100 books like Star Beasts

By Stephanie Young, Allyson Lassiter (illustrator),

Here are 100 books that Star Beasts fans have personally recommended if you like Star Beasts. 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 Sideways Stories from Wayside School

Travis Nichols Author Of A Witch's Last Resort

From my list on friendly freaks, monsters, and cryptids.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lifelong monster fiend. I love horror and sci-fi, and I especially love stories that really dig into characters and how they smash into each other. My favorite scary books (and movies, etc.) are funny, and my favorite funny books are kinda scary. It can be super healing and empowering to read books about terrible things that are handled with a heaping scoop of empathy and humor and absurdity.

Travis' book list on friendly freaks, monsters, and cryptids

Travis Nichols Why did Travis love this book?

What can I say? It’s the goated friendly freaks book.

This collection of super short connected stories stars one kid per tale. The kids are weird and wild, and something that has really stuck with me my whole life is that some of the kids are rotten and stay rotten. Not everyone needs to grow and change in 120 pages.

Let a character stink. Let a kid be a wet rat. Let a nasty teacher be eaten. Anyway, there’s this incredible way that the author employs a third-person limited POV that gets me every time, even on the hundredth read.

A few illustrators have graced the pages of this all-time favorite. I grew up reading an edition illustrated by the amazing Julie Brinkloe. I also have a copy illustrated by Adam McCauley, which I also really love.

By Louis Sachar, Tim Heitz (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Sideways Stories from Wayside School 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?

There has been a terrible mistake. Instead of having thirty classrooms side by side, Wayside School is thirty storeys high! (The builder said he was sorry.) Perhaps that's why all sorts of strange and unusual things keep happening - especially in Mrs Jewls's classroom on the very top floor.

There's the terrifying Mrs Gorf, who gets an unusually fruity comeuppance; Terrible Todd, who always gets sent home early; and Mauricia, who has a strange ice-cream addiction. Meanwhile, John can only read upside down, and Leslie is determined to sell her own toes.

From top to bottom, Wayside is packed with…


Book cover of Meet the Bigfeet

Travis Nichols Author Of A Witch's Last Resort

From my list on friendly freaks, monsters, and cryptids.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lifelong monster fiend. I love horror and sci-fi, and I especially love stories that really dig into characters and how they smash into each other. My favorite scary books (and movies, etc.) are funny, and my favorite funny books are kinda scary. It can be super healing and empowering to read books about terrible things that are handled with a heaping scoop of empathy and humor and absurdity.

Travis' book list on friendly freaks, monsters, and cryptids

Travis Nichols Why did Travis love this book?

Cryptids? Gnomes? Maps and charts? I’m in heaven.

I don’t know Kevin, but he feels like a kindred spirit who grew up on the same set of references. The Yeti Files books are hilarious and cool with a huge cast of cryptids (check the endpapers for a roll call). Marlon the skunk ape is my favorite.

I love the way the story of Blizz attending his family reunion and thwarting George the cryptozoologist is told: illustrated spreads, whooshing panels, Indiana Jones-esque dotted line traveling interludes, etc.

The rhythm and pace surf you from page to page. Reluctant readers don’t stand a chance.

By Kevin Sherry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Yetis, Bigfeet and goblins abound in this hilarious new illustrated
series from a bestselling author/illustrator!

Blizz Richards is a great guy, a caring boss and a loyal friend.
Oh, yeah ... he's also a yeti! He's made it his life's mission to
study cryptids like him; hidden animals who have taken a powerful
oath to never be seen by the outside world.

So when a photo of Cousin Brian becomes a media sensation, Brian
can't handle the guilt and disappears. But it's time for the annual
Bigfoot family reunion, and it won't be the same without him.
Luckily, Blizz and…


Book cover of Re-entry

Travis Nichols Author Of A Witch's Last Resort

From my list on friendly freaks, monsters, and cryptids.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lifelong monster fiend. I love horror and sci-fi, and I especially love stories that really dig into characters and how they smash into each other. My favorite scary books (and movies, etc.) are funny, and my favorite funny books are kinda scary. It can be super healing and empowering to read books about terrible things that are handled with a heaping scoop of empathy and humor and absurdity.

Travis' book list on friendly freaks, monsters, and cryptids

Travis Nichols Why did Travis love this book?

The Astronaut Academy series is so silly and exciting.

Re-entry is the second book in the series, and I really love how each chapter focuses on a different character. Each chapter starts with a variation of “My name is ____ and I ____ Astronaut Academy.”

Those tiny bits do a lot of character building, because sometimes it’s “and you bet I go to…” and sometimes it’s “and I’m the richest and most pretty girl in all of…” It’s just an immediate Oh here we go, you know?

This book has it all: space walking, epic sports, cute romance, bazooka-fisted bears, and a mysterious monster. The whole series was recently repubbed in full color (color on this one by Fred C. Stresing), and they’re gorgeous.

By Dave Roman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Re-entry 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?

Hakata Soy still has a lot to learn!

It's a new semester at Astronaut Academy and everyone is excited for the Fireball championship-especially Hakata's cranky roommate, Tak Offsky. But lurking in the shadows is a shape-shifting, heart-stealing monster, and it might just knock the Fireball team out of the competition!

Can Hakata and Tak put aside their differences, lead the team to victory, and save the lives of their classmates?

Beautifully updated with fresh color, this new edition of the engaging and delightful Astronaut Academy series will have readers dreaming of space adventures, friendship, and Dinosaur driving lessons.


Book cover of Bug Boys

Travis Nichols Author Of A Witch's Last Resort

From my list on friendly freaks, monsters, and cryptids.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lifelong monster fiend. I love horror and sci-fi, and I especially love stories that really dig into characters and how they smash into each other. My favorite scary books (and movies, etc.) are funny, and my favorite funny books are kinda scary. It can be super healing and empowering to read books about terrible things that are handled with a heaping scoop of empathy and humor and absurdity.

Travis' book list on friendly freaks, monsters, and cryptids

Travis Nichols Why did Travis love this book?

Bug Boys started as (award-winning) self-pubbed minicomics and made their way to gloriously full-color graphic novels. Rhino-B and Stag-B are adorable bugs who explore the forest, escape terrifying giants, and dive deep into the world under our feet (and ponder if there are even more worlds out there).

The collected stories (I really have a thing for that, it seems) span from sweet and meditative to temporarily terrifying to high fantasy, and the colors by Lyle Lynde match the moods along the way. This whole series is so rad and kind.

By Laura Knetzger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bug Boys as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

Join two bug friends as they learn about the science of the world around them and the meaning of friendship in this early graphic novel series perfect for fans of Narwhal and Jelly!

Rhino-B is a brash, but sweet guy. Stag-B is a calm and scholarly adventurer. Together these two young beetles make up the Bug Boys, best friends who spend their time exploring the world of Bug Village and beyond, as well as their own -- sometimes confusing and complicated -- thoughts and feelings.

In their first adventure, the Bug Boys travel through spooky caves, work with a spider…


Book cover of Voyage of the Dogs

Clare Rhoden Author Of The Pale

From my list on dystopian books with heart, soul, and dogs.

Why am I passionate about this?

The first book I read on my own was the Little Golden Book of Puppies and Kittens. I decided then, aged three, that the best books have animals in them…and I haven’t changed my mind. While fantasy novels with animals are among my all-time favorites, I’ve developed a deep love for dystopian novels which leave room for hope. I especially love the stories that show more than just humans living on Planet Earth. What better species to represent all that’s good on Earth but dogs? I can’t imagine ever writing a story without a dog in it. 

Clare's book list on dystopian books with heart, soul, and dogs

Clare Rhoden Why did Clare love this book?

Lopside the Barkonaut is sure to make you smile. Humanity needs to find a new planet to live on, and the Barkonauts go along to ensure the best qualities of both humans and dogs survive.

Voyage of the Dogs is a middle-grade book (ages 10+) but completely enjoyable for dog lovers of all ages. Disaster strikes when the human astronauts disappear – are they dead? – and the Barkonauts have to figure out stuff for themselves. 

I love that all of these space-faring dogs have flaws and a past history that they have to carry around. Lopside discovers that some of his fellow Barkonauts are nothing like what they seem. Despite all the obstacles, eventually, there is a wonderful outcome that will bring you joy for a long time after you finish reading. Read it for yourself – or even better, read it to a kid who needs strength and…

By Greg Van Eekhout,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Voyage of the Dogs 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?

Dogs in space! Share this book with middle graders who enjoy stories about dogs, space adventures, or action adventure stories-or all three! Perfect for fans of Homeward Bound and Woof.

Lopside is a Barkonaut, a specially trained dog who assists human astronauts on missions in space. He and the crew aboard the spaceship Laika are en route to set up an outpost on a distant planet.

When the mission takes a disastrous turn, the Barkonauts on board suddenly find themselves completely alone on their severely damaged ship.

Survival seems impossible. But these dogs are Barkonauts-and Barkonauts always complete their mission.…


Book cover of The Eyes and the Impossible

Kristin O’Donnell Tubb Author Of A Dog Like Daisy

From my list on books for kids told from a dog’s point of view.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of eleven books for middle-grade readers, including three books from a dog’s point of view. These books have won five state book awards between them, and have been published in other languages. I’ve been writing for young readers for over 20 years. I also live with four furry friends of my own: Cookie (a cockapoo), Myrtle (a pug), Nala (a calico cat), and Daisy (a sweet mutt cat). I miss my big-hearted goldendoodle Lucky every day. And, like my dogs, I can be bribed with cheese.

Kristin's book list on books for kids told from a dog’s point of view

Kristin O’Donnell Tubb Why did Kristin love this book?

This book is special, y’all. The main character is a dog named Johannes, but his friends mostly refer to him as the Eyes. The Eyes can run fast, and he’s smart and caring. His friends include seagulls, goats, bison, horses, and (much to Johannes’s chagrin) ducks.

The writing in this story is spare and beautiful; some of my favorite lines include, “I’m so angry at my mind” and “Bite for justice. It had a certain ring.” The version I read had a carved wooden cover (seriously – gorgeous!) and included several full-color illustrations and gold-gilded pages.

This book won the 2023 Newbery Medal for excellence in children’s literature, and I agree that it has earned a spot in children’s literature history. 

By Dave Eggers, Shawn Harris (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Eyes and the Impossible 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?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the award-winning author of The Every and the illustrator behind the beloved picture book Her Right Foot comes an endearing and beautifully illustrated story of a dog who unwittingly becomes a hero to a park full of animals.

Johannes, a free dog, lives in an urban park by the sea. His job is to be the Eyes—to see everything that happens within the park and report back to the park’s elders, three ancient Bison. His friends—a seagull, a raccoon, a squirrel, and a pelican—work with him as the Assistant Eyes, observing the humans and…


Book cover of Tales of Pirx the Pilot

Felice Picano Author Of The Betrothal at Usk

From my list on sci-fi you missed because they were novellas.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was an artist as a child but graduated as a Comparative Literature Major. The aunt and uncle I stayed with in Providence summers when I was 10-12 years old lived three houses away from that of H.P. Lovecraft. My aunt would have tea with women who remembered “Poor Howard.” So my first real reading was H.P. and a host of other SF authors. I also always read foreign authors: classics and newer books. The books by the women are small but virtually perfect with unusual narrators—a disgraced, planet-colony Security Robot and a dark-skinned, young Tribal woman who finds herself facing her people’s worst enemy. Both novellas have spawned entire series by their authors.

Felice's book list on sci-fi you missed because they were novellas

Felice Picano Why did Felice love this book?

When is the last time you laughed out loud again and again while reading sci-fi? Right! Me either. Here’s a deliciously wacky novel about a perfectly ordinary young space pilot fresh out of training and what happens on several of his more “interesting” interstellar voyages. Lem was a brilliant scientist, and the conundrums of time/space he comes up with are startling, fresh and often very twisty. For example, let’s say you end up in a space/time logjam in which you encounter your future self. Would you take your own advice?  

By Stanislaw Lem, Louis Iribarne (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tales of Pirx the Pilot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From 'A giant of twentieth-century science fiction' (Guardian), the adventures of Pirx, a hapless everyman in outer space

'By now he fancied himself something of a rocket jockey, a space ace, whose real home was among the planets'

In a future where space travel has become routine and unremarkable, Pirx the pilot bumbles and daydreams his way through the solar system. These endearing tales follow his progress from cadet to captain. But, whether he is wrestling with a misbehaving spacesuit, feeling uncomfortable on a luxury space cruise ship or encountering a mysterious malfunctioning robot on a mission to Mars, the…


Book cover of Sally Ride: America's First Woman in Space

Kelly Weinersmith Author Of A City on Mars: Can we settle space, should we settle space, and have we really thought this through?

From my list on being an astronaut.

Why am I passionate about this?

My husband/co-author and I are sci-fi nerds and started getting excited about space settlements after writing two space-related chapters in our first book, Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything. We spent 4 years doing research for A City on Mars and ended up with around 35 shelves of space-related books in our bookcases. About 3 of those shelves are books related to life in space, many of which are astronaut memoirs. Here are some of our favorites, picked so they span from the Apollo to the International Space Station eras!

Kelly's book list on being an astronaut

Kelly Weinersmith Why did Kelly love this book?

Lynn Sherr is a reporter, and was a friend of Sally Ride. Between knowing Ride personally and her many interviews with Ride’s partners, family, and friends, Sherr was able to write a remarkably in-depth biography of a person who largely avoided sharing personal information publicly.

I learned a lot about Ride I didn’t previously know, like the fact that the US’s first woman astronaut was also LGBTQIA+! She was a trailblazer on so many fronts.

By Lynn Sherr,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The definitive biography of Sally Ride, America’s first woman in space, with exclusive insights from Ride’s family and partner, by the ABC reporter who covered NASA during its transformation from a test-pilot boys’ club to a more inclusive elite.

Sally Ride made history as the first American woman in space. A member of the first astronaut class to include women, she broke through a quarter-century of white male fighter jocks when NASA chose her for the seventh shuttle mission, cracking the celestial ceiling and inspiring several generations of women.

After a second flight, Ride served on the panels investigating the…


Book cover of Through the Glass Ceiling to the Stars: The Story of the First American Woman to Command a Space Mission

Marianne J. Dyson Author Of A Passion for Space: Adventures of a Pioneering Female NASA Flight Controller

From my list on biographical stories of women in space.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was 14, I wrote in my diary that I wanted to be an astronaut. It was 1968, and all astronauts were men. My role models came from fiction. It wasn’t until after I got my degree in physics and went to work for NASA that I finally got to know other women scientists and engineers, including the first women flight controllers and American women astronauts. After leaving NASA, I became a space journalist, author, editor, and book reviewer, often focusing on women’s contributions to space. I’m currently the volunteer historian for Mission Control and helping to capture more stories of women in space.

Marianne's book list on biographical stories of women in space

Marianne J. Dyson Why did Marianne love this book?

It’s hard to imagine the competent, happily married Eileen Collins, the first female Space Shuttle commander, living off food stamps in subsidized housing with her alcoholic father trying to break down the door or later having to call 911 because her mother tried to kill herself. As she says, “It was awful to live through, but it shaped me into who I am today.”

I marveled at how she transformed herself from a mediocre student to a woman willing to work multiple part-time jobs to attend community college and avoid her parents’ fates. Not only did she become a test pilot, astronaut, and the first female space commander, she found her happily ever after. It just doesn’t get better than that!

By Eileen M. Collins, Jonathan H. Ward,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Through the Glass Ceiling to the Stars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The long-awaited memoir of a trailblazer and role model who is telling her story for the first time.
Eileen Collins was an aviation pioneer her entire career, from her crowning achievements as the first woman to command an American space mission as well as the first to pilot the space shuttle to her early years as one of the Air Force's first female pilots. She was in the first class of women to earn pilot's wings at Vance Air Force Base and was their first female instructor pilot. She was only the second woman admitted to the Air Force's elite…


Book cover of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe

Tyffany D. Neiheiser Author Of Not Dead Enough

From my list on YA horror books that engage with mental health.

Why am I passionate about this?

Two of my favorite things to read about are horror stories and mental health. I have a Master’s Degree in mental health counseling and have worked with kids and adults with various mental health challenges. I’m passionate about talking about mental health to help demystify and destigmatize some of the conversations around these issues. It’s been frustrating to me how often, in the past, books have gotten mental health “wrong.” So whenever I find books with an accurate picture of mental health challenges, told in speculative fiction, I get super excited. I most enjoy stories when they’re entertaining but also mean something and have strong characters with challenges I can relate to.

Tyffany's book list on YA horror books that engage with mental health

Tyffany D. Neiheiser Why did Tyffany love this book?

The first time I read it—and yes, there have been a few times—I could not put this book down.

Romy Silvers is the only crew member to survive an accident during interstellar travel, and she’s got the trauma to prove it. Her only communication with other people is by email. At first, she’s ecstatic when she finds out another ship has been sent to join her. But then the messages from Earth start getting weird.

The author does a brilliant job of casting doubt as to how much of what’s going on is real—and how much is in Romy’s head. I wouldn’t have thought being alone in space could be so terrifying, but the tension and feeling of creeping dread did not stop until the ending—which left me reeling.

By Lauren James,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Loneliest Girl in the Universe 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?

A surprising and gripping sci-fi thriller with a killer twist
The daughter of two astronauts, Romy Silvers is no stranger to life in space. But she never knew how isolating the universe could be until her parents' tragic deaths left her alone on The Infinity, a spaceship speeding away from Earth.
Romy tries to make the best of her lonely situation, but with only brief messages from her therapist on Earth to keep her company, she can't help but feel like something is missing. It seems like a dream come true when NASA alerts her that another ship, The Eternity,…


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