Have you ever seen those displays at libraries or bookstores that get you to try a new book you’ve never heard of by comparing it to a popular book you really like?
I am a sucker for those and always buy something from them. This is my attempt to do that, but suggesting a diverse literature choice instead.
The suggestions range from infant to adult!
If you like Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, try Peekaboo Morning.
Both books follow a simple repeating format with details sure to delight any toddler or baby, and both allow for interaction between parent and child.
If you like Elephant and Piggie, then try Best Friends in the Snow.
Both books are great for the youngest readers with bold lines and exciting coloration adding to a story told in a few simple words with short sentences.
If you like Geronimo Stilton, then try Little Shaq.
Both have colorful pages designed to appeal to the most reluctant of early chapter book readers. Geronimo Stilton is a bit funnier and has some fantasy (adventures of a mouse), while Little Shaq has life lessons and basketball! Bonus points for being written by a bona-fide basketball star.
If you like Charlotte’s Web, then try Anna Hibiscus.
Both of these are what I think of as ‘gentle books’ with a message. Neither are action packed but both are lovely and memorable. Charlotte’s Web asks us to consider animals, while Anna Hibiscus introduces the western reader to a different culture and way of life.
If you like American Girl Doll books, try the Scraps of Time series (for boys and girls).
I’ve only posted a review of one so far, but the Scraps of Time series have been a delightful excursion into the past. Rather than relating to a doll series, these books are centered around one fictional African-American extended family’s history, and the series includes male and female characters in both the history and the present day.
If you like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, try Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer.
Both deal with ordinary children who find out about a magical aspect of their everyday world through luck and good character, and both make great family read-alouds.
If you like The Boxcar Children Mysteries, try The Case of the Missing Trophy.
Angela Shelf Medearis ghost wrote a few volumes of the later Boxcar mysteries, so the content is very similar, but geared for slightly younger children and much more diverse.
If you like the Bad Kitty books, try The Clubhouse Mysteries.
This one might be more of a stretch, but I find that kids typically check out the Bad Kitty books for their humor. The Clubhouse Mysteries have fewer illustrations but skew to a lower reading level than their intended (middle grade) audience, and my family laughed through these.
If you like Smile, try El Deafo.
Both are graphic novel memoirs by top-notch author/illustrators, but El Deafo will teach you a little bit about what it’s like to be deaf in a hearing world.
If you liked Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, try Save Me a Seat.
Both deal with bullying and friendships, but Save Me a Seat has positive role models and diverse characters – it packs a lot of action into just one week of school!
If you like Dork Diaries, try Awkward.
Sure, the later is a graphic novel while the former is an illustrated novel in diary-format, but both deal with middle-school angst. Awkward is a bit cleaner (no kissing and very oblique embarrassing moments) and an easier read, besides being diverse on several fronts.
If you like The Fault in Our Stars, then try The Sun is Also a Star.
Both are YA romances with some unusual bumps along the road, but Yoon includes more diverse characters and is an #ownvoice. Her perceptiveness will make you consider new thoughts and ways of being (as you ride the teen romance roller-coaster).
[Please Note: I do NOT recommend her first novel, Everything Everything.]
If you like To Kill a Mockingbird, try The Memory of Light.
While the subjects and cultures discussed are very different (they’re even set in different time periods), the quality of writing is very similar, with gorgeous descriptions and a thoughtful progression that gets you to a surprising, yet familiar, place.
If you like The Shack, try Lion.
One is fiction and the other non-fiction, but both are inspirational reads that might make you cry without requiring too much reading time. Both have been made into movies!
If you like the biography John Adams by David McCullough, try Hidden Figures.
Both are scholarly biographies that shed new insights into a particular time period. If you enjoy dense but intriguing non-fiction, Hidden Figures is the read of the year! Just don’t expect the plot to follow the movie too closely – the movie is a dramatization, but the real story is even more interesting.
Hope you liked these recommendations (click on the links for my full reviews).
What books to you recommend?