The best owl books

Who picked these books? Meet our 33 experts.

33 authors created a book list connected to owls, and here are their favorite owl books.
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What type of owl book?



By Carl Hiaasen,

Book cover of Hoot

Tricia Springstubb Author Of The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe

From the list on middle grade fiction about The Thing with Feathers.

Who am I?

I’ve written books for kids of all ages, and always there were birds. Sparrows singing on windowsills, cardinals arrowing across yards, cormorants diving into Lake Erie, pigeons poking beneath park benches. Those things with feathers make my own heart sing!  Slowly it dawned on me that I wanted to write a book where birds didn’t just flit across the pages but nested at the story’s heart. I had to do a lot of bird research for Perfect. What I learned about the precious, fragile bonds among all Earth’s creatures became one of the book’s themes: big and small, bound by gravity or able to defy it, we are all deeply connected. 

Tricia's book list on middle grade fiction about The Thing with Feathers

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

Why did Tricia love this book?

Because…burrowing owls! Because…the power of kids to make a difference!

Hiassen’s story (a Newbery honor) brims with love and awe for Florida’s natural world, including these adorable owls who live underground and stand maybe six inches tall. When greedy developers threaten their dens, our hero Roy teams up with a supernaturally strong girl and her slightly feral brother to save them.

I love this book for its unshakeable belief in kids, who know injustice when they see it, for how it handles serious topics with a deft and witty touch, and for how it made me think of Florida in new ways. A hoot for sure! 

By Carl Hiaasen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This Newbery Honor winner and #1 New York Times bestseller is a beloved modern classic. Hoot features a new kid and his new bully, alligators, some burrowing owls, a renegade eco-avenger, and several extremely poisonous snakes.

Everybody loves Mother Paula's pancakes. Everybody, that is, except the colony of cute but endangered owls that live on the building site of the new restaurant. Can the awkward new kid and his feral friend prank the pancake people out of town? Or is the owls' fate cemented in pancake batter?

Welcome to Carl Hiaasen's Florida—where the creatures are wild and the people are…

The Owl Service

By Alan Garner,

Book cover of The Owl Service

Jane Struthers Author Of Red Sky at Night: The Book of Lost Countryside Wisdom

From the list on to take you into another world.

Who am I?

I have always tuned into the atmosphere of places. Sometimes this is a joy and sometimes it’s a very different experience, but either way, it’s a fundamental part of me. It spills over into my work, too, because each of the thirty-odd non-fiction books I’ve written has its own strong atmosphere. I was particularly aware of this while writing Red Sky at Night, as I wanted to evoke a sense of the past informing the present, whether that means planting a shrub to keep witches away from your front door or baking what I still think is one of the best fruit cakes ever.

Jane's book list on to take you into another world

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

Why did Jane love this book?

The haunting themes and mood of The Owl Service lodged themselves in my imagination when I first read it as a teenager and there they stay, decades later. I’ve returned to its mysterious and beguiling world several times since then, and on each occasion, the book has immediately woven its old spell around me. It is rich in Welsh magic as the past is played out against the backdrop of the present, and a hidden collection of plates decorated with what might be a pattern of owls becomes something far more potent and sinister. This is one of the books that first introduced me to the mysteries of landscape, the power of the past, and the enduring life of myths.

By Alan Garner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A 50th Anniversary Edition featuring a new introduction by Philip Pullman, THE OWL SERVICE is an all-time classic, combining mystery, adventure, history and a complex set of human relationships.

It all begins with the scratching in the ceiling. From the moment Alison discovers the dinner service in the attic, with its curious pattern of floral owls, a chain of events is set in progress that is to effect everybody's lives.

Relentlessly, Alison, her step-brother Roger and Welsh boy Gwyn are drawn into the replay of a tragic Welsh legend - a modern drama played out against a background of ancient…

You Nest Here with Me

By Jane Yolen, Heidi E. Y. Stemple, Melissa Sweet (illustrator)

Book cover of You Nest Here with Me

Maria Gianferrari Author Of Whoo-Ku Haiku: A Great Horned Owl Story

From the list on read aloud bird books for kids.

Who am I?

I may not be an expert ornithologist, but I am an avid “birdologist” to borrow a term from Sy Montgomery—one who is awed and fascinated by all things bird. Bird-watching is meditative—it helps me to be present and to feel joyful. I love reading, learning, and writing about birds too! I am the author of these bird books: Hawk Rising, illustrated by Brian Floca, Whoo-Ku Haiku, illustrated by Jonathan Voss, and the forthcoming You and the Bowerbird, illustrated by Maris Wicks. I love writing about the natural world and its inhabitants as well as dogs—another love of mine!

Maria's book list on read aloud bird books for kids

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

Why did Maria love this book?

Yolen and Stemple are a mother-daughter dream team duo and creators of many bird books including Yolen’s classic, Owl Moon. This birdy-lullaby has a soothing read-aloud rhythm as a mother tucks her tired nestling-child in bed. She recounts the places where various birds nest, from pigeons on ledges and catbirds in hedges, to owls in oak tree boles and hawks on telephone poles bound by the reassuring refrain, "You nest here with me.” Sweet’s blue-green color palette offers a calming and soporific counterpart and a nod to night-time. Learn more about the featured birds, their diet and nesting habits, and this birding family in the book’s back pages.

By Jane Yolen, Heidi E. Y. Stemple, Melissa Sweet (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You Nest Here with Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now available in a board book edition, this lyrical bedtime book is an ode to baby birds everywhere and to sleepy children, safe in their beds. As a mother describes how different species of birds nest, secure and cozy with their mama birds, she tucks her own child into bed with the soothing refrain -- "you nest here with me" -- easing her little one and readers alike to slumber. Accompanied by beautiful artwork by award-winning illustrator Melissa Sweet, mother and daughter Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple have combined their poetry writing and love of birding in this board book…

Owl Babies

By Martin Waddell, Patrick Benson (illustrator),

Book cover of Owl Babies

Susan Marie Chapman Author Of Grumpy the Iguana

From the list on for parents to read to their children.

Who am I?

My name is Susan Marie Chapman and I am an award-winning Children’s Book Author. I have written over fourteen children’s books. I grew up on a farm surrounded by animals and nature and my seven sisters and brothers. Wow!! My goal is to get as many books into the hands of children that I possibly can. You see, reading books, especially picture books, is a way for a child to see the world through the pictures and words of a book. It creates imagination and excitement and fun and questions which lead to answers which makes you smarter. So read, read, read, until you run out of books, which will never happen.

Susan's book list on for parents to read to their children

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

Why did Susan love this book?

This book was a favorite of my children who are now adults themselves. They still remember reading this book. This year, in fact, is the 25th Anniversary of the publication of Owl Babies. The story is about a very big emotion for children and that is the promise that mommy and daddy will always come home. It is about three baby owls who worry that their mom may not return. She has been gone for a very long time and the babies are trying to be brave by imagining where she is and what she must be doing. The illustrations are beautiful and capture the emotions of the three baby owls. I love this book because it features babies, which babies can relate to. Babies worry and they depend on their parents to take care of them. The moral of this story is, “Parents, don't break your promises. Follow…

By Martin Waddell, Patrick Benson (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Owl Babies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A special 25th anniversary edition of a modern classic, Owl Babies reassures young children that Mummy will always come home.

"The perfect picture book" Guardian

A special 25th anniversary board book edition of a bestselling modern classic, Owl Babies is a comforting read for any toddler who has ever worried about mum leaving them alone, or any child starting pre-school for the very first time. Sarah, Percy and Bill the baby owls wake one night to find their mother gone. And as the darkness gathers and they perch patiently on their branch waiting for her return, oh how they worry!…

Owl Moon

By Jane Yolen,

Book cover of Owl Moon

Theresa Heine Author Of Chandra's Magic Light: A Story in Nepal

From the list on the sun and moon from around the world.

Who am I?

I'm a British writer of children’s books and poetry. The books I've chosen are picture books with vibrant illustrations, instantly pulling the reader into the story. The fascination children have with the sky, the planets, and stars, I discovered with my own children, and now my grandchildren, who gaze, star-struck, at the moon through the windows and doorways. As an ex-teacher I've found that books with a story will appeal to children who are discovering cultures other than their own. There are many picture books with sun and moon stories like the one in Chandra’s Magic Light, and I've chosen those I find particularly appealing, as a mother, grandmother, and teacher.

Theresa's book list on the sun and moon from around the world

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

Why did Theresa love this book?

Owl Moon is the poetic story of a young girl who, long past her bedtime, is going owling with her father on a winter’s night. It’s an adventure for the girl as she and her father, almost in silence, crunch over the crisp snow searching for the Great Horned Owl. The woods are lit with a winter moon "whiter than a milk in a cereal bowl." Eventually, their patience is rewarded as the owl lands on a branch right on the tree they are standing under. The father lifts the little girl, who is tired from the whole adventure, and they walk home. The beautiful watercolor pictures enhance the spare lyrical text, the dark woods lit by moonlight, and the brightness of the snow. It is a lovely text to read aloud, a plus for parents and teachers, and the relationship between father and daughter as he holds her hand…

By Jane Yolen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Late one winter night a little girl and her father go owling. The trees stand still as statues and the world is silent as a dream. Whoo-whoo-whoo, the father calls to the mysterious nighttime bird.

But there is no answer.

Wordlessly the two companions walk along, for when you go owling you don't need words. You don't need anything but hope. Sometimes there isn't an owl, but sometimes there is.

Distinguished author Jane Yolen has created a gentle, poetic story that lovingly depicts the special companionship of a young child and her father as well as humankind's close relationship to…


By Britta Teckentrup,

Book cover of Tree: A Peek-Through Board Book

Julia Rawlinson Author Of Fletcher and the Falling Leaves

From the list on nature and the seasons.

Who am I?

I grew up in London, close to Richmond Park, where I got to know many of the characters who have since popped up in my stories. I bird-watched, caterpillar-collected, and pond-dipped, and my bedroom had a floating population of minibeasts. My first picture book, Fred and the Little Egg, was about a bear cub trying to hatch an acorn, and my stories have continued to reflect my love of nature. My Fletcher’s Four Seasons series follows a kind-hearted fox cub as he explores his wood through the changing seasons. I hope my books will inspire children to explore and care for the natural world too.

Julia's book list on nature and the seasons

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

Why did Julia love this book?

There’s so much to look at in this beautiful book which follows a tree through the seasonal cycle. The gentle rhyming text is accompanied by colourful peek-through illustrations, with an owl cleverly joined by more and more woodland animals as the seasons turn towards midsummer’s night. I had to read this one again and again, following not just the tree but the foxes, birds, and even a spider’s web through the seasons.

By Britta Teckentrup,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Watch the tree change with the seasons as each page is turned in this beautiful and educational book for curious young minds.

New York Public Library’s 100 Best Books for Kids 2016

Through a hole in the book’s cover, an owl invites you inside to meet a majestic tree and all its forest inhabitants during the changing seasons. With clever peekaboo holes throughout, each page reveals a new set of animals playing and living in the tree—baby bears frolicking in the spring, bees buzzing around apples in the summer, squirrels storing nuts in the fall, and finally the lone owl…

My Best Friend

By Rob Hodgson,

Book cover of My Best Friend

Becky Scharnhorst Author Of My School Stinks!

From the list on fiercely funny friendships.

Who am I?

Three of my favorite things are reading, writing, and laughing. So, of course, my favorite books are usually the ones that make me giggle. I also have a slightly dark sense of humor which means I have a soft spot for books where one of the characters may get eaten. But I think the very best books are ones where unexpected friendships occur instead. So often our perceptions about others are wrong, and if we just take the time to get to know the animal (or person) behind those extra sharp teeth, we may find we have more in common than we realized. 

Becky's book list on fiercely funny friendships

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

Why did Becky love this book?

Some of my favorite books are ones where the text is saying one thing and the pictures are saying something completely different. I also adore books where the reader is in on a secret from the very beginning. My Best Friend does both. It’s told from the perspective of a mouse who is describing their “best friend” Giant Owl. The reader knows Giant Owl is planning to eat Mouse, but Mouse is blissfully ignorant. You can’t help but laugh as Mouse recounts their playful games of hide-and-seek, and then praises Giant Owl’s generosity in giving him as many donuts as he wants. The ending is surprisingly sweet, but it leaves open the possibility of a darker future. By asking kids what they think will happen next, you prolong the fun and spark their creativity. 

By Rob Hodgson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Meet Mouse! Mouse lives in the tree with his best friend... Giant Owl. They used to do the most fun stuff imaginable! They'd play chase and Giant Owl would nearly catch Mouse, but not quite. Giant Owl loved Mouse so much that she used to give him as many doughnuts as he wanted and the most amazing presents, including his own house (a cage)! But then one day something happened, and now Mouse has found himself stuck in a very dark place... will his best friend help come to his rescue?

This deliciously dark tale of a mouse and the…

It's Owl Good

By Renee Treml,

Book cover of It's Owl Good: The Super Adventures of Ollie and Bea 1

Chrissie Krebs Author Of Bizard the Bear Wizard

From the list on graphic reads for young reluctant readers.

Who am I?

As a child, I was obsessed with comics, whether it was Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes, or the Far Side, I would devour every one I could get my hands on. I discovered the joy of observing two storylines – the one the writing was telling me and one that the pictures were telling me. As I became a teacher, I realized the importance of pictures and stories working together to keep students engaged. The resurgence of graphic novels has now been a focus for me in my pedagogy practices as well as my pathway as an author-illustrator. 

Chrissie's book list on graphic reads for young reluctant readers

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

Why did Chrissie love this book?

This gorgeous early reader/comic series is full of illustrations to assist young readers with their comprehension of storyline.

There are themes of friendship and kindness as well as learning through discovery and mistakes is a wonderful message for young readers that are finding the journey of literacy comprehension a little trying. Also, the puns in the books are awfully good. 

By Renee Treml,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Come with Ollie and Bea on a HARE-raising adventure with a HOPPY ending!

Ollie is an owl who wears glasses. And Bea is a bunny with very big feet. They don't know it yet, but they are about to be best friends. Can they help each other to find their OTTER-LY awesome inner superhero?

Join Ollie and Bea in this charming, funny, cute story about the joys of making friends and having fun. The perfect book for young readers who love to laugh.

We All Play

By Julie Flett,

Book cover of We All Play

Danica Novgorodoff Author Of Alexander von Humboldt: Explorer, Naturalist & Environmental Pioneer

From the list on playing in nature.

Who am I?

When I was growing up, my favorite books were about kids getting lost in the wilderness. Now, as an artist and writer, I love to create stories about people’s connection to land and the plants and animals that inhabit natural spaces. The inspiration for my picture book biography, Alexander von Humboldt: Explorer, Naturalist & Environmental Pioneer, came after hiking many of the volcanoes that Humboldt had climbed some 200 years earlier in South America. Besides hiking, I occupy myself with drawing and watercolor painting, climate activism, and looking at bugs and rocks with my daughters. I’ve published four graphic novels, two picture books, and a cookbook about rice.

Danica's book list on playing in nature

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

Why did Danica love this book?

So simple and yet so poetic (both visually and lyrically), We All Play is a catalog of human and more-than-human animals delighting in movement and sound in the outdoors.

This book is great for a younger (baby and toddler) readership, and highlights our connection with all living beings. It also peppers in some Cree language words, which are fun to explore. I love the adorable drawings of animals and children that Flett created with the ochres and umbers of her earthy palette. 

By Julie Flett,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked We All Play as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A BEST CHILDREN'S BOOK OF THE YEAR: New York Times, Washington Post, New York Public Library, Kirkus Reviews, Globe and Mail, Horn Book, and Boston Globe

STARRED Reviews in Kirkus, Publisher's Weekly, The Horn Book, School Library Journal

From Julie Flett, the beloved author and illustrator of Birdsong, comes a joyous new book about playtime for babies, toddlers, and kids up to age 7.

Animals and kids love to play! This wonderful book celebrates playtime and the connection between children and the natural world. Beautiful illustrations show:

birds who chase and chirp!
bears who wiggle and wobble!
whales who swim…

I'm Not Santa!

By Jonathan Allen,

Book cover of I'm Not Santa!

Constance Lombardo Author Of Tiny Spoon vs. Little Fork

From the list on hysterically funny picture books.

Who am I?

I’ve worked with kids in preschools and elementary schools, (plus I’m a mom!) and to me, nothing is better than hearing kids laugh. I also just adore picture books and treasure my personal library, with its focus on (you guessed it!) humor. Sassy cats, bears who want to have kids for pets, chickens who interrupt, alphabets overrun by frustrated Zebras, picture books bravely go where other books might only tiptoe in a cowardly fashion—into the world of wild imagination and anthropomorphized everything. With amazing artwork!! Let’s be honest, I’ll choose funny picture books over War and Peace every time.

Constance's book list on hysterically funny picture books

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

Why did Constance love this book?

One of my favorite picture books ever of all time, I’m Not Santa features an exceptionally cute owlet. He’s the same guy from I’m Not Cute (but he is!!) except this time he’s out in the snow at Christmas time, wearing a red cap and pulling a sled. So, of course, when Baby Owl runs into Baby Hare, the little hare sees the red cap, mistakes the sled for a sleigh, and cries, “Santa! It’s you!” Baby Owl insists, “I’m not Santa! I’m an owl!” Baby Hare refuses to believe it and starts to cry. Soon they’re both crying, until the real  Santa shows up to talk some sense into these two. Sweet and totally hysterical! 

By Jonathan Allen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I'm Not Santa! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Baby Owl is back in this follow-up to the highly successful I'm Not Cute!and I'm Not Scared! Baby Owl is taking a Christmas Eve stroll though the woods with his sledge, when Baby Hare mistakes him for Santa. "I'm not Santa!" Baby Owl insists, and a comic Christmas tale unfolds. 'Absolutely hilarious' - Kirkus 'Made me laugh out loud ...a delight' - The Observer


By Maria Loretta Giraldo, Nicoletta Bertelle (illustrator),

Book cover of Abracadabra!: The Magic of Trying

Claire A. B. Freeland Author Of What to Do When Mistakes Make You Quake: A Kid's Guide to Accepting Imperfection

From the list on accepting imperfection.

Who am I?

I am a child psychologist and an award-winning author of several books for children and teens related to emotions, behavior, and the science behind them. I believe children love to see themselves in books and to learn about others. Making complex information clear and watching children light up with understanding is my goal for every book I write.

Claire's book list on accepting imperfection

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

Why did Claire love this book?

One aspect of accepting imperfection is to recognize that new skills take practice. In this sweet tale, Little Owl believes he should automatically possess the ability to fly. His woodland friends teach him that practice and effort are required. The abracadabra magic turns out to be persistence in the face of failure. Young readers will embrace the “try, try again” message. This charming story and delightful illustrations will resonate with young children. There is also a note to parents and caregivers by a psychologist that delves into raising kids to develop perseverance.

By Maria Loretta Giraldo, Nicoletta Bertelle (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

All of the little birds have learned to fly... except Little Owl. The others explain that it's easy: all he has to do is say "abracadabra!" At first, it doesn't work, and Little Owl thinks the "magic" word is broken! But as he gets better and better, he realizes that the real magic is in himself. This book teaches children how to face challenges and keep trying, despite setbacks. Includes a "Note to Parents and Caregivers" with tips for encouraging kids to persevere.

Named in 'The Best Spiritual Books of 2018' by Spirituality & Practice.


By Andy Runton,

Book cover of Owly: The Way Home

Raea Gragg Author Of Mup

From the list on graphic novels for reluctant readers.

Who am I?

Growing up, there was nothing I hated more than reading. Struggling with dyslexia and learning disabilities made books miserable and the distractions of screens didn’t help. However, everything changed when I discovered graphic novels and comics! That led to a newfound love of stories and books (especially graphic novels) which took me on a journey of not being able to read at age ten, to publishing my first novel at age fifteen. Since then, I’ve written and illustrated children’s books and young adult novels, but Mup is my first graphic novel. This has inspired me to create more graphic novels designed specifically for those who are just like me – reluctant readers.

Raea's book list on graphic novels for reluctant readers

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

Why did Raea love this book?

A nearly wordless comic about a cute little owl who goes on adventures and meets new friends. Not only is Owly adorable – but it’s practically wordless. This series is perfect for an early reader who wants to start reading graphic novels on their own. Its non-intimidating approach makes it a great start for any reluctant reader. Plus, did I mention that Owly is super cute? 

By Andy Runton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

All Owly wants is a friend...

Owly is a good-natured little owl, and he's always helping those around him. But despite his kindness, he seems to frighten would-be friends away before they even give him a chance, just because he's an owl. That all changes, though, once Owly meets Wormy. Like Owly, Wormy is in need of a good friend, too -- someone who can be counted on for a helping hand, a good laugh, and a great adventure!Through a unique blend of words and symbols, Owly can be read by the youngest readers, and is a great introduction to…

A Girl Called Owl

By Amy Wilson,

Book cover of A Girl Called Owl

Tamsin Mori Author Of The Weather Weaver

From the list on middle grade with wonderful weather magic.

Who am I?

Ever since I was small, I’ve been fascinated by weather magic. Whenever we visited our Shetland family, I’d spend the last few days trying to conjuring fog, to ground the planes, and keep us there a little longer. Reader, it worked! My parents were not happy. I was over the moon and thereafter, utterly convinced that I had magical powers. This is a list of magical middle grade books guaranteed to delight anyone who’s ever been told they have their head in the clouds. Up with sky gazing, daydreaming, and chasing rainbows!

Tamsin's book list on middle grade with wonderful weather magic

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

Why did Tamsin love this book?

This story sparkles with intrigue and winter magic—it has all the delight of the first fat flakes of snow falling on a December morning. I love that the story feels so utterly grounded in the real world, before the magic begins to creep in. What would you do if frost patterns appeared on your skin? Try to ignore it, or follow the call of adventure? A frosty tale with a huge warm hearthighly recommended.

By Amy Wilson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A glittering story of frost and friendship, with writing full of magic and heart, the Branford Boase-longlisted A Girl Called Owl is a stunning debut about family and the beauty of the natural world.

It's bad enough having a mum dippy enough to name you Owl, but when you've got a dad you've never met, a best friend who needs you more than ever, and a new boy at school giving you weird looks, there's not a lot of room for much else.

So when Owl starts seeing strange frost patterns on her skin, she's tempted to just burrow down…

The Dead Beat

By Robert Bloch,

Book cover of The Dead Beat

David Yurkovich Author Of Glass Onion

From the list on reads that stick with you long after you finish.

Who am I?

I’m a writer, editor, and publisher. As a child in the 1970s, I first discovered a taste for adventure stories in the pages of Marvel comics. This lead to a wider interest in fiction, particularly sci-fi, horror, and adventure tales. I believe one of the basic tenets to becoming a good writer is to read…a lot. I gravitate toward well-known but also lesser-known stories. My main criteria: is the writing engaging, does it inspire me to keep reading? As a writer, I ask myself these same questions about my work. The titles in this list are among the benchmarks I aim for when writing and editing. 

David's book list on reads that stick with you long after you finish

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

Why did David love this book?

Published a year after his infamous novel Psycho, Bloch’s The Dead Beat is an offbeat short novel about a piano player named Larry Fox.

Larry’s a bad seed with a criminal record who worms his way into a suburban American family’s house after they discover him unconscious in the back of their car and learn that he’d been attacked. Larry keeps a lot of secrets and has a lot of big dreams, most of them around seducing teenage girls and extorting his former crime partner.

The story has some sections that read as dated, which isn’t surprising for a title published in 1960, but Bloch’s undeniably crisp writing and play on words will keep you turning the page. I’m not much of a night owl these days but I stayed up until 4:00 a.m. to finish this one.

The ending is satisfying, and you may find yourself thinking about…

By Robert Bloch,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Vintage paperback reprint "by the author of Psycho."

Wesley the Owl

By Stacey O'Brien,

Book cover of Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl

Tove Danovich Author Of Under the Henfluence: Inside the World of Backyard Chickens and the People Who Love Them

From the list on animals helping us understand ourselves.

Who am I?

I am a freelance journalist who started writing about animals after getting and falling in love with a flock of chickens. Animals are fascinating in their own right but the way we talk about them, and our relationships, shine a fascinating light on humans and what we value. My work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Country Living, and many others. 

Tove's book list on animals helping us understand ourselves

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

Why did Tove love this book?

Researchers don’t know much about barn owls so Stacey O’Brien, a biologist, and owl researcher, takes on the chance to raise one as a research assignment. Wesley quickly becomes so much more than that.

This memoir opens the door on owl intelligence and behavior while including unforgettable details like that baby barn owls smell “like maple syrup.” You’ll love the friendship between Wesley and his human.

A book that’s over far too quickly. 

By Stacey O'Brien,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On Valentine’s Day 1985, biologist Stacey O’Brien adopted Wesley, a baby barn owl with an injured wing who could not have survived in the wild. Over the next nineteen years, O’Brien studied Wesley’s strange habits with both a tender heart and a scientist’s eye—and provided a mice-only diet that required her to buy the rodents in bulk (28,000 over the owl’s lifetime). She watched him turn from a helpless fluff ball into an avid com­municator with whom she developed a language all their own. Eventually he became a gorgeous, gold-and-white macho adult with a heart-shaped face who preened in the…


By Claire Oshetsky,

Book cover of Chouette

Jennifer Savran Kelly Author Of Endpapers

From the list on queer people on the edge.

Who am I?

I’m endlessly fascinated by people’s resilience—how we hold onto life and find meaning in it when everything seems to be falling apart. As a queer and genderqueer author, I especially love to see stories about queer characters in all of their human messiness, characters who aren’t forced to be models of perfection in order to earn readers’ empathy, stories that show us queer people don’t deserve dignity because we’re perfect; we deserve it because we’re human. These five novels have affected me deeply because they don’t shy away from the complexities of grief, love, parenting, trauma, sex, social justice, gender identity, and more. 

Jennifer's book list on queer people on the edge

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

Why did Jennifer love this book?

Using the surreal premise that a human woman named Tiny gives birth to an owl, Chouette paints one of the truest and most beautifully messy portraits of motherhood I’ve ever encountered.

Chouette is not like other babies, and Tiny is nothing like other mothers. Holding tightly to her dream/memory of the female owl lover who impregnated her, Tiny embraces her life as the wild mother of a wild child, as she both struggles to contain Chouette’s most violent impulses and loves and protects her fiercely from everyone’s perceptions of what she’s supposed to be.

Chouette challenged my ideas and made me think more deeply about what it means to be a woman and a mother—as well as an atypical child—amid society’s rigid expectations.

By Claire Oshetsky,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


When Chouette is born, Tiny's husband and family are devastated by her condition and strange appearance. Doctors tell them to expect the worst. Chouette won't learn to walk; she never speaks; she lashes out when frightened and causes chaos in public.

Tiny's husband wants to make her better but Tiny thinks their child is perfect the way she is. In her fierce self-possession, her untameable will, Chouette teaches Tiny to break free of expectations - no matter what it takes.


Book cover of The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin

Donna Howard Author Of Bright-Eyes, Bushy-Tail, And The Nutty Narrows Bridge

From the list on nutty squirrel tail tales.

Who am I?

As a child, I fell in love with picture books and the magical, whimsical worlds they opened! I recall snuggling up and listening to these tales being read to me. Later, after a bit of a struggle, I learned to read myself. From there, there was no stopping me. My library card was my most treasured, most loved possession! I quickly moved on to chapter books, then to novels, but never outgrew my love and passion for picture books! As a former teacher and now great-grandparent, I treasure the opportunity to usher children down the rabbit hole of reading!

Donna's book list on nutty squirrel tail tales

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

Why did Donna love this book?

I am recommending this book because I fell in love with it as a child.

First, those beautiful watercolor illustrations of pure whimsy and secondly, I secretly loved the mischievous squirrel Nutkin and his riddles. As an adult, I love cuddling with my family's nutkins and sharing a laugh and a lesson on the sly.

There is just something special about sharing with your grandchildren a book you loved as a child!

By Beatrix Potter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin is an original classic by Beatrix Potter.

Beatrix Potter's famous tale of a naughty squirrel who loses his tail is as popular today as it was when it was first published over 100 years ago. Join Nutkin, his brother Twinkleberry and all his cousins as they make their way over to Owl Island to gather nuts. See what happens when Old Brown, the terrifying owl guardian of the island decides he has had enough of silly Nutkin's cheekiness! Ouch!!

Beatrix Potter is regarded as one of the world's best-loved children's authors of all time. From…

Uncommon Ground

By William Cronon (editor),

Book cover of Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature

Jenny Price Author Of Stop Saving the Planet!: An Environmentalist Manifesto

From the list on revolutionize how Americans think about nature.

Who am I?

I’m a writer, artist, and historian, and I’ve spent much of my career trying to blow up the powerful American definition of environment as a non-human world “out there”, and to ask how it’s allowed environmentalists, Exxon, and the EPA alike to refuse to take responsibility for how we inhabit environments. Along the way, I’ve written Flight Maps: Adventures with Nature in Modern America and "Thirteen Ways of Seeing Nature in LA"; co-founded the LA Urban Rangers public art collective; and co-created the “Our Malibu Beaches” phone app. I currently live in St. Louis, where I’m a Research Fellow at the Sam Fox School at Washington University-St. Louis. 

Jenny's book list on revolutionize how Americans think about nature

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

Why did Jenny love this book?

An oldie but a goodie, and a classic. Cronon’s lead essay “The Trouble with Wilderness” roused ‘90s environmentalism like a brilliant party crasher—but don’t miss Richard White’s “Are You an Environmentalist or Do You Work for a Living,” Giovanna Di Chiro’s “Nature as Community,” and, well, my own “Looking for Nature at the Mall.”

By William Cronon (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a lead essay that powerfully states the broad argument of the book, William Cronon writes that the environmentalist goal of wilderness preservation is conceptually and politically wrongheaded. Among the ironies and entanglements resulting from this goal are the sale of nature in our malls through the Nature Company, and the disputes between working people and environmentalists over spotted owls and other objects of species preservation.

The problem is that we haven't learned to live responsibly in nature. The environmentalist aim of legislating humans out of the wilderness is no solution. People, Cronon argues, are inextricably tied to nature, whether…

Good-Night, Owl!

By Pat Hutchins,

Book cover of Good-Night, Owl!

Caroline Pitcher Author Of The Winter Dragon

From the list on night-time, getting to sleep, and dragons.

Who am I?

Picture books are so important. They’re for everyone, not just young children, and often the readers are adult. Writing one is similar to writing a poem while watching the story in my imagination like a film. Usually I know the illustrator and can write to their strengths. Sophy Williams has drawn The Winter Dragon as an awesome creature who's also kind and protective. When I was seven, my teacher sent my stories to Enid Blyton who replied I must not be spoiled (shame!) and wouldn’t write once I was an adult. After making Dragons with children, I watched them bring their creature alive in their play. The Winter Dragon enlarges Rory’s imaginative world.

Caroline's book list on night-time, getting to sleep, and dragons

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

Why did Caroline love this book?

One of the best books about someone desperate to sleep is Good-night, Owl! written and illustrated by Pat Hutchins. This is short and jolly, excellent for very young children, and there is a board book format available. The clear bright pictures are like mosaics.

Poor Owl, who has to sleep in the daytime, is constantly disturbed by bees buzzing, woodpeckers pecking, doves cooing and squirrels cracking nuts. These are refreshingly local creatures, not exotic zoo inmates. It’s a rhythmic, cumulative text which I often read to the young children I taught. They loved to join in with the noises, and act the story. There’s a surprise ending. You’ll love to see Owl get his own back!

By Pat Hutchins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Good-Night, Owl! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Owl can't get to sleep in Pat Hutchins's beloved Good-Night, Owl!

How is Owl supposed to sleep the day away with the bees buzzing, the woodpecker pecking, the doves cooing, and the squirrels crunching? But when night falls and everything is finally quiet, suddenly there's a new sound-and it's coming from Owl!

From author-illustrator Pat Hutchins, this cumulative bedtime story with a surprise ending will send little ones off to sleep with a smile.

Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise

By Sean Taylor, Jean Jullien (illustrator),

Book cover of Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise

Nancy Vo Author Of Boobies

From the list on with sideways humor and irony.

Who am I?

I was born where the sun rose in the prairies and set behind the Rockies. Now I live on the West Coast of Canada. I am a picture bookmaker, and from my recommendations, you might think that I also have a thing for thieves: cupcake thieves, underwear thieves, hat thieves, chicken thieves, pie thieves. But I’m really here for the element of surprise and well-earned laughs in children’s picture books. They say comedy is hard, but comedy in picture books is even harder. These five picks are a great place to start if you like smartly silly picture books with a bit of off-kilter humor and a sense of irony. Bonus points for puns.

Nancy's book list on with sideways humor and irony

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

Why did Nancy love this book?

Can a picture book be any more dramatic! The title! Those eyes! Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise pairs Sean Taylor’s purple prose with Jean Jullien’s graphic characters against a sky, “as black as burnt toast.” Readers meet an owl who thinks that he is clever and stealthy enough to land himself a meal – Rabbit? Mutton? Pigeon? Or simpler fare? Look there – hungry owl schemes, dramatically!

By Sean Taylor, Jean Jullien (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A laugh-out-loud page turner from Sean Taylor with wickedly hilarious graphic art from Jean Jullien.

"This is the funniest picture book I have read in a long time" David Walliams

From masterful storyteller Sean Taylor and exciting, celebrated graphic artist Jean Jullien, comes the laugh-out-loud tale of Hoot Owl. Hoot Owl is no ordinary owl - oh no! - he's a master of disguise! And he will use his expert camouflage powers to trick his unsuspecting prey into succumbing to him! Tiny animals of the night ... beware! But, somehow, Hoot Owl's prey keeps escaping... Hmmm, perhaps he isn't quite…