100 books like The Land of Yesterday

By K.A. Reynolds,

Here are 100 books that The Land of Yesterday fans have personally recommended if you like The Land of Yesterday. 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 A Monster Calls

Sarah Allen Author Of The Nightmare House

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

Who am I?

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.

Who am I?

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 Dollmaker of Krakow

Hayley Chewins Author Of The Sisters of Straygarden Place

From my list on using magic to explore trauma.

Who am I?

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?

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. 

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. This book is for kids age 9, 10, and 11.

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…


Book cover of Back to Blackbrick

Hayley Chewins Author Of The Sisters of Straygarden Place

From my list on using magic to explore trauma.

Who am I?

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 Finding Langston

Ellen Mulholland Author Of This Girl Climbs Trees

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

Who am I?

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?

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.

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. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

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…


Book cover of Over the Moon

Fiadhnait Moser Author Of The Serendipity of Flightless Things

From my list on with an air of whimsy.

Who am I?

I am a middle-grade author and hold a Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults. As an artist of multiple disciplines, I have always been fascinated by the tiny details in the world around me and the ways I can connect those details to how I understand myself, my experiences, and the human experience. Some may find such interests odd, eccentric, “whimsical,” perhaps, but I believe these fascinations inspire the most unique stories—stories that can only be told by the artist who is noticing, connecting, reflecting, creating. When I’m not writing, I enjoy teaching art and dance to elementary students.

Fiadhnait's book list on with an air of whimsy

Fiadhnait Moser Why did Fiadhnait love this book?

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.

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. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

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…


Book cover of A Wolf for a Spell

Juliana Brandt Author Of The Wolf of Cape Fen

From my list on fantasy to escape into when life is overwhelming.

Who am I?

For me, books have always been an incredible way to escape, most especially when life is overwhelming. I read books as an escape when I was young, and now as an author, I write books to escape as well. My favorite books to escape into always include heart pounding adventure, fantastical magic, and characters I wish I could know in real life. These are the sorts of books I write; ones that give readers the chance to exist as someone else in another place, perhaps go on a wild adventure. My hope as an author is that my books allow readers to leave their own world and their own worries behind.

Juliana's book list on fantasy to escape into when life is overwhelming

Juliana Brandt Why did Juliana love this book?

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.

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…


Book cover of Kat, Incorrigible

Fiadhnait Moser Author Of The Serendipity of Flightless Things

From my list on with an air of whimsy.

Who am I?

I am a middle-grade author and hold a Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults. As an artist of multiple disciplines, I have always been fascinated by the tiny details in the world around me and the ways I can connect those details to how I understand myself, my experiences, and the human experience. Some may find such interests odd, eccentric, “whimsical,” perhaps, but I believe these fascinations inspire the most unique stories—stories that can only be told by the artist who is noticing, connecting, reflecting, creating. When I’m not writing, I enjoy teaching art and dance to elementary students.

Fiadhnait's book list on with an air of whimsy

Fiadhnait Moser Why did Fiadhnait love this book?

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.

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. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

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.


Book cover of Rules for Stealing Stars

Stephanie Willing Author Of West of the Sea

From my list on where the magic and monsters are real.

Who am I?

I think any kid wishes they could save their parent, or a loved one, from suffering. I know I did. When I was a pre-teen, my mom began to withdraw from friendships, church, and community, and she took me and my siblings with her. Her moods were unstable, and sometimes I blamed myself, and other times I just tried to keep her happy. I grew up inside her fairytale, until as an adult, I could recognize the signs of mental illness. I found myself wishing there was a magical reason she was the way she was. All the books on this list are linked by the fantastical way they explore family grief, isolation, and hope. 

Stephanie's book list on where the magic and monsters are real

Stephanie Willing Why did Stephanie love this book?

When I think about magical books that talk about real-world stuff, my first thought is this incredible retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses that examines (through a magical lens) the toll of parental alcoholism.

Four sisters all have different ways of coping with the dysfunction caused by their mother’s alcoholism, but together they escape into magical worlds through their house’s closets. The youngest sister, Silly, has been left out for a long time, but she makes their magic stronger once her sisters finally let her join them.

The metaphors are so rich here—the escapism, the secrets and shadows hidden in family closets, and the seemingly perfect but oblivious dad—that this story goes beyond fairytale and becomes personal myth. I love it so much. It’s gorgeous.

By Corey Ann Haydu,

Why should I read it?

3 authors 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…


Book cover of The Night Diary

Irfan Shah Author Of Sigh For A Strange Land

From my list on displaced people.

Who am I?

A combination of things led me to this topic: My father was forced to leave his home in northern India during partition and was therefore a child refugee. In 2016, I was filming in Ukraine and became hugely interested in what was happening there. I have looked for a way to help ever since then. Discovering Monica Stirling’s novel about refugees from East Europe, I realised that here was an opportunity to help give voice to the refugee experience; to help raise funds for Ukraine, and to help bring back to life an incredible story written by an author who deserves to be rediscovered.

Irfan's book list on displaced people

Irfan Shah Why did Irfan love this book?

A children’s book that adults will enjoy, The Night Diary is the story of twelve-year-old Nisha, half-Muslim, half-Hindu, and caught up in the tragedy of partition – where Pakistan and India separated in the aftermath of India’s independence from Britain.

Nisha is about to experience the disorientation and fear that comes when a family decides to flee for safety. Nisha’s story is told through a series of letters to her mother as she leaves what is now Pakistan, to find a home and an identity. Her predicament – that of a desperate search not just for physical safety but for hope - reminds me of that of Resi, the main character in Sigh For A Strange Land, who wants nothing more than to find that "'tomorrow' is not a threatening word."

By Veera Hiranandani,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Night Diary 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?

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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