7 Books for Children That Feature Other Books As Main Characters

shelved under Children's Books

What’s the one thing better than a book? Two books, of course!

Featuring a “book inside a book” can engage readers in unprecedented ways: How better to relate a fictional character to a real life reader than by making that character a reader herself? For children, especially, we can hope that falling in love with a character that loves to read might inspire in them a love of reading too. Here are seven books for children in which books have a starring role...


When You Reach Me

by Rebecca Stead

Miranda, a 12 year old in Manhattan in 1978, treasures her copy of A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle, which she affectionately calls "her book," and which teaches her the secrets of time travel to eventually help solve a mystery of her very own. While the authenticity of Miranda's voice makes the book a true page-turner, the interweaving of A Wrinkle In Time helps bring an older classic new life.


King Dork

by Frank Portman

The Plasma Nukes, Tennis with Guitars, The Sadly Mistaken, Sentient Beard... these are just a few of the ridiculous band names narrator Tom Henderson, a k a "Chi-Mo," dreams up for his band with best friend Sam Hellerman during their days at Hillmont High. Once Chi-Mo finds a copy of The Catcher In The Rye buried in his dead dad's old stuff, a journey unfolds that's both enveloping and hysterical. Definitely one of the funniest books... ever.

This book also appears on Novels that Rock


The Red Book

by Barbara Lehman

In this wordless picture book, the protagonist reads her own "red book," in which she discovers another child reading his own "red book," which has yet another child reading his own "red book" and so on... The clever device bends seems to bend reality and will keep you reading again and again.


Fiendish Deeds

by P.J. Bracegirdle

Joy Wells, a precocious young girl, lives in the town of Spooking, a very creepy place, where she treasures an ancient copy of The Collected Works of E. A. Peugeot (a fictional book by an imagined writer who resembles Edgar Allen Poe). Peugeot's book leads to many thrilling discoveries, allowing The Joy Of Spooking to unravel with its fill of twists, turns and plenty of humor. It's not often you find a thriller for kids with as much satire and true bite.


It's a Book

by Lane Smith

Lane Smith, illustrator of the classic The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka, wrote this picture book that boils down to one simple joke (anti-spoiler alert: punch line not included here). The two characters — a jackass and a monkey — debate over the merits of an old-fashioned book, as the monkey gets increasingly annoyed with the jackass's questions, which include "Does it need a password?" and "Can I scroll down?" It's humorous take on reading in the digital age and will be sure to charm any bibliophile — no matter how antiquated we may soon become!


The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity

by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Adam Rex

Obsessed with The Bailey Brothers' Detective Handbook, Steve Brixton soon finds himself embedded in his own mystery. The book involves amazing librarians and books as clues. What an ingenious way to bring detective novels to life!


Dog Loves Books

by Louise Yates

Dog Loves Books is the simple story of a true book lover that highlights the magic that can come from reading books. Louise Yates illustrates how the act of reading can keep you company, as well as bring you closer to real life friends.