Book Recommendations: Studio Ghibli Read-Alikes

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a bit of a Hayao Miyazaki fangirl. His brand of storytelling and animation (coupled with the gorgeous soundtracks provided by composer Joe Hisaishi) are absolutely wonderful. Most people know Miyazaki because of his work with Studio Ghibli and its association with Disney. Films like My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Princess Mononoke, to name a few, are loved for their unique characters, sweeping landscapes, slice-of-life aesthetic, and elements of magical realism. The stories often feature strong female leads, along with social and environmental commentary. There is truly something for everyone.

Sometimes while reading, I find particular titles that have these same qualities and evoke a similar comforting feeling in me that Miyazaki’s stories do. They just make you want to slow down and quietly take in the world. For that reason, I finally got around to compiling a list of over forty Studio Ghibli read-alikes that contain one or multiple of the storytelling components listed above, evoke that cozy feeling, or have a similar art style. (Some of these are just books that the movies are based on and vice versa!) If you love the worlds of Hayao Miyazaki, check some of these out the next time you visit your local library!

Picture Books

On a Magical Do-Nothing Day by Beatrice Alemagna
The Dam by David Almond
The Dress and the Girl by Camille Andros
The Visitor by Antje Damm
Up the Mountain Path by Marianne Dubuc
South by Daniel Duncan
Wee Sister Strange by Holly Grant
On the Night of the Shooting Star by Amy Hest
Snow Sisters! by Kerri Kokias
Daddy, Me, and the Magic Hour by Laura Krauss Melmed
The Antlered Ship by Dashka Slater
Goldfish Ghost by Lemony Snicket
Red Knit Cap Girl (and sequels) by Naoko Stoop
The Neighbors by Einat Tsarfati
Backyard Fairies by Phoebe Wahl
Florette by Anna Walker
Miss Maple’s Seeds by Eliza Wheeler

Graphic Novels

Pigs Might Fly by Nick Abadzis
Little Robot by Ben Hatke
My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder by Nie Jun
Fish Girl by Donna Jo Napoli
Pilu of the Woods by Mai K. Nguyen
Aquicorn Cove by Katie O’Neill
The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill
Bera the One-Headed Troll by Eric Orchard
The Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag
Hilda and the Troll (and sequels) by Luke Pearson
Cat’s Cradle: The Golden Twine by Jo Rioux
Arthur and the Golden Rope by Joe Todd-Stanton

Chapter Books and Non-fiction

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
Jed and the Junkyard War by Steven Bohls
Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella (and sequels) by Cerrie Burnell
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
The Cats of Tanglewood Forest by Charles de Lint
Mr. and Mrs. Bunny – Detectives Extraordinaire! by Polly Horvath
Howl’s Moving Castle (and sequels) by Diana Wynne Jones
Me and Marvin Gardens by A.S. King
My Neighbor Totoro by Tsugiko Kubo
The Borrowers (and sequels) by Mary Norton
The Unicorn in the Barn by Jacqueline Ogburn
Wizard for Hire by Obert Skye
Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuku Ando by Andrea Wang
Nightbooks by J.A. White

These are mostly limited to titles that I’ve read. Do you have other recommendations? Drop them below!

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