Lisa’s “Can’t Wait” List for May

Lisa Badge

Kids lots of great books to look forward to this month. Below are titles I can’t wait to recommend:

Young Adult

NewImage   NewImage   NewImage

We Were Liars, E. Lockhart (Delacorte, $17.99, ages 12-up, May 13)

National Book Award winner Lockhart is not an unknown, yet reading this novel shatters preconceptions that I “knew” her work. I was stunned on the first read and enthralled on the second. I’m delighted that it is the #1 LibraryRead pick for May, so adults will get to know this incredible book as well. Below, the LibraryReads annotation:

“This brilliant and heartbreaking novel tells the story of a prestigious family living on a private island off the coast of Massachusetts. Full of love, lies, secrets, no shortage of family dysfunction, and a shocking twist that you won’t see coming. Though this book is written for teens, it shouldn’t be overlooked by anyone looking for a fantastic read. — Susan Balla, Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, CT

Torn Away, Jennifer Brown, (Hachette/Little Brown, May 6)

If you missed Jennifer Brown’s The Hate List, stop what you are doing and read it right now. Ever since that book, I have eagerly anticipated each new title by this author who gets inside the heads of teens and relives their emotional lives. In this one, a tornado has ripped a destructive path through 17-year-old Jersey’s life. Her entire world has been turned upside down, literally and figuratively. If you have kids looking for a weeper, this is the one.

One Man Guy, Michael Barakiva (Macmillan YR/ FSG; Macmillan Young Listeners; May 27)

This title is taken from the Rufus Wainright song (here performed at Central Park’s Summer stage). We follow the “coming of age” of Alek Khederian who finds himself sentenced to summer school to maintain entrance in honor track classes in his sophomore year. Barakiva captures the awkwardness and apartness Alek is feeling as he begins to get to know the cool guy Ethan, an openly gay skateboarder dude. This nuanced summer romance novel leads readers to the unexpected as we feel the heat of NYC summer and the pressures of family expectations.

Picture Books


The Baby Tree, Sophie Blackall, (Penguin/Nancy Paulsen, 4 and up, May 1)

When a child is told a sibling is on the way, the typically expected question is “Where do babies come from?” With a dry humor reminiscent of Bob Graham (”Let’s Get a Pup!” Said Kate and Queenie, One of the Family) the preschooler in this story is given various replies. Babies grow from seeds, come from hospitals and are dropped on your doorstep (see what real kids have been told in the book’s trailer). Blackall skillfully depicts the child imaging newborns growing on trees like apples and swaddled infants displayed at the hospital as if they were vases for sale in a Pottery Barn window.

The preschooler finally does receive accurate answers from his mom and dad and Blackall adds a round-up of additional questions for parents who are navigating children’s curiosity about human reproduction.

Author Robie Harris, (Its Perfectly Normal) is my go-to for the informational book on age relevant sex-ed. She has this territory in What’s in There? All About Before You Were Born(Candlewick Press, 2013).

The Baby Tree holds its own with Robie Harris’s book and the two would be great companion volumes. When this topic comes up there are never too many good books on the subject.

ElizabethElizabeth, Queen of the Seas, Lynne Cox, illus., by Brian Floca, (RH/Schwartz and Wade, May 13)

In the small town of Christ Church, New Zealand, Elizabeth, an elephant seal who weighed as much as 15 Labrador retrievers, lay sunning herself in the middle of the road. People knew that this was not a good idea and made plans to remove Elizabeth to a home far away among her own kind. No matter how far she was relocated, miles and miles away, despite days of swimming through huge waves and against strong currents, she returned to her two-lane highway again and again.

World-renowned swimmer and bestselling author Lynne Cox and Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator Brian Floca tell this incredible animal story without anthropomorphizing Elizabeth.


Count on the Subway, Paul Dubois Jacobs and Jennifer Swender, illus. by Dan Yaccarino, (RH/Knopf)

The writing team of Jacobs and Swender is a known quantity to early childhood educators.Their Children’s Songbag (Gibbs Smith) is a perennial favorite. The text’s jazzy beats capture the rhythms of the subway wheels on the track as Yaccarino’s pictures present a parade of diversity of New York City’s commuting public. Count to ten and back again, I guarantee this is the one to read over and over again.


Comments are closed.