If your kids like the Warriors series by Erin Hunter (Hunter is actually a team of writers) they have a lot of reading material to get through. The publishers of the Warriors and Seekers books have churned out a million novels. However, if you would like your kids to branch out from warring clans of feral cats I’ve got a few Warrior read alike chapter book suggestions for your kids who like Warriors.
First a confession. I have never read a Warriors book. Yet, given all the plot points that my kids have related to me in careful, unsolicited detail, and the few audiobooks I have tried not pay attention to, I feel as if I have.
The list includes a few middle grade books in the “warring clans of animals” genre, but since this is not a topic that interests me I am recommending a larger variety of titles. In short, this list is not limited to “books like Warriors,” but it is heavy on the animal/in-the-wild theme. (Note: book covers and titles are affiliate links.)
Lucky by Chris Hill. I started reading this book, and immediately knew it would be great for a list of books like Warriors. I found it well-written but as it was about clashing clans of squirrels, instead of finishing it I handed it off to my son who pronounced it, “great.” Lucky is a red squirrel who finds himself in a community of grey squirrels, named the “Cloudfoots.” Lucky must pass the Squirrel Trial in order to secure his future as a member of the clan. (Side note: if your kids like squirrels, I recommend the Park Pals Adventure series.)
Pax by Sara Pennypacker is a lovely book. Peter rescued Pax when he was a small fox cub and the two are inseparable. One day Peter’s father enlists in the military (it is an unknown war in an undefined place and time) and Peter must go to live with his grandfather. Peter’s father insists that he abandon Pax in the woods. Peter is heartbroken and is unable to escape his grief and guilt at losing Pax. He runs away on a search to reunite with his one true friend. Along the way, he injures his foot and is taken in by a hermit, who has secrets of her own. In a parallel narrative, Pennypacker describes Pax’s encounter with wild foxes and his experience with the encroaching war. This is a powerful story with an unexpected ending. Parents will also enjoy this book so I recommend it as a read aloud.
Fort by Cynthia DeFelice. Free-range friends, Wyatt and Augie, decide to build a fort in the woods one summer. Encouraged by family members who give them food, building supplies and more, they fashion a shelter that any kid would envy. A pair of bullies target Gerald, a mentally disabled boy, so Wyatt and Augie launch “Operation Doom.” This book has a lot of laughs, a great deal of compassion, and an extremely satisfying ending.
Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman doesn’t really have much in common with Warriors, but my 11 year old developed a love for it during a recent Warriors phase so it seems appropriate to include here. I had read the book a short while before his teachers starting reading it to the class and he insisted I “not spoil it for him!” Emily’s family never stays in one place for long, and now they are moving to San Francisco. 12 year old Emily is a follower of Garrison Griswold, the creator of “Book Scavenger,” an adventure challenge in which kids solve clues to locate hidden books. But now, after being attacked, Griswold is in the hospital and Emily, along with her neighbor James, believe they have come into possession of a mysterious book which is the beginning of a new game, bigger and more mysterious than Book Scavenger.
Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk. I like to put wild cards on my “books for kids who like…” lists. The wild card is a book which no one would automatically associate with the title in question, but which is so good that it will truly get kids reading outside of their comfort zone. Wolf Hollow is that book for this list. Annabelle lives comfortably on the family farm in a small Pennsylvanian town. She has befriended an unusual but kind man, Toby, a WWI veteran who lives in an abandoned smokehouse behind their property. Annabelle’s life is thrown into confusion when the mean-spirited Betty moves to the town and begins to bully Annabelle and then Toby. This is a powerful, moving, memorable and complex book about truth, lies, kindness, and community. I read it straight through without putting it down, something that rarely happens these days!
The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a tale by Carmen Agra Deedy and Randall Wright. A fun, tongue in cheek humorous adventure that your kids will enjoy, even without any prior knowledge of Dickens. A ragged London alley cat Skilley prefers cheese to mice, and becomes friends with Pip, a reading and writing mouse who also lives at the classic London tavern, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. The friends come up against a bully cat, a cheese thief, and a wise but injured raven. Cameos by famous writers will delight parents, should they choose this book as their next read aloud.
The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt. Bingo and J’miah are two raccoons who descend from a long line of raccoons who are entrusted with the job of alerting the mythic Sugar Man in case of an emergency. They decide to do so when a band of feral hogs invade the swamp, their sights set on the sugarcane. Meanwhile, 12-year-old Chad is dismayed to learn that the slimy Sunny Boy Beaucoup wants to convert the swamp into Gator World Wrestling Arena and Theme Park. This is a really fun book, but the folksy narrative voice may take some kids a bit of time to get used to.
Blue Mountain is the story of Tuk, a bighorn sheep who has a vision of a blue mountain. When the valley where his tribe feeds in winter grows bare and domesticated sheep bring disease, Tuk decides to lead his fellow bighorn to the blue mountain. Some are doubtful of Tuk’s promise of success and stay behind, but the small group of travelers set out and traverse a path beset with predators and dangers. Tuk manages to outwit bears and wolves and lead his followers in his hero’s quest. When they arrive at the blue mountain, Tuk turns back to fetch the rest of the herd. With its poetical text and interesting characters, Blue Mountain is a great read aloud.
The City of Ember (series) by Jeanne DuPrau. I haven’t read this series, but my 11 year old pulled a school copy out of his backpack and said, “Mom, you have to read this. This book is SO GOOD.” Ember, an underground city, is running out of food and supplies. Lina and Doon discover a parchment that may hold the key to saving the city and they set out on a perilous journey. The series has excellent critical reviews, and not just from my kid. (There is also a graphic novel version.)
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. This is an extremely well-written book and while I heartily recommend it, it is hard for me to say I enjoyed reading it. I was too worried about what would happen to Ivan! Ivan is a gorilla, confined to a glass box in a mall. He narrates his own story, one of sorrow, friendship and compassion for the other animals. In an effort to save his friend Ruby the elephant, he begins to paint. A very moving story.
Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner. This is quite a touching story about Willy, who in order to save his grandfather’s farm decides to enter the annual dog sledding race. The resolution between Willy and the longtime winner of the race, Stone Fox, a Native American, is unexpectedly emotional. Readers who like books about dogs in snow should also check out Balto and the Great Race.
Watership Down by Richard Adams. I haven’t read this book since I was a teenager, and truthfully I can’t recall all the details, but most likely you’ve heard of it, or read it yourself. I do remember that it is about anthropomorphic rabbits who, after a vision that their home is under threat of destruction, set out on a journey to reach a new home.
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien is a classic for every kid, not just for Warriors fans! This story centers around Mrs. Frisby who must move her family in order to survive and in doing so encounters a group of mice bred for intelligence. It is such an engrossing story, and I’ve been considering it as a read aloud, but I’m going to offer it to him as an independent read instead. Winner of the 1972 Newbery Medal.
Tales from Dimwood Forest (series) by Avi. Ragweed is a mouse who craves adventure. He leaves his family, hops a train and lands in a town where he makes friends with other mice, learns a lot about life and helps foil the local cats. Avi’s ability to convey complex human emotions and discuss subject matter like fear, death, ambition, love and friendship in a way that kids can understand and relate to is rather remarkable, especially given that the characters are all animals. Here’s a warning, though: Ragweed dies in the first chapter of the next book, Poppy. However, Avi’s brilliant handling of Poppy’s subsequent journey as a result of Ragweed’s death prevented my kids from finding the event traumatic. This series has quickly become one of my top recommendations for read alouds.
Whittington by Alan W. Armstrong is a re-imagining of the folk tale, “Dick Whittington and His Cat.” It consists of three interwoven stories. First, a descendant of the legendary Whittington wanders into a barn inhabited by a motley crew of rescued animals. Secondly, the eponymous cat tells the tale of his famous ancestor and the boy who escaped servitude in the Middle Ages. And third, Ben, the grandson of Bernie (the barn’s owner), overcomes dyslexia to learn how to read.
Redwall (series) by Brian Jacques. I did not read this book, even though I know it has been given rave reviews by kids. In the first book a group of mice must defend themselves against the marauding rats. Our hero, Matthias, prefers peace. There is a quest for a mythical weapon, riddles to solve and journeys to go on. All the stuff that goes into a rollicking fantasy adventure.
The Call of the Wild by Jack London is the story of Buck, a dog living a comfortable life in California who is uprooted and must learn to survive in the brutal landscape of Alaska. Told from the dog’s point of view, The Call of the Wild is exciting and suspenseful and may be better for older children, but it’s certainly no less violent than Warriors!
Hatchet (series) by Gary Paulsen is a survival story. After his plane crashes, 13 year old Brian uses his hatchet, his instincts and his clever brain to survive 45 days in the wilderness. I personally enjoyed My Side of the Mountain better, (See it on my list of Books for Kids Who Like Little House on the Prairie.) but there is some pretty harrowing stuff going on in Hatchet.
More Book Lists:
- Books for kids who like Harry Potter
- Books for kids who like Percy Jackson
- Books for kids who like Diary of a Wimpy Kid
- Books for kids who like Little House on the Prairie
- Books for kids who like The Chronicles of Narnia
- Books for kids who like Roald Dahl
- Books for kids who like Beverly Cleary