Children's Book Reading Lists and Publishing Links

Librarian Rebecca Donnelly made this great poster!

These are a few of my favorite books for young people. The list will grow as I remember others and read new ones.

Historical fiction

Island of the Blue Dolphins, by Scott O'Dell – An Indian girl survives on an island off the coast of California. A touching tale of courage.

No Promises in the Wind, by Irene Hunt – Two brothers hit the road alone during the Depression. One of the most powerful novels I have ever read.

The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963, by Christopher Paul Curtis – A powerful tale of the civil rights era. By turns outrageously funny and heartbreaking. His award-winning second novel, Bud Not Buddy, is a wonderful Depression-era story.

Gideon and the Mummy Professor, by Kathleen Karr – In 1855 Gideon and his father travel along the Mississippi performing with a 4,000-year-old mummy. Fun, fast and action-packed.

A few of Sid Fleischman’s great historical novels include By the Great Horn Spoon, (1849 California gold fields); Jim Ugly (1894 American West); Mr. Mysterious & Company (old West); Bandit's Moon (California gold rush with the famous Mexican bandit Joaquin Murieta); and of course, the Caldecott-medal winning The Whipping Boy (Middle Ages). It’s also worth reading his autobiography, The Abracadabra Kid: A Writer's Life.

Richard Peck also has entertaining novels set in America’s past: Fair Weather (1893 World's Columbian Exposition); The Ghost Belonged to Me (1913 in Missouri); A Year Down Yonder and A Long Way from Chicago (1930s America).

If you’re interested in Japan, try Dorothy Hoobler’s mysteries set in eighteenth-century Japan, The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn and The Demon in the Teahouse; or Lensey Namioka books set in16th-century feudal Japan, The Coming of the Bear and Den of the White Fox. Namioka has another series set in 16th century Japan, featuring a Portuguese missionary. The series includes The Samurai and the Long-Nosed Devils, Village of the Vampire Cat, Island of Ogres and The Coming of the Bear.

For a look at 12th century Korea, try A Single Shard, by Linda Sue Park.

Shabanu : Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples – The heroine is the daughter of nomadic camel herders in 20th century Pakistan. A poignant tale of a powerless girl trying to control her own life. There’s also a sequel, Haveli.

The Midwife's Apprentice, by Karen Cushman – My favorites of her books set in medieval Europe. She also wrote Catherine, Called Birdy and Matilda Bone.

Rimonah of the Flashing Sword: A North African Tale by Eric A. Kimmel, Omar Rayyan (Illustrator) – A North African twist on Snow White. A Bedouin princess learns warfare and leadership. The only picture book in this list. A great story, familiar but with twists, and an active feminist character.


The Sammy Keyes mysteries, by by Wendelin Van Draanen - Fun, fast-paced reads that explore issues ranging from art to bullying.

James Howe has many wonderful books. I loved the Bunnicula series. His Tales from the House of Bunnicula, written from the viewpoint of a dachshund puppy storyteller, are hysterical, especially if you're a writer.

Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell - A lonely girl makes friends with a difficult talking rat in this well-written page turner.

The Roman Mysteries series by Caroline Lawrence - Historical mysteries with colorful scenery, tense action, and characters who are not always likable but are sympathetic.

Blue Balliett's series, Chasing Vermeer, The Wright 3 and The Calder Game - fast-paced reads, with strong characters and puzzles to solve.

Shakespeare's Secret by Elise Broach - A mysterious missing diamond and a cute boy help ease the pain of a new school.

The Chet Gecko Mysteries by Bruce Hale - Perfect for reluctant readers, or anyone else, who want fast-paced action and lots of humor.

The Enola Holmes Mystery series by Nancy Springer - A kids' mystery series featuring Sherlock Holmes little sister.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg - Runaway siblings find a mystery in a museum. A classic, which won the Newbery Medal in 1968.

The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin, is another classic -- it won the Newbery Medal in 1979. It holds up well over time, and is one of my favorite books ever!

Someone Was Watching, by David Patneaude - Excellent suspense and believable characters as a boy searches for his missing sister, presumed dead.


I did some good reading for my articles for the Children's Writers Guide to 2008. Here are some favorites in the catagory of historical fantasy:

The Shamer's Daughter and its sequels, by Lene Kaaberbol, have intense drama and beautiful writing.

Children of the Lamp: The Akhenaton Adventure and its sequels, by P.B. Kerr, feature genie kids exploring their powers.

Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty and its sequels, set in Victorian England, have become classics.

How To Train Your Dragon, by Cressida Cowell, offered some light fun.

The Golden Hour, by Maiya Williams, involves dangerous time travel.

The Cabinet of Wonders, by Marie Rutkoski is a fantasy set in medieval Bohemia, with wonderful characters and fresh, fast-paced action.

For an article on horror, I read The Revenge of The Shadow King, by Derek Benz and J.S. Lewis, which had plenty of spooky action.

The Children’s Writer Guide to 2008 features my articles on historical fantasy (that's FANTASY, not fiction), horror and ghost stories, and making a career splash. I also have 3 writing articles in the 2009 guide, on contract negotiations, networking, and making the most of your market research.

Other favorite books:

The Amethyst Road, by Louise Spiegler - This is a fantasy, but it reminds me of my own novel in some ways - a ferociously courageous girl fights incredible odds.

The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, and The King of Attolia, by Megan Whalen Turner – Intriguing novels set in a land like ancient Greece, with a touch of fantasy and one of the best main characters ever.

All of E.L. Konigsburg’s books are worth reading. One of my favorites is The View from Saturday. Silent to the Bone deals with a dark premise - a boy is accused of hurting his baby sister - with warmth and heart.

Skellig, by David Almond – A beautiful novel about a strange creature found in the garage.

Tangerine, by Edward Bloor – A fast, gripping story of an outsider finding his place, uncovering family secrets, and taking charge.

The Whispering Mountain, by Joan Aiken – Magic, intrigue and friendship reign in this mysterious world. Aiken has many other great books, including The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.

Holes, by Louis Sachar – Great drama, unexpected twists, wacky characters who are still sympathetic.

On Different Shores, by Jen McVeity - A powerful Australian novel of family ties and the environment, with an equally good sequel, Shadow Seeker.

Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson – A heart-wrenching story of a lonely outcast, but with a happy ending.

Which Witch, by Eva Ibbotson – Cheerful fun, lots of humor and gentle wickedness when Arriman the Awful holds a contest to find a wife.

Teen Novels

A Great and Terrible Beauty, by Libba Bray - A girl explores mystical powers in this spooky fantasy set in the Victorian era, with several sequels.

Boy Meets Boy, by David Levithan – A joyous, lighthearted look at gay teen love in an idealistic, open-minded town.

I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You, by Ally Carter, is a great mix of kick-butt spy action, girl friendship, and tender romance.

Dairy Queen, by Catherine Murdock, has a great heroine, who with both sympathetic and inspiring.

Adult novels I read: mystery novels by Tony Hillerman (Navajo police) Dick Francis (British horseracing), Ellis Peters (medieval monks), Dorothy Gilman (Mrs. Pollifax, elderly CIA agent), Rex Stout (Nero Wolfe, 1940s NY PI) and Erle Stanley Gardner (Perry Mason in the courtroom), plus romantic suspense by Mary Stewart and Barbara Michaels.

Check out these useful websites for writers. (This list is provided for your convenience, and does not imply an endorsement or any association with the sites. I have not browsed every part of every site, and make no promises about what you will find. Use at your own risk.)

Books by Chris Eboch

Historical Adventure
In a great Mayan City, a girl struggles to save her family and herself
A mystery in ancient Egypt
Historical Fantasy
Arabian Nights adventure
Danger in the Wilderness
Ghost Stories
book 1 in the Haunted series
Book 2 in the Haunted series
Book 3 in the Haunted series
Fictionalized Biographies
Inspiring stories
Write Better
How to Write Great Stories, Articles, and Books for Kids and Teenagers
Get off to a fast start, prop up a sagging middle, build to a climax, improve your pacing, and more.