10 books like The Land of Yesterday

By K.A. Reynolds,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Land of Yesterday. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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A Monster Calls

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

Book cover of A Monster Calls

This dark fantasy book had me sobbing more than once, thanks to some great writing and the personal resonance it had for me at the time of reading. It’s marketed as YA fiction, but don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s only for young adults—it’s for everyone, especially if they’re struggling with grief. Siobhan Dowd came up with the story while fighting cancer and sadly died before it could be written, but Patrick Ness has created something beautiful, melancholy, and strangely uplifting from her original idea, in which the young Connor befriends a monster who tells him three stories before forcing Connor to tell one of his own. It explores the complexities of grief with honesty and sensitivity. It’s also beautifully illustrated by Jim Kay.

A Monster Calls

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

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked A Monster Calls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

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…


Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy

By Karen Foxlee,

Book cover of Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy

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. 

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy

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.

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…


The Dollmaker of Krakow

By R.M. Romero,

Book cover of The Dollmaker of Krakow

The Dollmaker of Kraków is about a doll named Karolina who finds herself in the human world after her homeland—the Land of the Dolls—is ravaged by an army of rats. To be more specific, she finds herself in a dollmaker’s shop. In Kraków. In 1939. World War II has just begun, and Karolina watches as the horrors of the Holocaust unfold before her eyes. Glistening with folklore and fairy tales, this historical fantasy shines with hope and beauty. It never fails to remind me how art can save us, over and over, even—or especially—in the darkest of times. 

The Dollmaker of Krakow

By R.M. Romero,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A timeless fantasy set in the Second World War that weaves together magic, folklore and history, perfect for fans of The Book Thief, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Goodnight Mister Tom.

One night a little doll named Karolina comes to life in a toyshop in Krakow, Poland, in 1939 and changes the life of the gruff, broken-hearted Dollmaker. And when the darkness of the Nazi occupation sweeps over the city, Karolina and the Dollmaker must bravely use their magic to save their Jewish friends from a terrible danger, no matter what the risks. This powerful story is about…


Back to Blackbrick

By Sarah Moore Fitzgerald,

Book cover of Back to Blackbrick

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.

Back to Blackbrick

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.

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…


Finding Langston

By Lesa Cline-Ransome,

Book cover of Finding Langston

This is a warm hug book. The kind that sneaks up on you when you’re reading words. Langston is a lovable main character. His story is rich with family, tradition, loss, and poetry. He is eleven when his mother dies, and his dad decides they must leave Alabama. So many changes for this boy as he is bullied and deals with segregation in 1940s Chicago. But he discovers the library that welcomes all. Such a sweet story and perfect for younger middle grade readers.

Finding Langston

By Lesa Cline-Ransome,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Finding Langston as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book
Winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

When eleven-year-old Langston's father moves them from their home in Alabama to Chicago's Bronzeville district, it feels like he's giving up everything he loves.

It's 1946. Langston's mother has just died, and now they're leaving the rest of his family and friends. He misses everything--Grandma's Sunday suppers, the red dirt roads, and the magnolia trees his mother loved.

In the city, they live in a small apartment surrounded by noise and chaos. It doesn't feel like a new start, or a better life. At…


Over the Moon

By Natalie Lloyd,

Book cover of Over the Moon

Over the Moon is a book that is lush with description and fantastical ideas. While reading, I could see, smell, taste, and hear every tiny detail of Lloyd’s beautifully drawn world through her poetic language as if I were standing right inside it. What is even more impressive is that through all her worldbuilding, at no point does Lloyd’s character or thematic development become lost. This book is a story of hope and of bravery with a character whose resilience and determination shine like the moon.

Over the Moon

By Natalie Lloyd,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Strong themes of friendship and loyalty drive Lloyd's story, which soars under Mallie's heroic lead [whose] physical disability never holds her back. Rather, she bravely proves that questions have power and one's story can be reshaped." -Booklist, starred review

Twelve-year-old Mallie knows better than to dream. In Coal Top, you live the story you're given: boys toil in the mines and girls work as servants. Mallie can't bear the idea of that kind of life, but her family is counting on her wages to survive.It wasn't always this way. Before the Dust came, the people of Coal Top could weave…


A Wolf for a Spell

By Karah Sutton,

Book cover of A Wolf for a Spell

Told from multiple points of view, this book is a gorgeous romp through Russian folklore. While reading this book, I had the chance to live as a wolf, a young girl, and as Baba Yaga. I got to cast spells, experience powerful forest magic, save a princess, transform into animals, and defeat a terrible king. In real life, I could never experience any of those events, but I could while reading Karah Sutton’s incredible book. I especially appreciated that the story itself came together like a puzzle, pieces fitting neatly together in unexpected ways. This one is a surprise and delight at every turn.

A Wolf for a Spell

By Karah Sutton,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Wolf for a Spell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Girl Who Drank the Moon meets Pax in this fantastical tale of a wolf who forms an unlikely alliance with Baba Yaga to save the forest from a wicked tsar.

Since she was a pup, Zima has been taught to fear humans--especially witches--but when her family is threatened, she has no choice but to seek help from the witch Baba Yaga.

Baba Yaga never does magic for free, but it just so happens that she needs a wolf's keen nose for a secret plan she's brewing . . . Before Zima knows what's happening, the witch has cast a…


Kat, Incorrigible

By Stephanie Burgis,

Book cover of Kat, Incorrigible

Kat is a marvelously whimsical character. She embodies the wit and charm of her 1800s time period, while simultaneously allowing her modern spunk to shine through with her bravery, sass, and quirkiness. She is not afraid to be herself and to fight for those around her to be true to themselves as well.

Kat, Incorrigible

By Stephanie Burgis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"I was twelve years of age when I chopped off my hair, dressed as a boy, and set off to save my family from impending ruin. I made it almost to the end of my front garden . . ."

Magic may be the greatest scandal in Regency England. But that's not going to stop Kat Stephenson when there are highwaymen to foil, sinister aristocrats to defeat . . . and true loves to capture for her two older sisters.


Rules for Stealing Stars

By Corey Ann Haydu,

Book cover of Rules for Stealing Stars

Haydu’s voice in Rules for Stealing Stars feels incredibly authentic to the middle-grade age group. The main character, Silly, walks a fine line between being childish enough to believe in magic, and old enough to begin to question her deeply dysfunctional family situation. Silly’s honest, first-person narrative beautifully expresses both the wonder of the escapist worlds to which she travels, as well as the trauma of living in a dysfunctional household. Haydu expertly weaves together this child-like voice and fantastical story with underlying themes of trauma and dysfunction to create a whimsical, yet meaningful story.

Rules for Stealing Stars

By Corey Ann Haydu,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rules for Stealing Stars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the tradition of Sharon Creech and Wendy Mass, Corey Ann Haydu's sparkling middle grade debut is a sister story with a twist of magic, a swirl of darkness, and a whole lot of hope. Silly is used to feeling left out. Her three older sisters think she's too little for most things-especially when it comes to dealing with their mother's unpredictable moods and outbursts. This summer, Silly feels more alone than ever when her sisters keep whispering and sneaking away to their rooms together, returning with signs that something mysterious is afoot: sporting sunburned cheeks smudged with glitter and…


The Night Diary

By Veera Hiranandani,

Book cover of The Night Diary

In the vein of The Diary of Anne Frank, this story follows a Hindu Indian girl’s journal entries to her deceased mother as her splintered family escapes newly freed India in 1947. More than that, it’s a story of lost and found—friendship, family, home, and, most importantly, a voice. A touching story middle grade readers of all ages will enjoy.

The Night Diary

By Veera Hiranandani,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Night Diary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's 1947, and India, newly independent of British rule, has been separated into two countries: Pakistan and India. The divide has created much tension between Hindus and Muslims, and hundreds of thousands are killed crossing borders.

Half-Muslim, half-Hindu twelve-year-old Nisha doesn't know where she belongs, or what her country is anymore. When Papa decides it's too dangerous to stay in what is now Pakistan, Nisha and her family become refugees and embark first by train but later on foot to reach her new home. The journey is long, difficult, and dangerous, and after losing her mother as a baby, Nisha…


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