Matilda: Recommended Readalikes

This blog is created in conjunction with the These Books Made Me podcast. Check out the corresponding episode, Matilda, on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or wherever you normally listen to podcasts. Or you can simply click on the link to the episode to listen.

As librarians, Matilda and her love of books holds a special place in our hearts. How could we not fall in love with such a strong, compassionate, curious little girl who manages to overcome a range of adult-sized obstacles in her path? Younger readers looking for more courageous role models should check out the following books:

  • The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
    The first book in a thirteen book series, readers are introduced to the Baudelaire children. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire must work together if they hope to stand a chance against Count Olaf, an extremely unusual and sinister man attempting to claim their family fortune. Fans of Matilda will be especially thrilled to read about Klaus, the middle child, a speed reading book lover with a photographic memory and an allergy to peppermints.
  • The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas by David Almond
    Man, adults suck. Good thing there will always be brave, clever children in the world. When his uncle Ernie’s obsession with canning fish becomes cruel, Stanley Potts has no choice but to leave home in search of something more. With the same whimsical, wondrous tone of Matilda meeting Miss Honey, Stanley finds Pancho Pirelli, the man who swims with piranhas. More importantly, though, he finds the strength to choose his own destiny.
  • Demon Dentist by David Walliams
    Darkness had come to the town. Strange things were happening in the dead of night. Children would put a tooth under their pillow for the tooth fairy, but in the morning they would wake up to find a dead slug; a live spider; hundreds of earwigs creeping and crawling beneath their pillow. Evil was at work. But who or what was behind it?

If you’re interested in some alternate timeline novels, try some of these titles found in the teen and adult sections of your local library:

  • The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins
    With the help of a librarian, Matilda learns just how powerful the magic of books can be. In the southern town of Dove Pond, Sarah Dove soon discovers the same. Books have always spoken to her and now, as the town librarian, she makes sure every book finds the person who needs it the most. But when new resident Grace Wheeler discovers that the town is on the verge of financial ruin, it’ll take more than the right book to save everyone; it’ll take friendship.
  • Carrie by Stephen King
    In a cruel, alternative universe, Matilda has never met Miss Honey. She’s never known what it feels like to be adored by her classmates, who love her despite her literary obsession. And her name is Carrie White. Tormented by her ruthless classmates, Carrie uses her telekinetic powers to enact a horrific revenge that her high school classmates will never forget.
  • More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon
    Why have one downtrodden protagonist with special powers when you can have six? With abilities spanning from telekinesis to teleportation, one group of outcasts must band together to survive and, by doing so, may very well begin the final chapter in the history of humanity.

And enjoy this week’s bonus recommendation:

  • Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson
    It’s her, the child actress best known for her starring role in Matilda, and she’s here to share what it was like to be one of the only children on a film set full of adults. In a series of essays, Mara explores her journey from accidental fame, to discovering in adolescence that she was no longer “cute” enough for Hollywood, to the relative (but happy) obscurity of adulthood.

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These Books Made Me

These Books Made Me

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These Books Made Me is a podcast about the literary heroines who shaped our childhoods. @PGCMLS