May Showers Great Reading on Kids and Teens

Kids' books this month include a funny face-off between a mama squirrel and a grizzly, a fantasy adventure at a mind-control school, and the conclusion of The Lumatere Chronicles.
Regan McMahon Senior Editor, Books | Mom of two Categories: Reading, We Recommend
Senior Editor, Books | Mom of two

Finding the right book for your kid can be a challenge. But if you guess right and keep new ones coming, you may be on your way to raising a lifelong reader. Check out our new guide, Essential Books for Kids & Teens, to find more than 150 of our perennial favorites.

Plus, every month, we highlight a few books for different ages -- some exceptional titles that could be the perfect thing to perk your kid's interest, get your reader hooked on a new author, or rediscover an old favorite. Here are our picks for May:

  • For kids 3 to 5, there's David Ezra Stein's zany picture book Ol' Mama Squirrel, the story of a fierce city squirrel who will do anything to protect her babies. This funny take on mother love comes from the author-illustrator of the hilarious 2011 Caldecott Honor book Interrupting Chicken. Mama squirrel scolds anyone (cats, dogs, owls, tree pruners) or anything (kites, airplanes) that comes near her tree, even a grizzly bear that threatens to eat her "whole family tree." "Not on my watch, buster!" she replies, and defeats him handily. A great choice for Mother's Day or any day.
  • For readers 8 to 12, check out The Ability, the brilliant fantasy by first-time author M.M.Vaughn about kids with telepathic powers who are selected for intensive training in mind control as part of a secret government operation. There are strong themes of responsibility, loyalty, and friendship, and there's plenty of food for thought about such big issues as revenge, national security, and the ethics of adults exploiting kids and animals to achieve their ends. All in all, it's a thrilling, touching, and thought-provoking read.
  • For teens 15 to 17, there's Quintana of Charyn, the final installment in Melina Marchetta's The Lumatere Chronicles medieval fantasy trilogy, following Finnikin of the Rock and Froi of the Exiles. Marchetta has outdone herself with this intricately woven tale that manages a cast of hundreds, each member with his or her own allegiances and dilemmas. But it's the beloved core we first met in Finnikin and Froi that shines in this engrossing trilogy conclusion.

For more suggestions, check out our "top picks" lists, including Books Like the Hunger Games and our reviews of the latest chart-toppers on the New York Times Best-sellers list.

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About Regan McMahon

Regan has been reviewing children's books for more than a decade. A journalist and former book editor for the San Francisco Chronicle, she cites as one of her toughest assignments having to read and review the 784-page... Read more

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