The best Peter Pan books

Who picked these books? Meet our 22 experts.

22 authors created a book list connected to Peter Pan, and here are their favorite Peter Pan books.
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What type of Peter Pan book?


Peter Pan

By J. M. Barrie,

Book cover of Peter Pan

Cay Fletcher Author Of Queer Windows: Volume 1 Spring

From the list on to take you on a fantastical adventure.

Who am I?

Fantasy has long been a favorite genre of mine for the way you can explore so many different concepts and ideas, and the freedom it gives you as a storyteller. If you feel like you’ve been transported to that world as the story unfolds, I see that as a successful story. Creating vibrant, diverse, new worlds and real, flawed characters for readers is something I strive towards with every project. As a queer author, I find it especially important to give queer characters the hero roles they deserve. The best thing about fantasy is it can be anything, and anyone, from any background, can be the main character.

Cay's book list on to take you on a fantastical adventure

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

Why did Cay love this book?

Peter Pan was one of the first books that made me want to write and create my own worlds. Neverland was an escape, not only for the Darling children but for my earliest stories. It was a place to be anyone, and go on endless adventures, without the limitations of adult expectations. The characters will always be special to me. We may have to grow up, but we can always keep special places like Neverland in our hearts and strive to create worlds that generations of readers will enjoy. 

One note is that while I will always love this book, it was published in 1911 and I cannot endorse the racist portrayals of Native Americans/Indigenous People. As the historical costume community says, ‘vintage style, not vintage values.’

By J. M. Barrie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Peter Pan is a character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie. A mischievous boy who can fly and never grows up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood adventuring on the small island of Neverland as the leader of his gang, the Lost Boys, interacting with mermaids, Native Americans, fairies, pirates, and occasionally ordinary children from the world outside of Neverland. In addition to two distinct works by Barrie, the character has been featured in a variety of media and merchandise, both adapting and expanding on Barrie's works.

Peter Darling

By Austin Chant,

Book cover of Peter Darling

Seth Haddon Author Of Reborn

From the list on queer love stories that defy all odds.

Who am I?

I’m a queer writer whose latest novel explores destiny’s role in love, and what it means for love to triumph. I’m completely addicted to reading queer romances, and my favourite dynamics are always couples whose love beats the odds. I am a queer Australian writer of fantasy, as well as a video game designer. I live in Sydney with my partner and our two furry children. 

Seth's book list on queer love stories that defy all odds

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

Why did Seth love this book?

This book was a wonderful queer reimagining of the story of Peter Pan.

A friend lent me this book years ago and I devoured it. Many of Disney’s villains are queer-coded, and Hook in particular seems to embrace femininity—but his cultured dandyism only hides his evil.

Moreover, the original story of Peter Pan grapples with the desire for childhood immortality and the lack of adult responsibility, but Chant’s Peter is a trans man: not only is he avoiding his adulthood, but also the expectations of his gender.

The rivalry between Hook and Peter becomes something more, blurring into sensuality. But both Hook and Peter have to figure out what they mean to one another outside of the roles of Neverland. Such a gripping story!

By Austin Chant,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A queer, transgender retelling of Peter Pan in which Pan returns to Neverland after a decade in the real world.

The Lost Boys say that Peter Pan went back to England because of Wendy Darling, but Wendy is just an old life he left behind. Neverland is his real home. So when Peter returns to it after ten years in the real world, he's surprised to find a Neverland that no longer seems to need him.

The only person who truly missed Peter is Captain James Hook, who is delighted to have his old rival back. But when a new…

Peter and the Shadow Thieves

By Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson, Greg Call (illustrator)

Book cover of Peter and the Shadow Thieves

Eddie Jones Author Of The End of Calico Jack

From the list on fun, fast “clean” reads for reluctant YA readers.

Who am I?

Fer over ten years I skippered a small book publishing company. During them years I inspected countless book proposals, most which got tossed overboard. I kin quickly gauge whether a manuscript be ripe fer publication. I bring that same skill ter reading YA and middle grade fiction. Ter be honest, it be a good deal easier ter judge the work of others than write great ficiton. But since “voice” be the reflection of the author’s soul, it helps ter know that those who be crafting the tales ‘ave thar moral compass aligned ter true north. These four authors be stand up in my book.

Eddie's book list on fun, fast “clean” reads for reluctant YA readers

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

Why did Eddie love this book?

So I got this book recommendation from an alert reader, Samantha Zlobotnik, with the alarming news that pirates are now stealing ebooks and selling them on the web. I swear I am not making this up. My policy with alarming news that arrives unsolicited in my email is the same as my policy with updated privacy policy alerts. I trash them. But in this case, I bought the book recommended by Samantha Zlobotnik because it was, after all, a Dave Barry novel and written for YA boys. (Maybe also for YA girls, though I cannot confirm this.) It's funny, features pirates, includes bumbling pirates (if you're down to one good leg and a peg you're going to bumble and stumble about), and in my opinion way too long. Still, I can't stop re-reading it. Humor, pirates, ships, treasure, Peter Pan... Samantha Zlobotnik had me at "Aaarrrr! you still reading pirate…

By Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson, Greg Call (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A ship draws near Mollusk Island, bringing an eerie passenger - a cloaked stranger who makes even the desperate pirate crew shake in fear. Lord Ombra is coming for Peter and the Lost Boys...Peter and Tinker Bell must travel to the mean streets of Victorian London on a mission to save the world from the forces of darkness - but can they survive the sinister Shadow Thieves? A must for Peter Pan fans - young or old - this action-packed magical adventure reveals even more of the boy-who-never-grew-up's past!

A Dictionary of Fairies

By Katharine M. Briggs,

Book cover of A Dictionary of Fairies: Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies, and Other Supernatural Creatures

Nina Antonia Author Of Johnny Thunders: In Cold Blood

From the list on decadence & the supernatural.

Who am I?

A cult author who has survived by the skin of her wits. Nina has spent her adult years in London though many believe she is from New York, which sounds like a lot of travelling for someone who has spent the majority of her life in the dream land of writing. What does being a cult author entail? It is to be a literary Will o’ the Wisp, possessing a gem like glimmering in a mist of obscurity, loved by the rarified few. After writing many critically acclaimed books on various nefarious rock n’ rollers, her ardor dimmed with the passing years as those she had loved were no more and so she returned to her first love, which is the strange and supernatural.

Nina's book list on decadence & the supernatural

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

Why did Nina love this book?

There is a world of difference between the fairies of folk-lore and the ‘airy-fairy’s’ to use one of Katherine Brigg’s descriptions that infest popular media. Disney’s depiction of Peter Pan & Tinkerbelle as ordinary kids who happen to have wings bears no relation to the fairies of folklore. The moment a fairy character is absorbed into capitalist entertainment, their magic is lost. The unsurpassable fairy lore of Katherine Briggs 1898-1980, takes up an entire shelf on my bookcase and includes The Anatomy of Puck, The Fairies in Tradition and Literature, The Vanishing People, and A Dictionary of Fairies. The one-time president of the English Folklore Society, her books are so authoritative and imaginative, they bring to life the incredible inhabitants of the otherworldly realm. All the best books on the subject were written before 1970, the later ones tending to be cribbed from Briggs and that other great…

By Katharine M. Briggs,

Why should I read it?

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

Dear Mr. Brody

By A.M. Johnson,

Book cover of Dear Mr. Brody

L.J. Evans Author Of Branded by a Song: A Small-town, Rock-star Romance

From the list on romance with slow burns you’ll feel for days.

Who am I?

I’ve been reading and writing romance for most of my life, and I found the stories I was truly drawn to were the ones where I got to know the characters deeply and personally before they got their hard-earned happily ever after. I want to feel like not only the main characters are my new best friends, but also their friends and families. I want to live beside them as they go through this wild ride called life. So, those are the books I set out to write...stories telling about life’s ups and downs, dreams cast aside and remade, and families found along the way. Achingly heartfelt romance with resilient characters readers will adore.

L.J.'s book list on romance with slow burns you’ll feel for days

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

Why did L.J. love this book?

Beautifully written words with a lyrical like feel are what I know I’ll always find within the pages of an A.M. Johnson book. The emotions she wrings from me every time are astonishing, and yet I never feel like I’ve been banged over the head with them like you sometimes get in some heartfelt stories. This is a male-male romance, and even if you don’t think this is your sort of thing, I still highly recommend it because it’s just gorgeous.

By A.M. Johnson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


I never meant for any of this to happen, to fall for you. It doesn't matter that we're both adults, or how much we want this to work. The college policy is clear. I can't see a way around this without one of us getting hurt. If I would’ve known who you were when we met online, I would have never pursued a relationship. I'm new to all of this, and besides my daughter, getting to know you has been the best thing to ever happen to me. But I can't make you hide again. I won't. It's not…

Lost Boy

By Christina Henry,

Book cover of Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook

Bronwyn Eley Author Of Relic

From the list on fantasy for those who live in the dark.

Who am I?

I’ve been writing since before I can remember and my stories always edge towards darkness. If darkness is a cliff-face, I stand precariously on the edge, taking my readers with me and maybe… eventually… giving them a little shove. Sorry, not sorry. As a writer of dark YA fantasy, it is both my duty and privilege to read as many dark fantasy stories as possible. My series, The Relic Trilogy, isn’t all sunshine and happiness. Whenever I see a review where the reader admits they ended up in a puddle of their own tears, I celebrate because that is precisely what I’m here for folks. 

Bronwyn's book list on fantasy for those who live in the dark

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

Why did Bronwyn love this book?

I will unashamedly tell anyone I meet that I am obsessed with Peter Pan. I wished I’d written it myself and will one day write a retelling. Because, honestly, sometimes the retelling is better. When Peter is darker, when Neverland is madness… or more so than it already is.

Lost Boy was not what I expected. The ending got me hard and I’m completely obsessed with this book. I don’t even want to explain anymore. Just please read it. 

Most of us are familiar with the original story thanks to the cartoon movie, but if you haven’t yet read the original book, I highly recommend that because it is a lot darker than you might think. I remember being blown away by it when I finally read it as an adult. 

And then you can go on an obsessive read-a-thon of all retellings, starting with the magnificent Lost Boy

By Christina Henry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

There is one version of my story that everyone knows. And then there is the truth. Once I loved a boy called Peter Pan.

Peter brought me to his island because there were no rules and no grownups to make us mind. He brought boys from the Other Place to join in the fun, but Peter's idea of fun is sharper than a pirate's sword. He wants always to be that shining sun that we all revolve around. He'll do anything to be that sun. Peter promised we would all be young and happy forever.

Peter will say I'm a…

The Lost Boy

By Joshua Grant, Marc Rosete (illustrator),

Book cover of The Lost Boy

Andrea Hintz Author Of Perception and Deception

From the list on when you need mystery and adventure in your life.

Who am I?

I’m an author of spy and treasure-hunting books! As a Christian, I’m always looking for mysteries and adventures of all kinds that leave my heart pounding, but the story itself contains high morals and justice. I love a dash of mystery, a cup of comedy, a sprinkle of romance, and a dollop of drama. These are some of my favorite picks. They’re all incredibly different too, so if you like variety, this is the list to be visiting. The order was automatically randomized—they’re all fantastic! The authors all have true hearts of gold, so definitely go out and support their amazing work today! God bless! 

Andrea's book list on when you need mystery and adventure in your life

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

Why did Andrea love this book?

I'm recommending this superhero adventure comic because I'm a fan of justice and great friendships between characters. This story really has a lot of heart and I feel like I know the characters personally. It will teach you about believing in yourself and facing intimidating challenges head on. I felt intrigued and left with a sense of adventure. 

By Joshua Grant, Marc Rosete (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

After the murder of his best friend, Peter Barrie seeks revenge against the head of a criminal empire, none other than Los Angeles' mayor J.M. Hook. See the exciting, gritty, and realistic retelling of J.M. Barrie's classic story that asks the question, 'what if Peter Pan became a vigilante superhero, and will he be able to sacrifice innocence for revenge?' Fans of beloved vigilante series like The Dark Knight and Daredevil will be right at home in this shadowy beat-em-up thriller!


By Kara Swanson,

Book cover of Dust

Robert B. Sloan Author Of The Eagle, The Cave, and The Footbridge

From the list on Christian YA fantasy with messages of hope.

Who am I?

I am a university president, and I work daily among young people with very diverse stories, but one common theme is the brokenness we all share, whether as a product of our individual identities and histories, or simply the result of life’s cruel circumstances. Classic fantasy takes on the realities of evil, suffering, and brokenness, and in that imaginative process engages us deeply. But in so doing it thereby allows us to reimagine through story what our own possibilities and hopes for healing might be.

Robert's book list on Christian YA fantasy with messages of hope

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

Why did Robert love this book?

In this story, Swanson seeks to answer the question: what would happen if Peter Pan was stranded in modern-day London? And what if he started to age? And what if he met a girl who didn’t realize she could create pixie dust? It captures the spirit of the original tale while also delving deeper into the lore of both Peter and Neverland itself. It was an exciting and creative read from beginning to end. I loved how it felt simultaneously nostalgic and new.

By Kara Swanson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The truth about Neverland is far more dangerous than a fairy tale.

Claire Kenton believes the world is too dark for magic to be real—since her twin brother was stolen away as a child. Now Claire’s desperate search points to London... and a boy who shouldn't exist.

Peter Pan is having a beastly time getting back to Neverland. Grounded in London and hunted by his own Lost Boys, Peter searches for the last hope of restoring his crumbling island: a lass with magic in her veins.

The girl who fears her own destiny is on a collision course with the…

Walt Disney's Bambi

By Disney Book Group,

Book cover of Walt Disney's Bambi: The Sketchbook Series

Ron Husband Author Of Quick Sketching with Ron Husband

From the list on sketching, anatomy and animation for the artist.

Who am I?

I've been drawing for over 68 years and carrying a sketchbook for over 60 of those years. I've seen success as an author, I'm an award-winning illustrator of books and magazines and animated many classic Disney features. Am I an expert on sketching humans and animals? ...No. I'm constantly learning in my effort to capture humans and animals in action by following the basic principles of drawing as they apply to quick sketching. My learning is aided by these books as I prepare lesson plans or the encouragement and inspiration found within their pages. I'm married to LaVonne, my high school sweetheart of 50 years, and have three grown children and six grandchildren.

Ron's book list on sketching, anatomy and animation for the artist

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

Why did Ron love this book?

Bambi, Sleeping Beauty, and Peter Pan are also part of this series. This compilation of drawings by master animators Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl, Mark Davis, John Lounsbery, storyman Joe Grant and more are truly encouraging and inspiring. Before the drawings are passed along to the clean-up stage, we see the unique and beautiful drawings of the animators with the circles for heads and construction lines visible used to convey balance, proportion, perspective, silhouette, and attitude, all while drawing the character on model. We will all have a greater appreciation for the level of drawing mastery shared inside the pages of these books. 

By Disney Book Group,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Walt Disney's Bambi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Spring 1997 is the fifty-fifth anniversary of the theatrical release of Bambi. This celebratory volume is filled with original sketches and color studies from the Animation Research Library and the personal collections of Bambi animators Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas, many of which have never before been seen by the public. Walt Disney's Bambi reveals how animators Ollie Johnston, Frank Thomas, Marc Davis, Ty Wong and others transformed the Felix Salten story; how each of the beloved characters evolved; how the palette of the seasons was refined; and how the life of the forest was breathed into the animation.

Hook's Tale

By John Leonard Pielmeier,

Book cover of Hook's Tale: Being the Account of an Unjustly Villainized Pirate Written by Himself

Gwyn McNamee Author Of Squall Line

From the list on fulfilling your pirate fantasies.

Who am I?

I’m a criminal defense attorney, mom, and wife who grew up along Lake Michigan in Wisconsin and lived there for 35 years, staring out at the vast water of the “Inland Seas” aka The Great Lakes. Intrigued by pirates, the criminals of the water, and the stories of pirates roaming the lakes, when I began writing fiction, I absolutely had to write a modern pirate series set in the area where I grew up. I’ve read dozens and dozens of historical non-fiction books about pirates, watched all the classic films and shows about them, and have read pirate romances my entire life, so writing my own was the next logical step.

Gwyn's book list on fulfilling your pirate fantasies

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

Why did Gwyn love this book?

Growing up, I was always more intrigued by Captain Hook, the villain of Peter Pan, more so than I was the title character. John Leonard Pielmeier writes an incredible “memoir” from the most famous fictional pirate and uses the beloved characters from the Peter Pan story of our childhoods in a whole new way. The backstory with Smee, the conflict with the infamous crocodile, and all the major things we see in the classic story are told in a whole new way. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend reading in tandem with the original Peter Pan for a fun way to see two sides to a story.

By John Leonard Pielmeier,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A rollicking debut novel from award-winning playwright and screenwriter John Pielmeier reimagines the childhood of the much maligned Captain Hook: his quest for buried treasure, his friendship with Peter Pan, and the story behind the swashbuckling world of Neverland.

Long defamed as a vicious pirate, Captain James Cook (a.k.a Hook) was in fact a dazzling wordsmith who left behind a vibrant, wildly entertaining, and entirely truthful memoir. His chronicle offers a counter narrative to the works of J.M. Barrie, a "dour Scotsman" whose spurious accounts got it all wrong. Now, award-winning playwright John Pielmeier is proud to present this crucial…

Sisters of the Neversea

By Cynthia L. Smith,

Book cover of Sisters of the Neversea

Lorelei Savaryn Author Of The Edge of in Between

From the list on retellings for middle grade readers.

Who am I?

I studied retellings as I prepared to write my own take on The Secret Garden. Retelling a classic story can not only usher something like The Secret Garden or Peter Pan into our current time and place in history, but it can also awaken the wonder and magic many of us experienced when reading these tales for the first time in a new generation. It’s been so fun for me to see how modern authors put their own spin on these stories, and I hope you will enjoy them too.

Lorelei's book list on retellings for middle grade readers

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

Why did Lorelei love this book?

In this unbelievably gorgeous take on Peter Pan, Lily and Wendy are step-sisters who must now spend a summer apart. But a mysterious boy has been watching from the window and intends to take them away forever to a mysterious land. This book tackles head-on the problematic aspects of the original story and contains a story both thrilling and fun. Family, sisterhood, and magic reign supreme in this hard-to-put-down retelling. 

By Cynthia L. Smith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Five starred reviews! In this beautifully reimagined story by NSK Neustadt Laureate and New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee Creek), Native American Lily and English Wendy embark on a high-flying journey of magic, adventure, and courage to a fairy-tale island known as Neverland...

Lily and Wendy have been best friends since they became stepsisters. But with their feuding parents planning to spend the summer apart, what will become of their family-and their friendship?

Little do they know that a mysterious boy has been watching them from the oak tree outside their window. A boy who intends to…

A Land of Never After

By R. L. Davennor,

Book cover of A Land of Never After

Rose Sinclair Author Of The 8th Rank

From the list on fantasy romance to fall in love with fairy tales.

Who am I?

I have a passion for fairy tale stories especially ones for adults because they are often the first stories we learned as kids. The ability to look back at how we interpreted them and how our understanding changes over time and culture makes for something that is truly timeless, and therefore like a beloved trope is never the exact same thing twice. Each time only builds on our enjoyment and the many possibilities we can imagine. Not only in worlds of magic, but our own.

Rose's book list on fantasy romance to fall in love with fairy tales

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

Why did Rose love this book?

As someone who writes fairy tale retellings where everyone shares one world as we all do now, I always love the tales that my own characters don’t get to interact with. That’s where A Land of Never After comes in. Featuring a pirate queen a strong-willed Wendy, and a trans Peter Pan. I think the diversity different people expand on is what makes humans so magical in the first place.

By R. L. Davennor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Land of Never After as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

All my life, I’ve dreamed of the sea.

Mermaids, stormy skies, daring adventures, pirates…it was little wonder I sprinted to the docks the moment I left the orphanage. Eager to begin my new life, I searched for a ship that would have me—and found a thief instead. I chased the bastard.

Now I’m trapped.

I’m told this place is Neverland, but everything I touch is dead or dying; what’s left is hellbent on killing each other. Monsters lurk around every corner, and everyone I meet hides a damning secret. I’m thrust in the middle of a deadly feud, and the…

The Little White Bird

By J. M. Barrie,

Book cover of The Little White Bird

Cal R. Barnes Author Of Son of Neverland

From the list on fantasy that has influenced my life so far.

Who am I?

Ever since I was a boy I was always fascinated by the tale of Peter Pan. His adventurous, rebellious personality, his self-assuredness, and his ability to fly made him the perfect role model for a young boy that wanted the most out of his life. As I’ve moved through the world, I’ve found I’ve subconsciously carried Peter’s spirit with me, both in my career and in life. By entering the entertainment industry as a full-time writer, actor, and filmmaker, I feel I’ve come as close as I can to making a life out of play, storytelling, and adventure. 

Cal's book list on fantasy that has influenced my life so far

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

Why did Cal love this book?

Having written an evolved installment of the Peter Pan saga myself, I’d be hard-pressed not to have Peter Pan’s first appearance in the literary world not on this list. Often overshadowed by JM Barrie’s second and more popular novel featuring Peter Pan, Peter and Wendy, it was actually in The Little White Bird where Peter first made his boyhood appearance, playing with his imaginary friends in the Kensington Gardens of England. This is a great look at Peter’s early development and documents his early thirst for adventure. The character of Peter was so popular upon the release of this book, in fact, that JM Barrie went on to write his most famous work next. When I read this story, I still have flashbacks of myself as a child, playing in my backyard where my mind would take me on timeless and limitless adventures…  

By J. M. Barrie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

J.M. Barrie’s novel, The Little White Bird, combines fantastic and humorous happenings with social comedy. It represents the foundational work of what has now become a whole mythology established around the fictional character of Peter Pan. The different chapters differ in tone and in the degree of seriousness and intensity. The chapters featuring Peter pan are set in London’s famous Kensington Gardens of which they provide minute descriptions. When the gardens are closed to the public by the end of the day, supernatural beings such as fairies get out of their hiding places to roam in the park. The other…

Second Star

By Alyssa B. Sheinmel,

Book cover of Second Star

Katie Ward Author Of The Pretender

From the list on YA inspired by classic fiction.

Who am I?

I have a real love of classic fiction and my first novel The Pretender is a modern-day adaptation of Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper. I discovered this story as a child when a relative gave me a copy to read on the journey home from Scotland. While aspects of the story are frequently copied, the essence of the original novel felt forgotten. It’s such a beautiful story with many of the themes still relevant today that I decided to adapt it so a modern audience could rediscover and fall in love with it all over again. As an author, I draw a lot of inspiration from the classics.

Katie's book list on YA inspired by classic fiction

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

Why did Katie love this book?

Peter Pan has always been a bit of a dark story, I remember as a child being quite concerned about how easy it was to kill Tinkerbell and why Peter needed his shadow stitched back on! Second Star is a modern but dark retelling of this children’s fable, set in sunny California and amongst the surfing community, we follow a 17-year-old Wendy as she searches for her missing brothers. Stepping into a dark world, she finds herself drawn to the Cove’s enigmatic leader Pete but she is also pulled towards his dangerous and drug-dealing nemesis, Jas. This novel shows how a classic can be used as inspiration but the author is still able to make the story their own and I always enjoy reading that.

By Alyssa B. Sheinmel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A twisty story about love, loss, and lies, this contemporary oceanside adventure is tinged with a touch of dark magic as it follows seventeen-year-old Wendy Darling on a search for her missing surfer brothers. Wendy's journey leads her to a mysterious hidden cove inhabited by a tribe of young renegade surfers, most of them runaways like her brothers. Wendy is instantly drawn to the cove's charismatic leader, Pete, but her search also points her toward Pete's nemesis, the drug-dealing Jas. Enigmatic, dangerous, and handsome, Jas pulls Wendy in even as she's falling hard for Pete. A radical reinvention of a…

The Tale of Peter Rabbit

By Beatrix Potter,

Book cover of The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Will Hillenbrand Author Of The Voice in the Hollow

From the list on igniting the imagination of young readers.

Who am I?

Growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio, my dyslexia made reading a challenge. However, my close encounters with books led to a meaningful and expressive life. From my family's barbershop, I absorbed colorful conversations and tall tales, fueling my imagination. Expressing those narratives through drawings at my kitchen table granted me solace. Driven by a desire to bring stories to life, I leaped and pursued an education in art. In a picture book art class, my calling as an author and illustrator became clear. Transforming words into vivid illustrations and breathing life into children's literature became my heartfelt pursuit. With over 75 books now in my repertoire, I am truly fortunate.

Will's book list on igniting the imagination of young readers

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

Why did Will love this book?

When I was four years old, my Grandmother Hillenbrand sat by my side and read me the captivating book The Tale of Peter Rabbit. At that moment, I embarked on a whimsical journey as if I had fallen down the rabbit hole.

This charming book not only entertained me with its mischievous protagonist, Peter Rabbit, but it also introduced me to the power of a great story, expertly woven and accompanied by enchanting illustrations beyond compare. Whether it was Peter's adventures in Mr. McGregor's garden or his daring escape back home, this incredible tale illuminated the captivating world that awaited me within the pages of a well-told story.

And so, with my grandmother’s gentle guidance, I discovered the magic that lies within a truly captivating book.

By Beatrix Potter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Level Two

Follow the story of naughty Peter Rabbit as he squeezes under the gate into Mr. McGregor's garden and finds himself in all kinds of trouble! Beatrix Potter's original artwork and text have been adapted for this easy-to-read version of the classic tale.

Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens

By James Matthew Barrie,

Book cover of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens

Helen Falconer Author Of Primrose Hill

From the list on for teenagers to pass around their friends.

Who am I?

Well, apart from having once been a teenager myself, I’ve also raised four teenagers and I know what they like to read, and in return, they’ve all helped me write my own books. I have a pretty eclectic attitude to stories as you can probably tell from the below list. I don't expect anyone to share my opinions, but I'd never introduce a reader to anything that’s just written to make money. 

Helen's book list on for teenagers to pass around their friends

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

Why did Helen love this book?

Starting from an early fascination with graveyards, where I would (and do still) like to sit and chat to the dead, making good friends with some of them, I’ve always been drawn to themes about death. And this book is a really dark, peculiar prequel to Peter Pan where an infant Peter ends up as the unofficial gravedigger for dead babies. It’s also a very beautiful book, but defintely not suitable for young children!

By James Matthew Barrie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Trajectory presents classics of world literature with 21st century features! Our original-text editions include the following visual enhancements to foster a deeper understanding of the work: Word Clouds at the start of each chapter highlight important words. Word, sentence, paragraph counts, and reading time help readers and teachers determine chapter complexity. Co-occurrence graphs depict character-to-character interactions as well character to place interactions

Hook's Revenge

By Heidi Schulz, John Hendrix (illustrator),

Book cover of Hook's Revenge

Annie Sullivan Author Of A Touch of Gold

From the list on YA fantasy with pirates.

Who am I?

I’m a young adult fantasy author who’s been in love with pirates since before Pirates of the Caribbean came out…and who then wrote a novel inspired by it. I grew up watching every pirate movie I could and have always wanted to hunt for treasure. I feel my most calm when I’m by the ocean, and I’m a bit of a wanderer myself—having traveled to over 60 countries and to every continent (yes, including Antarctica!). I have a master’s degree in Creative Writing and love sharing my adventures with the world. 

Annie's book list on YA fantasy with pirates

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

Why did Annie love this book?

Okay, I cheated with this one. It’s a Middle-Grade book and not a Young Adult book. But it’s a list about pirates! You should’ve expected a little bit of cheating going on. And I had to include this one because of the voice. It’s told by a narrator who’s as off-putting as he is entertaining. And if that’s not enough, it follows Captain Hook’s daughter on her quest for revenge against Peter Pan. You’ll be hooked right away…get it? Get it??? Hahaha! I’ll be over here laughing at my own jokes (and you should go add these books to your to-be-read piles!)

By Heidi Schulz, John Hendrix (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Twelve-year-old Jocelyn dreams of becoming every bit as daring as her infamous father, Captain James Hook. Her grandfather, on the other hand, intends to see her starched and pressed into a fine society lady. When she’s sent to Miss Eliza Crumb-Biddlecomb’s Finishing School for Young Ladies, Jocelyn’s hopes of following in her father’s fearsome footsteps are lost in a heap of dance lessons, white gloves, and way too much pink.

So when Jocelyn receives a letter from her father challenging her to avenge his untimely demise at the jaws of the Neverland crocodile, she doesn’t hesitate―here at last is the…


By Desiree Williams,

Book cover of Illusionary

J.M. Hackman Author Of Spark

From the list on portal fantasy by small/independent presses.

Who am I?

Indie authors and presses are sometimes dismissed as “lesser-than” and not carried by bookstores. The stories are labeled as “amateurish” or “boring.” (Some are, but so are some books coming from big publishers!) Size doesn’t really matter in the world of publishing. Being published with a small press showed me a realm beyond the huge, traditional publishing houses—it’s populated with fantastic books written by gifted authors who often write, not for fame or money, but because they love writing. I’ve found many hours of enjoyment in indie books (and lost hours of sleep, as well!) I hope, with this list, you find the same.

J.M.'s book list on portal fantasy by small/independent presses

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

Why did J.M. love this book?

In Illuminary, the main character Kamryn finds herself in the land of Ur after falling down a staircase. I felt an immediate kinship—fellow klutzes, unite! This contemporary adventure blends elements of well-known fairytales (like Peter Pan) with a unique, fantastical world. For me, characters really make the story come alive, and this story was no different. Ur held wonderful side characters, as well as a villain that’s easy to hate.

I also need happy endings for my reading choices. Kamryn and the hero Reese both had to draw on a strength greater than their own to reach their own happy ending, but it was so worth it.

By Desiree Williams,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Dorothy got sucked into a tornado.

Alice fell down a hole.

Wendy flew to Neverland.

Kamryn? She tripped down the stairs.

Now, Kamryn Kensington finds herself in a strange new world. Within minutes of her arrival, she dodges an archer’s arrow and avoids getting sliced up by a cosplay reject holding a dagger to her throat. And that’s before the storyteller’s breath brings stories to life.

Home is the mission—to return to her family and pursue her life’s dream of art and travel. Yet the longer she’s in the Land of Ur, the harder it is not to feel for…

Arthur Rackham

By James Hamilton,

Book cover of Arthur Rackham: A Life with Illustration

Paul Kidby Author Of Terry Pratchett's Discworld Imaginarium

From the list on beautiful draughtmanship.

Who am I?

I'm a self-taught artist and sometimes a sculptor. I'm best known for illustrating the Discworld novels of Sir Terry Pratchett which I have been working on for almost 30 years. Not having had formal training, looking at the work of other artists was an important part of my learning. I have a large collection of art books and have been inspired by all sorts of creatives ranging from Leonardo Da Vinci to Jamie Hewlett. I'm often drawn to draughts-people who have a scientific approach to their work and limited use of colour. If I can’t escape to a gallery for inspiration I can always turn to the pages of a book.

Paul's book list on beautiful draughtmanship

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

Why did Paul love this book?

A fascinating in-depth insight into the personality, career, and work of Rackham, who I view as the king of the golden age of illustration. His fine draughtsmanship and ability to create fantastical worlds and characters that range from the grotesque to the beautiful inspired me from an early age. The pages are packed with artwork done in his trademark pen and ink and watercolour. 

By James Hamilton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A fascinating insight into the personality, career and work of one of the world's most collectable illustrators Filled with enchanting pictures and authoritative text

In this fascinating book, art historian James Hamilton examines the work and life of the illustrator Arthur Rackham. Rackham's illustrations for works such as Rip Van Winkle, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, Alice in Wonderland and A Midsummer Night's Dream have attained the classic status of the writings themselves - indeed, in some cases they have become synonymous with them. Rackham himself, however, has previously remained a shadowy figure. As well as featuring exquisite illustrations and…