100 books like Wildwood

By Colin Meloy, Carson Ellis (illustrator),

Here are 100 books that Wildwood fans have personally recommended if you like Wildwood. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ 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 Swallows and Amazons

Katie Munnik Author Of The Aerialists

From my list on characters who assume new names.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was named after my father’s aunt, who moved from Canada to Switzerland in the 1920s to join a travelling church. Family lore remembers she rode a bicycle in the mountains and when she was dying, her sisters sent her maple leaves in the mail to remind her where she started. As a child, I was fascinated by this mysterious other Katie. Why did my father choose her name for me? Would I be like her? Did I get to choose? As a novelist, I love choosing names. Their power is subtle but strong, and when a writer gives a character more than one name, new layers emerge and stories bloom.

Katie's book list on characters who assume new names

Katie Munnik Why did Katie love this book?

I first read Swallows and Amazons lying on my belly beside a swimming pool while my little brother splashed through his lessons. I was caught by the inventive adventuring, the sailing and camping and the sheer—parentless!—freedom of the Walker and Blackett children. And most of all, I loved Nancy Blackett, whose real name was Ruth but changed it because everyone knows the Amazon pirates are ruthless. I’ve since read it with my own children, and the magic continues, though these days, I have more sympathy with the mother who, looking for some quiet, thought to pack her kids off to camp by themselves on an island. 

I should point out the second assumed name in this story. Ransom really did know children who sailed small boats in the Lake District, and one of the boats really was called Swallow—and the other one was Mavis. Hardly a good name for pirates!

By Arthur Ransome,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Swallows and Amazons 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?

The ultimate children's classic - long summer days filled with adventure.

John, Susan, Titty and Roger sail their boat, Swallow, to a deserted island for a summer camping trip. Exploring and playing sailors is an adventure in itself but the island holds more excitement in store. Two fierce Amazon pirates, Nancy and Peggy, challenge them to war and a summer of battles and alliances ensues.

'My childhood simply would not have been the same without this book. It created a whole world to explore, one that lasted long in the imagination after the final page had been read' - Marcus…


Book cover of My Side of the Mountain

Naila Moreira Author Of The Monarchs of Winghaven

From my list on making kids feel like mighty eco-warriors.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved both nature and writing since childhood. My birdwatching and prior work as a geologist have taken me to the coasts, forests, and grasslands of New England, the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, Brazil, and beyond. Through it all, I’ve kept my pen busy writing about my adventures. A former writer-in-residence at the Shoals Marine Laboratory in Maine and beach naturalist with the Seattle Aquarium, I now teach at Smith College in Massachusetts, where I live with my family, many notebooks, and a garden full of native plants and wild birds. 

Naila's book list on making kids feel like mighty eco-warriors

Naila Moreira Why did Naila love this book?

Running away to live for a year alone in the woods–as a kid, I couldn’t have dreamed up a better fantasy.

Twelve-year-old protagonist Sam Gribley makes the dream feel realistic. Carving your own home in a huge hollow tree? Check. Learning how to set traps for fish and game? Check. Stitching your own clothes out of a deer hide “borrowed” from a reckless hunter who couldn’t find the carcass? Check. Learning the daily rhythms of wildlife, from chickadees to raccoons to stoats? Oh yes. I could have lived in Sam’s world forever.

Plus, the author’s line illustrations perfectly evoke an outdoor notebook worthy of a young Thoreau. It broke my heart when Sam’s year of wild freedom drew to a close.

By Jean Craighead George,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked My Side of the Mountain 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?

"Should appeal to all rugged individualists who dream of escape to the forest."-The New York Times Book Review

Sam Gribley is terribly unhappy living in New York City with his family, so he runs away to the Catskill Mountains to live in the woods-all by himself. With only a penknife, a ball of cord, forty dollars, and some flint and steel, he intends to survive on his own. Sam learns about courage, danger, and independence during his year in the wilderness, a year that changes his life forever.

"An extraordinary book . . . It will be read year after…


Book cover of Last Stop on Market Street

Why am I passionate about this?

As an adoptive parent and a Korean-American immigrant, caring for others is my passion. I was only nine months old when I made the journey to America with my parents, so I only felt “American” growing up. It wasn’t until college that I genuinely started to appreciate my heritage. But perhaps, if I had seen more stories that reflected me, sharing family stories with love and finding hope amidst hardship, maybe I would’ve appreciated and even celebrated my difference a little more. That’s why I love sharing my family stories now. Everyone can relate to them on different levels. 

Ann's book list on picture books about caring for others, sharing family stories with love, and finding hope amidst hardship

Ann Suk Wang Why did Ann love this book?

I love this beautiful ride on a bus through the child’s inner city neighborhood. With grandma, the little boy encounters the colorful people that make up his community.

It’s a gentle and sweet reminder to me that diversity is beautiful. And though people may not seem as monetarily wealthy as others, love and care make them rich.

By Matt de la Peña, Christian Robinson (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Last Stop on Market Street as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, and 5.

What is this book about?

Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don't own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn't he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty and fun in their routine and in the world around them. This energetic ride through a bustling city highlights the love and understanding between grandparent and grandchild as the world comes…


Book cover of The Secret Garden

Carla Kessler Author Of Terracolina: A Place to Belong

From my list on where kids who believe in nature make a difference.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, one of my favorite places was in the top branches of a tree. From up there I could watch the world pass by, remaining invisible. I could make up stories about the world below and no one would challenge me. The second best place for me was inside the story of a book, the kind that took you to magical places where children always found a way to win the day. I knew when I “grew up” I would write one of those empowering books. I became a middle school teacher and have since read many wonderful books for this age. Enjoy my list of favorites.  

Carla's book list on where kids who believe in nature make a difference

Carla Kessler Why did Carla love this book?

This book touched many from my generation.

For me, Mary’s abandonment by the adults around her, came close to home. I rooted for her to free her soul. It was the beauty of the garden and the gentle robin that first melted the ice around her heart by connecting her with nature.

Then along came Dickon, who had grown up deeply connected with the earth and inspired her further, and finally Colin, who, like her, had been neglected. They healed each other as they revitalized the garden, experiencing the joys of mother earth.

It reinforced my own faith in mother nature, who also supported me whenever I grappled with my reality. 

By Claire Freedman, Shaw Davidson (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Secret Garden as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Rediscover the magical story of Mary Lennox, who arrives in the wild and windswept Yorkshire a sickly and miserable girl - until she discovers a forgotten, Secret Garden.

As Mary works hard to bring the garden back to life, its magic begins to work on her too . . .

This classic and beloved story has been beautifully retold by Claire Freedman and brought to glorious visual life by new illustration talent Shaw Davidson


Book cover of Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

Brandon Todd Author Of Bright Star: An Acorn Book

From my list on finding adventure in your backyard.

Why am I passionate about this?

My family and I moved to a new neighborhood a few years ago and for the first time we discovered what a community can feel like. We feel connected to a diverse group of people. We explore our park and surrounding streets, regularly supporting local shops and frequently bumping into our neighbors and other familiar faces. It’s given us a sense of place. All these books, as well as The Adventure Friends series, encourages this sense of wonder for your local community. You don’t have to go to far off lands to find adventure. Often, it’s right in your backyard!

Brandon's book list on finding adventure in your backyard

Brandon Todd Why did Brandon love this book?

All a kid needs for an adventure is a tool and the tool Sam and Dave have is a shovel.

I personally spent multiple recesses trying to dig a hole to the other side of the world or underground cave so this took me right back to that time. The words and pictures are in perfect balance with each other and each page turn reveals new and fun surprises, all the way to the very end!

This is a book that celebrates kids being kids and highlights the optimism and perseverance they have. Barnett and Klassen are probably also my favorite duo making books today.

By Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Sam & Dave Dig a Hole 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?

With perfect pacing, the multiple award-winning, best-selling team of Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen dig down for a deadpan tale full of visual humour.

From the award-winning team behind Extra Yarn, and illustrated by Jon Klassen, the Kate Greenaway-winning creator of This Is Not My Hat and I Want My Hat Back, comes a perfectly paced, deadpan tale full of visual humour. Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find ... nothing. Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all.…


Book cover of We're Going on a Bear Hunt

Brandon Todd Author Of Bright Star: An Acorn Book

From my list on finding adventure in your backyard.

Why am I passionate about this?

My family and I moved to a new neighborhood a few years ago and for the first time we discovered what a community can feel like. We feel connected to a diverse group of people. We explore our park and surrounding streets, regularly supporting local shops and frequently bumping into our neighbors and other familiar faces. It’s given us a sense of place. All these books, as well as The Adventure Friends series, encourages this sense of wonder for your local community. You don’t have to go to far off lands to find adventure. Often, it’s right in your backyard!

Brandon's book list on finding adventure in your backyard

Brandon Todd Why did Brandon love this book?

What kind of children’s book list would be complete if I didn’t include a book with a bear in it? So, I’m going with a classic.

I have Flip Flop Flip Flopped through these pages of fun sounds over and over again through the years. I love this story for its simplicity and heart about a family going on a nature walk. As a father of two girls, I’m indebted to Rosen because I’ve employed his bear hunt chant on countless occasions to get my girls excited about exploring our own woods and trails. And the ending on this one is just perfect!

By Michael Rosen, Helen Oxenbury (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked We're Going on a Bear Hunt 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?

Gorgeous gift edition of the classic join in story by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. Shake up a snowstorm with this perfect gift for brave hunters and bear-lovers everywhere!

We're going on a bear hunt. We're going to catch a big one. Will you come too? For over a quarter of a century, readers have been swishy-swashying and splash-sploshing through this award-winning favourite. This new gift hardback edition includes a superb snow scene on the cover to add fun and festive flurries to your favourite family adventure story. Follow and join in the family's excitement as they wade through the…


Book cover of Moominpappa at Sea

Martine Murray Author Of Molly & Pim and the Millions of Stars

From my list on the natural world as the lifeblood of the story.

Why am I passionate about this?

I credit my overactive imagination to a childhood in which our parents left us to run wild. There I developed a very alive and personal relationship to the living world which I've continued to both plunder and nourish in order to write novels. In these times of ecological devastation, it’s telling that so many children’s lives have migrated towards the virtual. I believe it’s the interpenetration of our own imagination into what is mysterious, enduring and alive in the natural world that shows us why we must strive to hold it sacred. I encourage all kids to get off their screens and to go outside. There you will find life’s unbridled magic.

Martine's book list on the natural world as the lifeblood of the story

Martine Murray Why did Martine love this book?

To be truthful, I would list all the Moomin books as top of my list and am only choosing one because I can’t pick them all. In Moominvalley and its enduring characters, its seasons, snowstorms, comets, floods, and finally its absences, we find lifes’ psychological dramas, doubts, and triumphs perfectly embedded in and drawn from the tempestuous and consoling presence of the natural world. I read all these books to my daughter and relished the emergence of a conjured world that was deep and familiar, yet also distant and magical, as is whatever realm of nature you most find yourself close to. I remember Moompapa at sea for its particularly philosophical and slightly wistful tone and because who doesn’t wonder about the wildness and loneliness of life inside a lighthouse. 

By Tove Jansson, Kingsley Hart (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Moominpappa at Sea 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?

Soon to be MOOMINVALLEY, a MAJOR ANIMATED SERIES on SKY ONE starring Taron Egerton and Rosamund Pike!

Moominpappa is feeling at a loss. He has no idea what to do with himself - it seems everything has already been done!

So he takes his family off to start a new life in a lighthouse on a tiny, rocky island far out to sea. It's rather lonely at first, but it isn't long before the Moomins discover some funny and surprising new things about themselves.


Book cover of Hilda and the Troll

Joshua Hauke Author Of Doom's Day Camp

From my list on monster loving middle grade reads.

Why am I passionate about this?

I always used to want to sleep with a nightlight. Then one night my dad said, “what does it matter, if when you close your eyes it’s dark anyway?” That’s when I realized, he was completely right. I'd been vulnerable to monsters this whole time and since none of them had tried to snack on me yet, then that must mean some were friendly… right? The only way to be sure was to learn more about them. So, I did. Here's a list of some of my favorite middle grade books featuring monsters. Because the only thing better than a book about a monster, is a book about kiddos that they scare or befriend.

Joshua's book list on monster loving middle grade reads

Joshua Hauke Why did Joshua love this book?

There are so many things to love about Hilda and the Troll that it is hard to pin down why I enjoy it so much.

Is there an awesome monster? Of course. Amazing art work? Sure. A magical adventure? Absolutely. But, probably the best thing about this book is Hilda. She is the type of character that is downright infectious. All she wants to do is help.

From tiny invisible people trying to kick her out of her own house, to enormous giants that can crush cities, Hilda does her best to make sure everyone… or, rather everything she meets is heard and cared for.

By Luke Pearson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Hilda and the Troll 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?

While on an expedition to seek out the magical creatures of the mountains around her home, Hilda spots a mountain troll. As she draws it the blue-haired explorer starts to nod off. when she wakes, she finds herself lost in a snowstorm and her troll has totally disappeared. On her way home, Hilda ventures deep into the woods, befriends a lonely wooden man and narrowly avoids getting squashed by a lost giant.


Book cover of The Wendy Project

Kindra Neely Author Of Numb to This: Memoir of a Mass Shooting

From my list on to help process big emotions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m deeply passionate about helping others find ways to work through their emotions. After surviving a mass shooting in 2015 the first place I turned to was the library. I quickly found myself frustrated and lacking when I couldn’t find books to help me understand what I was going through and what to expect next. It was terribly discouraging as I found it difficult to express myself to my loved ones. When I started to find books like the ones on this list, it opened a world to me that I had to be a part of – books that help people process difficult emotions. 

Kindra's book list on to help process big emotions

Kindra Neely Why did Kindra love this book?

Although shorter than the other books on my list, I think the story and art is none the less impactful. The Wendy Project deals with grief, especially grief in younger readers with a gentle understanding. I loved the unique approach to the whole book as well. The book is the journal of the main character Wendy, who receives it and starts to draw in it during the events of the story. I found The Wendy Project in my hands at a time when I was struggling to acknowledge my own grief, and it certainly nudged me to face it.  

By Melissa Jane Osborne, Veronica Fish (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

16-year-old Wendy Davies crashes her car into a lake on a late summer night in New England with her two younger brothers in the backseat. When she wakes in the hospital, she is told that her youngest brother, Michael, is dead. Wendy, once a rational teenager, shocks her family by insisting that Michael is alive and in the custody of a mysterious flying boy. Placed in a new school, Wendy negotiates fantasy and reality as students and adults around her resemble characters from Neverland. Given a sketchbook by her therapist, Wendy starts to draw. But is The Wendy Project merely…


Book cover of The Ranger

Kari Rust Author Of Tricky

From my list on animal friends and creative illustrations.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an illustrator, author, and animator. When I write and draw, I hope to vividly bring characters and settings to life in the imaginations of readers. Mischievous dogs, mysterious old houses, and brilliant mathematicians are some of the subjects I’ve had the pleasure of putting on the pages of books. I love animals and art, so artistic picture books with animals at their heart, give me a lot of joy. Because the illustrations in a picture book tell stories, I look for artwork that expresses character, mood, and movement. The best picture books leave a mark in visual memory that connects to the feeling of a story.

Kari's book list on animal friends and creative illustrations

Kari Rust Why did Kari love this book?

The Ranger is the second book in the artistically rendered Crow Stories series by Nancy Vo. The animal friend in this book is a mysterious fox. When a young ranger, Annie, rescues a fox they begin an uneasy journey together. When Annie in turn needs help, she has to confront the meaning of friendship. The art in The Ranger has a look all its own incorporating watercolour and collage in a way that gives just the right mood to pair with the text. Readers will be drawn to the fox’s strong, captivating presence, and the beautiful, muted landscapes provide the perfect setting. In addition to the memorable illustrations, this book offers lots to discuss around reciprocity and friendship. There is also some mystery - is there more to the fox than meets the eye?

By Nancy Vo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this memorable and beautifully illustrated story, a ranger comes across a fox caught in a trap. The ranger frees the fox and promises only to tend to its wounds. The fox recovers and remains curiously close to the ranger, and when unexpected twists occur, the fox ends up being the helper. The ranger asks the fox, "Does this make us even?" and almost immediately feels regret - keeping score has no place in friendship. And so the two continue their journey together.

In this second book in the Crow Stories trilogy, Nancy Vo explores themes of friendship and how…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in wildlife, sibling, and missing persons?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about wildlife, sibling, and missing persons.

Wildlife Explore 42 books about wildlife
Sibling Explore 223 books about sibling
Missing Persons Explore 289 books about missing persons