exploring ideas of justice and accountability.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a parent, I’ve been struck by the fierce sense of justice my children have, from the unfairness of one getting more screen time to bigger injustices, like bullying or discrimination. Kids have an innate sense of what’s right, of what’s fair, but they can also lack a sense of nuance and have rather Byzantine notions of what justice requires. I wrote Wayward Creatures to explore a different way of thinking about justice and accountability. Restorative justice practices seek to bring the offending party together with the people hurt by their actions to acknowledge the harm caused and find a solution together. These five books explore other aspects of what it means to seek justice.

Dayna's book list on exploring ideas of justice and accountability

Dayna Lorentz Why did Dayna love this book?

I love stories that force characters to grapple with big questions. In both Wayward Creatures and Restart, the main character has done something they realize is huge and has hurt a lot of people. Only in Restart, the narrator, Chase, has suffered a traumatic brain injury and doesn’t remember anything about who he was or what he did. The story asks readers to think about what justice and accountability require, both inside and outside the courtroom.

By Gordon Korman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Restart 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?

The amazing New York Times bestseller about what you can do when life gives you a second chance.

Chase's memory just went out the window. Chase doesn't remember falling off the roof. He doesn't remember hitting his head. He doesn't, in fact, remember anything. He wakes up in a hospital room and suddenly has to learn his whole life all over again . . . starting with his own name. He knows he's Chase. But who is Chase? When he gets back to school, he sees that different kids have very different reactions to his return. Some kids treat him…


Book cover of Just Be Cool, Jenna Sakai

Jennifer Richard Jacobson Author Of Crashing in Love

From my list on middle grade about first love.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although I was an avid reader of romance when I was a tween, the middle grade novels I wrote prior to Crashing in Love were about more “serious” topics. Yet, much of the mail I received from kids had pressing questions about the future of potential love interests. That’s when I realized that I’d been guilty (like many) of considering romance to be “light” fiction. What could be more important, more serious, than discovering ourselves while making genuine connections with others? Those letters changed my mind. Learning to love is essential and not to be taken lightly at all.

Jennifer's book list on middle grade about first love

Jennifer Richard Jacobson Why did Jennifer love this book?

This sweet story brings me back to the rush of heady (albeit sometimes fleeting) infatuations and reminds me that simple friendship rules such as “Don’t let guys come between us” are not always as simple as they seem. The best part? Although Keiko ends up with the right romantic interest (there’s a scene that will melt your heart), she learns that self-love is paramount.

By Debbi Michiko Florence,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Just Be Cool, Jenna Sakai 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?

Fans of Judy Blume and Jenny Han are sure to fall head-over-heels
for this funny, sweet story of crushes, competition,
and the confusing reality of middle school.
"Heartbreak is for suckers."

When Jenna Sakai gets dumped over winter break, it confirms what
she learned from her parents' messy divorce: Relationships
are risky and only lead to disappointment.
So even though she still has to see her ex-boyfriend Elliott
at newspaper club, Jenna is going to be totally heartless this
semester - no boys, just books.

But keeping her cool isn't always easy.

Jenna's chief competition for a big journalism
scholarship…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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