100 books like Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes

By Eleanor Coerr, Ronald Himler,

Here are 100 books that Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes fans have personally recommended if you like Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. 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 All the Light We Cannot See

Michael Allan Scott Author Of Facing North, Headed South

From my list on brilliant genre defying storytelling.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m of the opinion that good writers draw from life experience. Here are the broad strokes: a Boy Scout reporter at the 1964 national Jamboree, a drummer in country, rock, and jazz bands, a SCUBA instructor, a commercial real estate developer, a drug addict, and an inmate in the penal system. I’ve been reading and writing almost from day one. Most of my early work is crap. I’ve learned the hard way what makes a story worth telling and how best to tell it. Read my recommendations and decide for yourself. After all, it’s your opinion that counts.  

Michael's book list on brilliant genre defying storytelling

Michael Allan Scott Why did Michael love this book?

This book has everything I look for in great storytelling in spades: real people doing their best to cope with extraordinary circumstances, masterfully crafted by an author who loves his work.

Some will call this a historical novel; some will pigeonhole it as a war novel. In my view, it easily exceeds all such classifications. It is an incredible piece of work. I use this book for reference, to remind me how it’s done. 

By Anthony Doerr,

Why should I read it?

40 authors picked All the Light We Cannot See as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE 2015 PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR FICTION

A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II

Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.'

For Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, the world is full of mazes. The miniature of a Paris neighbourhood, made by her father to teach her the way home. The microscopic…


Book cover of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Johanna van Zanten Author Of The Imposter

From my list on how the Second World War affected regular people and their families.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child with older sisters, I read their books beyond my age level under the blankets with a flashlight in bed at night. I became a reading addict. Raised in The Netherlands with the Second World War casting its large shadow on our lives, I only became interested, after my parents were gone, in how people survived and had to find their courage under impossible circumstances. They would never talk about those occupation years. My search into history led me to find the answers.

Johanna's book list on how the Second World War affected regular people and their families

Johanna van Zanten Why did Johanna love this book?

I loved this non-fiction book, and reading it, I often broke down in tears, realizing this personal and innocent true teenage story was all leading up to the tremendous death of millions of innocent people.

This is the only Anne Frank book that I recommend to everybody from a young age. It is THE introduction to the real events of World War 2.

By Anne Frank, B.M. Mooyaart (translator),

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Anne Frank 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?

With 30 per cent more material than previous editions, this new contemporary and fully anglicized translation gives the reader a deeper insight into Anne's world. Publication of the unabridged Definitive Edition on Penguin Audiobook, read by Helena Bonham-Carter, coincides.


Book cover of No Pretty Pictures: A Child of War

Lois Lowry Author Of On the Horizon

From my list on war through the eyes of children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’d like to say I have no expertise in this topic. And yet…don’t we all?  We’ve all lived through it. I was born in 1937—in Honolulu, the daughter of a US Army officer. WW II was a pervasive part of my childhood, as my father spent time in the Pacific and then after the war ended, we lived in Occupied Japan for some years.  But war had always been a part of my family’s history, as is true for so many people. My great grandfather left a written account of his capture and imprisonment during the Civil War.  And much more recently, my own son, an Air Force pilot, died in the cockpit of a F-15.  Ironically, he had married a German wife, and he is buried in her village cemetery near her grandfather, who served on the Russian front years earlier.  His child, my granddaughter, puts flowers on both of those graves. All of these pieces of my own history combine, I think, to create this passion I have for the telling and retelling of stories that can make us more aware of the futility of war.

Lois' book list on war through the eyes of children

Lois Lowry Why did Lois love this book?

Five years old when the Nazis invaded her homeland of Poland, Anita Lobel spent the war years in hiding. Her memoir is intimate and suspenseful and even occasionally funny.  Here’s a glimpse… through the eyes of a real child…of what survival means, and of those who helped her achieve it.

By Anita Lobel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Pretty Pictures as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Anita Lobel was barely five years old when World War II began and the Nazis burst into her home in Kraków, Poland. Her life changed forever. She spent her childhood in hiding with her brother and their nanny, moving from countryside to ghetto to convent—where the Nazis finally caught up with them.

Since coming to the United States as a teenager, Anita has spent her life makingpictures. She has never gone back. She has never looked back. Until now.


Book cover of Pink and Say

Lois Lowry Author Of On the Horizon

From my list on war through the eyes of children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’d like to say I have no expertise in this topic. And yet…don’t we all?  We’ve all lived through it. I was born in 1937—in Honolulu, the daughter of a US Army officer. WW II was a pervasive part of my childhood, as my father spent time in the Pacific and then after the war ended, we lived in Occupied Japan for some years.  But war had always been a part of my family’s history, as is true for so many people. My great grandfather left a written account of his capture and imprisonment during the Civil War.  And much more recently, my own son, an Air Force pilot, died in the cockpit of a F-15.  Ironically, he had married a German wife, and he is buried in her village cemetery near her grandfather, who served on the Russian front years earlier.  His child, my granddaughter, puts flowers on both of those graves. All of these pieces of my own history combine, I think, to create this passion I have for the telling and retelling of stories that can make us more aware of the futility of war.

Lois' book list on war through the eyes of children

Lois Lowry Why did Lois love this book?

I love this book, which combines a true story from the Civil War with gorgeous illustrations by the amazingly gifted author.  Pink, who is white, and Say, who is Black, are two young Union soldiers, little more than boys…as my own great grandfather once was.  Their survival depends upon their relationship, and the story, as retold by Polacco, reminds us—as all these books do—of our interdependence.

By Patricia Polacco,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Sheldon Russell Curtis told this story to his daughter, Rosa, she kept every word in her heart and was to retell it many times.
     I will tell it in Sheldon's own words as nearly as I can.

He was wounded in a fierce battle and left for dead in a pasture somewhere in Georgia when Pinkus found him. Pinkus' skin was the color of polished mahogany, and he was flying Union colors like the wounded boy, and he picked him up out of the field and brought him to where the black soldier's mother, Moe Moe Bay, lived. She…


Book cover of My Sister's Keeper

Staci Troilo Author Of Type and Cross

From my list on dysfunctional family drama to make you feel better.

Why am I passionate about this?

Misery loves company, right? While I never wish ill on someone, I find comfort in knowing I’m not the only one going through a loss, slight, or rejection. Family dysfunction novels remind me that the petty problems I get caught up in are nothing compared to what they could be. Sure, fiction frequently elevates these troubles from drama to melodrama, but I still experience relief—even though it may only be in the smallest way—focusing on someone else’s struggles. Sometimes I even find a solution to my own paltry issues. Who wouldn’t want that? And what writer wouldn’t want to help readers in that way?

Staci's book list on dysfunctional family drama to make you feel better

Staci Troilo Why did Staci love this book?

The sickness or death of a child is a particularly sharp arrow to the average person’s heart.

But I think anyone who’s suffered the loss of a child, seen their child’s life in jeopardy, or is close to someone who’s been through one of those situations is even more sensitive to the topic. My heart and soul were battered from word one, but I had to read this book.

How far would a parent go to save her child? This story explored the question from many angles in a poignant way and left me in tears. I dare people to read it and not ask themselves the same questions.

By Jodi Picoult,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked My Sister's Keeper as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sara and Brian Fitzgerald's life with their young son and their two-year-old daughter, Kate, is forever altered when they learn that Kate has leukemia. The parents' only hope is to conceive another child, specifically intended to save Kate's life. For some, such genetic engineering would raise both moral and ethical questions; for the Fitzgeralds, Sara in particular, there is no choice but to do whatever it takes to keep Kate alive. And what it takes is Anna. Kate (Sofia Vassilieva) and Anna (Abigail Breslin) share a bond closer than most sisters: though Kate is older, she relies on her little…


Book cover of Red, White, and Whole

Dana VanderLugt Author Of Enemies in the Orchard: A World War 2 Novel in Verse

From my list on middle grade written that tackle grief.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I worked as a middle school teacher, I surveyed more than 200 students how they felt about books that included sadness and grief. The overwhelming answer from the students was that while adults too often minimize their feelings and dismiss the validity of their heartache, books do not. Many young readers want books that are honest and raw enough not to shield them from the world, but to pay enough attention to its pain to light a path, knowing that they can keep moving forward in the dark when they feel less alone and less afraid.

Dana's book list on middle grade written that tackle grief

Dana VanderLugt Why did Dana love this book?

Another novel in verse, I loved Rajani LaRocca’s Red, White, and Whole for its emotional complexity.

Though a work of fiction, LaRocca has said that many of the aspects of the book are based on her own experience growing up as an Indian American in the 1980s. In the story, thirteen-year-old Reha straddles two worlds: expected to honor Indian traditions and expectations at home, while fitting into the life of an American teenager at school.

But when Reha’s mother is diagnosed with cancer, Reha must confront more than just her fear of blood. I love this book for the mirrors and windows it provides readers of all ages.

By Rajani LaRocca,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Red, White, and Whole 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?

Newbery Honor Book! A heartbreakingly hopeful novel in verse about an Indian American girl whose life is turned upside down when her mother is diagnosed with leukemia.

* Walter Award Winner * New England Book Award Winner * An NCTE Notable Verse Novel * Golden Kite Award Winner * Goodreads Choice Nominee * A Washington Post Best Children's Book of the Year * An SLJ Best Book of the Year * A BookPage Best Book of the Year * An NYPL Best Book of the Year * A Mighty Girl's Best Book of the Year * An ILA Notable Book…


Book cover of Gold

F.J. Campbell Author Of No Number Nine

From my list on fiction with sporty characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in England but have also lived in Germany and Switzerland. I’m not – and never have been – an elite sportsperson, but I'm fascinated by the sporting world and in particular, how young people who are into sports cope with the pressures of growing up and dealing with the successes and failures of sports. I love playing sports and watching it, in particular the Olympics and Paralympics, because of the drama, the tension, the soaring highs of winning, and the miserable lows of losing. The books that I've chosen hooked me in and kept me turning their pages because they’re gripping stories with irresistible (sporty) characters in inspiring settings.

F.J.'s book list on fiction with sporty characters

F.J. Campbell Why did F.J. love this book?

This is a book I found out about when I was researching and writing my own book. It follows the story of three British cyclists, Zoe, Kate, and Jack, as they train for Olympic glory. Cleave writes about the glorious excitement of the sport, the brutal pain of training, and the hard choices these athletes have to make and his characters are unforgettable. 

Gold helped me realise that you can write a book that weaves sport into a story about love, friendship, loyalty, and grief. Gold was a great inspiration to me!

By Chris Cleave,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The extraordinary third novel from Chris Cleave, author of the internationally bestselling, Costa-shortlisted THE OTHER HAND.

Kate and Zoe are friends but also ardent rivals - athletes at the top of their game, fighting to compete in the world's greatest sporting contest. Each scarred by tragedy, and each with a great deal to lose, they must choose between family and glory and ask themselves: what will I sacrifice?

GOLD captures the extraordinary effort and dedication that go into the pursuit of victory. But this life-affirming novel is about more than sport. It is about human endurance, motherhood and love, and…


Book cover of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

Mikkael A. Sekeres Author Of Drugs and the FDA: Safety, Efficacy, and the Public's Trust

From my list on the good, bad, beautiful, and ugly in medicine.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a cancer doctor, I have spent two decades dedicated to understanding the causes and therapy of cancer, how my patients experience their diagnosis and treatment, and how meaningful improvements in their experience should be reflected in the criteria we use to approve cancer drugs approval in the U.S., to improve their lives. In over 100 essays published in outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post and in two books, I sing the stories of my patients as I learn from their undaunted spirits and their utter humanity, as I try to figure out how to be a better doctor, and a better person.

Mikkael's book list on the good, bad, beautiful, and ugly in medicine

Mikkael A. Sekeres Why did Mikkael love this book?

Less than a century ago, having a diagnosis of cancer was almost universally a death sentence, if the word was even uttered at all.

In The Emperor of All Maladies, Mukherjee (who overlapped in training with me) takes us back in time to the heroic – and at times cavalier and even brutal – procedures and discoveries that led to the very first cancer treatments, some of which are told by the people who pioneered those therapies.

By Siddhartha Mukherjee,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Emperor of All Maladies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Guardian First Book Award 2011

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Non-fiction 2011

Shortlisted for the Duff Cooper Prize 2011

Shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize

In The Emperor of All Maladies, Siddhartha Mukherjee, doctor, researcher and award-winning science writer, examines cancer with a cellular biologist's precision, a historian's perspective, and a biographer's passion. The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with - and perished from - for more than five thousand years.

The story of cancer is a story of human ingenuity, resilience and perseverance, but also…


Book cover of The Last Cherry Blossom

Tim Cummings Author Of Alice the Cat

From my list on kids with smart, strong female protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I earned my Master’s in Writing For Young People, or ‘Bildungsromans’ a few years back, and subsequently published my debut novel, a coming-of-age adventure about a girl who goes on a quest to save her suicidal cat. I headed back to school to honor that long-alive love for kid lit. When I was a kid, I devoured books that irrevocably inspired, changed, and moved me: I voraciously consumed every book by E.B. White, Robert O’Brien, Madeleine L’Engle, Beverly Cleary, Ruth Chew, Mildred Taylor, Richard Adams, Roald Dahl, Lowis Lowrey, Gary Paulsen…every other major kid lit classic out there, really. 

Tim's book list on kids with smart, strong female protagonists

Tim Cummings Why did Tim love this book?

12-year-old Yuriko, a girl living in Japan with her expanding family and navigating the tricky terrain of World War II, is unlike other tween female protagonists.

She’s not outwardly assertive, feisty, or heading off on a quest. She’s more of a jewel of innocence, love, and curiosity. But when we witness the bombing of Hiroshima through her eyes, we see unexpected heroism take flight. The losses she suffers, the setbacks, the nightmares, the horror, the pure honesty in how she conveys it.

Author Burkinshaw wrote the book in honor of her mother, who survived Hiroshima. It’s unlike most books for kids that come down the pike. It’s about bravery, family, and beautifully illuminates Japanese culture. The story is about facing unimaginable events but not losing your heart in the battle. 

By Kathleen Burkinshaw,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last Cherry Blossom 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?


Yuriko was happy growing up in Hiroshima when it was just her and Papa. But her aunt Kimiko and her cousin Genji are living with them now, and the family is only getting bigger with talk of a double marriage! And while things are changing at home, the world beyond their doors is even more unpredictable. World War II is coming to an end, and since the Japanese newspapers don't report lost battles, the Japanese people are not entirely certain of where Japan stands. Yuriko is used to the sirens and the air-raid drills, but things start to feel more…


Book cover of Hiroshima

Rhys Crilley Author Of Unparalleled Catastrophe: Life and Death in the Third Nuclear Age

From my list on nuclear war and how to stop it.

Why am I passionate about this?

I currently spend my time researching (and worrying about) nuclear war and how to stop it from ever happening. I live about 25 miles away from where the UK’s nuclear weapons are based, so I have a very personal interest in making sure that nuclear war never becomes a reality! As a lecturer at the University of Glasgow I’m also embarking on a four-year research fellowship with over £1 million in funding where I will be leading a team of experts to research how to improve nuclear arms control and disarmament. So keep in touch if you want to reduce the risk of nuclear war and ban the bomb!

Rhys' book list on nuclear war and how to stop it

Rhys Crilley Why did Rhys love this book?

I really enjoyed Christopher Nolan’s Academy Award-winning Oppenheimer movie, and this book is the perfect book to read after watching it. Hiroshima was the first widespread account of what Oppenheimer’s creation – the atomic bomb – did to the people of Hiroshima.

Written in the immediate aftermath of the nuclear bombing, Hiroshima tells the story of six men and women who survived amidst the destruction that killed over 100,000 other people. By focusing on these six survivors, Hersey makes the almost unimaginable scale of destruction achingly real and relatable. At one point, he describes "the wounded as silent as the dead around them," and this line sends shivers down my spine. 

Few writers can conduct such detailed investigative reporting and tell the story in such a human way that still resonates today, nearly 80 years after it was first published. 

By John Hersey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“One of the great classics of the war" (The New Republic) that tells what happened in Hiroshima through the memories of survivors—from a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. 

On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima was destroyed by the first atom bomb ever dropped on a city. This book, John Hersey's journalistic masterpiece, tells what happened on that day. Told through the memories of survivors, this timeless, powerful and compassionate document has become a classic "that stirs the conscience of humanity" (The New York Times).

Almost four decades after the original publication of this celebrated book, John Hersey went back to Hiroshima in search…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Hiroshima, physiology, and Japan?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Hiroshima, physiology, and Japan.

Hiroshima Explore 14 books about Hiroshima
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Japan Explore 469 books about Japan