The most recommended books about reading

Who picked these books? Meet our 21 experts.

21 authors created a book list connected to reading, and here are their favorite reading books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

What type of reading book?

Loading...
Loading...

Book cover of Madeline Finn and the Library Dog

Viviane Elbee Author Of I Want My Book Back

From my list on the magic of libraries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've loved books and reading from an early age. My family and I go to the library nearly every week to check out books, do research, or attend library programs like storytime. My interest in libraries led me to read books about libraries and write one of my own. I’m a children’s book author living in North Carolina with my husband and two book-devouring kids. I Want My Book Back is my second book, following my debut, Teach Your Giraffe to Ski. When I’m not reading or writing, I like hanging out with my family, being outdoors, and going on everyday adventures.

Viviane's book list on the magic of libraries

Viviane Elbee Why did Viviane love this book?

My kids and I loved this heartwarming story about a little girl, Madeleine, and Bonnie, the library dog who loves being read to. We were rooting for Madeleine to read to her new kind and patient dog friend! The kids mentioned how much they wanted to meet Bonnie and read to her, and wondered if our local library has events with reading dogs. They also wanted an immediate re-read. (Of course, my family likes books with adorable cuddly dogs in general.)

By Lisa Papp,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Madeline Finn and the Library Dog as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Madeline Finn does not like to read. Not books. Not magazines. Not even the menu on the ice cream van. Fortunately, Madeline meets Bonnie, a library dog. Reading aloud to Bonnie isn't so bad. When Madeline Finn gets stuck, Bonnie doesn't mind. As it turns out, it's fun to read when you're not afraid of making mistakes. Bonnie teaches Madeline Finn that it's Okay to go slow, to keep trying, and to get support from a friend. A beautiful, reassuring, story for all those struggling to read. Perfect accompaniment for the 'reading dogs' programmes used by many schools and libraries.…


Book cover of Nat the Cat Takes a Nap: Ready-To-Read Pre-Level 1

Jamie Michalak Author Of Frank and Bean

From my list on early readers that are funny.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve never forgotten how thrilling it felt to read a book on my own for the first time. Mouse Soup, Frog and Toad, and Amelia Bedelia are still among my most-loved books to this day. I particularly adore early readers created by authors and illustrators who aren’t afraid to get silly (James Marshall forever!). Stories for beginning readers are my favorite kinds of stories to write, and I always aim to write books that make kids laugh. What better way for them to discover that reading can be fun?

Jamie's book list on early readers that are funny

Jamie Michalak Why did Jamie love this book?

Poor Nat the Cat just wants to take a nap, but the intrusive narrator won’t let him. The incongruity of the narrator’s words and Nat’s actions pack a comedic punch on every page, just as the brilliant See the Cat and See the Dog books do.

Lerner managed to create this gem with few words and sparse illustrations, which is incredibly difficult. And good news—the Nat the Cat books are now a series. 

By Jarrett Lerner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nat the Cat Takes a Nap as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, and 5.

What is this book about?

From Jarrett Lerner, the powerhouse creator behind the EngiNerds, Geeger the Robot, and Hunger Heroes series, comes a hilarious new Pre-Level 1 Ready-to-Read series about a grumpy cat and a long-suffering narrator!

Nat the Cat is taking a nap. Or he would be…if only the narrator would stop interrupting his sleep! This witty story, where Nat’s words keep getting turned upside down and inside out, is sure to make readers laugh out loud.


Book cover of Bring Out the Magic in Your Mind

Wolfgang Riebe Author Of Discover Your Magic: 7 Steps to a Truly Fulfilling Life

From my list on inspiration that bring out the magic in your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having grown up in South Africa in the ’70s & '80s with the whole world against the corrupt, racist government and pretty much cut off from the world, I still managed to achieve my dreams and change the lives of peoples of all races and cultures in over 165 countries globally. My book reflects ‘real-life’ authentic tips to help everyone discover their magic!

Wolfgang's book list on inspiration that bring out the magic in your life

Wolfgang Riebe Why did Wolfgang love this book?

It was the first motivational book I ever read and the start of me changing my thinking and helping others to do so.

The advice I learnt from reading it in the 80’s was way ahead of it’s time, yet remains timeless and many of the tips I still practice today.

By Al Koran,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bring Out the Magic in Your Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Reading books is a kind of enjoyment. Reading books is a good habit. We bring you a different kinds of books. You can carry this book where ever you want. It is easy to carry. It can be an ideal gift to yourself and to your loved ones. Care instruction keep away from fire.


Book cover of My Muddy Puddle

Carolyn Watson Dubisch Author Of Dragon Stones

From my list on to spark your child's imagination.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've spent decades teaching art to preschool and elementary school-aged kids in New York, California, Arizona, and here in Mexico where I live now. Children’s minds make connections that adults rarely do, especially in their art. Watching their imaginations at work have helped me keep my mind fresh when it comes to my own writing and art. Stories and books like these in my list connect to a child’s sense of wonder. Something that so many people lose as the world wears them down. I’m thrilled to share authors and artists here who have held onto that magic and I look forward to more books from all of them.

Carolyn's book list on to spark your child's imagination

Carolyn Watson Dubisch Why did Carolyn love this book?

This book captures the joy and wonder of being a child. The little girl becomes fascinated by the giant muddy puddle, that becomes so much more in her mind. The illustrations add to this book perfectly, and are brightly colored and rich in detail. Told in verse it tells such an imaginative story that every child can relate to.

By Kristina Nearchou, Tiffany Everett (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked My Muddy Puddle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

My Muddy Puddle is a children's rhyming book that follows a child's love of playing in muddy puddles. When the rain dries up, the puddles go away, and there's nothing else she wants to do. Using basic language, repetition, sight words, and beautiful illustrations, My Muddy Puddle is perfect for shared reading with emergent readers.


Book cover of Language at the Speed of Sight: How We Read, Why So Many Can't, and What Can Be Done About It

J. Richard Gentry Author Of Brain Words: How the Science of Reading Informs Teaching

From my list on the movement to change teaching reading in English.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a reading educator my mission in life is to give the gift of literacy. Inspiration came from my mother, my first-grade teacher who taught me to read. At 90-plus years old and declining, I dedicated one of my 18 books on teaching literacy to her. She sent me the last letter she would ever write and said, “Oh, oh, oh!”—a quote from Dick and Jane, the book she used to teach reading to three generations of first graders—“I always wanted to write a book but never did. I hope a word of mine is on a page or two of yours.” Her inspiration is on every page.

J.'s book list on the movement to change teaching reading in English

J. Richard Gentry Why did J. love this book?

Cognitive neuroscientist Mark Seidenberg writes powerfully about how the way we teach reading is not working and why it cannot continue.

His decades of research reaffirms my own four decades of calling for change in how we teach reading. This powerful and impactful book was a major jumpstart for the science of reading movement—a must read for every teacher and parent of a beginning reader.

By Mark Seidenberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Language at the Speed of Sight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

According to a leading cognitive scientist, we've been teaching reading wrong. The latest science reveals how we can do it right.

In 2011, when an international survey reported that students in Shanghai dramatically outperformed American students in reading, math, and science, President Obama declared it a "Sputnik moment": a wake-up call about the dismal state of American education. Little has changed, however, since then: over half of our children still read at a basic level and few become highly proficient. Many American children and adults are not functionally literate, with serious consequences. Poor readers are more likely to drop out…


Book cover of Reading in the Brain: The New Science of How We Read

J. Richard Gentry Author Of Brain Words: How the Science of Reading Informs Teaching

From my list on the movement to change teaching reading in English.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a reading educator my mission in life is to give the gift of literacy. Inspiration came from my mother, my first-grade teacher who taught me to read. At 90-plus years old and declining, I dedicated one of my 18 books on teaching literacy to her. She sent me the last letter she would ever write and said, “Oh, oh, oh!”—a quote from Dick and Jane, the book she used to teach reading to three generations of first graders—“I always wanted to write a book but never did. I hope a word of mine is on a page or two of yours.” Her inspiration is on every page.

J.'s book list on the movement to change teaching reading in English

J. Richard Gentry Why did J. love this book?

The work I have been doing for decades calling for change in how we teach reading in English is now supported by the world’s preeminent neuroscientific researcher in how the brain reads, Professor Dehaene.

He is candid, unapologetic, and clear regarding what needs to change. He asserts that whole language “does not fit with the architecture of our visual brain” (2009, p. 195) and goes on to say, “Cognitive psychology directly refutes any notion of teaching via a 'global' or 'whole language method'” (2009, p. 219).

Whole language or even balanced literacy confuses the attention of a child. Ergo, 1) Do not use three-cueing; 2) Do not guess from context or from the word’s shape; and 3) Guessing plays no role; it’s all in the letter string (the spelling).

By Stanislas Dehaene,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Brings together the cognitive, the cultural, and the neurological in an elegant, compelling narrative. A revelatory work."--Oliver Sacks, M.D.

The act of reading is so easily taken for granted that we forget what an astounding feat it is. How can a few black marks on white paper evoke an entire universe of meanings? It's even more amazing when we consider that we read using a primate brain that evolved to serve an entirely different purpose. In this riveting investigation, Stanislas Dehaene, author of How We Learn, explores every aspect of this human invention, from its origins to its neural underpinnings.…


Book cover of How We Read Now: Strategic Choices for Print, Screen, and Audio

Natalia I. Kucirkova Author Of The Future of the Self: Understanding Personalization in Childhood and Beyond

From my list on research on children’s technology use.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an avid reader, I have been fascinated by children’s reading development and began researching this topic with a specific interest in the personal motivation of young readers. I examined children’s reading in various digital formats, including e-books made by families and children themselves. Today, I work as Professor in Norway and the UK and enjoy working across academia and industry. I feel very passionate about communicating research in an accessible way to children’s teachers, caregivers, and policy-makers. The books on my list do this exceptionally well, and I hope you will enjoy them as much as I did.

Natalia's book list on research on children’s technology use

Natalia I. Kucirkova Why did Natalia love this book?

In this book, Baron provides an accessible and comprehensive guide to the latest knowledge on a specific digital activity: reading with screens. Her focused and nuanced perspective on a specific aspect of living with screens is a refreshing approach. I enjoyed reading about research on digital reading from various perspectives and the practical advice for applying this knowledge to my own reading habits. I particularly liked the engaging account of the differences between reading print and digital books and how that is different from audio stories. As someone who has been researching young children’s reading in relation to new media, I found the summary of research on various types of text particularly interesting.

By Naomi S. Baron,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How We Read Now as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An engaging and authoritative guide to the impact of reading medium on learning, from a foremost expert in the field

We face constant choices about how we read. Educators must select classroom materials. College students weigh their textbook options. Parents make decisions for their children. The digital revolution has transformed reading, and with the recent turn to remote learning, onscreen reading may seem like the only viable option. Yet selecting digital is often based on cost or convenience, not on educational evidence. Now more than ever it is imperative to understand how reading medium actually
impacts learning-and what strategies we…


Book cover of Girl Reading

Lisa Stromme Author Of The Strawberry Girl

From my list on historical creativity and the arts.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a British writer but I have lived in Norway for over twenty years. My yearning for history goes back as long as I can remember and I often feel trapped in the wrong time. Writing historical fiction is my way of delving into the past and bringing it back to life. I’ve always been creative and enjoyed arts and crafts and, as well as being a writer, I am also a creativity coach and have my own podcast, The Creatively You Show, which helps writers and artists deal with the emotional challenges of the creative process. My book choices reflect these interests and the broader themes of history and art.  

Lisa's book list on historical creativity and the arts

Lisa Stromme Why did Lisa love this book?

Girl Reading is a highly creative and imaginative book. Superbly written, it takes the reader on a journey through time, and the vehicle for that journey is art. There are seven scenes from seven different time periods, each depicting an artist and a portrait of a girl or woman reading. It is such an original concept and it’s thoroughly absorbing. Given my fascination with history and art, I absolutely devoured it. Girl Reading went on to play an important role in my own writing life. I was so impressed with it that when it came to sending my own book out to agents, I sent my manuscript to Katie Ward’s agent, who is now my own.   

By Katie Ward,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An orphan poses nervously for a Renaissance maestro in medieval Siena, and an artist's servant girl in seventeenth-century Amsterdam snatches a moment away from her work to lose herself in tales of knights and battles. A woman reading in a Shoreditch bar catches the eye of a young man who takes her picture, and a Victorian medium holds a book that she barely acknowledges while she waits for the exposure.


Book cover of Minna Needs Rehearsal Space

Lesley Glaister Author Of Little Egypt

From Lesley's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Novelist Dog lover Pond lover Yogi Eater of cake

Lesley's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Lesley Glaister Why did Lesley love this book?

I was excited by this little book; it’s utterly different from anything I’ve read before. Rather than the usual developed paragraphs, this writer has told her story in short, simple sentences, always starting with the subject, which is very often the main character, Minna.

For instance: ‘Minna is on Facebook. Minna isn’t a day over forty. Minna is a composer.’ Each of these is presented on a separate line so that the pages have the look of poems. What’s surprisingly wonderful about it is how with so few words – you could read it in an hour – so much is implied about the very sympathetic and funny Minna and her plight – she’s been dumped by text message.

It’s a fresh experience to read, funny and moving, and I enjoyed every word.

By Dorthe Nors, Misha Hoekstra (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Minna Needs Rehearsal Space as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Minna is feeling desperate. Lars has just dumped her by text message. Her friends are constantly flaunting their lovers, children and dogs (with Facebook as their cruel accomplice). And her neurotic sister is everywhere she turns. Minna needs security, and a place in Copenhagen to practise her music. Minna wants a child. Minna needs to stop being answerable to everyone. So, with only Ingmar Bergman for comfort and company, she decides to take a trip away from it all.

In this highly original, playful, poignant yet funny novella, Dorthe Nors explores our struggles to find love, relate to others and…


Book cover of The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids

Eryn Lynum Author Of 936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting

From my list on intentional parenting.

Why am I passionate about this?

Life is busy. We all feel it. As my husband and I have built businesses, published books, traveled the country, and homeschooled our four kids, we’ve worried at times that our schedule is too packed and we’re losing sight of what matters. Seven years ago, we took time to write out a “Family Values List,” which has guided our family’s trajectory. We measure every decision and opportunity up against our core values. This provides a depth of intentionality in our parenting, which has led us to read (and write!) resources around how to make the most of the time we have together as a family. “Do life together” is on our values list, and it’s what we aim to do each day.

Eryn's book list on intentional parenting

Eryn Lynum Why did Eryn love this book?

I wasn’t sure how an entire book could be written on the topic of reading to my kids. I also thought I knew how to read to my kids. This book took our time together to a new level! The Read-Aloud Family challenged me to make the most of our reading time, equipped me to ask the right questions, and created an incredibly precious space in our days to share together in the delight of stories! Our Read-Aloud time is now my favorite time of the day. This book encouraged me that “Ten minutes matters.” If all I have is ten minutes, it’s worth it to pick up a book and read with my kids. Quickly, that ten minutes turned into one hour a day. This book also includes a very helpful resource guide with lists of suggested reading for each age group.

By Sarah MacKenzie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Discover practical strategies to make reading aloud a meaningful family ritual.

The stories we read--and the conversations we have about them--help shape family traditions, create lifelong memories, and become part of our legacy. Reading aloud not only has the power to change a family--it has the power to change the world.

But we all know that connecting deeply with our families can be difficult in our busy, technology-driven society. Reading aloud is one of the best ways to be fully present with our children, even after they can read themselves, but it isn't always easy to do. Discover how to:…