100 books like The Dollmaker of Krakow

By R.M. Romero,

Here are 100 books that The Dollmaker of Krakow fans have personally recommended if you like The Dollmaker of Krakow. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A Monster Calls

Sarah Allen Author Of The Nightmare House

From my list on where the monsters are more than monsters.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my high school creative writing class, my teacher once said that good writing was a bit like looking at a star. If you look directly at it, it gets a little fuzzy and hard to see. But if you look just off to the side, the star becomes vivid and clear. That, to me, is exactly the power of spooky stories for young readers. We all deal with monsters, to varying degrees, throughout our lives. Even kids. But if we look at it just off to the side, through the angle of a fun, spooky story, those monsters suddenly become much more comprehensible. More faceable. More beatable. 

Sarah's book list on where the monsters are more than monsters

Sarah Allen Why did Sarah love this book?

It’s been said by smarter people than me how writing horror for kids isn’t about scaring them, it’s about showing them how brave they are.

A Monster Calls is the perfect illustration of that. The scariness and the spookiness are a stand-in for the real-life horrors that this kid is facing. Kids deal with a lot, and this book is the perfect example of how to survive when the worst happens.

The artwork too—wow! I wish I could get some of this artwork to hang on my walls. Absolutely gorgeous book.

By Patrick Ness, Siobhan Dowd, Jim Kay (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked A Monster Calls 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?

The bestselling novel and major film about love, loss and hope from the twice Carnegie Medal-winning Patrick Ness.

Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don't quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there's a visitor at his window. It's ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth. Patrick Ness takes the final idea of the late, award-winning writer Siobhan Dowd and weaves an extraordinary and heartbreaking…


Book cover of Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy

Hayley Chewins Author Of The Sisters of Straygarden Place

From my list on using magic to explore trauma.

Why am I passionate about this?

It took me a long time to realize that the books I write have always (always) been about trauma. (I write fantasy, so the link wasn’t immediately apparent to me.) But now that I’ve seen it, I can’t unsee it. Likewise, it took me a long time to notice that all my favorite magical books were the ones that seemed to be trying to find a new language for the terrible things that can happen to and around us. Magic provides a powerful language for psychological pain. It can make it more real. It can make it more digestible. It can help us to see it more clearly. Fiction tells lies that make reality bearable and understandable—and magical fiction is no different. Which is why it will probably always be my favorite kind.

Hayley's book list on using magic to explore trauma

Hayley Chewins Why did Hayley love this book?

Karen Foxlee is—hands down—one of my favorite writers ever. She writes so beautifully and compassionately about what it feels like to be lost or sad or afraid, and Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy is no exception. This retelling of The Snow Queen takes place in a snowbound museum filled with arcane objects. The main character, Ophelia, is grieving the loss of her mother. And even though she doesn’t consider herself very brave, she volunteers for a quest that will change the world—and begin to heal her heart. I love this book for its gentleness, its beauty, its snowy cosiness, and its powerful portrayal of a girl moving within—and through—grief. 

By Karen Foxlee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy 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?

“Magic is “messy and dangerous and filled with longing,” we learn in this brave tale of grief, villainy and redemption that borrows from the story of the Snow Queen. Set in a vast, chilly museum, the tale brings together a valiant girl, a charmed boy, a magical sword and a clock ticking down to the end of the world.”—The Wall Street Journal

This is the story of unlikely heroine Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard who doesn't believe in anything that can't be proven by science. She and her sister Alice are still grieving for their dead mother when their father takes a…


Book cover of The Land of Yesterday

Ellen Mulholland Author Of This Girl Climbs Trees

From my list on middle grade dealing with death, dying, and grief.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with life and death. As a child, my own life was fairly mundane and even joyful. However, I went through loss like most. We lost two dogs when I was maybe seven or nine. Then my beagle Suzy, who we had the longest, was struck by a car on a rainy day. A few years later, my grandfather passed from cancer. Watching my mother grieve stuck with me. It shaped me—how I cared about life, how I longed to understand it. Once I decided to write stories for children, I knew it could be a safe place to explore my hidden feelings.

Ellen's book list on middle grade dealing with death, dying, and grief

Ellen Mulholland Why did Ellen love this book?

How do you recover from believing you caused your brother’s death? Cecelia has no idea. When Celadon’s soul drifts into the Land of Yesterday, their entire house goes into mourning. Cecelia must reconcile her feelings before her world collapses and she ends up a lost soul forever, too. Reynolds expertly handles loss and regret in this magical tale for middle grade readers and up.

By K.A. Reynolds,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Land of Yesterday 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 tender and fantastical adventure story perfect for fans of Coraline.

After Cecelia Dahl’s little brother, Celadon, dies tragically, his soul goes where all souls go: the Land of Yesterday—and Cecelia is left behind in a fractured world without him.

Her beloved house’s spirit is crumbling beyond repair, her father is imprisoned by sorrow, and worst of all, her grief-stricken mother abandons the land of the living to follow Celadon into Yesterday.

It’s up to Cecelia to put her family back together, even if that means venturing into the dark and forbidden Land of Yesterday on her own. But as…


Book cover of Back to Blackbrick

Hayley Chewins Author Of The Sisters of Straygarden Place

From my list on using magic to explore trauma.

Why am I passionate about this?

It took me a long time to realize that the books I write have always (always) been about trauma. (I write fantasy, so the link wasn’t immediately apparent to me.) But now that I’ve seen it, I can’t unsee it. Likewise, it took me a long time to notice that all my favorite magical books were the ones that seemed to be trying to find a new language for the terrible things that can happen to and around us. Magic provides a powerful language for psychological pain. It can make it more real. It can make it more digestible. It can help us to see it more clearly. Fiction tells lies that make reality bearable and understandable—and magical fiction is no different. Which is why it will probably always be my favorite kind.

Hayley's book list on using magic to explore trauma

Hayley Chewins Why did Hayley love this book?

One night, Cosmo’s grandfather—who has started to forget things—gives him a key and tells him to go to Blackbrick, a crumbling estate on the edge of town. When Cosmo arrives there in the middle of the night and unlocks the front gate, he finds himself stepping back in time—and making friends with his fifteen-year-old grandfather. Back to Blackbrick is about time travel. It’s about love. It’s about learning to live with loss. It’s quietly tender and deeply emotional. And it’s one of the most life-affirming books I’ve ever read.

By Sarah Moore Fitzgerald,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Back to Blackbrick 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?

Cosmo must journey to the past to understand his future in this humorous, heartbreaking, and brilliantly original debut novel.

Cosmo’s granddad used to be the cleverest person he ever knew. That is, until his granddad’s mind began to fail. In a rare moment of clarity, his granddad gives Cosmo a key and pleads with Cosmo to go to the South Gates of Blackbrick Abbey, where his granddad promises an “answer to everything.” In the dead of night, Cosmo does just that.

When Cosmo unlocks the rusty old gates, he is whisked back to Blackbrick of years past, along with his…


Book cover of Yellow Star

Sharon K. Mayhew Author Of Keep Calm and Carry On, Children

From my list on children persevering through WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

My life has been blessed by having British grandparents who lived very long lives. Grandad was in the RAF and Nanny sewed for the War Effort during WWII. They rarely spoke of their experiences until they reached their early 90s. Their memories, other family members, and friends inspired me to research the children who persevered through Operation Pied Piper. I also visited related locations in England gathering more information. The Greatest Generation had a huge impact on who I am as a person and how I treat others. My recommendation list is a sampling of some of my favorite books about perseverance. 

Sharon's book list on children persevering through WWII

Sharon K. Mayhew Why did Sharon love this book?

The author does an outstanding job telling her Aunt Sylvia’s story. Sylvia was one of the twelve children to survive the Lodz Ghetto during the Holocaust. This book will capture you from page one through the end. Parts of the book literally took my breath away. By the end, I was in tears. There are no words to describe the heroes who survived the Holocaust.

By Jennifer Roy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"In 1945 the war ended. The Germans surrendered, and the ghetto was liberated. Out of over a quarter of a million people, about 800 walked out of the ghetto. Of those who survived, only twelve were children. I was one of the twelve." For more than fifty years after the war, Syvia, like many Holocaust survivors, did not talk about her experiences in the Lodz ghetto in Poland. She buried her past in order to move forward. But finally she decided it was time to share her story, and so she told it to her niece, who has re-told it…


Book cover of The Island on Bird Street

Annika Thor Author Of A Faraway Island

From my list on for children and young people on war and refugees.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a descendant of Jewish refugees, from pogroms in Russia and from Nazi persecution in Germany, I grew up with stories of war, exile, and loss. As a writer, these themes have been very important for me, not only in the series of four books about Stephie and Nellie, but also in a novel for adults and a picture book for younger children. As a reader, I am interested in stories that deal with the same themes – stories that may be set in the past, the present, or the future. As a mother and grandmother, I know that good books can help us talk to our young about the most difficult matters.

Annika's book list on for children and young people on war and refugees

Annika Thor Why did Annika love this book?

"It was like living on a desert island. Instead of the sea, there were houses and people around me." Aleks, aged 11, uses a metaphor fetched from his favorite book, Robinson Crusoe, to describe his own struggle for survival. But his "island" is a ruined house in the ghetto, where he hides after having been separated from his father during a raid by the Nazis. Just as resourceful and inventive as his literary role model, Aleks manages to fend for himself while hoping for his father to return.

Uri Orlev, himself a survivor of the Warsaw ghetto and Bergen-Belsen, succeeds in combining a classic adventure story with a realistic narrative of the Holocaust. I don't know how he does it, but I know that his book is a masterpiece.

By Uri Orlev, Translated by Hillel Halkin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Island on Bird Street as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

During World War II a Jewish boy is left on his own for months in a ruined house in the Warsaw Ghetto, where he must learn all the tricks of survival under constantly life-threatening conditions.


Book cover of The Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles Under German Occupation 1939-1944

Jenny Harrison Author Of Dead Before Curfew

From my list on the human cost of war.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Jenny Harrison and my writing career started in 1997 in South Africa with Debbie's Story, which to my astonishment, became a bestseller. Thinking this was going to be an easy route to fame and fortune, I continued writing after migrating to New Zealand. Alas, the road to a bestseller is rife with disappointment but that didn't stop me from writing a bunch of paranormal and humorous novels. Circumstances led me to writing about families caught up in World War II. I don’t write about battles or generals, I write about ordinary people who face the unimagined cost of war and survive.

Jenny's book list on the human cost of war

Jenny Harrison Why did Jenny love this book?

Forgotten Holocaust is a non-fiction account of the suffering of the Polish people during World War II. Most books on the Holocaust focus on the terrible travail of the Jewish people, which was immense and must never be either underestimated or forgotten. In Poland 3 million Polish Jews died but 3 million Polish Gentiles also died. It is only since the end of Communism in 1989 that the true heroism of the Polish people has come to light. At the Jewish Memorial, Yad Vashem, in Israel, there are more Polish Gentiles listed as Righteous Among the Nations than any other nation. Lukas’s book opened my eyes to this forgotten history. 

By Richard C. Lukas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Forgotten Holocaust has become a classic of World War II literature. As Norman Davies noted, "Dr. Richard Lukas has rendered a valuable service, by showing that no one can properly analyze the fate of one ethnic community in occupied Poland without referring to the fates of others. In this sense, The Forgotten Holocaust is a powerful corrective." The third edition includes a new preface by the author, a new foreword by Norman Davies, a short history of ZEGOTA, the underground government organization working to save the Jews, and an annotated listing of many Poles executed by the Germans for trying…


Book cover of The Diary of Anne Frank

Teena Raffa-Mulligan Author Of Just Write: An easy guide to story writing

From my list on books that helped shape me as a writer.

Why am I passionate about this?

I can’t remember a time in my life without stories in it. I grew up in an English/Italian family where everyone’s tales about their lives captured my imagination. Books also opened a window into the wonderful world of stories and my ambition to be a writer was born. I decided to write for children in 1971 after our son was born. Ten years of rejections later, my author dream came true and my first picture book was published. It was a stranger danger story that attracted some publicity, which led to invitations to speak at schools. Inspiring children to go on their own story writing adventure has become one of my greatest joys.

Teena's book list on books that helped shape me as a writer

Teena Raffa-Mulligan Why did Teena love this book?

I came across Anne Frank’s diary when I was a little younger than she was when she began writing it. It had a powerful impact on me because it was a true story that offered an insight into the heart and mind of a girl close to my own age who had not survived the Holocaust. It showed me that personal experiences written in an authentic voice are an important part of our storytelling culture. They have the power to change readers’ thinking and develop empathy. Like Anne, I wanted to become a published author, but at the time I had no idea so much of my writing life would be spent focusing on fact rather than fiction.

By Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Diary of Anne Frank by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett

"This Drama Play is a wonderful addition to anyone who has a passion for Anne Frank related reading. A dramatization for the stage and ready for anyone, including schools, to use."


Book cover of Girl in the Blue Coat

Ellen Schwartz Author Of Heart of a Champion

From my list on children’s books about social justice.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up during the civil rights movement in the US, and my ancestors—the lucky ones—escaped pogroms in eastern Europe at the turn of the 20th century and made it to North America. (The unlucky ones were slaughtered in the Holocaust.) So I suppose it is natural that I would be drawn to write stories about the struggle to overcome persecution, racism, and injustice. I love creating characters who, at the beginning of the story, don’t know that they have what it takes to fight for justice, but then slowly build the confidence and courage to make a difference. And writing about these triumphs is fun, too!

Ellen's book list on children’s books about social justice

Ellen Schwartz Why did Ellen love this book?

As both a reader and a writer, I seem to be drawn to books about characters experiencing oppression and persecution, and drawing on inner reserves of courage and compassion to combat it. This book fits that description perfectly. I was on the edge of my seat following Hanneke as she works for the Dutch Resistance during World War II. I was left wondering: How do you find the bravery and determination to risk your own life in order to save someone else’s?

By Monica Hesse,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Girl in the Blue Coat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

The bestselling, "gripping" (Entertainment Weekly), "powerful" (Hypable), "utterly thrilling" (Paste.com) winner of the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery, perfect for readers of Kristin Hannah and Ruta Sepetys

Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. She likes to think of her illegal work as a small act of rebellion.

On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for…


Book cover of The German Army and Nazi Policies in Occupied Russia, 1941-45

Antonio J. Muñoz Author Of Nazi Occupation Policies in the East, 1939-1944

From my list on the Holocaust and the Nazi Occupation of Eastern Europe.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Cuban refugee. I came with my family in the early 1960s a few years after the Cuban revolution. I served 4 years in the U.S. Marines. I went to school and in 1982 married. Both of my daughters became college professors. The younger works for the CUNY system, while the oldest teaches at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. I have always had a passion for modern European history. It grew from an interest in military history when I was a Marine.

Antonio's book list on the Holocaust and the Nazi Occupation of Eastern Europe

Antonio J. Muñoz Why did Antonio love this book?

Professor Theo J. Schulte has written a well-documented, well researched study of the Ostheer (German Army in the East) covering the Russian campaign.

I loved this book because, like almost all of the recommendations that I have listed, it is a single volume with a concise yet thorough enough study of the German Army and its connection to the Genocide and Democide in the Soviet Union.

The book taught me that there was a reason why, during the war, out of the approximately twenty-five million Soviet citizens who died in the war, thirteen million were civilians. The reason, Schulte points to, is the purposeful targeting of the civilian population for murder (Democide).

The book made me realize that the study of Nazi policies in the East should not only include the Holocaust, but should also cover the “other” deaths that occurred as well.

By Theo J. Schulte,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The German Army and Nazi Policies in Occupied Russia, 1941-45 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Whereas it is now generally accepted that the Wehrmacht leadership became deeply implicated in Nazi war crimes and atrocities in occupied Soviet Russia during the Second World War, little is known about the responses of the lower ranks to these policies. This study of two rear areas examines these responses in respect of such issues as POW treatment, partisan warfare, relations with the civilian populations, economic policy and attitudes towards the SS. Above all it moves into the territory of the social history of the Wehrmacht, based on documents and statistical data.


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