The best books about honesty

2 authors have picked their favorite books about honesty and why they recommend each book.

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Red Hood

By Elana K. Arnold,

Book cover of Red Hood

Arnold’s Little Red Riding Hood retelling tackled so many important topics, from rape culture to female sexuality and misogyny. Instead of needing to be rescued like the original Red Riding Hood, Bisou gains strength from her first period and is able to defend herself and other women from the “werewolves.” Arnold gave her Red Riding Hood agency and control, something many fairy tales seem to take from their female characters. 

Who am I?

I have loved fairy tales since I was a little girl and watched my first Disney movie. Over the years, I’ve read many fairy tale retellings, as well as the original versions. I love how writers can see a story like Beauty and the Beast and find ways to make an almost completely new story, but still hold true to the original concepts of the fairy tale. Fairy tales connect us to our childhood and when we read these new versions, it lets us relive a part of our childhood. Not many books can do that! 

I wrote...

What We Didn't Say: An Ever After Tales Collection

By Robyn Tocker,

Book cover of What We Didn't Say: An Ever After Tales Collection

What is my book about?

Paris, France, 1826. Twenty-five years have passed since Beauty broke the beast’s curse. Their eldest son Dante spends most of his days secluded in his attic, nursing wounds that have left him with chronic pain. When Dante accidentally rescues a little girl from her burning home, it stirs up memories long buried. 

Growing up in the shadow of her mother and sister’s beauty, Beauty’s daughter Persephone focuses on her books more than how her hair is curled. An accident causes Persephone to make a horrible mistake, bringing the enchantress back into her family’s life. Cursed to become a beast like her father, until she can love herself and find someone who will love her as well, Persephone is trapped in the Enchanted Castle.

The Empty Pot

By Demi,

Book cover of The Empty Pot

Oh, this book is one of my all-time favorites. This amazing folktale has such a powerful message about telling the truth and being true to who you are. I cannot say enough good things about this text. I have read this story every single year and it is one that my students have asked that I re-read-which doesn’t happen all that often. The storyline, the art, and the message make this folktale one of the best out there.

Who am I?

I am the author of two folktales in addition to several other fiction stories for children and an early childhood educator. I taught kindergarten and first grade for over twenty years. As part of our state standards, we must do a yearly unit of study on folktales. Folktales deliver universal messages to children in a non-didactic way. We can use them to address issues that young children face while also using them as resources to teach students about faraway places, customs and cultures. Folktales are in integral part of an early childhood education and it’s a unit of study that I always looked forward to. Immersing myself in them was the catalyst for recreating my own. 

I wrote...

Why Evergreens Keep Their Leaves

By Annemarie Riley Guertin, Helena Pérez García (illustrator),

Book cover of Why Evergreens Keep Their Leaves

What is my book about?

"Why Evergreens Keep Their Leaves is a timeless story about kindness and why the fir, spruce, and juniper trees don't lose their leaves in winter, with its beautiful art and unforgettable characters (Cardinal, Jack Frost, and the Frost Queen), this tale will warm readers' hearts." - Starred Review

The Disasters

By M. K. England,

Book cover of The Disasters

I’m a sucker for characters with poorly executed good intentions, which is why I loved M.K. England’s The Disasters. After getting booted out of an elite space academy, four washouts are the sole witnesses to the biggest crime in the history of space colonization and are turned into the perfect scapegoats. On the run and desperate to clear their names, the group orchestrates a dangerous heist to expose the truth of what really happened that night at the Academy. Diverse characters and non-stop laughs make this book a must-read for sci-fi fans of all ages.

Who am I?

I’m the author of the humorous YA novels The Supervillain and Me and The Good for Nothings. I’ve been telling stories since I could talk, including the night I recited an entire Mickey Mouse scratch and sniff book to my mother at bedtime (she’s so proud), and the numerous evenings I subjected my friends and family to another one of my home “movies” set in front of a poorly painted bedsheet backdrop in my basement. I owe my writing career to Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield’s version), who inspired my first book. I spent countless college classes thinking about him instead of paying attention, but it all worked out in the end.

I wrote...

The Good for Nothings

By Danielle Banas,

Book cover of The Good for Nothings

What is my book about?

Cora Saros is determined to join the family business—theft and intergalactic smuggling—but she's a total disaster. After landing in prison following a heist gone wrong, she strikes a bargain with the warden: He'll expunge her record if she brings back an ancient treasure rumored to grant immortality. 

Skeptical but out of options, Cora assembles a crew from her collection of misfit cellmates—a disgraced alien warrior; a cocky pirate without a ship; and a glitching culinary robot—and takes off after the fabled prize. But the ragtag group soon discovers that not only is the mysterious treasure very real, but they're also not the only crew on the hunt for it. And it's definitely a prize worth killing for.

We Were Liars

By E. Lockhart,

Book cover of We Were Liars

OK, I admit, I’m cheating a little with this one because the plot doesn’t technically mess with time, but the storytelling itself does since the narrator is remembering events that happened in the past. This is one of those Big Ending Plot Twist stories so I can’t say too much, but the thing that happened in the past has everything to do with the present in a way that completely blew me away. Wildly clever plotting (something I find super hard to do well). I loved this book. 

Who am I?

When my publisher told me they were marketing the Rewind trilogy as time travel books, I protested that they were wrong. Turns out, in the book marketing world any story that has anything to do with time manipulation (including dreams, alternate timelines/histories, and—as it turned out—stopping it) counts as “time travel”. Once I got over my initial confusion, I was pleased to join the ranks of authors who envision worlds where the rules of reality turn fluid. I grew up gobbling books filled with magic and it has been my pleasure as an adult to continue to immerse myself in alternate worldsthis time as their creator.

I wrote...


By Carolyn O'Doherty,

Book cover of Rewind

What is my book about?

Sixteen-year-old Alex is a Spinner, born with the rare ability to freeze and rewind time to review past events. Hated and feared because of their ability to find the truth, the small population of Spinners is restricted to Centers—compounds created to house and protect them. Alex's society uses the Spinners' skills to solve major crimes, but messing with time comes with consequences: no Spinner lives past the age of twenty. At sixteen, Alex is in her prime—until time sickness strikes early. When she is offered an experimental treatment, Alex sees a future for herself for the first time. But the promising medication offers more than just a cure—it also brings with it dire consequences. 


By Marissa Meyer,

Book cover of Gilded

Serilda was such a breath of fresh air in the fantasy genre landscape! I can’t think of a single female lead who quite feels like her. From the rich lore that surrounds her origins, to her vivid imagination, storytelling prowess, and the way she sees the world, Serilda became an instant favorite for me. Her nurturing love of the children in her care and her father are so perfectly at odds with the call to intrigue and adventure that makes up the other, more mischievous half of who she is. Watching the tug of war between these two halves of Serilda’s heart made this thick book absolutely fly by.

Who am I?

My passion for female-led fantasy began from the time I was a young girl and spans across a lifetime of reading the genre—but not necessarily always seeing my own heart reflected in the tough-as-nails, devil-may-care girls and women who began to dominate the fantasy landscape once I hit my teens. By sharing about an array of fantasy female leads who range across a wide spectrum of origins, personalities, and perspectives, I hope to help other readers just like me find characters they resonate with and stories that stick with them for a lifetime—just like these ones have for me.

I wrote...


By Renee Dugan,

Book cover of Darkwind

What is my book about?

Darkwind kicks off the epic high-fantasy journey of Princess Cistine, the noble but naïve heir to a kingdom under a threat of war. To save her home, she embarks on a reckless journey to entreat their former enemies for an alliance against this new and ever-growing danger.

But foreign lands hold as much peril as promise, a lesson Cistine quickly learns when she falls in with a wild band of outlaws. For a price, they agree to train her to fight for herself and her people, to strike the treaties that can save them all, and to become what her endangered kingdom needs: a warrior queen.

Aru Shah and the End of Time

By Roshani Chokshi,

Book cover of Aru Shah and the End of Time

I love this book because Roshani Chokshi introduces the vibrant gods, goddesses, and demons of Indian mythology to young readers by making it relatable with pop culture references, laugh-out-loud humor, and wild-ride adventures! Aru Shah is a regular middle-schooler from Atlanta, Georgia and unbeknownst to her is a reincarnation of a major character from one of India’s epic myths. The jaw-dropping part—she accidentally awakens the God of Destruction! Did I mention there’s a feisty and sardonic pigeon named Boo, too? 

Who am I?

I was born and raised in Mumbai, India, and as a kid I loved to read. But I never saw myself—an Indian girl like me—represented in children’s books before. I didn’t realize how much it affected me until I began writing my first novel at age 23. When I did, I wrote the entire first draft with white characters and set it in a western country. I believed my Indian culture and my experience as an Indian kid was not worth writing about. I was so wrong! Now, with the novels I write, I’m passionate about representation, especially South Asian representation because all kids deserve to see themselves and their cultures in the books they read.

I wrote...

Rea and the Blood of the Nectar (The Chronicles of Astranthia, Book 1)

By Payal Doshi,

Book cover of Rea and the Blood of the Nectar (The Chronicles of Astranthia, Book 1)

What is my book about?

Rea Chettri is a 12-year-old girl living a simple, if boring, life on the tea plantations of Darjeeling, India. Rea's life gets turned on its head when her twin brother, Rohan, goes missing. Determined to save him, Rea embarks on a secret adventure into the enchanted world of Astranthia. Rea must grapple with dark truths of her past, discover her true self, learn what has happened to her brother, and save Astranthia from a potentially deadly fate. But the clock is ticking. Can Rea rescue Rohan, save Astranthia, and live to see it all?

“A gateway into pure imagination, with a fast-paced plot that will hook you and characters that will endear you. A wonderful debut.” - Kacen Callender, National Book Award winner for King and the Dragonflies.

Adrian Simcox Does Not Have a Horse

By Marcy Campbell, Corinna Luyken (illustrator),

Book cover of Adrian Simcox Does Not Have a Horse

A book about empathy that is also a tribute to the power of imagination. A boy without much money tells his classmates he has a horse. A more well-to-do girl knows he is lying and can’t tolerate it. When she visits the boy at his home, she is able to see past herself and can begin to appreciate and enter into the boy’s reality. One thing I really love about this book is that it shows how much larger empathy can make us -- how that kind of openness in addition to making us kinder can also give access to joy. 

Who am I?

I have been captivated by the emotional power of picture books since I was a child and have spent my adult life reading, sharing, and trying to write the kinds of books that connect to the youngest of readers on a deeper level. In Looking for Smile, I tried to write about the day when I was five years old and experienced real sadness for the first time. This became a story about Bear and his friend, Smile. My favorite kind of picture books are those that make me smile and tear up at the same time. I decided I would share some recent books that have had that effect on me…

I wrote...

Looking for Smile

By Ellen Tarlow, Lauren Stringer (illustrator),

Book cover of Looking for Smile

What is my book about?

In this sweet and gentle picture book, Bear wakes one day to find his Smile gone and enlists his friends to help him find it. Bear and Smile are always together. They wake up together, swim by the waterfall together, and eat honey together. But one day, Bear wakes up and Smile is nowhere to be found. With the help of his woodland friends, will Bear be able to find his Smile again?

This tender and special debut picture book explores sadness with a light touch and shows that sometimes a good friend can make all the difference.

Honest Dialogue

By Bent Falk,

Book cover of Honest Dialogue: Presence, Common Sense, and Boundaries When You Want to Help Someone

Bent Falk writes so clearly and touches people. My students are always grateful to me for making them aware of his book. I still read in it now and then. It helps me accept things as they are and my feelings as they are. And it helps me be authentic and true to myself in my relations.

Who am I?

I am a psychotherapist and pastor. Since my first book Highly Sensitive People in an Insensitive World, which became an international bestseller, I have received letters from all over the world, from people, telling me about their lives. I discovered there is a need for books on how to live your life in an authentic way. I have studied Psychiatrist C.G. Jung and Philosopher Søren Kierkegaard at the university. The books, I recommend are easier to read than these two. In my books, I use many examples. It is important to me that the wisdom of great writers becomes accessible to all people regardless of their level of education.

I wrote...

Confronting Shame: How to Understand Your Shame and Gain Inner Freedom

By Ilse Sand, Mark Kline (translator),

Book cover of Confronting Shame: How to Understand Your Shame and Gain Inner Freedom

What is my book about?

Shame might be far from the first thing that comes to mind when you think about what's causing your problems. Shame is hidden, and rarely something we talk about, but it can underlie challenges that we deal with on a daily basis, including anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.

This book will help you understand what shame is, how it arises, and, in turn, how to overcome it. With exercises in each chapter, it provides tools to reflect on, confront and free yourself from shame. The book also includes a questionnaire to assess how much shame impacts you. Be kind to yourself and rediscover your empathy for yourself with Confronting Shame.

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