Hello, readers! Today, I thought that I would recommend you some books that remind me of Studio Ghibli films for one reason or another.
First off, Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animated film company that has released movies like Howl’s Moving Castle and Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro. Studio Ghibli’s collection very much focuses on subtle magic and a conversation in society. It also heavily focuses on children and their wonders. There is also really strong imagery and the scenes are so well done.
Some of these books I recommend are going to be because they remind me of a specific movie or because it just gives me the same vibes of a Studio Ghibli film.
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
This is on here because it reminds me of Howl’s Moving Castle. It takes place in a fantasy but still steampunk world much like Howl’s Moving Castle, and the romance between Elisabeth and Nathaniel reminds me of Sophie and Howl. It isn’t super developed in Howl’s, but Sorcery of Thorns has a huge conversation about sorcerers and how they are viewed by the society, which I can see some parallels.
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
This is one of my favorite books of all-time. This gives the vibes of Studio Ghibli film, but it also reminds me of a darker My Neighbor Totoro. This is about a boy named Conor who is really struggling with life. His mom is dying, he’s being bullied, he has no friends, his dad left him to start another family, and he keeps having this recurring dream. Then one night, this monster comes to him and promises him three stories. It has magic, the main character is a child, and it discusses a really deep topic, in this case, grief. I know it’s already a movie, but I think it would make a great Studio Ghibli film.
Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno
The magic system and the setting give such strong Studio Ghibli vibes. This book takes place on an island called By-the-Sea and focuses on the Fernweh women, who have magical powers. Nobody else in the town has magic and it’s pretty unspoken, but everybody knows that Fernweh women have magic. As I read this book, I swear I could see waves crash against a shore and smell salt water. I feel the same way when I watch Kiki’s Delivery Service.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Another witchy book. This is such a heartwarming book at a Studio Ghibli level! Luna feels like a Studio Ghibli child. She has that whimsy and innocence to her that is on par with the children in Studio Ghibli films. I also think the way that the story is written creates this magical atmosphere and mythology that is seen with Studio Ghibli films.
The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
Studio Ghibli movies are always extremely romantic in a very fantastical way. I feel like Emily Henry’s A Million Junes could also fit this way, but I chose this because there are quite a bit of sci-fi Studio Ghibli films, but I had been focusing on the more magical ends of it. This is first and foremost a love story about two people who live in two separate worlds.
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
This is another pick because of the romance in it. The romance feels like it could’ve been placed in a Studio Ghibli film. While it doesn’t follow the same tropes, the romance reminds me the love story in Howl’s Moving Castle and Castle in the Sky. It is extremely whimsical and romantic, and has the same atmosphere to me as a Studio Ghibli world.
The House of the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
I am actually currently reading this as I’m recommending it, but I really like it. This has been getting a lot of hype since its release, and it’s extremely well deserved. When I’m watching a Studio Ghibli, I feel so much joy, especially with the more kid-centric ones, and that is exactly how I feel about this one. This has been one of the most heartwarming books I’ve ever read so if you enjoy My Neighbor Totoro and/or Ponyo, you would really like this. The magic system is once again pretty adjacent to a Studio Ghibli film.
Those are all my recommendations for today! Do you agree with my recommendations? What books give you Studio Ghibli vibes? I’d love to chat with y’all in the comments!