“Thar she blows!”

DaCosta, Barbara. Mighty Moby. New York: Little, Brown and Co., 2017.
Beautifully designed. Powerfully illustrated. Wondrously retold with a new ending. A perfect bedtime story for listeners 6 to 10 years old. 

Every word – except one – in this picture book is taken from the original version of ‘Moby Dick’, written by Herman Melville and first published in 1851.  Learn how to write your own ‘found’ poetry

Learn more about this amazing picture book

More picture books created with mixed-media collages

More books illustrated by the award-winning Ed Young:
The House Baba Built: An Artist’s Childhood in China
Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China
Nighttime Ninja
Twenty Heartbeats
The Turkey Girl: A Zuni Cinderella Story
Wabi Sabi 

More classic stories


Moving to a new home…

O’Brien, Anne Sibley. I’m New Here. Watertown, Mass.: Charlesbridge, 2015.
Maria, Jim, and Fatimah arrive at their new school. Back home, they could read and write and talk with their classmates. But here, they feel all alone. Slowly, though, they learn to speak English and they make new friends. This lovely gentle picture book – told from the perspective of newcomers from Guatemala, Korea, and Somalia – is recommended for readers 6 to 9 years old. 

More books about migration

Living in Alaska

Hitchcock, Bonnie-Sue. The Smell of Other People’s Houses. New York: Wendy Lamb Books, 2016.
Abandonment. Loneliness. Grief. Friendship. The lives of four Alaskan teenagers – Ruth, Dora, Alyce, and Hank – overlap in this coming-of-age novel set in 1970. A strong sense of place and a captivating sense of voice make this an outstanding story for thoughtful readers 13 years old and up.

More stories told from alternating points of view

More stories set in Alaska

More young adult novels

More stories of indigenous people of North America

More stories of runaways

Note: This publisher’s novels are notable for the quality of writing and the depth of insight. If Wendy Lamb publishes a book, pick it up!

Finding love…

High, Linda Oatman. One Amazing Elephant. New York: Harper, 2017.

All sorts of surprises await twelve-year-old Lily when she leaves her father in West Virginia and travels to Florida to attend the funeral of her grandfather. She stays with her grandmother in a circus community. She spends time with her mother, a trapeze artist. She makes a new friend, Henry Jack. And she discovers that her grandfather’s beloved elephant, Queenie Grace, is not frightening after all. This 258-page novel told from alternating points of view is a surprising delight, a heartfelt story of finding unexpected love. Highly recommended for animal lovers 11 to 15 years old. 

More stories set in Florida 

More stories of grief

More stories told from alternating points of view

“Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.” – Leo Tolstoy


Learning to love the little things

Winter, Jonah. Born and Bred in the Great Depression. New York: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2011.
The author tells the story of his father’s childhood in Texas during the 1930s. Told from the second person point of view, this beautifully designed picture book with pencil, ink, and watercolour illustrations by Kimberly Bulcken Root is accompanied by black and white photographs. Highly recommended for readers 8 years old and up.

More biographies

More stories from the second person point of view

More stories from an author’s life

Stories set in Texas

“My parents survived the Great Depression and brought me up to live within my means, save some for tomorrow, share and don’t be greedy, work hard for the necessities in life knowing that money does not make you better or more important than anyone else.” – David Suzuki, Canadian environmental activist and science broadcaster


Not so far away…

Erlings, Fridrick. Boy on the Edge. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2014, c2012.
Henry stutters. He can’t read and he doesn’t walk properly. He has no friends and his mother can’t manage his anger. So he’s sent to a farm for homeless boys, run by an angry morose minister.  How can any goodness come out of this situation? This 219-page novel of the search for escape and the discovery of quiet peace is recommended for thoughtful readers 13 years old and up.

More stories set in Europe

More stories of foster children

More stories of abuse

More stories of faith and religion

What do you see?

“Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.” – E.B. White, author of Charlotte’s Web

Wung-Sung, Jesper. The Last Execution. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2016. Translated by Lindy Falk van Rooyen.
Chapter by chapter, the final hours count down to the last execution in Danish history. Chapter by chapter, eleven bystanders reveal their thoughts about the 15-year-old boy accused of arson and murder.  And in each chapter, we also hear the voice of that forlorn and forsaken boy. Based on a true story from 1853, this heart-wrenching novel of poverty and prejudice is highly recommended for thoughtful readers 14 years old and up. 

More stories of historical fiction

More stories of poverty

More stories from Europe