100 books like Strange Birds

By Celia C. Pérez,

Here are 100 books that Strange Birds fans have personally recommended if you like Strange Birds. 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 How to Lose All Your Friends

Eileen Kennedy-Moore Author Of Growing Friendships: A Kids' Guide to Making and Keeping Friends

From my list on for kids about making friends and friendship issues.

Who am I?

Growing up, my family moved about every three years, so I became an expert at making friends at a young age! As a clinical psychologist and a mom of four, I’ve spent a lot of time talking with kids about friendship issues. I’ve also studied the scientific research on children’s friendships. I’m a professor for The Great Courses, serve on the advisory board for Parents magazine, and my blog, Growing Friendships on Psychology Today, has over four million views. I’ve written six books for parents or kids about children’s feelings and friendships, and I have two more kids’ books on the way.

Eileen's book list on for kids about making friends and friendship issues

Eileen Kennedy-Moore Why did Eileen love this book?

For ages 4-6, this silly parody of a How-To book gets a laugh from young elementary school children, while also helping them recognize the impact of various common but ungenerous behaviors. It offers backward “tips” such as: “Be a poor sport. When you play tag and someone tags you, lie and say they missed.” Kids enjoy feeling smarter than the book. It ends on a warm note and also prompts children to share their ideas of how to be a good friend.

By Nancy Carlson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Lose All Your Friends as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, and 5.

What is this book about?

With exuberant pictures and a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, the author of I Like Me! takes a light-hearted look at bratty behavior that will have children laughing in recognition while learning exactly how not to behave. Colored-pencil illustrations throughout.


Book cover of Should I Share My Ice Cream?

Nancy Shaw Author Of Sheep Trick or Treat

From my list on picture books about foolishness.

Who am I?

I’m the author of Raccoon Tune, Elena’s Story, and eight books about goofy sheep. My family didn’t get a TV until I was nine, so I used the library for entertainment. I liked all kinds of books. I’m still a voracious reader and I’m fascinated by the nuances of words. My kids loved silly books--especially where someone ignores the obvious--and so does my granddaughter. I also grew up playing with words. Once, on a car trip, I started rhyming about sheep driving a jeep, and even a preschooler knows you shouldn’t forget to steer. I think that seeing foolish characters in stories helps kids make sense of the world.

Nancy's book list on picture books about foolishness

Nancy Shaw Why did Nancy love this book?

My granddaughter also introduced me to Elephant & Piggie. Cautious, plan-ahead Gerald Elephant and free-spirited Piggie are best friends, kind and open about their emotions, but sometimes oblivious. We’ve read the more than two dozen tales in the series, and it’s hard to pick a favorite. The stories are designed for early readers. The text shows in cartoon balloons, with repeated phrases, but it doesn’t have the stilted quality and vocabulary limitations that sometimes bog down easy-to-reads.

Gerald is licking a very yummy ice cream cone when he thinks of Piggie. Should he share it with her? The yumminess makes him want to keep it to himself; but Piggie would love some. He wrestles with his conscience so long that the ice cream melts into a puddle.

By Mo Willems,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Should I Share My Ice Cream? 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?

Perfect for children just learning to read, this highly original book is told entirely in speech bubbles with a repetitive use of familiar phrases. From the award-winning author of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
Gerald is careful. Piggie is not.
Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.
Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to.
Gerald and Piggie are best friends.

Gerald has a big decision to make. But will he make it in time...? Mo Willems creates another hilarious escapade starring the award-winning duo that will have early readers breaking into laughter from the first page.


Book cover of The Season of Styx Malone

Amy Makechnie Author Of Ten Thousand Tries

From my list on with three best friends.

Who am I?

I’m a grown mother now. Also an author. But once upon a time, I was in middle school. I remember the braces, bad hair, being scared to return my lunch tray because boys might look at me while I passed their lunch table. Such angst, and yet I adore middle schoolers - they’re my jam. Fun, funny, exasperating, creative, boisterous, and annoying are all words I’d use to describe the middle school kids I teach and coach. I write down their quotes, shake my head at their antics, and adore their intense friendships. I hope you’ll enjoy these true-to-life middle-grade reads as much as I have!

Amy's book list on with three best friends

Amy Makechnie Why did Amy love this book?

Have you ever dreamed of being someone and somewhere else? I remember being a kid in the summertime when the hot summer in Omaha, Nebraska felt sooooo long and there was nothing to do. Styx Malone (foster child & the cool kid) and brothers Caleb and Bobby Gene are feeling that angst too. To make life more exciting, they concoct a plan to exchange one small thing for something better until they achieve their “wildest dreams” (motorbike). Sometimes it’s the baby sister that’s exchanged for fireworks (I mean, that’s pretty funny, but don’t worry, the baby sister is given back and they get to keep the fireworks). Of course, everything goes awry and gets dangerous and…well, read this book and you’ll be turning the pages at a mad pace, too!

By Kekla Magoon,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Season of Styx Malone 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 CORETTA SCOTT KING HONOR BOOK AND THE WINNER OF THE BOSTON GLOBE HORN BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION!

"Extraordinary friendships . . . extraordinary storytelling." --Rita Williams-Garcia, Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Award-Winning author of One Crazy Summer

Meet Caleb and Bobby Gene, two brothers embarking on a madcap, heartwarming, one-thing-leads-to-another adventure in which friendships are forged, loyalties are tested . . . and miracles just might happen.

Caleb Franklin and his big brother Bobby Gene are excited to have adventures in the woods behind their house. But Caleb dreams of venturing beyond their ordinary small town.

Then Caleb…


Book cover of Wonder

Samantha Caprio-Negret Author Of Rainbow Crystal

From my list on children’s fantasy with friendship, magic, and adventure.

Who am I?

I have an expertise for middle-grade and fantasy because I’ve been writing in those genres for over fifteen years. However, it’s my passion for that age group and theme that has me writing for them to begin with. I feel that the age group of about nine to thirteen is just such a magical, free time. They’re not too young to get it yet, but not old enough to have been tainted either. They’re in that beautiful state of curiosity, play, adventure, exploring where they fit in. Just the fact that there’s still this possibility of magic, then there’s hope. And with hope, there’s still a possibility of magic.

Samantha's book list on children’s fantasy with friendship, magic, and adventure

Samantha Caprio-Negret Why did Samantha love this book?

Just an overall, very well-written middle-grade story about a family and a boy who’s different.

He has a special condition that makes him look and learn differently. He would be considered to have special needs in society. But in this story his family and extra love of his mother makes him feel like he is no different than anyone else, and he has his own unique abilities where he stands out. They help him to discover that about himself.

Ironically, through his own unique abilities and talents, he ends up inspiring so many others around him. His disabilities are in fact his super-abilities. I love books with special needs characters. All my books have a special or disabled character in them.

I grew up with a mentally challenged sister and my son is autistic. Special individuals to me are a huge part of my life!

By R.J. Palacio,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Wonder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

'Has the power to move hearts and change minds' Guardian

'Tremendously uplifting and a novel of all-too-rare power' Sunday Express

'An amazing book . . . I absolutely loved it. I cried my eyes out' Tom Fletcher

Read the award-winning, multi-million copy bestselling phenomenon that is WONDER in this new tenth anniversary edition.

'My name is August. I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.'

Auggie wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things - eating ice cream, playing on his Xbox. He feels ordinary - inside. But ordinary kids don't make other…


Book cover of Turtle Boy

Diana Renn Author Of Trouble at Turtle Pond

From my list on young environmentalists.

Who am I?

I live in a town near a wildlife refuge. I frequently encounter wildlife, including turtles, in my neighborhood. Trouble at Turtle Pond was inspired by volunteer work my son and I did with a local conservation group, fostering endangered Blanding’s turtles. Although my previous books were mysteries set in other countries, I have become interested in the mysteries we can find in our own back yards and in other community spaces we share with nature. I love eco-fiction about kids who love animals, who are “nature detectives,” who have strong opinions, and who are working for the environment, recognizing that every small step makes a difference.

Diana's book list on young environmentalists

Diana Renn Why did Diana love this book?

This book is one of my favorite middle-grade novels. At first glance, it may not look like it’s about an environmentalist. Indeed, it is about many things. A boy with a medical condition that affects his chin and jaw. Bullying, grief, anxiety, drumming (!), bar mitzvah prep, coming out of one’s shell. And Will is not exactly modeling good conservation practices by taking turtles from the nearby marsh, caring for them in his bedroom, or gifting a Blanding’s turtle to a boy he visits in the hospital. But Will’s learning process about these turtles and their threatened habitat is a major part of this riveting novel. Will’s identification with turtles is deep, symbolic, incredibly moving. Treat yourself to the audio version, narrated in a lively way by this multi-talented author.

By M. Evan Wolkenstein,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Turtle Boy 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?

This is a powerful story of hope and friendship, perfect for fans of Wonder and The Goldfish Boy. Exploring self-image, family and grief, this book will make you laugh and cry.

Meet Will Levine.
Here are three things Will loves: turtles, the nature reserve behind school, being left alone.
And one thing Will really hates: his nickname.

Kids at school call Will Turtle Boy because of his funny-looking chin. But when Will meets RJ, he learns not everyone is his enemy. RJ has a bucket list of adventures which extends way beyond his hospital room, and he needs help ticking…


Book cover of Wishtree

Laura Anne Bird Author Of Crossing the Pressure Line

From my list on for girls who love the outdoors.

Who am I?

I live in Madison, Wisconsin, and when I’m not reading my way through a tall stack of library books, I love to exercise and explore the outdoors, particularly in the Northwoods and in the Driftless Area (Google it—it’s the coolest!). My debut novel, Crossing the Pressure Line, is about identifying the lifeboats that have the power to save us during turbulent times. One of my own personal lifeboats is nature. I spend time outdoors every single day, even when the temperature is below zero, because I find deep peace in breathing fresh air, using my muscles, and watching for signs of wildlife. 

Laura's book list on for girls who love the outdoors

Laura Anne Bird Why did Laura love this book?

Red, a monoecious oak tree, narrates this luminous and beautifully illustrated novel. Red is two hundred and sixteen rings old and happily provides shelter for seven opossums, four raccoons, five owls, six skunks, and a witty crow named Bongo. Together, Red and the animals concoct a plan to support Samar, a girl whose family has just moved into the neighborhood. Samar hasn’t made any friends yet, and she’s feeling sad and lonely. Wishtree is about inclusion and community, but at its heart, it’s a love song to the trees and creatures that call urban areas home. Have tissues ready: Samar’s comforting middle-of-the-night visits to Red and Bongo will have readers wiping away a tear or two. 

By Katherine Applegate,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Wishtree 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?



An Amazon Top 20 Children's Books of 2017

The New York Times-bestselling story of kindness, friendship, and hope.

Trees can't tell jokes, but they can certainly tell stories. . . .
Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood "wishtree"―people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red's branches. Along with a crow named Bongo and other animals who seek refuge in Red's hollows, this wishtree watches over the neighborhood.
You might say Red has seen it all.
Until a new family moves in. Not everyone is welcoming, and Red's…


Book cover of Beyond the Bright Sea

Kate McCarroll Moore Author Of Elinormal

From my list on navigating middle school years with honesty & empathy.

Who am I?

As a former middle school teacher and librarian, I know first-hand the power of story to motivate and teach. Over the years, I have also been lucky enough to facilitate several mother-daughter book groups and have found that books that show characters wrestling with decisions about doing the right thing, and recovering from bad choices, help to show children that there is always hope. Middle school is a time of such challenge and change, and stories that show authentically drawn characters navigating this tough terrain can act as guideposts. Becoming independent, finding your voice, growing empathy, and cherishing family and friends are necessary steps to becoming confident and healthy humans.

Kate's book list on navigating middle school years with honesty & empathy

Kate McCarroll Moore Why did Kate love this book?

I read this book with my mother-daughter book group and we all loved it!

The story focuses on the quest for twelve-year-old Crow to discover where she came from and who she truly is. It’s a story filled with suspense and intrigue fueled by Crow’s insatiable curiosity. There are powerful lessons here for Crow and for the lucky readers who follow her journey. The writing is hauntingly beautiful!

By Lauren Wolk,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Beyond the Bright Sea 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?

'Harper Lee has a worthy successor. Wolk is a big new talent' - The Times

Crow has lived her whole life on a tiny, starkly beautiful island. Her only companions are Osh, the man who rescued her from a washed-up skiff as a baby and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their neighbour across the sandbar. But it is only when a mysterious fire appears across the water that an unspoken question of her own history forms in Crow's heart, and an unstoppable chain of events is triggered. Crow sets out to find her lost identity - and, ultimately, to learn…


Book cover of Chirp

Shelly X. Leonn Author Of The Ghost and the Wolf

From my list on girl MCs who are owning life.

Who am I?

My novel choices were part of the Afterschool Literacy & Building Modules for an organization called LitShop. It encourages growth in literacy, making, building, and leadership in girls ages 10-15 in St. Louis, Missouri. I’m honored to lead the writing classes. All of the LitShop books feature strong girls who believe they can make and build their way to a better world, and I aim to include similar characters in my stories. Stories can provide us with motivation, inspiration, and companionship, and all of these books have done just that… for the girls of LitShop as well as myself.

Shelly's book list on girl MCs who are owning life

Shelly X. Leonn Why did Shelly love this book?

This pick has the distinguished honor of convincing me to try cricket flour. It also manages to present a layered storyline, one that combines an almost classic mystery plot with a traumatized character’s journey of self-healing. This book serves as a powerful reminder that we are more than the incidents that victimized us. And yes, even an insect hater like me enjoyed learning so much about the many uses of crickets! 

By Kate Messner,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Chirp 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?

"[A] deftly layered mystery about family, friendship, and the struggle to speak up." - Laurie Halse Anderson, bestselling author of Speak and Shout

From acclaimed author Kate Messner comes the powerful story of a young girl with the courage to make her voice heard, set against the backdrop of a summertime mystery.

When Mia moves to Vermont the summer after seventh grade, she's recovering from the broken arm she got falling off a balance beam. And packed away in the moving boxes under her clothes and gymnastics trophies is a secret she'd rather forget.

Mia's change in scenery brings day…


Book cover of You Go First

Laura Anne Bird Author Of Crossing the Pressure Line

From my list on for girls who love the outdoors.

Who am I?

I live in Madison, Wisconsin, and when I’m not reading my way through a tall stack of library books, I love to exercise and explore the outdoors, particularly in the Northwoods and in the Driftless Area (Google it—it’s the coolest!). My debut novel, Crossing the Pressure Line, is about identifying the lifeboats that have the power to save us during turbulent times. One of my own personal lifeboats is nature. I spend time outdoors every single day, even when the temperature is below zero, because I find deep peace in breathing fresh air, using my muscles, and watching for signs of wildlife. 

Laura's book list on for girls who love the outdoors

Laura Anne Bird Why did Laura love this book?

I love books about smart and curious girls, and Charlotte, the main character of You Go First, fits the bill. She struggles with tricky middle-school friendships and her father’s declining health, but she keeps herself afloat emotionally by studying all sorts of interesting things, like sea creatures, wild animals, earthquakes, and geology. She maintains a collection of rock specimens on her dresser, and the sparkling hunks of Egyptian quartz, hematite, and feldspar remind her of her dream of studying minerals and gemstones at the base of a pyramid or volcano when she grows up. Charlotte is unapologetically herself, and her unwavering connection with the earth and its treasures is her saving grace during a very rough stretch.  

By Erin Entrada Kelly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You Go First 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?

Funny and poignant, Newbery Medalist and New York Times bestseller Erin Entrada Kelly's national bestseller You Go First is an exploration of family, bullying, word games, art, and the ever-complicated world of middle school friendships.

In a starred review, School Library Journal wrote that Erin Entrada Kelly can "capture moments of tween anguish with searing honesty."

Twelve-year-old Charlotte Lockard and eleven-year-old Ben Boxer are separated by more than a thousand miles. On the surface, their lives seem vastly different-Charlotte lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, while Ben is in the small town of Lanester, Louisiana.

Charlotte wants to be a geologist and…


Book cover of Lena, the Sea, and Me

Laura Anne Bird Author Of Crossing the Pressure Line

From my list on for girls who love the outdoors.

Who am I?

I live in Madison, Wisconsin, and when I’m not reading my way through a tall stack of library books, I love to exercise and explore the outdoors, particularly in the Northwoods and in the Driftless Area (Google it—it’s the coolest!). My debut novel, Crossing the Pressure Line, is about identifying the lifeboats that have the power to save us during turbulent times. One of my own personal lifeboats is nature. I spend time outdoors every single day, even when the temperature is below zero, because I find deep peace in breathing fresh air, using my muscles, and watching for signs of wildlife. 

Laura's book list on for girls who love the outdoors

Laura Anne Bird Why did Laura love this book?

Maria Parr’s timeless novel takes place in Norway’s fictional Mathildewick Cove. The story centers on Lena and her best friend Trille, who are dealing with typical 12-year-old matters, including family arguments, rapidly growing bodies, and drama-filled school days. The setting of Lena, the Sea, and Me is especially charming, featuring mountains, hills, farm animals, and of course the water, which plays a significant role in the book. I appreciate that Lena and Trille spend all their time outside. Lena in particular—with her strong limbs and ruddy cheeks—is formidable as she builds rafts and plays goalkeeper for her soccer team. Irascible and lively, she will delight and inspire readers everywhere.

By Maria Parr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lena, the Sea, and Me 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?

A heartwarming and action-packed story of friendship from Norway's answer to Astrid Lindgren.
This classic in the making from award-winning author Maria Parr is packed full of laugh-out-loud adventures and paints an honest picture of the highs and lows of friendship and growing up.

Dark clouds are looming in Mathildewick Cove. The arrival of a new football coach is putting twelve-year-old Lena's goalkeeping career in doubt. And in the house next door, Trille is wondering how to impress the girl who has just joined his class.

The stage is set for a dramatic year ahead. What are Trille and Lena…


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