100 books like The Yearling

By Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings,

Here are 100 books that The Yearling fans have personally recommended if you like The Yearling. 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 The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

Ronnie Blair Author Of Eisenhower Babies: Growing Up on Moonshots, Comic Books, and Black-and-White TV

From my list on evoking the magic (and miseries) of childhood.

Who am I?

Growing up in a Kentucky coal-mining community, I enjoyed reading about the lives of other people and how their experiences differed from mine. I read biographies of famous people, such as Paul Revere or Stephen Foster, and an occasional memoir, such as Harlan Ellison writing about infiltrating a juvenile gang or David Gerrold revealing how he came to write for Star Trek. Fiction also took me to places that I had never seen. But something about a coming-of-age tale especially resonated with me and I hope these recommendations will help you make that same connection with how others have navigated the magic and miseries of childhood. 

Ronnie's book list on evoking the magic (and miseries) of childhood

Ronnie Blair Why did Ronnie love this book?

The title might sound like fiction, but the Thunderbolt Kid is simply an imaginary superhero version of himself that Bryson created as a child. Mostly, this trope is used sparingly throughout the book, which is a memoir of growing up in Des Moines, Iowa, in the 1950s. Bryson brings plenty of humor to the work, as well as a wistful nostalgia for the era. He is roughly a decade older than me, but I identified greatly with his descriptions of the time period. Plus, he and I were both fans of The Roy Rogers Show on TV, though Bryson seems a little more put off than I was about how the show couldn’t seem to decide which century the characters were living in.

By Bill Bryson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From one of our most beloved and bestselling authors, a vivid, nostalgic, and utterly hilarious memoir of growing up in the 1950s.

Born in 1951 in the middle of the United States, Des Moines, Iowa, Bill Bryson is perfectly positioned to mine his memories of a totally all-American childhood for 24 carat memoir gold. Like millions of his generation, Bryson grew up with a rich fantasy life as a superhero. In his case, he ran around the house wearing a jersey with a thunderbolt on it and a towel round his neck that served as his cape, leaping tall buildings…


Book cover of An American Childhood

Ronnie Blair Author Of Eisenhower Babies: Growing Up on Moonshots, Comic Books, and Black-and-White TV

From my list on evoking the magic (and miseries) of childhood.

Who am I?

Growing up in a Kentucky coal-mining community, I enjoyed reading about the lives of other people and how their experiences differed from mine. I read biographies of famous people, such as Paul Revere or Stephen Foster, and an occasional memoir, such as Harlan Ellison writing about infiltrating a juvenile gang or David Gerrold revealing how he came to write for Star Trek. Fiction also took me to places that I had never seen. But something about a coming-of-age tale especially resonated with me and I hope these recommendations will help you make that same connection with how others have navigated the magic and miseries of childhood. 

Ronnie's book list on evoking the magic (and miseries) of childhood

Ronnie Blair Why did Ronnie love this book?

Annie Dillard, probably best known for her book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, is masterful with words and brings all of her writing abilities to this memoir of growing up in Pittsburgh. For a city girl, she is especially entranced by nature as she gathers in her bedroom a rock collection that seems to foretell a career as a geologist that never happened. But it’s her tales of her father that are the most striking to me because as a child I didn’t know any fathers quite like him. He once set off alone on a long-planned river trip from Pittsburgh to New Orleans. Most wonderful of all, he had a role in the 1968 cult classic Night of the Living Dead. Finally, think of the title Dillard chose for her memoir: An American Childhood. In many ways, her childhood was no more unique than any other…

By Annie Dillard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"[An American Childhood] combines the child's sense of wonder with the adult's intelligence and is written in some of the finest prose that exists in contemporary America. It is a special sort of memoir that is entirely successful...This new book is [Annie Dillard's] best, a joyous ode to her own happy childhood."  — Chicago Tribune

A book that instantly captured the hearts of readers across the country, An American Childhood is Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Dillard's poignant, vivid memoir of growing up in Pittsburgh in the 1950s and 60s. 

Dedicated to her parents - from whom she learned a love…


Book cover of Eastern Sun, Winter Moon: An Autobiographical Odyssey

Ronnie Blair Author Of Eisenhower Babies: Growing Up on Moonshots, Comic Books, and Black-and-White TV

From my list on evoking the magic (and miseries) of childhood.

Who am I?

Growing up in a Kentucky coal-mining community, I enjoyed reading about the lives of other people and how their experiences differed from mine. I read biographies of famous people, such as Paul Revere or Stephen Foster, and an occasional memoir, such as Harlan Ellison writing about infiltrating a juvenile gang or David Gerrold revealing how he came to write for Star Trek. Fiction also took me to places that I had never seen. But something about a coming-of-age tale especially resonated with me and I hope these recommendations will help you make that same connection with how others have navigated the magic and miseries of childhood. 

Ronnie's book list on evoking the magic (and miseries) of childhood

Ronnie Blair Why did Ronnie love this book?

Gary Paulsen is best known for his novels for young people, such as the popular Hatchet, but this R-rated memoir is aimed at an adult audience. Of my five recommendations, this one is far and away the most representative of the miseries of a dysfunctional childhood. Paulsen’s parents were both alcoholics, and his mother had affairs that she could have done a much better job of hiding from her young son. Somehow, despite the trauma (or maybe because of it), Paulsen emerged as a successful and extraordinarily prolific writer. For those of us with wonderful childhood memories, this book serves as a reminder that not everyone is so lucky.

By Gary Paulsen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This work describes the author's experiences as a child during World War II. Along with his mother, who is alternatively protective and selfishly neglectful, Paulsen travelled to the Philippines to live with his father, a distant and imperious army officer.


Book cover of Morningstar: Growing Up with Books

Ronnie Blair Author Of Eisenhower Babies: Growing Up on Moonshots, Comic Books, and Black-and-White TV

From my list on evoking the magic (and miseries) of childhood.

Who am I?

Growing up in a Kentucky coal-mining community, I enjoyed reading about the lives of other people and how their experiences differed from mine. I read biographies of famous people, such as Paul Revere or Stephen Foster, and an occasional memoir, such as Harlan Ellison writing about infiltrating a juvenile gang or David Gerrold revealing how he came to write for Star Trek. Fiction also took me to places that I had never seen. But something about a coming-of-age tale especially resonated with me and I hope these recommendations will help you make that same connection with how others have navigated the magic and miseries of childhood. 

Ronnie's book list on evoking the magic (and miseries) of childhood

Ronnie Blair Why did Ronnie love this book?

I was a huge bookworm as a boy, so I identified greatly with Ann Hood’s memoir that focuses on her own love of reading, which she developed as a child growing up in Rhode Island. While I still enjoy reading as an adult, nothing matches the way I could lose myself in a Hardy Boys adventure or a Doctor Dolittle tale as a youngster. Hood captures this total-book-immersion experience as she recalls reading Little Women, one of the first books to whisk her away to a different world. The title of this memoir refers to another of Hood’s beloved books, Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk.

By Ann Hood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In her admired works of fiction, Ann Hood explores the transformative power of literature. Now, with warmth and honesty, Hood reveals the personal story behind these works of fiction.

Growing up in a household that didn't foster the love of literature, Hood channelled her imagination and curiosity by devouring The Bell Jar, Marjorie Morningstar, The Harrad Experiment and other works. These titles introduced her to topics that could not be discussed at home: desire, fear, sexuality and madness. Later, Johnny Got His Gun and The Grapes of Wrath influenced her political thinking and Dr. Zhivago and Les Miserables stoked her…


Book cover of All the Places to Love

PeggySue Wells Author Of The 10 Best Decisions a Single Mom Can Make: A Biblical Guide for Navigating Family Life on Your Own

From my list on being a single mom and staying sane.

Who am I?

“Eminently quotable, PeggySue Wells is a tonic — warm like your favorite blanket, bracing like a stiff drink.”

History buff and tropical island votary, PeggySue parasails, skydives, scuba dives, and has taken (but not passed) pilot training. The bestselling author of 30 books including the What To Do series, The Slave Across the Street, Bonding With Your Child Through Boundaries, Homeless for the Holidays, Chasing Sunrise, and The Ten Best Decisions A Single Mom Can Make, PeggySue’s most challenging and rewarding adventure was solo parenting seven children. With one in four homes single mom-led, PeggySue teamed with Pam Farrel to offer practical help and tangible tips to moms navigating parenting solo.

PeggySue's book list on being a single mom and staying sane

PeggySue Wells Why did PeggySue love this book?

No matter how young or old, everyone needs a timeless picture book about the best of hearth and home. The illustrations by Mike Wimmer are breathtaking and inviting. Patricia MacLachlan’s carefully chosen words reflect the relationship glue that creates connecting and belonging within families. No matter how old you are, All the Places to Love is a touch point for the heart.

By Patricia MacLachlan, Michael Wimmer (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All the Places to Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A young boy describes the favorite places that he shares with his family on his grandparents' farm and in the nearby countryside


Book cover of Stepping Stones

Misty Wilson Author Of Play Like a Girl

From my list on graphic novels featuring girls who persevere.

Who am I?

Growing up, if I wasn’t good at something right away, I’d quit. I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of others. Because of that, I never experienced how great it felt to overcome obstacles, to succeed at something hard—until I played football. Girls Who Persevere is an important topic to me because so often, girls are treated as if they’re inferior or incapable. It’s ingrained in them that they shouldn’t try certain things (like football!), and if they fail at first, it must mean they can’t do it. I think it’s important to see strong girls doing big things, even when they’re hard. These books show just that.

Misty's book list on graphic novels featuring girls who persevere

Misty Wilson Why did Misty love this book?

This graphic novel is based on Lucy’s real life. It’s about a girl who begrudgingly moves from her home in the city to the country to live with her mom’s new boyfriend and share a bedroom with his daughters. I love this one because when you’re a kid, so many things are out of your control, and grown-ups are the ones making decisions for you. Sometimes, kids are forced to learn a whole new way of life. Stepping Stones is a great depiction of that experience—an experience I can relate to as someone whose mom remarried and then had to move towns and schools. I love how the main character, Jen, is terrible at math but has to handle money at the farmer’s market. She spends the summer persevering through her math troubles, her embarrassment related to it, and her new family and farm work expectations. 

By Lucy Knisley,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Stepping Stones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This contemporary middle-grade graphic novel about family and belonging from New York Times bestselling author Lucy Knisley is a perfect read for fans of Awkward and Be Prepared.

Jen is used to not getting what she wants. So suddenly moving the country and getting new stepsisters shouldn't be too much of a surprise.

Jen did not want to leave the city. She did not want to move to a farm with her mom and her mom's new boyfriend, Walter. She did not want to leave her friends and her dad.

Most of all, Jen did not want to get new…


Book cover of Cross Creek

Janie DeVos Author Of The Art of Breathing

From my list on the flawed but indomitable human spirit.

Who am I?

Being a historical fiction writer, I spend much time researching people and places for my novels with my focus being on the South, particularly Florida, where I’m from, as well as Western North Carolina, where I’ve lived for nearly two decades. Family dynamics and character development have always held a special interest for me; particularly the humanness of being flawed, but also the resilience and strength found within us, too. I enjoy creating characters we can identify with, and become emotionally connected to, so much so that when the final page is turned, readers feel a sense of loss at saying goodbye to characters they’ve come to love.

Janie's book list on the flawed but indomitable human spirit

Janie DeVos Why did Janie love this book?

Writing on a theme that is near and dear to my heart, that being Old Florida, the author of the award-winning, The Yearling, accurately portrays her life living on Cross Creek in rural Central Florida. After buying an old orange grove, sight unseen, this divorced Washington, DC writer brought it back to life, and made a life for herself living among the shy and suspicious people on the creek. Rawlings’ accurate use of local dialect and effective nuances in this beautiful vignette of stories is almost poetic, and magically transports the reader to the creek’s mossy banks. Though the writing and her viewpoints are antiquated in places, Cross Creek remains a classic, and a true work of art to be treasured. 

By Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Cross Creek is the warm and delightful memoir about the life of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings—author of The Yearling—in the Florida backcountry.

Originally published in 1942, Cross Creek has become a classic in modern American literature. For the millions of readers raised on The Yearling, here is the story of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings's experiences in the remote Florida hamlet of Cross Creek, where she lived for thirteen years. From the daily labors of managing a seventy-two-acre orange grove to bouts with runaway pigs and a succession of unruly farmhands, Rawlings describes her life at the Creek with humor and spirit. Her…


Book cover of The Moonflower Vine

Steve Wiegenstein Author Of Slant of Light

From my list on set in the Midwest.

Who am I?

History and historical fiction are my abiding passions, and as a child of the Missouri Ozarks, I’ve always been drawn to depictions of Midwestern and rural life in particular. I have studied 19th-century utopian communities for many years and have always been fascinated by the powerful appeal of such communities, and the internal dynamics that always seem to arise within them. My novel series follows the rise and decline of one such community, using it as a microcosm for American culture in general. What might seem like a byway of American history is to me a powerful source of insight.

Steve's book list on set in the Midwest

Steve Wiegenstein Why did Steve love this book?

Unlike the novels of warfare and suffering, The Moonflower Vine is an intimate portrait of family life, set in 1920s Missouri. It was a bestseller when it was first published in the early 1960s, but has since suffered neglect. But it richly rewards the reader with its heartfelt depiction of three sisters and their aging parents, whose passions, aspirations, and failures are portrayed with complex sensitivity. I don’t think historical novels have to focus on historical events – capturing the spirit of an era is just as important. And this novel took me into rural life of a hundred years ago with great generosity.

By Jetta Carleton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Wit, emotion and undiminished boldness. . . . This is a book which celebrates life and warms the heart.” —Tulsa World

A timeless American classic, this beloved family saga of the heartland is “deeply felt . . . dramatic . . . constantly alive” (Harper’s Magazine)

On a farm in western Missouri during the first half of the twentieth century, Matthew and Callie Soames create a life for themselves and raise four headstrong daughters. Jessica will break their hearts. Leonie will fall in love with the wrong man. Mary Jo will escape to New York. And wild child Mathy's fate…


Book cover of Everything We Didn't Say

Kathleen Basi Author Of A Song for the Road

From my list on finding beauty in the crap life throws at you.

Who am I?

I suspect my passion for this topic was born when my doctor came into my C-section recovery room and uttered the words “chromosomal abnormality.” My daughter has Down syndrome, and full disclosure: I had zero interest in being a disability mom. Yet as I fell in love with this beautiful, funny, sassy girl, my whole worldview shifted. I am a far better person than I was when she entered my life. She has taught me the beauty and the blessing wrapped up in the things that first appear to be the most difficult. 

Kathleen's book list on finding beauty in the crap life throws at you

Kathleen Basi Why did Kathleen love this book?

I have adored everything I’ve read by Nicole Baart, and they all fit this theme. I chose this one because all the characters in it are so real. It features two women who are both punishing themselves for a tragedy they believe to be their fault. In this book, the main characters are so true, you almost can’t believe they’re made up. They’re complex people whose struggles and brokenness end up making ripples that bump into other people’s struggles and brokenness. Just a bunch of people doing the best they can and messing it all up and having to start again. This is a book that makes you feel like maybe all hope isn’t lost, after all.

By Nicole Baart,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Everything We Didn't Say as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the author of Little Broken Things, a "race-to-the-finish family drama" (People) following a mother who must confront the dark summer that changed her life forever in order to reclaim the daughter she left behind.

Juniper Baker had just graduated from high school and was deep in the throes of a summer romance when Cal and Beth Murphy, a childless couple who lived on a neighboring farm, were brutally murdered. When her younger brother became the prime suspect, June's world collapsed and everything she loved that summer fell away. She left, promising never to return to tiny Jericho, Iowa.

Until…


Book cover of Charlotte's Web

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.

Who am I?

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?

E.B. White wrote this book to explain death to children, and while death may be impossible for anyone to understand or accept fully, Charlotte the Spider makes a pretty good attempt.

If you read this book to your kids, you will all have Charlotte (and Wilbur and the rest of the farm animals) in your hearts forever. 

By E.B. White,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked Charlotte's Web 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?

Puffin Classics: the definitive collection of timeless stories, for every child.

On foggy mornings, Charlotte's web was truly a thing of beauty . Even Lurvy, who wasn't particularly interested in beauty, noticed the web when he came with the pig's breakfast. And then he took another look and he saw something that made him set his pail down. There, in the centre of the web, neatly woven in block letters, was a message. It said: SOME PIG!

This is the story of a little girl named Fern, who loves a little pig named Wilbur - and of Wilbur's dear friend,…


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