I have spent the last, hmmm, eighteen is it? yeesh, years buying books for the small people in my life. I had several initial criteria for these books:

Did I love the book as a kid?
Did the book when a Coldecott or Newbury award?
Is the book based on folklore or mythology?

But as I soon had to send books to multiple kids in a family, I had to broaden my criteria a bit, and pretty soon found a bunch of books where the main character was a girl, or loved math or science, or the book was set in a country that doesn't have English as a primary language. These are also things I loved reading about as a kid, so I started to look for more books that met those criteria. By now I've got a pretty good list of books for kids. I'm looking into a making this list into a database, so if you want a book about Math & Science, or with a girl as the main character, for middle grade readers, it'll generate a list meeting your criteria.

I haven't gotten that far yet, but I do have this page for now.

Some of the authors listed also write books with more adult themes. Be aware of that if you are browsing other books by those authors.

Board Books

Sandra Boynton

Moo Baa La La La (1982), The Going-To-Bed Book (1982), But Not the Hippopotamus (1982), Barnyard Dance! (1993), Hippos Go Berserk! (2000), Snuggle Puppy (2003), Happy Hippo Angry Duck (2011), Dinosaur Dance! (2016), Spooky Pookie (2017), Eek! Halloween! (2016)

Jan Brett

The Hat

Lois Ehlert

Eating the Alphabet     

Chris Ferrie

ABCs of Science  (2017) (Science & Math)


Picture Books


A Medieval Feast (History)

Heather Amery

Then and Now (History)

Verna Aardema

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears (Folklore) (Non-WASP)

Andrea Beaty

Rosie Revere Engineer (2013), Ada Twist Scientist (2016) (Female) (Math & Science)

Cynthia Chin-Lee

Amelia to Zora (Female) (Non-WASP)

Barbara Cooney

Miss Rumphius (Female)

Jen Cullerton Johnson

Seeds of Change


One Grain of Rice (Female) (Math & Science) (Non-WASP)

Tomie dePaola

Strega Nona (1975), The Clown of God (1978) (Folklore)

Tony DiTerlizzi

The Spider and the Fly (2002)

Julia Donaldson

Room on the Broom

Neil Gaiman

Wolves in the Walls (2003), The Dangerous Alphabet (2008), M Is for Magic (2007)

Cathy Goldberg Fishman

When Jackie and Hank Met (Sports) (History) (Non-WASP)

Deborah Heiligman

The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos (Math & Science) (History)

Margaret Hodges

The Kitchen Knight, Saint George and the Dragon (History)

Arthur A. Levine

The Boy Who Drew Cats (Non-WASP) (Folklore)

Elsa Holmelund Minarik

Little Bear (1957)

Paul Goble

The Girl Who Loved Horses (Folklore) (Female) (Non-WASP)

Susan Hood

Ada's Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay (Music) (Non-WASP)

Rachel Isadora

The Princess and the Pea (Folklore) (Non-WASP)

Jory John

The Bad Seed

William Joyce

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore

Ezra Jack Keats

Goggles (1969), The Snowy Day (1962) (Non-WASP)

Kathleen Krull

Wilma Unlimited  (Female) (History) (Non-WASP)

Munro Leaf

The Story of Ferdinand (1936)

Gerald McDermott

Anansi the Spider (Folklore) (Non-WASP)

Rafe Martin

Rough Faced Girl (Folklore) (Non-WASP)

Robert McCloskey

Blueberries for Sal (1948)

Lauren Mills

The Rag Coat

Arlene Mosel

The Funny Little Woman (1972) (Non-WASP), Tikki Tikki Tembo (1968) (Folklore)

Jon J Muth

Zen Shorts

Tim Myers

Basho and the River Stones (2004)

Mal Peet

Cloud Tea Monkeys (Female) (Non-WASP)

Andrea Davis Pinkney

Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra (2006) (Music) (History) (Non-WASP)

Patricia Polacco

Babushka Baba Yaga (1993), The Keeping Quilt (1988), Rechenka's Eggs (1988)

Antoinette Portis

Not a Box

Terry Pratchett

Where’s My Cow? (2005)

Christopher Raschka

Charlie Parker Played Be Bop (1997), Mysterious Thelonious (1997), John Coltraine's Giant Steps (2002) (Music) (History) (Non-WASP)

Doreen Rappaport

Elizabeth Started All the Trouble (Female) (History)

Peter H. Reynolds

Ish (Creatrilogy), The Dot (2003)

John Rocco


Allen Say

Tea with Milk (Female) (History) (Non-WASP)

Maurice Sendak

Where the Wild Things Are (1963), In the Night Kitchen (1970), Chicken Soup with Rice (1972)

Esphyr Slobodkina

Caps for Sale (1940) (Folklore)

Ashley Spires

The Most Magnificent Thing (2014) (Female) (Math & Science)

Uri Shulevitz


Tanya Lee Stone

The House that Jane Built (Female) (History)

Herve Tullet

Mix It Up (Art), Press Here (2011)

Deborah Underwood

Intersteller Cinderella (Female)

Laurie Wallmark

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine  (Math & Science) (History) (Female)

Jonah Winter

Frida (Art) (History)

David Wiesner

Free Fall (1988), Tuesday (1991), Sector 7 (1999), Flotsam (2006), Art & Max (2010)

Susan Wojciechowski

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey

Maureen Wright

Sneeze Big Bear Sneeze

Margot Zemach

It Could Always Be Worse (1976) (Folklore)


Young Reader

Gail Carson Levine

Ella Enchanted (Female)

Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964), Danny, The Champion of the World (1975)

Charles de Lint

A Circle of Cats (2003)

Sid Fleischman

McBrooms Wonder One-Acre Farm (1972)

Neil Gaiman

Coraline (2002) (Female), Odd & the Frost Giants, The Graveyard Book (2008)

Rob Harrell

Monster on the Hill (2013)

Russell Hoban

Best Friends for Frances, Bread and Jam for Frances (1964)

Leo Lionni

Frederick (1967), Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse (1969), Inch by Inch (1960), Fish Is Fish (1970),

Betty MacDonald

Mrs Piggle Wiggle (1947)

Mary Norton


Scott O'Dell

Island of the Blue Dolphins (1960) (Female) (Non-WASP), The Black Pearl

Francois Place

The Old Man Mad About Drawing: A Tale of Hokusai (2004) (Art) (History) (Non-WASP)

Pam Muñoz Ryan

Esperanza Rising  (Female) (Non-WASP)

Lemony Snicket

A Series of Unfortunate Events: A Bad Beginning (1999)

Maryrose Wood

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place:The Mysterious Howling (2009), The Hidden Gallery (2011)


Middle Grade (See also)

Kelly Barnhill

The Girl Who Drank the Moon (Female) (Non-WASP)

Robert Beatty

Serafina and the Black Cloak (Female)

Joanna Cole

Best-Loved Folktales of the World (1982) (Folklore)

Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl (2002) (Fantasy)

Sharon Creech

Walk Two Moons (Female) (Non-WASP), The Wanderer (Female)

Karen Cushman

Catherine Called Birdy (Female) (History)

Roald Dahl

Danny, The Champion of the World (1975), The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar (1977)

Kate DiCamillo

The Tale of Despereaux (Fantasy)

Deborah Heiligman

Charles & Emma - The Darwin's Leap of Faith (Math & Science)

Norton Juster

Phantom Tollbooth (1961)

Jacqueline Kelly

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (Female) (Math & Science)

Madeleine L'Engle

A Wrinkle in Time (1962), A Wind In the Door (1973), A Swiftly Tilting Planet (1978)  (Math & Science) (Fantasy)

Thanhha Lai

Inside Out and Back Again (Female) (Non-WASP)

Ingrid Law

Savvy (Female) (Fantasy)

Grace Lin

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (Female) (Non-WASP)

Astrid Lindgren

Pippi Longstocking (1945) (Female)

L.A. Meyer

Bloody Jack (2002)

Sara Pennypacker

Pax (2012)

Terry Pratchett

Amazing Maurice & His Educated Rodents (2001), The Wee Free Men (2003), A Hat Full of Sky (2004), Wintersmith (2006), I Shall Wear Midnight (2010) (Fantasy)

Ellen Raskin

The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues, The Westing Game (1978)

Rick Riordan

The Lightning Thief (2005), Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer (2015) (Mythology)

J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (1998), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1999), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2001), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003), Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2005), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007) (Fantasy)

Noelle Stevenson

Lumberjanes Vol 1 (Female), Nimona (Female)

Jeremy Whitley

Princeless: Save Yourself (2012), Get Over Yourself (2013), The Pirate Princess, Be Yourself, Make Yourself  (Female) (Non-WASP) (Fantasy)

Jane Yolen

Hippolyta and the Curse of the Amazons  (Female) (Mythology)


Older Kids / YA (See also)

Isabel Allende

Kingdom of the Golden Dragon (2004) (Fantasy)

Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood (2011), Girl of Nightmares (2012) (Fantasy)

Gail Carriger

Etiquette & Espionage (Female) (Fantasy)

Ellen Datlow

A Wolf at the Door (2000),Swan Sister (2003) (Fantasy)

Charles de Lint

Waifs and Strays (2002), The Blue Girl (2004), Little (Grrl) Lost (2007), Dingo (2008) (Fantasy)

Nina Kiriki Hoffman

A Fistful of Sky (2002), Stir of Bones (2003), Spirits that Walk in Shadow (2006), Ghost Hedgehog (2011)

Dorothy Hoobler

The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn  (Female)

Madeleine L'Engle

A Wrinkle in Time (1962), A Wind In the Door (1973), A Swiftly Tilting Planet (1978) (Fantasy)

Nelson Mandela

Favorite African Folktales (2002)

Robin McKinley

The Hero and the Crown  (Female) (Fantasy)

Garth Nix

Sabriel: Sabriel (1997), Lirael (2002), Abhorsen (2003), Across the Wall (2005) (Fantasy)

Mister Monday (2003)

Daniel José Older

Shadowshaper (2015), Ghost Girl in the Corner (2016), Shadowhouse Fall (2017) (Female) (Non-WASP) (Fantasy)

Philip Pullman

His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass (1996), The Subtle Knife (1997), The Amber Spyglass (2000) (Fantasy)


Pride & Joy (2003), Teenage Wasteland (2003), The Good Die Young (2004), True Believers (2005). Escape to New York (2006), Parental Guidance (2006), Live Fast (2007), Civil War: Runaways & New Avengers (2007) (Fantasy)

Caroline Stevermer

Sorcery & Cecelia -OR- The Enchanted Chocolate Pot (1988), The Grand Tour (2004), The Mislaid Magician or Ten Years After (2006) (Female) (Fantasy)

Maggie Stiefvater

Raven Boys: The Raven Boys (2012), The Dream Thieves (2013), Blue Lily, Lily Blue (2014) (Fantasy)

The Scorpio Races (Female) (Fantasy)

Jonathan Stroud

The Bartimaeus Trilogy: The Amulet of Samarkand (2003), The Golem’s Eye (2004), Ptolemy’s Gate (2006)

Mariko Tamaki (Fantasy)

This One Summer (Female)

J.R.R. Tolkein

The Hobbit (1937) (Fantasy)

Megan Whalen Turner

The Thief (1996), The Queen of Attolia (2000), The King of Attolia (2006), A Conspiracy of Kings (2010)

Instead of Three Wishes (2006) (Fantasy)

G. Willow Wilson

Ms. Marvel: Vol. 1 No Normal (2014), Vol. 2: Generation Why (2015), Vol. 3: Crushed (2015), Vol. 4: Last Days (2015)  (Female) (Non-WASP) (Fantasy)

Terri Windling

A Wolf at the Door (2000), Swan Sister (2003) (Fantasy)

Patricia C. Wrede

Sorcery & Cecelia -OR- The Enchanted Chocolate Pot (1988), The Grand Tour (2004), The Mislaid Magician or Ten Years After (2006) (Female) (Fantasy)

Matter of Magic (2010): Mairelon the Magician (1991) and The Magician’s Ward (1997) (Female) (Fantasy)

Laurence Yep

Dragon's Gate  (Non-WASP) (Fantasy)