100 books like Poet, Pilgrim, Rebel

By Katie Munday Williams, Tania Rex (illustrator),

Here are 100 books that Poet, Pilgrim, Rebel fans have personally recommended if you like Poet, Pilgrim, Rebel. 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 Rat Fair

Benjamin Giroux Author Of I Am Odd, I Am New

From my list on debut children's books of 2021.

Who am I?

Over the past several months, I have had the pleasure to work with amazing authors who, like me, have debut children's books that were released in 2021. These books range in topics, from overcoming your fears to transgender to history, to cute rats that will let your imagination run wild. Being a kid myself, my parents read every night to me. These are books that like mine, are filled with representation that was lacking in those books that were read to me.

Benjamin's book list on debut children's books of 2021

Benjamin Giroux Why did Benjamin love this book?

This almost wordless picture book has some of my favorite artwork. The illustrations of the cute rats make me smile just thinking about them. This book forces you to look at every page and use your imagination to create your own story. What would a rat fair look like? Kids will love flipping through the pages to follow the rat's journey.

By Leah Rose Kessler, Cleonique Hilsaca (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rat Fair as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

A nearly-wordless picture book about a group of rats who mix up a sign for an Art Fair, and instead create a jolly Rat Fair. A compassionate young boy steps up to save them from the humans who would sweep their festivities away.

When a group of industrious, fun-loving rats find letters fallen from an Art Fair sign, they put the sign back together—with one small adjustment—and get to work creating a spectacular RAT FAIR. Their fair is ruined when humans sweep away everything the rats have created. Undaunted, the rats switch  gears and start working on their very own…


Book cover of Mightier Than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World Through Writing

Benjamin Giroux Author Of I Am Odd, I Am New

From my list on debut children's books of 2021.

Who am I?

Over the past several months, I have had the pleasure to work with amazing authors who, like me, have debut children's books that were released in 2021. These books range in topics, from overcoming your fears to transgender to history, to cute rats that will let your imagination run wild. Being a kid myself, my parents read every night to me. These are books that like mine, are filled with representation that was lacking in those books that were read to me.

Benjamin's book list on debut children's books of 2021

Benjamin Giroux Why did Benjamin love this book?

This book will not only teach you history about different people from diverse backgrounds, it will give you tips on how to write so that you can start changing the world with your own words. This book is a great bedtime book so that your children can learn about some of history's great writers.

By Rochelle Melander, Melina Ontiveros (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mightier Than the Sword 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?

Throughout history, people have picked up their pens and wielded their words--transforming their lives, their communities, and beyond. Now it's your turn! Representing a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences, Mightier Than the Sword connects over forty inspiring biographies with life-changing writing activities and tips, showing readers just how much their own words can make a difference. Readers will explore nature with Rachel Carson, experience the beginning of the Reformation with Martin Luther, champion women's rights with Sojourner Truth, and many more. These richly illustrated stories of inspiring speechmakers, scientists, explorers, authors, poets, activists, and even other kids and young…


Book cover of My Sister, Daisy

Carol Gordon Ekster Author Of Some Daddies

From my list on diverse families.

Who am I?

I was a passionate elementary school teacher for thirty-five years. Now retired, I am grateful that my writing allows me to continue communicating with children. I am always working to improve my craft, help other writers, and embrace my author life. When I am not in a critique group or at my computer I might be doing yoga or biking. 

Carol's book list on diverse families

Carol Gordon Ekster Why did Carol love this book?

This is a heartwarming and sensitive story of a change in a family when a younger brother announces a new gender identity. She is a girl. There's an author's note, telling us this is based on a true story. And the bright darling illustrations add to this needed picture book for all children.


By Adria Karlsson, Linus Curci (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked My Sister, Daisy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Daisy's older brother is thrilled when he gets a baby brother. They are best buddies who do everything together. But then, his younger brother realizes she is a girl and wants to be called Daisy. Daisy's brother must adjust to the change - including what it means for him and their sibling relationship. A moving, lyrical picture book based on a true story, My Sister, Daisy handles a sensitive subject with warmth and love.


Book cover of Brave in the Water

Benjamin Giroux Author Of I Am Odd, I Am New

From my list on debut children's books of 2021.

Who am I?

Over the past several months, I have had the pleasure to work with amazing authors who, like me, have debut children's books that were released in 2021. These books range in topics, from overcoming your fears to transgender to history, to cute rats that will let your imagination run wild. Being a kid myself, my parents read every night to me. These are books that like mine, are filled with representation that was lacking in those books that were read to me.

Benjamin's book list on debut children's books of 2021

Benjamin Giroux Why did Benjamin love this book?

This book has one of my favorite covers which only accentuates the story of Diante overcoming his fears of swimming. With the help of his wise grandmother, Diante learns breathing techniques to help settle his mind in order to put his face in the water and learn to swim.

By Stephanie Wildman, Jenni Feidler-Aguilar (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Brave in the Water as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Are you afraid to put your face in the water? So is Diante. He would like to play in the pool with other children. He's not afraid to hang upside down, though, and he's surprised to learn his grandma is. Can Diante help Grandma and become brave in the water?

Also available in Spanish - Valiente en el Agua


Book cover of Complete Writings

Bettye Kearse Author Of The Other Madisons: The Lost History of a President's Black Family

From my list on notable enslaved women.

Who am I?

According to the eight generations of my family’s oral historians, I am a descendant of an enslaved cook and her enslaver, and half-brother, President James Madison. I am also a writer and a retired pediatrician. My essays, personal narrative, and commentaries have appeared in the Boston Herald, River Teeth, TIME, and the New York Times Magazine.

Bettye's book list on notable enslaved women

Bettye Kearse Why did Bettye love this book?

In 1761, the slave ship Phillis departed from Africa and headed toward America. Among the human cargo was a young girl. Judging by her missing incisors, she was seven or eight years old. Soon after the ship’s arrival in Boston, John and Susann Wheatley purchased the girl and named her after the ship that had delivered her to them. Mrs. Wheatley taught their servant to read and write and introduced her to classical and English literature, including revered poets. Around 1765, Phillis began writing poetry, and her first poem, “On Messrs. Hussey and Coffin,” published in 1767, when she was only about fourteen years old, rendered her the first black person in America to publish a poem. Carretta’s collection of Wheatley’s work includes a fascinating, thoroughly researched introduction.

By Phillis Wheatley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The extraordinary writings of Phillis Wheatley, a slave girl turned published poet

In 1761, a young girl arrived in Boston on a slave ship, sold to the Wheatley family, and given the name Phillis Wheatley. Struck by Phillis' extraordinary precociousness, the Wheatleys provided her with an education that was unusual for a woman of the time and astonishing for a slave. After studying English and classical literature, geography, the Bible, and Latin, Phillis published her first poem in 1767 at the age of 14, winning much public attention and considerable fame. When Boston publishers who doubted its authenticity rejected an…


Book cover of The Witch of Blackbird Pond

Mary Kendall Author Of The Spinster's Fortune

From my list on vintage gothic suspense by iconic authors.

Who am I?

Sometimes I have to take a trip back to my reading "roots": gothic mystery and suspense. This list is a deep dive into some of my very favorite vintage gothic authors and ones that I consider to be icons of the genre. These writers formed the foundation not only for my reading tastes but also for who I have become as a writer. The memories of my younger self come flooding back when I revisit these authors and their works as I have done with this list. Some of these novels are hard to come by now but, in my opinion, the older and more beat-up paperback, the better. 

Mary's book list on vintage gothic suspense by iconic authors

Mary Kendall Why did Mary love this book?

I adored this book as a kid and decided to pick it up and re-read as an adult. I was not disappointed.

I loved it all over again and also gave myself a little pat on the back for having good book taste at a young age.

The witchcraft trial era of early colonial history in the US is so well crafted here with the accuracy of the historical details blended into the evocative setting.

Published in 1958 and a Newberry Medal winner in 1959, it is young adult but I think non-YA readers could easily enjoy it as a compelling variation of the genre.

Sad to admit that I had forgotten a lot of the plot and details. But happy to say, I have benefited from the reread now.

By Elizabeth George Speare,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Witch of Blackbird Pond 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?

In this Newbery Medal-winning novel, a girl faces prejudice and accusations of witchcraft in seventeenth-century Connecticut. A classic of historical fiction that continues to resonate across the generations.

Sixteen-year-old Kit Tyler is marked by suspicion and disapproval from the moment she arrives on the unfamiliar shores of colonial Connecticut in 1687. Alone and desperate, she has been forced to leave her beloved home on the island of Barbados and join a family she has never met.

Torn between her quest for belonging and her desire to be true to herself, Kit struggles to survive in a hostile place. Just when…


Book cover of The Last American Puritan: The Life of Increase Mather

Jenny Hale Pulsipher Author Of Swindler Sachem: The American Indian Who Sold His Birthright, Dropped Out of Harvard, and Conned the King of England

From my list on seventeenth-century America.

Who am I?

Jenny Hale Pulsipher is a professor of history at Brigham Young University and the author of numerous articles and two award-winning books, Subjects unto the Same King: Indians, English, and the Contest of Authority in Early New England and Swindler Sachem: The American Indian Who Sold His Birthright, Dropped Out of Harvard, and Conned the King of England.

Jenny's book list on seventeenth-century America

Jenny Hale Pulsipher Why did Jenny love this book?

Hall's biography of one of the most influential Puritans in colonial New England offers a rich reading experience. Mather had a finger in everything, and seeing New England through his eyes helps the reader make sense of the political and religious factions, doctrinal struggles, the relationship between lay people and ministers (always less conservative than their followers), and the sweetness and suffering inherent in family life.

By Michael G. Hall,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Powerful preacher, political negotiator for New England in the halls of Parliament, president of Harvard, father of Cotton Mather, Increase Mather was the epitome of the American Puritan. He was the most important spokesman of his generation for Congregationalism and became the last American Puritan of consequence as the seventeenth century ended. The story begins in 1639 when Mather was born in the Massachusetts village of Dorchester. He left home for Harvard College when he was twelve and at twenty-two began to stir the city of Boston from the pulpit of North Church. He had written four books by the…


Book cover of Polygamy: An Early American History

Rebecca L. Davis Author Of Public Confessions: The Religious Conversions That Changed American Politics

From my list on why sex matters to US history.

Who am I?

I never set out to be a historian of sexuality, but the more I read, the more convinced I became of the centrality of sex to politics, culture, religion, and social change. I am fascinated by histories of sexuality in the making and shaping of individual identities and behaviors, and I’m also drawn to histories of other topics—politics, religion, enslavement, leisure—that also teach us something about the history of sex and sexuality. These interests drew me to the podcast Sexing History, where I edit the stories and help produce the episodes. I love to read widely to find histories of sex in unexpected places.

Rebecca's book list on why sex matters to US history

Rebecca L. Davis Why did Rebecca love this book?

Pearsall’s book is the sort that leaves a reader entertained, deeply informed, and unable to see the past the same way again. Polygamy, she shows, was at the center of the social and political systems of many Indigenous nations. As European soldiers and settlers attempted to trade with—or dominate—the people of these nations, they provoked violent reprisals. Opposition to monogamy drove Indigenous resistance movements. Europeans increasingly argued that their monogamous practices made them racially and religiously superior to the people they subordinated. The centrality of metaphors about monogamy and polygamy to American revolutionary political ideas is one of the book’s most enlightening—and entertaining—contributions in a book rich with surprises.

By Sarah M. S. Pearsall,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A groundbreaking examination of polygamy showing that monogamy was not the only form marriage took in early America

"A richly sourced, elegantly written, and strikingly original interdisciplinary study of the diverse practices of polygamy in American from ca.1500 to 1900."-John Witte Jr., Journal of Law and Religion

Today we tend to think of polygamy as an unnatural marital arrangement characteristic of fringe sects or uncivilized peoples. Historian Sarah Pearsall shows us that polygamy's surprising history encompasses numerous colonies, indigenous communities, and segments of the American nation. Polygamy-as well as the fight against it-illuminates many touchstones of American history: the Pueblo…


Book cover of Hour of the Witch

Larry Zuckerman Author Of Lonely Are the Brave

From my list on men and women breaking unwritten rules.

Who am I?

As a teenager, I began to question the myths my parents told about our family, but when saying so caused trouble, I confided my stories to paper instead. That’s how I became a writer. My first love has always been fiction, but I broke into print writing history—about quirky subjects in which I find deep meaning, like the potato’s revolutionary influence on the Western world, or how the invasion and occupation of Belgium in 1914 foretold Nazi Europe. My fascination with subversion shapes my novels too—my quiet, lonely protagonists would never storm the barricades yet appear radical because of how they live, a circumstance I know well.

Larry's book list on men and women breaking unwritten rules

Larry Zuckerman Why did Larry love this book?

Nothing’s more subversive than illicit desire, so Mary appeals to me as a quiet rebel par excellence, particularly when she decides to fight back against her abusive husband.

A sterling example of a literary thriller, unafraid to dwell in emotional moments and use them to turn the screws, this novel reminds me of Hitchcock films for its villain’s relentlessness and the way in which ordinary objects become charged with tension.

I love the psychological complexity of a protagonist who feels shamed, thinks maybe she deserves it, yet somehow senses that there’s another, freer way to live. Mary’s struggle is one I can get behind.

By Chris Bohjalian,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Hour of the Witch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • From the acclaimed author of The Flight Attendant: “Historical fiction at its best…. The book is a thriller in structure, and a real page-turner, the ending both unexpected and satisfying” (Diana Gabaldon, bestselling author of the Outlander series, The Washington Post).

A young Puritan woman—faithful, resourceful, but afraid of the demons that dog her soul—plots her escape from a violent marriage in this riveting and propulsive novel of historical suspense.

Boston, 1662. Mary Deerfield is twenty-four-years-old. Her skin is porcelain, her eyes delft blue, and in England she might have had many suitors. But…


Book cover of The Old American

Tim Weed Author Of Will Poole's Island

From my list on Early Colonial New England.

Who am I?

Many of my English ancestors came to New England during the so-called Great Migration of the 1630s. I also have Native American ancestors, and as I researched both groups I couldn’t escape the feeling that something important was missing from our contemporary understanding of the period. In the novel that became Will Poole’s Island, I was in a sense driven to recreate the age, or at least to complicate our received mythologies about it. A central theme of the book is the collision of two radically opposed worldviews that had in common a preoccupation with the visionary and the unseen; this is also a theme of the five narratives described below.

Tim's book list on Early Colonial New England

Tim Weed Why did Tim love this book?

This novel, published in 2000 by the University Press of New England, has in my opinion never gained the readership it deserves. It’s a rich, funny, deeply humane captivity tale based on the true story of Nathan Blake, who was taken by Algonkian-speaking people from his home in Keene, New Hampshire, in 1746, and brought up to Canada, where he was held for three years as a slave. The novel weaves a defamiliarized but extremely plausible-feeling tapestry of early colonial America that complicates the stereotypes established by Cooper’s influential novel set in the same period, and Hebert’s main character, Caucus-Meteor—an elderly, multilingual Indian and the last survivor of his band—is by my lights one of the great characters in literature.

By Ernest Hebert,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1746, Nathan Blake, the first frame house builder in Keene, New Hampshire, was abducted by Algonkians and held in Canada as a slave. Inspired by this dramatic slice of history, novelist Ernest Hebert has written a masterful new novel recreating those years of captivity.

Set in New England and Canada during the French and Indian Wars, The Old American is driven by its complex, vividly imagined title character, Caucus-Meteor. By turns shrewd and embittered, ambitious and despairing, inspired and tormented, he is the self-styled"king" of the remnants of the first native tribes that encountered the English. Displaced and ravaged…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Colonial America, poets, and the Puritans?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Colonial America, poets, and the Puritans.

Colonial America Explore 51 books about Colonial America
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The Puritans Explore 29 books about the Puritans