100 books like The Raft

By Jim LaMarche,

Here are 100 books that The Raft fans have personally recommended if you like The Raft. 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 Who Wants Broccoli?

Lisa Papp Author Of Madeline Finn and the Library Dog

From my list on celebrating what animals can teach us.

Why am I passionate about this?

Animals have always been some of my very best friends. I believe in guardian angels, and I believe animals come to us when we need them most. As children, animals help us to believe in ourselves, they soothe the hurts that come from being misunderstood. When we forget, animals carry a knowing beyond words, with every purr, and chirp, and bark, and nuzzle, they remind us that we are loved. I hope you enjoy these books that celebrate the love of animals and the many ways they help us heal.

Lisa's book list on celebrating what animals can teach us

Lisa Papp Why did Lisa love this book?

I adore this book about a rambunctious, but lovable, dog named Broccolli who lives at an animal shelter, awaiting his perfect home. Beautifully illustrated, and written with a good dose of humor, readers will love following Broccolli’s antics as he shows off his many clever (but loud) skills. How will he ever find a home? Broccolli shows us there is a perfect match for every one of us. And that we don’t need to be perfect to be perfectly loved.

By Val Jones,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Who Wants Broccoli? 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?

Broccoli is a lovable but rambunctious dog who wants to find a home in this fetchingly fun picture book! Broccoli lives at Beezley’s Animal Shelter and loves to show off his bowl-tossing and tail-chasing skills—and especially his great big BARK!  He dreams of playing in a yard with a boy. But when a boy named Oscar comes looking for his perfect pet, Broccoli is hidden away. Will Broccoli find his perfect home?


Book cover of Because of Winn-Dixie

John Cochran Author Of Breaking into Sunlight

From my list on middle-grade tough topics hope and compassion.

Why am I passionate about this?

I know from my own experience how much kids need books that deal honestly with hard things and point to hope. When I was in fifth grade, a friend was killed by a car while walking to school. I had moved to town not long before; this boy was the first friend I’d made, and suddenly, he was gone. Soon after, I found a novel called Bridge to Terabithia, the story of a fifth-grader, Jess, who loses a friend in an accident. It made me cry, but it was healing: I felt less alone and found strength in watching Jess find his way forward despite his grief.

John's book list on middle-grade tough topics hope and compassion

John Cochran Why did John love this book?

I found this book when I had kids of my own, and it reminded me how powerful, beautiful, and important kids' books can be. Because of Winn-Dixie touches on alcoholism, loss, and regret.

I was astonished by what DiCamillo has done here because I know how hard it is to pull off: She’s written a profound story that resonated with me and my kids and does it with a beautifully light touch.

Her writing is luminous and points to something I think is so important for kids to understand: We’re all carrying sorrows and regrets. This connects us, and we lighten our burdens by opening our hearts to each other.

By Kate DiCamillo,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Because of Winn-Dixie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Funny and poignant, this 2001 Newbery Honor novel captures life in a quirky Southern town as Opal and her mangy dog, Winn-Dixie, strike up friendships among the locals.

One summer's day, ten-year-old India Opal Buloni goes down to the local supermarket for some groceries - and comes home with a dog. But Winn-Dixie is no ordinary dog. It's because of Winn-Dixie that Opal begins to make friends. And it's because of Winn-Dixie that she finally dares to ask her father about her mother, who left when Opal was three. In fact, as Opal admits, just about everything that happens that…


Book cover of The House at Pooh Corner

Howard McWilliam Author Of Just SNOW Already!

From my list on illustrated stories packed full of snow.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved snow for as long as I can remember: a childhood enthusiasm which has not dimmed one bit in adulthood. When those flakes flutter silently from the sky I feel a thrill just like an eight-year-old getting the day off school, a feeling that I try to convey in Just Snow Already! I adore snow scenes depicted in art and children’s illustrations when that magic is transferred to the page… and unlike the real thing, you can enjoy it with a hot drink and warm toes. 

Howard's book list on illustrated stories packed full of snow

Howard McWilliam Why did Howard love this book?

Shepard’s roughly-hatched illustrations are a symbiotic match for the scruffy charm and humour of Milne’s stories.

Only a couple of chapters feature snow, but they loom so large in my imagination—Pooh and Piglet following their own footsteps in search of the legendary Heffalump; and building Eeyore’s new house at Pooh Corner to shelter him from the snowstorm (unwittingly using Eeyore’s existing house as their source of wood).

As Eeyore gets buried in the snow, I can feel the cold wind with each economical scratch of Shepherd’s pen nib.

By A.A. Milne, E.H. Shepard (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The House at Pooh Corner 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?

Join Pooh and his freinds for more delightful adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood: from building a house for Eeyore and finding a Wolery for Owl, to playing Poohsticks and trying unbounce Tigger!


Book cover of The Wind in the Willows

Eric Daniel Weiner Author Of The Famously Funny Parrott: Four Tales from the Bird Himself

From my list on children's books that you will want to read to your kids every night.

Why am I passionate about this?

When we were doing research for Dora the Explorer (I’m one of the show’s three creators), we read picture book versions of the episodes to preschoolers. The researcher would always begin by saying, “I’ve got a story to tell you.” The preschoolers would clap, cheer, and sometimes even hug the kid next to them. Then, my story would begin. At least with group 1, before we made a lot of changes, the children would invariably fall on their backs and beg to be taken back to class. Everyone longs to be told a great story. So, for my list, I picked some of the greatest read-aloud children’s books ever “told.” 

Eric's book list on children's books that you will want to read to your kids every night

Eric Daniel Weiner Why did Eric love this book?

Whenever I read this book’s opening lines, I sink under the author’s magic spell.

Forget Faulkner, forget Joyce, try Grahame’s poetic prose. When Grahame wrote this, the whole idea of writing books for kids was still fresh, and the idea of anthropomorphic animals was novel, too. The book is so good it still seems like something new under the sun. 

If you don’t have a child available, pretend that a wise, kind adult is reading the book to you.

By Kenneth Grahame,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Wind in the Willows as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

Spend a season on the river bank and take a walk on the wild side . . .

Spring is in the air and Mole has found a wonderful new world. There's boating with Ratty, a feast with Badger and high jinx on the open road with that reckless ruffian, Mr Toad of Toad Hall. The four become the firmest of friends, but after Toad's latest escapade, can they join together and beat the wretched weasels?

PLUS A behind-the-scenes journey, including author profile, a guide to who's who, activities and more.


Book cover of Raven's Exile: A Season on the Green River

Patrick Dean Author Of A Window to Heaven: The Daring First Ascent of Denali: America's Wildest Peak

From my list on first-person narratives about the outdoors.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an avid trail-runner and mountain-biker who’s done a ton of outdoorsy things, from sailboat racing on the Chesapeake Bay to rockclimbing to backpacking in the Pacific Northwest, I’m convinced that nothing gets you closer to someone’s experience than a well-told first-person account. The best personal narratives make you feel the cold, glow with the exhilaration, and burn with ambition to go, to do, to see for yourself — and can even make you look at the world, and yourself, in a new way. These books, different as they are, have all done those things for me.

Patrick's book list on first-person narratives about the outdoors

Patrick Dean Why did Patrick love this book?

Nobody, not even Ed Abbey, describes the red-rock deserts and rivers of the Southwest as well as Ellen Meloy did. Raven’s Exile describes raft trips through Desolation Canyon of the Green River in eastern Utah with Meloy’s husband, a BLM river ranger. Meloy’s poetic, humorous, profound, keen-eyed voice makes me want to get on that river.

By Ellen Meloy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Raven's Exile as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

More than a century after John Wesley Powell launched his boat on the Green River, Ellen Meloy spent eight years of seasonal floats through Utah's Desolation Canyon with her husband, a federal river manager. She came to know the history and natural history of this place well enough to call it home, and has recorded her observations in a book that is as wide-ranging as the river and as wild as the wilderness through which it runs.


Book cover of Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person

Tereill Peay Author Of My Broken Stiletto: A Woman's Guide to Up Leveling Your Faith, Finances, and Fashion

From my list on to improve style, increase cash, illuminate confidence.

Why am I passionate about this?

Throughout my journey, I’ve had to endure many challenges coming from humble beginnings so I wrote my book based on my experiences of being the 1st generational college graduate to overcoming many obstacles that affected my self-esteem while running a multimillion-dollar branch in the banking industry. Writing My Broken Stiletto allowed me to showcase that being resilient is a mindset that can be challenging but worth the reward when you get out of your own way.

Tereill's book list on to improve style, increase cash, illuminate confidence

Tereill Peay Why did Tereill love this book?

This book gave me the inspiration that I could release the people-pleasing effect and learned to say yes to myself.

This book helped me to examine my belief system of how I approach my self-image and how that affected the people around me including my family and friends.

If you are a creative person, an entrepreneur, a mom, or someone struggling with balancing your life and tend to put yourself last, this book will help you shift your mindset and perspective to show up authentically for yourself first.

Having a list of demands on your neck can feel overwhelming and Shonda shows us how to handle it all from her mishaps all while looking amazingly stunning in the process. For me, it was allowing myself to relinquish control and say yes to the things that light me up.

Shonda’s journey of navigating Hollywood lets us know that we all have…

By Shonda Rhimes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As the mega-talented creator of Grey's Anatomyand Scandaland executive producer of How to Get Away with Murderand the single mom of three children, Shonda Rhimes had lots of good reasons to say NO when an unexpected invitation arrived. Hollywood party? No. Speaking engagement? No. Media appearances? No. [The side benefit of saying No for an introvert like her: nothing new to fear.]

Then Shonda's sister laid down a challenge: just for one year, try to say YES to the invitations that come your way. Shonda reluctantly agreed?and the result was nothing short of transformative. In YEAR OF YES, Shonda Rhimes…


Book cover of The River at Night

Rebecca Hodge Author Of Over the Falls

From my list on mystery and suspense on the river.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always enjoyed time spent outdoors, and over the years I’ve done plenty of hiking and camping and some whitewater rafting and canoeing. As a result, I’m intrigued by books that excel in their portrayals of outdoor settings. A serious whitewater accident prompted me to include lots of kayaking scenes in my most recent book (Over the Falls), and so I thought it would be fun to pull together a list of other river-related books that offer suspense and/or mystery. I hope these suggestions help you add a few new stories to your reading list. 

Rebecca's book list on mystery and suspense on the river

Rebecca Hodge Why did Rebecca love this book?

I’m always up for a page-turning thriller that’s set in the outdoors, and The River at Night kept me awake late and eager for more. This story follows four women who decide to jazz up their annual girls’ trip by whitewater rafting in the Maine wilderness. What could go wrong? Just about everything. When a freak accident leaves them stranded, they’re eager for help. But are their rescuers the saviors they first believe? Grab this book for an energizing read you won’t soon forget.  

By Erica Ferencik,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A “raw, relentless, and heart-poundingly real” (Ruth Ware, New York Times bestselling author) thriller set against the harsh beauty of the Maine wilderness, The River at Night charts the journey of four friends as they fight to survive the aftermath of a white water rafting accident.

Winifred Allen needs a vacation.

Stifled by a soul-crushing job, devastated by the death of her beloved brother, and lonely after the end of a fifteen-year marriage, Wini is feeling vulnerable. So when her three best friends insist on a high-octane getaway for their annual girls’ trip, she signs on, despite her misgivings.

What…


Book cover of Borderline

Rebecca Hodge Author Of Over the Falls

From my list on mystery and suspense on the river.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always enjoyed time spent outdoors, and over the years I’ve done plenty of hiking and camping and some whitewater rafting and canoeing. As a result, I’m intrigued by books that excel in their portrayals of outdoor settings. A serious whitewater accident prompted me to include lots of kayaking scenes in my most recent book (Over the Falls), and so I thought it would be fun to pull together a list of other river-related books that offer suspense and/or mystery. I hope these suggestions help you add a few new stories to your reading list. 

Rebecca's book list on mystery and suspense on the river

Rebecca Hodge Why did Rebecca love this book?

We’re back in the United States for this choice, whitewater rafting on the Rio Grande with National Park ranger Anna Pigeon. This trip is supposed to be a relaxing vacation, but when a student is swept overboard and murder enters the picture, the journey becomes anything but routine. If you haven’t yet discovered this mystery series, which sets each book in a different National Park, Borderline is a great way to start.

By Nevada Barr,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestseller starring Anna Pigeon from the author of Winter Study.

“Action-packed…a narrative that plunges readers into mystery [and] mayhem.”—The Denver Post

Hoping a raft trip in Big Bend National Park will lift her spirits, Anna Pigeon and her husband Paul go to southwest Texas, where the Rio Grande is running high. The beauty of the Chihuahuan Desert and the power of the river work their magic—until the raft is lost in the rapids and a young college student makes a grisly discovery. Caught in a strainer between two boulders—and more dead than alive—is a pregnant woman.…


Book cover of Rivers: A Visual History from River to Sea

Anne Lambelet Author Of Maria the Matador

From my list on picture books you can pore over for hours.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m Anne Lambelet, author-illustrator of Maria the Matador. The greatest compliment to any author-illustrator is that a child wants to keep spending time with your book after the first read-through is over. As an avid childhood reader who has maintained a passion for kid lit into my adulthood and my career, I’ve read a lot of picture books in my life, but the ones that have stuck with me are the ones that demanded a second, a third, even a fiftieth look. For that reason, I’ve chosen the following topic for my list of recommendations.

Anne's book list on picture books you can pore over for hours

Anne Lambelet Why did Anne love this book?

Again, Peter Goes could have multiple books here if this list were longer, but if I have to pick just one, it’ll be Rivers. Non-fiction books usually pack in a lot more information than fictional stories so you usually have to spend more time with them to absorb everything, but the thing that makes Rivers so special amongst non-fiction books is the presentation of information. Facts and legends flow across heavily illustrated maps, in and out of animals, architecture, mythological figures, and cultural vignettes. Each bit of imagery and text corresponds to the path of the river, mirroring its meandering journey across the page.

It’s a lot to process, but Goes’s graphic illustrative style and limited color palette prevent compositions from feeling too busy and overwhelming. Every time I come back to this book, I notice something new or learn a fact that I missed before. I don’t think looking…

By Peter Goes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rivers 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?

This breathtaking journey along the most important rivers in the world takes us from the Nile to the Amazon, the Mekong Delta to the Mississippi, the Murray to the Waikato.

Our seas and rivers tell a compelling story about our planet. Through tracking the life source of people, animals and the land itself, Peter Goes brings alive our history and our lives today. Each illustration includes major events and historical figures connected with its river, but also favorite stories and icons. This absorbing, playful book shows who we are, how we live and the myths we weave around our people…


Book cover of The National Trust Rivers of Britain

Richard Mayon-White Author Of Discovering London's Canals: On foot, by bike or by boat

From my list on the fascinating beauty of English waterways.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love rivers. The flow of water gives a sense of timelessness, the reflection of light from the surface brightens the colours on the banks and the wider stretches make a feeling of space. I have messed about in boats all my life and I am happiest on inland waterways. What I enjoyed as recreation alongside a medical career has grown into a vocation in my retirement. The more people who know about our beautiful rivers, the better the chances that we can protect them from exploitation and carelessness. 

Richard's book list on the fascinating beauty of English waterways

Richard Mayon-White Why did Richard love this book?

This book was sponsored by the National Trust and has the high quality that one expects of that organisation. 

It is a very readable account of the geology and geography of rivers. It has helped me to understand what I see when I look at rivers and it encourages me to go to new places to learn more. Although it was written nearly 40 years ago, it is very relevant to the present times when rivers in many countries suffer from mismanagement of the environment. 

The lovely photographs show how much there is that is worth better care.  

By Richard Muir, Nina Muir,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The National Trust Rivers of Britain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book by Muir, Richard, Muir, Nina


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