The best books about child abandonment

Who picked these books? Meet our 44 experts.

44 authors created a book list connected to child abandonment, and here are their favorite child abandonment books.
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What type of child abandonment book?


Our Subway Baby

By Peter Mercurio, Leo Espinosa (illustrator),

Book cover of Our Subway Baby

Mary Shaw Author Of Basil's Unkie Herb

From the list on I wish I could have read to my children.

Who am I?

I really am passionate about children and education. Reading to children is such a joy especially when they snuggle in and get absorbed in the story. Education is the only way to achieve some sort of equity in our world. The world I knew as a child is no more and that is a good thing. Cruel biases and intolerance hurt so many. Today there is more freedom and the potential to live true to yourself whatever that may be. I like books that show the diversity of our humanity, that can be read to children to broaden their understanding, acceptance, and tolerance of family which may be very different from their own.

Mary's book list on I wish I could have read to my children

Discover why each book is one of Mary's favorite books.

Why did Mary love this book?

Firstly the cover says it all. “The true story of how one baby found his home.” A baby abandoned in the subway is found by Danny, who falls in love with the little guy and convinces his partner to be a foster parent. The couple is broke, but the family rallies with diapers, a crib, etc. I love seeing a gay couple fully loved and supported by extended family and even the justice system. I read this book by myself and smile every time. This is the way the world should be. All accepted and loved. I wish I could have read a book like this to my kids 30 years ago. The book ends with a picture of a real grown-up Kevin and his dads which make the book even more special. The illustrations are fabulous.

By Peter Mercurio, Leo Espinosa (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Some babies are born into their families. Some are adopted. This is the story of how one baby found his family in the New York City subway."

So begins the true story of Kevin and how he found his Daddy Danny and Papa Pete. Written in a direct address to his son, Pete's moving and emotional text tells how his partner, Danny, found a baby tucked away in the corner of a subway station on his way home from work one day. Pete and Danny ended up adopting the baby together. Although neither of them had prepared for the prospect…

Refugee Boy

By Benjamin Zephaniah,

Book cover of Refugee Boy

Mary Jennifer Payne Author Of Enough

From the list on unforgettable protagonists in urban settings.

Who am I?

Born the same year as Winona Ryder, Tupac Shakur, and Elon Musk, I’m a Toronto-based writer of novels, short fiction, graphic stories, nonfiction, and scripts for film and television. My YA books include the graphic novella The Lion of Africa, the supernatural, climate change-fuelled Daughters of Light trilogy, and the hard-hitting Since You’ve Been Gone. My writing gives voice to strong, diverse protagonists in urban settings who are dealing with seemingly insurmountable challenges. I’ve been a special education teacher for more than 20 years and my characters are often inspired by the amazing young people I’ve worked with. The cities in my work are living, breathing entities that shape the plot and the protagonist’s character.

Mary's book list on unforgettable protagonists in urban settings

Discover why each book is one of Mary's favorite books.

Why did Mary love this book?

In a world where the number of forcibly displaced people is rising faster and to the highest levels ever, I believe this beautifully written story of fourteen-year-old Alem is incredibly important. Thinking he’s on a short holiday to the UK with his father, Alem, who is an aspiring architect, happily soaks in the sights and sounds, making apt comparisons between London and the urban landscapes and architecture of Ethiopia. However, Alem is about to have his world turned upside down. The next day, his father abandons him in the UK in a desperate attempt to keep him safe from the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea. This means Alem is forced to navigate the asylum process and get used to living in the UK while trying desperately to hang onto the hope that his parents are still alive and that they might one day be reunited as a family.

By Benjamin Zephaniah,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Playful, obstinate and courageously humorous ... hilarious and later heartbreaking' Guardian 'Sweet, funny, highly inventive' Yorkshire Post The personal, funny and poignant tale of a young refugee, from acclaimed storyteller Benjamin Zephaniah Acclaimed performance poet and novelist Benjamin Zephaniah's honest, wry and poignant story of a young refugee left in London is of even more power and pertinence today than when it was first published. Life is not safe for Alem. His father is Ethopian, his mother Eritrean. Their countries are at war, and Alem is welcome in neither place. So Alem is excited to spend a holiday in London…

Book cover of The Sisterhood of Blackberry Corner

Suzette Harrison Author Of My Name Is Ona Judge

From the list on portraying African-American historical heroines.

Who am I?

I have a youthful spirit, but an old soul. Perhaps, that’s why I love African American history and gravitated to Black Studies as my undergraduate degree. My reverence for my ancestors sends me time and again to African-American historical fiction in an effort to connect with our past. Growing up, I was that kid who liked being around my elders and eavesdropping on grown-ups' conversations. Now, I listen to my ancestors as they guide my creativity. I’m an award-winning hybrid author writing contemporary and historical novels, and I value each. Still, it’s those historical characters and tales that snatch me by the hand and passionately urge me to do their bidding. 

Suzette's book list on portraying African-American historical heroines

Discover why each book is one of Suzette's favorite books.

Why did Suzette love this book?

While the minute details of the plot may have faded, I still recall the feelings Sisterhood left me with, its essence. As the middle of three daughters, sisterhood is highly important to me. Although the women in the book weren’t biologically connected, their bond and unification were definite. I consider our protagonist Bonnie Wilder (despite her own personal challenges), her best friend, Thora, and the women of Blackberry Corner heroic in their efforts to rescue abandoned children—thus, touching on another topic important to me: motherhood. If you like small-town stories with lively, colorful characters, historical references, and a touch of drama dive into The Sisterhood of Blackberry Corner. The sense of satisfaction I felt when reading it remains with me still. 

By Andrea Smith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Filled with compassion, humor, and tenacity in the face of almost insurmountable odds, here is a rich, inspiring tale of friendship and family, sisterhood and mother love . . . and of finding grace where you least expect it. 

Canaan Creek, South Carolina, in the 1950s is a tiny town where the close-knit African-American community is united by long-term friendships and church ties. Bonnie Wilder has lived here, on Blackberry Corner, all her life, and would be content but for her deep desire to have a child. She and her husband Naz cannot conceive, and he refuses to adopt. Even…

The Same Stuff as Stars

By Katherine Paterson,

Book cover of The Same Stuff as Stars

Lisa Lewis Tyre Author Of Hope in the Holler

From the list on to help kids build empathy for those in need.

Who am I?

I am the author of two middle grade books, and I love writing about kids who may not have much materially but abound in heart and courage. I grew up in a small southern town and my childhood was just like that—low on income but full of love, hope, and friendship. I want kids to know that despite their circumstances there is hope for a better life. Like Wavie’s mom tells her in my book, Hope In The Holler, “You’ve got as much right to a good life as anybody. So go find it!”

Lisa's book list on to help kids build empathy for those in need

Discover why each book is one of Lisa's favorite books.

Why did Lisa love this book?

Life is tough for Angel—her dad is in jail, her mom is irresponsible, and she has to take care of her seven-year-old brother. Paterson doesn’t hold back in this unflinching look at family brokenness, but as sad as the circumstances are, there is hope! Angel meets some new adults and through their small kindnesses, she learns that she is stronger than she ever knew. It’s a great message for any kid who is struggling with too much responsibility. It has a redemption arc that I also loved. 

By Katherine Paterson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Angel's dad is in jail and her mum's abandoned her and her little brother at their great-grandmother's crumbling farmhouse. Grandma can't even look after herself, let alone two children, so Angel finds that it's left up to her. In a dreary and lonely world there is only one bright spot - a mysterious stranger who appears on clear nights to teach Angel all about the stars. Katherine Paterson is an internationally acclaimed author who has won the Newbery Medal (twice), the National Book Award for Children's Literature (USA) twice, and the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award.

Blue Monday

By Nicci French,

Book cover of Blue Monday

Jenny Twist Author Of A Gift for Murder: A Tommy Ross mystery

From the list on crime fiction with memorable plots and characters.

Who am I?

I’ve been reading crime fiction all my life. I love following the detective sifting through the evidence—the clues, the false trails, and the eventual denouement. It was a crime fiction book that made me realise that history is not fixed but is, in fact, detective work. It changes as more evidence is discovered or a new interpretation is accepted. That book made me decide to take history as my subject at university and I spent six deliriously happy years examining evidence, evaluating it, and, reaching conclusions. Amongst my case studies were the princes in the tower, the gunpowder plot, and witchcraft. Happy days!

Jenny's book list on crime fiction with memorable plots and characters

Discover why each book is one of Jenny's favorite books.

Why did Jenny love this book?

Frieda Klein is a psychotherapist dedicated to helping her patients overcome their private horrors. She tells them that they are in a safe place with her—nothing will go beyond these walls. Until one day, a patient’s dreams and desires accord so closely to the case of a missing child that she decides to break that promise.

She finds herself involved in a complex police investigation that can only be solved with her specialist insight. The tension mounts to breaking point as she tracks down the killer, ending in a shocking climax that comes straight out of the left field.

By Nicci French,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first book in the Frieda Klein Mystery series

"Complex psychological suspense at its best." -Booklist (starred review)

Immensely intelligent and poignantly human, Frieda Klein has captivated book critics and crime readers everywhere with her debut outing as Blue Monday's iconoclastic heroine. A psychotherapist and insomniac who spends her nights walking along the ancient rivers that lie beneath modern London, Frieda stars in a dazzling new crime series in which the terrors of the mind spill over into real life.

When five-year-old Matthew Farraday is abducted, Frieda cannot ignore the fact that his photograph perfectly matches the boy one of…

Hello from Renn Lake

By Michele Weber Hurwitz,

Book cover of Hello from Renn Lake

Diana Renn Author Of Trouble at Turtle Pond

From the list on young environmentalists.

Who am I?

I live in a town near a wildlife refuge. I frequently encounter wildlife, including turtles, in my neighborhood. Trouble at Turtle Pond was inspired by volunteer work my son and I did with a local conservation group, fostering endangered Blanding’s turtles. Although my previous books were mysteries set in other countries, I have become interested in the mysteries we can find in our own back yards and in other community spaces we share with nature. I love eco-fiction about kids who love animals, who are “nature detectives,” who have strong opinions, and who are working for the environment, recognizing that every small step makes a difference.

Diana's book list on young environmentalists

Discover why each book is one of Diana's favorite books.

Why did Diana love this book?

Aside from the fun coincidence that I share my surname with the lake in this book, I fell in love on page one because one of the narrators is actually the lake! Chapters alternate between Renn Lake and 12-year-old Annalise, whose family owns lakeside cabins. Annalise has always felt a special connection to this water. When a toxic algae bloom threatens Renn Lake, she and her friends fight to save it. I grew up on a lake in Washington State that became clogged with Eurasian Milfoil, a highly invasive plant affecting water quality, fish, and other things. Remembering what it felt like to see my local lake transform, and how powerless I felt to help it, I rooted for Annalise and her friends and felt hope for this new generation of activists.

By Michele Weber Hurwitz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hello from Renn Lake as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The environmental activism of Hoot meets the summer friendship of Lemons in this heartfelt story about community, conservation, and standing up for the things you love.

Annalise Oliver's family has owned and run lakeside cabins in Renn Lake, Wisconsin, for generations. This summer, she gets to help out while her younger sister focuses on being an actress and her best friend is babysitting rambunctious twin boys. It's the perfect opportunity for Annalise to work and spend more time by her beloved lake.

When she was three years old, Annalise discovered that she could sense what Renn Lake was thinking and…


By Kaela Noel,

Book cover of Coo

S.M. Stevens Author Of Shannon's Odyssey

From the list on adventure with talking animals and a dash of magic.

Who am I?

As a girl, I would roll around on the floor with my Labrador retriever, beg my parents for horseback-riding lessons, and dream of being a vet. A proficiency in language and lack of science skills led me to writing instead, but my intense love of animals never waned. I adore adventure stories featuring animal characters and human ones, and some form of communication between them. That’s why I wrote Shannon’s Odyssey which, like many Middle Grade novels, also explores family secrets and the all-important act of forgiveness. It’s not fantasy but contains mystical elements rooted in reality, because who doesn’t want to believe magic exists in our everyday lives?

S.M.'s book list on adventure with talking animals and a dash of magic

Discover why each book is one of S.M.'s favorite books.

Why did S.M. love this book?

Coo’s journey covers only a few city blocks but is long in emotional impact. At age 11, she enters the world of humans for the first time, having been raised by pigeons on a roof. A second, longer journey follows but to define it would spoil the surprise. The human-animal communication in the story will be considered fantastical by some, but others will believe it entirely possible that a child who has only known pigeons would speak their language. Coo touched my heart and gave me a new appreciation for these oft-maligned birds!

By Kaela Noel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“An unforgettable story of friendship, love, and finding your flock.” —Erin Entrada Kelly, Newbery Medal-winning author of Hello, Universe

In this exceptional debut, one young girl’s determination to save the flock she calls family creates a lasting impact on her community and in her heart. Gorgeous and literary, this is an unforgettable animal story about friendship, family, home, and belonging. For readers who love books by Kate DiCamillo and Katherine Applegate.

Ten years ago, an impossible thing happened: a flock of pigeons picked up a human baby who had been abandoned in an empty lot and carried her, bundled in…

The Forgotten Garden

By Kate Morton,

Book cover of The Forgotten Garden

Katherine L. Bichler Author Of Beneath the Sand

From the list on escapism to another time and place in the world.

Who am I?

I love to travel and explore new cultures! In 2012, my husband and I competed on the CBS reality television show The Amazing Race and got to travel the world. This once-in-a-lifetime experience fueled my passion for travel. My debut novel Beneath the Sand was inspired by a trip to the Colosseum in Rome, Italy. You can escape into Ancient Rome and learn a few things along the way in my book. I have found that these books on my list will make it feel like you are in another place just as if you have traveled there yourself.

Katherine's book list on escapism to another time and place in the world

Discover why each book is one of Katherine's favorite books.

Why did Katherine love this book?

Let’s escape to London and Australia! This historical mystery is written from three generational viewpoints spanning the 1900s, 1970s, and 2000s. Cassandra is mourning her beloved grandmother, Nell, when she stumbles upon an old family secret. Solving the mystery leads her not only to answers surrounding her family but herself as well. Morton masterfully moves between countries and protagonists making you lose yourself in her writing. I dare you to try and put it down!

By Kate Morton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A special Sophie Allport Design limited edition of the moving and powerful mystery, The Forgotten Garden, the bestselling second novel from the author of The House at Riverton, Kate Morton.

A lost child . . .

On the eve of the First World War, a little girl is found abandoned on a ship to Australia. A mysterious woman called the Authoress had promised to look after her -but has disappeared without a trace.

A terrible secret . . .

On the night of her twenty-first birthday, Nell Andrews learns a secret that will change her life forever. Decades later, she…

The Painted Bird

By Jerzy Kosinksi,

Book cover of The Painted Bird

Timothy P. Munkeby Author Of The Advocate

From the list on transporting you to a new place in your life.

Who am I?

I spent most of my youth playing sports, and so was forced into being a closet reader, only sissies read books. I never watched TV as a kid. I was always buried in a book that transported me somewhere. These were the days when I had to read with a flashlight under the covers until I was caught and told to shut my darn book and go to sleep. This led to a degree in creative writing and a first career stint teaching the subject. Then, after retiring from founding a financial planning company, I started writing and hope I can transport others.

Timothy's book list on transporting you to a new place in your life

Discover why each book is one of Timothy's favorite books.

Why did Timothy love this book?

A comment in The Washington Star reads: “No one who reads it will forget it.” That is true. I went through every emotion imaginable from stark horror to utter innocence. The boy, escaping the Holocaust, travels on his own through the Slavic countryside where he discovers the best in people and the horrifying worst. I traveled with him. 

By Jerzy Kosinksi,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Painted Bird as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jerzy Kosinski's mythic, master-work of a shattered post-War Europe.

Originally published in 1965, The Painted Bird established Jerzy Kosinski as a major literary figure. Kosinski's story follows a dark-haired, olive-skinned boy, abandoned by his parents during World War II, as he wanders alone from one village to another, sometimes hounded and tortured, only rarely sheltered and cared for. Through the juxtaposition of adolescence and the most brutal of adult experiences, Kosinski sums up a Bosch-like world of harrowing excess where senseless violence and untempered hatred are the norm. Through sparse prose and vivid imagery, Kosinski's novel is a story of…

Book cover of The Home for Unwanted Girls

Vered Hazanchuk Author Of Life As An Almost

From the list on to make you wish you joined that book club.

Who am I?

I love book club. If I could make it a requirement for everyone in the universe to give it a try, I would. I was an English major in college, so that feeling of ending an amazing story and needing someone to discuss it with never fully went away. All book club books should be thought-provoking, but the best add that intricate and wholehearted understanding, I think, that only literature can. Why do the characters you least understood or felt a kinship with suddenly have your heart, what do they want, need, feel, think? I hope these novels help you better understand. The who and what are beside the point. 

Vered's book list on to make you wish you joined that book club

Discover why each book is one of Vered's favorite books.

Why did Vered love this book?

I think I’ll be recommending this book to people until the end of time. It’s just so, so good.

What I love most about it is it brings a forgotten part of history to life: a time when orphanages in 1950s Quebec misdiagnosed children as mentally ill to qualify for the better funding allocated to psychiatric hospitals. An obscure moment in history, generations of family scandals and secrets, and a forbidden love story? Yes, please.

By Joanna Goodman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Philomena meets Orphan Train in this suspenseful, provocative novel filled with love, secrets, and deceit—the story of a young unwed mother who is forcibly separated from her daughter at birth and the lengths to which they go to find each other.

In 1950s Quebec, French and English tolerate each other with precarious civility—much like Maggie Hughes’ parents. Maggie’s English-speaking father has ambitions for his daughter that don’t include marriage to the poor French boy on the next farm over. But Maggie’s heart is captured by Gabriel Phénix. When she becomes pregnant at fifteen, her parents force her to give baby…

Lock and Key

By Sarah Dessen,

Book cover of Lock and Key

Eileen Goudge Author Of Such Devoted Sisters

From the list on sisters that make you want to call your sister.

Who am I?

I’ve led a storied life. One of six children, I married and divorced before the age of 20 and moved from Santa Cruz, California to New York City in my early 30s. I carved out my career as a writer while scraping by on government assistance as a single mom. They say write what you know, and I did just that. My first novel, Garden of Lies, became a New York Times bestseller, skyrocketing me from poverty to financial security. I’ve since gone on to publish 20 novels about family relationships, romantic love, and reversals of fortune. With more to come!  

Eileen's book list on sisters that make you want to call your sister

Discover why each book is one of Eileen's favorite books.

Why did Eileen love this book?

You know a book is really good when you reread it. I read this one twice. When 16-year-old Ruby is sent to live with her married older sister Cora after their mother vanishes, she doesn’t know what to expect. She’s neither seen nor heard from Cora since Cora went away to college years earlier. As they fumble their way toward becoming reacquainted, the two sisters discover they’re more alike than they realized. While Ruby is falling for the boy next door, she’s learning to love and depend on the sister she didn’t know. This is a book you’ll want to recommend to your sister or sisters if you have one or more. I did, and my sister Karen loved it too.    

By Sarah Dessen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ruby Cooper likes to expect the worst. That way, she's never disappointed.

Abandoned by her mother and forced to leave the house she calls home, Ruby is facing too many changes. Her lonely world has been transformed into a life of luxury by her long lost sister, but all Ruby wants to do is leave - she can make it on her own. Even Nate, the gorgeous boy-next-door can't seem to change her mind. Will Ruby realize first impressions don't always count? And that sometimes, people can surprise you, so it's ok to let the closest ones in . .…

Silas Marner

By George Eliot,

Book cover of Silas Marner

Rebecca Rosenblum Author Of These Days Are Numbered: Diary of a High-Rise Lockdown

From the list on community and connection.

Who am I?

I’ve always been deeply interested in how people connect to those around them—it is something I write about constantly. My first novel, So Much Love, was about how a community reacts to terrible loss and uncertainty, and my recent book of nonfiction, These Days Are Numbered, is about how my own community—and I—reacted to the Covid-19 pandemic. I am always looking at how humans human, separately and especially together. That is one of the joys of narrative fiction for me—the way we can use it to examine our behaviour and interactions, and how we form relationships and communities. I hope these books enthrall you as much as they did me.

Rebecca's book list on community and connection

Discover why each book is one of Rebecca's favorite books.

Why did Rebecca love this book?

Yes, it’s a Victorian novel but it’s also the slenderest and sweetest one, by my lights.

Cast out from his narrow religious community by the acts of a dishonest friend, Silas Marner flees to a new village and resolves to live a life apart, money his only security. Then along comes a tiny child in need and Silas cannot help but help—even though this new challenge comes on the heels of a devastating robbery.

The man’s generosity has the effect of opening him up to the generosity of others until, little by little, he becomes a part of the community he has lived apart from for so long. There is never a bad time to read this lovely, hopeful little novella about the worst and best of human nature. 

By George Eliot,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Gold! - his own gold - brought back to him as mysteriously as it had been taken away!

Falsely accused of theft, Silas Marner is cut off from his community but finds refuge in the village of Raveloe, where he is eyed with distant suspicion. Like a spider from a fairy-tale, Silas fills fifteen monotonous years with weaving and accumulating gold. The son of the wealthy local Squire, Godfrey Cass also seeks an escape from his past. One snowy winter, two events change the course of their lives: Silas's gold is stolen and, a child crawls across his threshold.


Outer Dark

By Cormac McCarthy,

Book cover of Outer Dark

Hugh Sheehy Author Of Design Flaw

From the list on the world as a dream.

Who am I?

I’ve loved fiction that excites my mind and imagination since I was very young. I spent a lot of time in the library growing up, mostly reading horror and historical narratives. Later, I became interested in music, painting, film, philosophy, psychology, cognitive science, religion, and politics. I’m not an expert in anything—I’m too driven to make things to be a good scholar—but these are the subject areas that inform what I write.

Hugh's book list on the world as a dream

Discover why each book is one of Hugh's favorite books.

Why did Hugh love this book?

McCarthy’s second novel is an underappreciated masterpiece, one that combines the author’s distinct style and notoriously difficult subject matter with a genuinely sublime vision of the world. Simultaneously a horror novel, a historical fiction, a Gnostic heresy, a cosmic joke, and act of spiritual seeking, I cannot recommend it enough.  

By Cormac McCarthy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

By Cormac McCarthy, the author of the critically acclaimed Border Trilogy, Outer Dark is a novel at once mythic and starkly evocative, set in an unspecified place in Appalachia sometime around the turn of the century. A woman bears her brother's child, a boy; the brother leaves the baby in the woods and tells her he died of natural causes. Discovering her brother's lie, she sets forth alone to find her son. Both brother and sister wander separately through a countryside being scourged by three terrifying and elusive strangers, headlong toward an eerie, apocalyptic resolution.


By Erica Jong,

Book cover of Fanny: Being the True History of the Adventures of Fanny Hackabout-Jones

Zosia Wand Author Of Once Upon A Place

From the list on wonderful women behaving badly.

Who am I?

Women who behave badly delight me. My mother is Polish and I was raised by a formidable group of great aunts who gathered in flannelette nighties and curlers, in a cloud of cigarette smoke, to play cards into the early hours, fuelled by vodka shots and ginger cake. Survivors of Nazi invasion and atrocities, they were loud, effusive, argumentative, unapologetic, loving, and fiercely loyal. I explore difficult territory through my stories, but I have great faith in humanity. My characters are strong women, bold in the face of challenges. Love and loyalty are the keys to their survival.

Zosia's book list on wonderful women behaving badly

Discover why each book is one of Zosia's favorite books.

Why did Zosia love this book?

As a young woman, the protagonists of feminist fiction offered me bold heroines with more than a bit of oomph who weren’t afraid to get it wrong sometimes. Having completed a degree in literary fiction, desperate for something fun and frivolous, I stumbled upon Fanny Hackabout Jones. A foundling brought up by British aristocrats, she is forced to flee and seek her fortune, encountering witches, highwaymen, prostitutes, and pirates. This unashamed sexy romp presents as pulp fiction, but it’s thoroughly researched and informative, and has something to say about women and their role in society, then and now.  A real treat of a book.

By Erica Jong,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Discovered on the doorstep of a country estate in Wiltshire, England, the infant Fanny is raised to womanhood by her adoptive parents, Lord and Lady Bellars. Fanny wants to become the epic poet of the age, but her plans are dashed when she is ravished by her libertine stepfather. Fleeing to London, Fanny falls in with idealistic witches and highwaymen who teach her of worlds she never knew existed. After toiling in a London brothel that caters to literati, Fanny embarks on a series of adventures that teach her what she must know to live and prosper as a woman.…

Wise Child

By Monica Furlong,

Book cover of Wise Child

Jo Spurrier Author Of A Curse of Ash and Embers

From the list on witchy women to read in a cottage in the woods.

Who am I?

I’ve loved folklore and fantasy literature since I was tiny, but I’ve also had a lifelong fascination with science, history, and the natural world. As a disabled mother of two, I’ve not (yet) had the opportunity to see as much of our world as I’d like, but I love building fantasy worlds and weaving within them stories that blend a grounded earthiness with the supernatural and metaphysical. My writing always begins with a single mental image, the seed of an idea that I explore and build around until I have a full-fledged story ready to commit to paper. I love stories that break the mould, take you somewhere unexpected, and then make you never want to leave.

Jo's book list on witchy women to read in a cottage in the woods

Discover why each book is one of Jo's favorite books.

Why did Jo love this book?

This is a vintage read, but well worth your time if you can get your hands on it. It’s a gentle but immersive story, well suited to a rainy day when all you want to do is curl up with a blanket and a book. Set in early Christian Britain, it’s the story of a misfit child taken in by the village witch, and chronicles her path in learning the slow craft of herbs and magic, until she is inducted into the ranks of those who work magic, serving the people and the land. When you’re looking for something a little more grounded and restorative, without heavy violence and unburdened by overwrought romance, this is the one for you.

By Monica Furlong,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Orphaned by the death of her grandmother and her father’s disappearance, 9-year-old Wise Child is taken in by Juniper, a healer and sorceress. Soon enough, the young girl finds herself flourishing under Juniper’s care—learning about herbal lore, and even introductory magic. But just as she begins to feel at home in the Scottish village, the girl’s mother—the black witch Maeve—returns.

Forced to choose between Maeve and Juniper, Wise Child has a difficult decision to make. She could stay with Juniper or leave with Maeve and adopt a life of luxury. In making her choice, Wise Child comes to discover her…

Made in the U.S.A.

By Billie Letts,

Book cover of Made in the U.S.A.

Robert Shaw Author Of Girlfriend Trouble

From the list on to grab your emotions and not let go.

Who am I?

What can better give expertise on the books one loves than decades of reading? I’ve always had a passion for sympathetic, strong characters, especially women. At the core of all my novels, readers will find a sympathetic and strong heroine. In Girlfriend Trouble, Lian is the catalyst that changes the lives of everyone around her for the better; or, more precisely, Lian’s compassion, wisdom, and serene nature are what change things. I’m probably too idealistic, but it’s better than being a cynic. There’s an element of this in all the books I’ve recommended, and those I’ve written. I like to think there’s more of it in the real world too.

Robert's book list on to grab your emotions and not let go

Discover why each book is one of Robert's favorite books.

Why did Robert love this book?

For me, personally, this book taught me how truly lucky I was while living in my truck for 5 years in the early 2000s. 15-year-old Lutie and her 12-year-old brother, Fate, are thrown into a desperate adventure after their stepmom dies. Their odyssey across America in an attempt to find their long-lost father, and the perils of being homeless in Las Vegas and avoiding the life-threatening perils of living in a car and dodging unsavory and predatory people, is a harshly realistic depiction of...well, reality.

By Billie Letts,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Made in the U.S.A. as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lutie McFee's history has taught her to avoid people, to places, and to almost everything. With her mother long dead and her father long gone to find his fortune in Las Vegas, 15-year-old Lutie lives in the god-forsaken town of Spearfish, South Dakota with her twelve-year-old brother, Fate, and Floy Satterfield, the 300-pound ex-girlfriend of her father.
While Lutie shoplifts for kicks, Fate spends most of his time reading, watching weird TV shows and worrying about global warming and the endangerment of pandas. As if their life is not dismal enough, one day, while shopping in their local Wal-Mart,…

The Dwarves

By Markus Heitz,

Book cover of The Dwarves

Baiculescu Ovidiu Nicolae Author Of Winterhorn

From the list on adventure fantasy that inspire my work.

Who am I?

Being of Eastern European origins, and also a child of the 80s, definitely had a say in what my likings and my character would become growing up. From the cold long winters and the white landscapes, Fantasy genre, and everything Might and Magic have shaped my childhood, my studies, my art (traditional oil painting and clay sculpting) and lingered until now (and definitely beyond).

Baiculescu's book list on adventure fantasy that inspire my work

Discover why each book is one of Baiculescu's favorite books.

Why did Baiculescu love this book?

The Dwarves series (especially the first two books) bring the readers back in time and sets them up, straight from the beginning, on a simpler way of seeing things and also a simpler way of writing, while also being able to convey the true values of the fantasy genre with class.

By Markus Heitz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For countless millennia, no man or beast has ever succeeded in breaching the stone gateway into Girdlegard. Until now . . .

Abandoned as a child, Tungdil the blacksmith is the only dwarf in a kingdom of men. But when he is sent out into the world to deliver a message and reacquaint himself with his people, the young foundling finds himself thrust into a battle for which he has not been trained. Not only his own safety, but the life of every man, woman and child in Girdlegard depends upon his ability to embrace his heritage.

Although he has…

Book cover of The Importance of Being Earnest

Elizabeth Caulfield Felt Author Of Wilde Wagers

From the list on historical novels that are light and silly.

Who am I?

I teach writing and children's literature at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, and for many years worked as a librarian. (Once a librarian, always a librarian!) First and foremost, I'm a reader. The real world can be an unpleasant and depressing place, so I regularly escape inside books. Although serious books are great, it's also nice to escape to a world where you can laugh and not worry about anything too bad happening.

Elizabeth's book list on historical novels that are light and silly

Discover why each book is one of Elizabeth's favorite books.

Why did Elizabeth love this book?

Jack pretends to be his brother, Earnest, blaming the made-up man for all mishandled affairs. But when Jack's friend "becomes" the infamous Earnest and begins to woo Jack's ward Cecily, all sorts of craziness ensues. This classic play is perhaps the best example of wacky characters creating mayhem in a world where even bad things turn out to be only silly mishaps.  

By Oscar Wilde,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Importance of Being Earnest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ever since the first night at the St James' Theatre on 14 February 1895, "The Importance of Being Earnest" has been recognised as one of the world's finest comic dramas. Now Judi Dench as Lady Bracknell leads an outstanding cast in this superb new production of Wilde's masterpiece, mounted to celebrate the centenary of the first performance.

Girl in Pieces

By Kathleen Glasgow,

Book cover of Girl in Pieces

Kathleen Fine Author Of Girl on Trial

From the list on contemporary YA about peer pressure and addiction.

Who am I?

I started to experiment at a very early age with alcohol. During my teen years, like so many of my peers, I had low self-esteem. I wanted to fit in so I understand firsthand the effects that peer pressure can have on a teenager. When I think back to those years, I sometimes wonder: what if? There were so many terrible outcomes that could have occurred in my life. These novels show their readers a “what if.” I hope that teens who read these books think twice before following a crowd and stand firmly with what they know is right in their heart as well as hope for healing.

Kathleen's book list on contemporary YA about peer pressure and addiction

Discover why each book is one of Kathleen's favorite books.

Why did Kathleen love this book?

Girl in Pieces is such an important story for anyone who has gone through any addiction or trauma of any kind before.

Charlotte, the protagonist, is in pieces. At seventeen she’s lost more than most people lose in a lifetime and she’s learned how to forget her trauma in order to protect herself. This is a book about Charlotte surviving in a world that has taken so much, and the journey she undergoes to put herself back together.

Although this book tells a story of people being cruel to themselves, it is ultimately a book about learning how to be gentle with yourself.

By Kathleen Glasgow,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


"A haunting, beautiful, and necessary book."—Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything

Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people do in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.

Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts…

Book cover of The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

Nancy Crochiere Author Of Graceland

From the list on runaway moms.

Who am I?

As a young working mom, I occasionally longed to follow the example of columnist Erma Bombeck and hide from my family in the car. Instead, I channeled the mayhem of family life into a humor column called “The Mother Load,” which detailed the day-to-day challenges of running a business while caring for two daughters, one husband, two guinea pigs, and a dancing rabbit. When I decided to pursue my life-long dream to write fiction, my debut novel was a humorous story about a mother-daughter-grandmother road trip/chase from Boston to Memphis. Although my writing doesn’t shy away from serious issues, I choose to see the world through a humorous and ultimately hopeful lens.

Nancy's book list on runaway moms

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Why did Nancy love this book?

In The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, the runaway mom is a secondary character, but the “package” she leaves Fikry, a grieving bookstore owner, is what sets the plot in motion.

The novel is filled with charming, quirky characters, but what I loved most was the combination of Zevin’s witty dialogue with her handling of serious life issues. This book is both humorous and heartwarming and I adore its central theme about the vital importance of stories in our lives. 

By Gabrielle Zevin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?



“A fun, page-turning delight.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“Funny, tender, and moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry reminds us all exactly why we read and why we love.” —Library Journal (starred review)

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when…