Novel List

Here are some of the books that inspire me:


by Jerry Spinelli

Jerry Spinelli’s goodness and humanity shine through on every page. Loser, a middle-grade novel about a boy who doesn’t quite fit in, is one of my favorite books of any make, model, shape, or size.

Peter Pan

by J. M. Barrie

We all know the story. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to discover that no movie, cartoon, or stage adaptation comes close to doing this book justice. A true classic in every sense.

The Illustrated Man

by Ray Bradbury

OK, so this one isn’t actually a novel, but still.  Here is a fabulous collection of short stories from a master storyteller. “Kaleidoscope” and “The Rocket Man” are two stories that still sort of haunt me to this day.

The House at Pooh Corner

by A. A. Milne

A. A. Milne is a genius. There is a depth of insight here that’s only hinted at in the cartoons. The wordplay is fabulous. I love, love, love how Milne captures the guileless self-absorption of childhood in these characters. And the end of this book (a whimsical, almost Calvin and Hobbes-esque send-off) is magnificent.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

by C. S. Lewis

I first read Dawn Treader when I was ten, and it’s still my favorite of the Narnia books. My fascination with the story probably stems from the fact the ocean has always seemed to this Nebraska kid like a pretty great adventure.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

by J. K. Rowling

I was a little late to the Harry Potter craze.  This one has a special place in my heart because its release marked the first time I showed up to Barnes & Noble at midnight to get my pre-ordered copy.

War Horse

by Michael Morpurgo

Sometimes the book is better than the movie. Sometimes the movie is better than the book. And sometimes both the movie and the book are flat-out fantastic.

The Lord of the Rings

by J. R. R. Tolkien

Not sure I need to say anything here other than by the time I got to the end of this series I truly felt sad to be saying goodbye to my friends.

The Wind in the Willows

by Kenneth Grahame

A. A. Milne, who adapted this lovely book for the stage, said it best: “When you sit down to it, don’t be so ridiculous as to suppose that you are sitting in judgment on my taste, or on the art of Kenneth Grahame.  You are merely sitting in judgement on yourself.  You may be worthy: I don’t know.  But it is you who are on trial.”

Louisiana’s Way Home

by Kate DiCamillo

The temptation here as a writer, I think, would be to let the adults rescue Louisiana from her tragic circumstances and remove from her the burden of choice.  Instead, Kate DiCamillo empowers young Louisiana by allowing her the dignity to choose for herself.  Yes, I balled my eyes out at the end of this book.

Here are some more of my favorite things: