10 books like Planting Stories

By Anika Aldamuy Denise, Paola Escobar (illustrator),

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Planting Stories. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Jump at the Sun

By Alicia Williams, Jacqueline Alcántara (illustrator),

Book cover of Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston

The life of Zora Neale Hurston, the extraordinary novelist and first female African-American anthropologist, was bigger than words. But this picture book catches the uncatchable. The words are gorgeous. And the illustrations further illuminate the portrait, including delightful hats on the endpapers (a hat-tip to Ms. Hurston’s “HATitude”).

Jump at the Sun

By Alicia Williams, Jacqueline Alcántara (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the Newbery Honor-winning author of Genesis Begins Again comes a shimmering picture book that shines the light on Zora Neale Hurston, the extraordinary writer and storycatcher extraordinaire who changed the face of American literature.

Zora was a girl who hankered for tales like bees for honey. Now, her mama always told her that if she wanted something, "to jump at de sun", because even though you might not land quite that high, at least you'd get off the ground. So Zora jumped from place to place, from the porch of the general store where she listened to folktales, to…


Schomburg

By Carole Boston Weatherford, Eric Velasquez (illustrator),

Book cover of Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library

As my kids are getting older, I keep my eyes open for longer, more complex picture books – and this book attracted my attention. It’s a great non-fiction biography for kids who like learning about notable historical personalities. It took roughly 45 minutes to read this book with the kids, and we all learned so much about Schomburg and his quest to collect literature by and about people of African descent worldwide. One thing that really impressed the kids and me was how he managed to keep this humongous collection in his home. (The kids and I were wondering if the whole family was sleeping on books instead of beds)!

Schomburg

By Carole Boston Weatherford, Eric Velasquez (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Schomburg as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In luminous paintings and arresting poems, two of children’s literature’s top African-American scholars track Arturo Schomburg’s quest to correct history.

Where is our historian to give us our side? Arturo asked.

Amid the scholars, poets, authors, and artists of the Harlem Renaissance stood an Afro–Puerto Rican named Arturo Schomburg. This law clerk’s life’s passion was to collect books, letters, music, and art from Africa and the African diaspora and bring to light the achievements of people of African descent through the ages. When Schomburg’s collection became so big it began to overflow his house (and his wife threatened to mutiny),…


The First Step

By Susan E. Goodman, E.B. Lewis (illustrator),

Book cover of The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial

The First Step tells an important and lesser-known story about Sarah Roberts, a schoolgirl who was not allowed to attend school in Boston in 1847 because of her skin color. Sarah and her family persisted by fighting this injustice; they took the City of Boston to court! Roberts v. City of Boston was the first case to challenge the United States’ legal system to outlaw segregation in schools. The Roberts family lost the battle, but their case was the first step toward desegregating schools. It’s important for children to learn that even if you don’t win, it’s vital to speak up and fight against injustice and that every step forward counts!

The First Step

By Susan E. Goodman, E.B. Lewis (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The First Step as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The inspiring story of four-year-old Sarah Roberts, the first African American girl to try to integrate a white school, and how her experience in 1847 set greater change in motion. Junior Library Guild Selection 2017 Orbis Pictus Honor Book Chicago Public LibraryKids Best of the Best Book 2016 A Nerdy Book Club Best Nonfiction Book of 2016 An NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book of 2017 In 1847, a young African American girl named Sarah Roberts was attending a school in Boston. Then one day she was told she could never come back. She didn't belong. The Otis School was…


Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor

By Patricia Valdez, Felicita Sala (illustrator),

Book cover of Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles

There is so much to love about this biography on scientist Joan Procter—from a girl having a tea party with lizards... to her journey of becoming a scientist and curator... to her alliance with real-life dragons! And every spread of this book slithers with stunning reptiles thanks to illustrator Felicita Sala. In the back matter, readers learn that the zoologist died at the young age of 34 due to complications from a chronic illness. But because of this inspirational biography, Procter’s story—and love of reptiles—will live on and on in the minds of young readers. 

Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor

By Patricia Valdez, Felicita Sala (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Back in the days of long skirts and afternoon teas, young Joan Procter entertained the most unusual party guests: slithery and scaly ones, who turned over teacups and crawled past the crumpets... While other girls played with dolls, Joan preferred the company of reptiles. She carried her favorite lizard with her everywhere - she even brought a crocodile to school!

When Joan grew older, she became the Curator of Reptiles at the Natural History Museum. She went on to design the Reptile House at the London Zoo, including a home for the rumored-to-be-vicious komodo dragons. There, just like when she…


Madeline Finn and the Library Dog

By Lisa Papp,

Book cover of Madeline Finn and the Library Dog

My kids and I loved this heartwarming story about a little girl, Madeleine, and Bonnie, the library dog who loves being read to. We were rooting for Madeleine to read to her new kind and patient dog friend! The kids mentioned how much they wanted to meet Bonnie and read to her, and wondered if our local library has events with reading dogs. They also wanted an immediate re-read. (Of course, my family likes books with adorable cuddly dogs in general.)

Madeline Finn and the Library Dog

By Lisa Papp,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Madeline Finn and the Library Dog as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Madeline Finn does not like to read. Not books. Not magazines. Not even the menu on the ice cream van. Fortunately, Madeline meets Bonnie, a library dog. Reading aloud to Bonnie isn't so bad. When Madeline Finn gets stuck, Bonnie doesn't mind. As it turns out, it's fun to read when you're not afraid of making mistakes. Bonnie teaches Madeline Finn that it's Okay to go slow, to keep trying, and to get support from a friend. A beautiful, reassuring, story for all those struggling to read. Perfect accompaniment for the 'reading dogs' programmes used by many schools and libraries.…


Library Lion

By Michelle Knudsen, Kevin Hawkes (illustrator),

Book cover of Library Lion

My grandchildren love this story about a loveable lion who shows up one day at Miss Merriweather’s library. Though he’s careful to follow the strict library rules, the day comes when he must help everyone understand that sometimes rules are meant to be broken. Featuring captivating illustrations by Kevin Hawkes, Library Lion is a joyous marriage of image and text. 

Library Lion

By Michelle Knudsen, Kevin Hawkes (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Library Lion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A wonderful addition to any child's library, this is the multiple award-winning and bestselling picture book about what happens when a lion visits a library.

In this international and award-winning bestseller about the joys of discovering the library and making new friends, a lion visits the library for the very first time. The head librarian, Miss Merriweather, is very particular about rules in the library. But when the lion visits, she isn't sure what to do - there aren't any rules about lions in the library! As it turns out, this lion seems very well suited to library visiting. His…


Dear Librarian

By Lydia M. Sigwarth, Romina Galotta (illustrator),

Book cover of Dear Librarian

I very clearly remember Lydia Sigwarth sharing her library story on the This American Life episode “The Room of Requirement” back in 2018. Sigwarth, who was homeless as a child, found peace, stability, and a sense of routine at her local library—and grew up to become a children’s librarian herself. That wonderful segment was turned into an autobiographical picture book, written by Sigwarth and illustrated in warm and cozy tones by Romina Galotta.

Dear Librarian

By Lydia M. Sigwarth, Romina Galotta (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Lydia was five years old, she and her family had to leave their home. They hopped from Grandma's house to Aunt Linda's house to Cousin Alice's house, but no place was permanent. Then one day, everything changed. Lydia's mom took her to a new place -- not a house, but a big building with stone columns, and tall, tall steps. The library.

In the library, Lydia found her special spot across from the sunny window, at a round desk. For behind that desk was her new friend, the librarian. Together, Lydia and the librarian discovered a world beyond their…


Waiting for the Biblioburro

By Monica Brown, John Parra (illustrator),

Book cover of Waiting for the Biblioburro

As a book-loving child who grew up poor in rural Utah and who eagerly awaited the bi-monthly visit of the bookmobile to our little farming community, Waiting for the Biblioburro sings to me. Set in the mountains of Colombia and inspired by the mission of real-life teacher and librarian Luis Soriano, Waiting for the Biblioburro tells the story of little Ana who looks forward with great anticipation to the arrival of Luis and his two burros, Alfa and Beto, who carry books to her little mountain village. The colorful folk-artsy illustrations by John Parra perfectly bring to life Brown’s story.

According to the author’s note: “This book is a celebration of Luis and all the teachers and librarians who bring books to children everywhere—across deserts, fields, mountains, and water.” 

Waiting for the Biblioburro

By Monica Brown, John Parra (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Waiting for the Biblioburro as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ana loves stories. She often makes them up to help her little brother fall asleep. But in her small village there are only a few books and she has read them all. One morning, Ana wakes up to the clip-clop of hooves, and there before her, is the most wonderful sight: a traveling library resting on the backs of two burros‑all the books a little girl could dream of, with enough stories to encourage her to create one of her own.
 
Inspired by the heroic efforts of real-life librarian Luis Soriano, award-winning picture book creators Monica Brown and John Parra…


The Lady with the Books

By Kathy Stinson, Marie LaFrance (illustrator),

Book cover of The Lady with the Books: A Story Inspired by the Remarkable Work of Jella Lepman

In the dark era of post-World War II Germany, journalist, author, and translator Jella Lepman organized a traveling exhibit of over 2,000 books from 14 countries. The Lady with the Books is a fictionalized account of Lepman’s project, told through the eyes of siblings Annelise and Peter, who enter the exhibit hoping to find food and discover something even more sustaining—books, and the hope of better days to come.

The Lady with the Books

By Kathy Stinson, Marie LaFrance (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Inspired by true events, a fictionalized retelling of how one woman brought a world of books to children in Germany after World War II, and changed their lives forever. Anneliese and Peter will never be the same after the war that took their father's life. One day, while wandering the ruined streets of Munich, the children follow a line of people entering a building, thinking there may be free food inside. Instead, they are delighted to discover a great hall filled with children's books --- more books than Anneliese can count. Here, they meet the lady with the books, who…


The Library Bus

By Bahram Rahman, Gabrielle Grimard (illustrator),

Book cover of The Library Bus

The Library Bus offers a glimpse into the importance of mobile libraries, showing how one bus run by a mother and daughter delivers books, school supplies, and lessons to other young girls in Afghanistan. Told of the course of one day, with the bus leaving Kabul in the very early morning and ending at bedtime, the story explains the restrictions women and girls faced under Taliban rule in a clear and age-appropriate way.

The Library Bus

By Bahram Rahman, Gabrielle Grimard (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Author Bahram Rahman grew up in Afghanistan during years of civil war and the restrictive Taliban regime of 1996-2001. He wrote The Library Bus to tell new generations about the struggles of women who, like his own sister, were forbidden to learn.

It is still dark in Kabul, Afghanistan when the library bus rumbles out of the city. There are no bus seats-instead there are chairs and tables and shelves of books. And there are no passengers-instead there is Pari, who is nervously starting her first day as Mama's library helper. Pari stands tall to hand out notebooks and pencils…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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