9 books like The Little Train That Won A Medal

By Darlene Geis, Anton Loeb (illustrator),

Here are 9 books that The Little Train That Won A Medal fans have personally recommended if you like The Little Train That Won A Medal. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of The Little House

Barbara Lehman Author Of Red Again

From my list on celebrating city life.

Who am I?

I especially love books for children that capture city life in a way that feels both unique and child scaled. I have set most of my books in cities because I love the story possibilities that exist in what are almost entirely human-made environments. Paradoxically, city settings make any kind of connection to the natural world or animals even more important. On this list are all books I feel show a particularly special aspect of city life for children.

Barbara's book list on celebrating city life

Barbara Lehman Why did Barbara love this book?

I cannot stop loving this book, which graphically depicts a city growing up around a small farm country cottage. While the storyline concerns the fate of the tiny house, the thrill is watching the steady mushrooming growth of vehicles, electric lines, street cars, street lamps, apartment buildings, elevated and subway trains, and finally skyscrapers as they surround the home before it is able to make its satisfying escape back to the country. The art is warm and cozy, befitting a book that has a gutsy cottage as the main character.

By Virginia Lee Burton,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Little House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Seventy-five years ago, Virginia Lee Burton created the Little House, and since then generations of readers have been enchanted by the story of this happy home and her journey from the pleasures of nature to the bustling city, and back again. In celebration of this beloved classic's seventy-fifth anniversary, this special edition features a beautiful set of window cling stickers - perfect for decorating your own "Little House" - and free downloadable audio (access code printed inside the book). AGES: 4 to 7 AUTHOR: Virginia Lee Burton (1909-1968) was the talented author and illustrator of some of the most enduring…


Book cover of Little Toot

Scott Santoro Author Of Candy Cane Lane

From my list on picture books about inanimate objects.

Who am I?

When I was about ten, my mother brought home our one and only outdoor Christmas decoration, a plastic choir boy. One blustery night, we saw something streak by the living room windows. Rushing outside, we were shocked to see our choirboy lying amongst the shrubbery, his plastic neck broken. My father made several valiant attempts at surgery with various kinds of glue and tape, but the poor little choir boy was never really the same and eventually he was thrown into the trash. This childhood memory inspired me to write Candy Cane Lane and fortunately I was about to give it a much happier ending.

Scott's book list on picture books about inanimate objects

Scott Santoro Why did Scott love this book?

Gramatky had been a Disney artist in the 1930s. Legend has it Walt had passed on his story about a little tugboat that saves the day, but after Gramatky left the studio and the book became popular, Disney then had second thoughts and adapted it into one of the shorts compromising the wartime animated feature Melody TimeThe theme is familiar but potent: being small does not mean you are insignificant, a lesson of encouragement for any child. The illustrations are loose yet beautifully expressive. Gramatky wrote another book about an inanimate object – Homer the Circus Train. Although the story is not as iconic, the illustrations are equally fine. As for Disney, they carried this theme through to other shorts like Susie the Little Blue Coupe, written and boarded by Bill Peet, who wrote many books of his own. It served as one of the inspirations…

By Hardie Grammatky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Little Toot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

"I am delighted to know that this classic piece of Americana, Little Toot, will be enjoyed by readers of all ages for years go come." --Eric Carle

Celebrate Little Toot's 80th anniversary!

First published in 1939, this classic story of the energetic tugboat who didn't let his size or doubters stop him is brought to new life in this restored edition. With the help and support of Hardie Gramatky's estate, to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth, we have used archived first editions and Hardie's original paintings to restore Little Toot to its full glory, bringing back a richness…


Book cover of Eric, the Wild Car

Scott Santoro Author Of Candy Cane Lane

From my list on picture books about inanimate objects.

Who am I?

When I was about ten, my mother brought home our one and only outdoor Christmas decoration, a plastic choir boy. One blustery night, we saw something streak by the living room windows. Rushing outside, we were shocked to see our choirboy lying amongst the shrubbery, his plastic neck broken. My father made several valiant attempts at surgery with various kinds of glue and tape, but the poor little choir boy was never really the same and eventually he was thrown into the trash. This childhood memory inspired me to write Candy Cane Lane and fortunately I was about to give it a much happier ending.

Scott's book list on picture books about inanimate objects

Scott Santoro Why did Scott love this book?

Eric and his herd of wild cars are a newly discovered species of furry cars which roam the prairie and drinking from outcroppings of oil. Its unique, whimsical, and oddball humor inspired me to start thinking of my own ideas for picture books although it took me another ten years or so to make it happen. 

By John Sheridan, Malcolm Livingstone (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When city inhabitants find the introduction of cars into their lives is destructive to their environment and makes them unhappy, Eric, a wild car, solves the problem.


Book cover of The Magic Bus

Scott Santoro Author Of Candy Cane Lane

From my list on picture books about inanimate objects.

Who am I?

When I was about ten, my mother brought home our one and only outdoor Christmas decoration, a plastic choir boy. One blustery night, we saw something streak by the living room windows. Rushing outside, we were shocked to see our choirboy lying amongst the shrubbery, his plastic neck broken. My father made several valiant attempts at surgery with various kinds of glue and tape, but the poor little choir boy was never really the same and eventually he was thrown into the trash. This childhood memory inspired me to write Candy Cane Lane and fortunately I was about to give it a much happier ending.

Scott's book list on picture books about inanimate objects

Scott Santoro Why did Scott love this book?

This is a unique and unexpected story of a school bus that can take its child passengers anywhere in the world by simply pressing a button on the dashboard. It seems to suggest one can really go anywhere with one’s imagination, particularly when one is absorbed in a book. Gergely illustrated other books about inanimate objects including The Little Red Caboose, Tootle, The Taxi That Hurried, and Scruffy the Tugboat.

By Maurice Dolbier, Tibor Gergely (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Child's fiction/picture book.


Book cover of Thomas the Tank Engine's Hidden Surprises

Jack Payton Author Of Billy Balloon

From my list on children’s stories you wish you had written.

Who am I?

I wrote Billy Balloon in fourth grade for a writing exercise. I remember the teacher reading it to the whole class. I was filled with pride. Then through the years I’d revisit the story and think about getting it published. Many years later, with the support and encouragement from my family, I finally decided to go through with it. We then went from wanting to publish one book to building a brand similar to Curious George and Thomas the Train. We had such a great experience and fun time we also decided to share the adventure with others. We invite readers to submit ideas for other books in the Billy Balloon series through our website

Jack's book list on children’s stories you wish you had written

Jack Payton Why did Jack love this book?

This is another impressive and prolific book series.

The magic here is how trains on set tracks on an island can have such big and diverse personalities. Thomas was the little engine trying to do big things.

In a way he is like a little kid growing up and exploring their independence. He tries to show he can do things the bigger trains (or kids) can.

My kids and I had a great time growing up alongside Thomas. My son always carried a small Thomas toy in his pocket.

I would notice he would pat his pocket whenever he needed extra encouragement, for example, at the park among the bigger kids.

By Rev. W. Awdry, Josie Yee (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thomas the Tank Engine's Hidden Surprises as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Thomas is going on a special trip to the circus, and there are lots of wonderful things to discover along the way--a beautiful hot air balloon, a playful dolphin, and a barrel of monkeys, just to name a few! Lift and peek behind the many flaps and see the hidden surprises. Preschoolers will want to climb on board with this fun transportation shaped flap book, bursting with treasures on every page!


Book cover of The Little Engine That Could

Ari Gunzburg Author Of Someday Soon

From my list on to inspire hope.

Who am I?

I continue to find hope as a constant theme in my talks and my various media appearances. Hope is so integral to being able to fight for another day. When we can plant the seed of hope and perseverance in kids from a young age, by giving the gift of books that show them the true meaning of hope and aspirations, we give them a gift that carries them well through life.

Ari's book list on to inspire hope

Ari Gunzburg Why did Ari love this book?

This book was originally published in 1930 and also goes back a long way in my own life as well. I have fond memories of my father reading this story to me when I was young, acting out all the parts of the story, using different voices, and more. Despite being little and unassuming, the Little Blue Engine uses hope and belief to get over the mountain. Without belief in ourselves we often can’t even begin to try, but the Little Blue Engine chose to trust in himself and it paid off - big time. We can all use a little more belief in our own abilities to create massive change in our lives.

By Watty Piper,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Little Engine That Could as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The classic story in a board book format

One of the true classics in children's books is now available in a sturdy board book edition perfect for little hands! The story has been slightly abridged and features the famous illustrations from the original Hauman edition. Now toddlers can cheer on the little blue engine and that "can-do" attitude that keeps her chugging along!


Book cover of Polar Express

Ross Greenwood Author Of The Santa Killer

From my list on Christmas nostalgia.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved Christmas books. As I’ve gotten older, part of the attraction around Christmas is the nostalgia. Recalling the excitement as a child, the anticipation, but also the people who are no longer with us. When I started out writing, I only ever envisaged doing one book, but a little bit of success snowballed. When I was looking for ideas, I noticed my last Barton book would be released just before Christmas, and The Santa Killer was born. I wanted to write a book like Christie’s where there was the emotions around murder and crime, but also the drama of Christmas. Hopefully it’s sad, exciting, and thrilling but also poignant.

Ross' book list on Christmas nostalgia

Ross Greenwood Why did Ross love this book?

It’s the cover from the movie that I love the most, which my daughter has watched to death. My son’s just getting into reading, so he’ll be getting this to open on the big day. The train in the snow screams Christmas to me. Shame when he wanted a Nintendo Switch.

By Chris Van Allsburg,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Polar Express 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?

Discover The Polar Express, a true Christmas classic.
"Magical" Guardian
"Evocative and atmospheric" Sunday Times
"A thrilling tale" Independent
All aboard the Polar Express to the North Pole! Follow one boy's journey to receive a very special gift from Santa himself: a bell that only true believers in Father Christmas can hear ring. Discover the beloved Christmas classic that inspired the blockbuster family favourite movie starring Tom Hanks.


Book cover of The Boundless

Kevin Sylvester Author Of MiNRS

From my list on getting around.

Who am I?

Am I an expert on transportation? No. But I’m fascinated by movement. Physical movement (how do bike gears actually work?) and metaphorical (how does life actually work?) I did enjoy a brief moment as the kind of unofficial bike traffic reporter when I was on CBC Radio here in Canada. I’d report on my 4 am commute to work. But as a writer and illustrator for kids, I know the freedom transportation represents. We all want to fly. In MINRS I write about spaceships. We all want to see the world. In The Fabulous Zed Watson! I write (with my kid Basil) about epic road trips.

Kevin's book list on getting around

Kevin Sylvester Why did Kevin love this book?

The titular Boundless is a train, and my grandparents were all train people in Canada. One of my most vivid early memories is being in the engine with my grandpa.

At 11 kilometers long, the Boundless is also a living, moving city. Ken makes a journey through the train like a journey through time, space, and history. Each time Will, the main character, leaps from one car to another, the reader also takes a leap into a new world. Why is Will jumping from car to car? Because he’s witnessed a murder, and the culprit is hot on his tail.

By Kenneth Oppel, Jim Tierney (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Boundless 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?

After a murder is committed, Will finds himself in possession of a key that has the potential to unlock the train's hidden treasures. Together with Maren, a gifted escape artist, and Mr Dorian, a circus ringmaster with amazing abilities, Will must save the Boundless before someone else winds up dead. With villains fast on his heels and strange creatures lurking outside the windows, the train hurtles across the country as Will flees for his life.

His adventure may have begun without his knowing . . . but how it ends is now entirely up to Will.


Book cover of Kairos

Tim Probert Author Of The Girl & the Galdurian

From my list on vivid and compelling worlds to get lost in.

Who am I?

I am an illustrator and author and fantasy stories are some of my favorites. I love getting lost in a book. It might be a cliche, but the ability of a book to take you to a place you’ve never been, or might not even exist, is an amazing power. These are the types of stories I love to create and these books have been a great influence on my own work. 

Tim's book list on vivid and compelling worlds to get lost in

Tim Probert Why did Tim love this book?

Another book of beautiful drawings (noticing a theme?), the dynamic lifework pulls you into a parallel dimension along with the characters. The protagonist crosses dangerous lines to find his partner and you are along for the ride in a new world. Also, check out Malassange’s work with Studio La Cachette, the animation studio he co-founded – it’s great!

By Ulysse Malassagne,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Nills and Anaelle were looking forward to the first night in their rustic cabin in the woods. But the couple's idyllic vacation is suddenly thrown into turmoil when a strange flash of light bursts from the fireplace. A portal appears and out of it spill dragon-like creatures that are armed to the teeth. They grab Anaelle and flee back through the portal, leaving a distraught Nills with a sudden decision: stay behind or leap through after her?

He leaps. And that's when things get really weird.

In Kairos, French graphic novelist Ulysse Malassage turns the typical damsel-in-distress narrative on its…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in trains and railways, murder, and murder mystery?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about trains and railways, murder, and murder mystery.

Trains And Railways Explore 24 books about trains and railways
Murder Explore 890 books about murder
Murder Mystery Explore 469 books about murder mystery