May Flowers

Selected and annotated by Natasha Wands
May 2015

Floral fans from toddlers to 12th graders will find something in this bouquet of books full of characters with flower names.


Anderson, Jodi Lynn. Tiger Lily. HarperTeen/Harper Collins, 2012. 292p. Gr. 8-12.
Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily lives with her adopted father on the social fringe of her village in Neverland. Her bold and curious nature leads her into the forbidden lands where she meets—and falls in love with—Peter Pan. Their mutual respect can only take them so far, however, when Tiger Lily’s responsibilities catch up with her and Peter meets Wendy, the sweet, devoted girl who is much simpler to love.

Avasthi, Swati. Chasing Shadows;illus. by Craig Phillips. Knopf, 2013. 308p. Gr. 7-10.
Everything changes for best friends Corey, Holly, and Savitri when an unknown gunman shoots at their car, leaving Corey dead, Holly in a coma, and Savitri as the only witness to the shooting. Savitri’s loyalties are put to the test when Holly wakes up changed, determined to get revenge. Savitri must discover if there is a limit to how far friends should go to stand by those they love. Is it time to let go?

Black, Holly. Doll Bones; illus. by Eliza Wheeler. McElderry, 2013. 244p. Gr. 4-7.
Zach, Poppy, and Alice have been playing an ever-changing game of make-believe for as long as they’ve been friends, and the ruler of their land is a bone-china doll who curses those who displease her. Now that they’re in middle school, Zach’s father pushes him to give up the fantasy, until Poppy discovers a ghost connected with the doll and their lives become a whirlwind and sinister quest to return the doll to its rightful resting place.

Clement-Moore, Rosemary. Spirit and Dust. Delacorte, 2013. 387p. Gr 7-10.
Daisy Goodnight can speak to the dead, and she’s good enough to help the police solve cold-cases. This? This is entirely different. Now she’s been pulled from class by the FBI to solve a murder/kidnapping in Minnesota and there are lives—living lives—on the line. And things just got harder; the spirits are scared and a crime boss is not afraid to use magic—and Daisy—to get what he wants.

Cline-Ransome, Lesa. Light in the Darkness: A Story about How Slaves Learned in Secret; illus. by James E. Ransome.Jump at the Sun/Disney, 2013. 40p. 7-10 yrs.
Rosa and her mama go to school in the dead of night in a deep pit disguised with branches, sneaking quietly to avoid the dangers of the plantation patrollers. They are not allowed to learn how to read, but that is exactly what they are doing. When two slaves from a nearby plantation are caught sneaking back from a lesson, the stakes for an education become that much higher.

Cocca-Leffler, Maryann. A Vacation for Pooch; written and illus. by Maryann Cocca-Leffler.Henry Holt, 2013. 32p. 5-7 yrs.
Violet is very excited for her vacation to sunny Florida, but she would be more excited if her beloved dog, Pooch, could come along. Instead, Pooch is headed for a snowier destination at Grandpa’s farm. When Pooch’s and Violet’s bags get mixed up, Violet is worried that Pooch will be miserable; she needn’t fear though, because Pooch finds a way to have a grand old time!

Dellaira, Ava. Love Letters to the Dead. Farrar, 2014. 327p. Gr. 7-10.
Not long after Laurel’s sister died and her family began to splinter, Laurel’s English teacher gives her an assignment: write a letter to a dead person. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to the dead, detailing the start of high school and new friendships. When she is finally able to write down the truth about herself and her sister, she can begin to accept what has happened and see her own path.

Dixon, Heather. Entwined. Greenwillow, 2011. 472p. Gr. 6-9.
When Azalea’s mother dies, Azalea and her eleven sisters discover an enchanted passageway to a pavilion where they can dance all night, breaking the rules of mourning in secret. This passageway is controlled by the mysterious Keeper, who Azalea soon discovers has other plans for the girls, and especially Azalea. Azalea must see the web she’s found herself entangled in before it’s too late to save her family.

Hale, Shannon. The Princess in Black; by Shannon and Dean Hale and illus. by LeUyen Pham. Candlewick Press, 2014. 89p. Gr.2-4.
Princess Magnolia is enjoying hot chocolate and scones when the monster alarm goes off—a big, blue monster is threatening the goats! Princess Magnolia is ready, changing into her alter-ego, the Princess in Black. Can the princess save the goats and keep her identity a secret from the nosy Duchess Wigtower?

Hart, Caryl. The Princess and the Peas; illus. by Sarah Warburton.Nosy Crow/Candlewick, 2013. 32p. 5-8 yrs.
When Lily-Rose May is forced to try peas for the first time, her idyllic cottage life is shattered. In fact, her aversion to the vegetables is so strong that her doctor declares that she must be a princess—like in that fairytale, the Princess and the Pea—and he prescribes life as a royal for treatment. It doesn’t take long, however, before Lily-Rose is ready to ditch stuffy castle life and get back to her dad!

Isaacs, Anne. Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch; illus. by Kevin Hawkes. Schwartz & Wade, 2014. 56p. Gr. 2-4.
Tulip Jones is a widow who has inherited a ranch in By-Golly Gully, Texas, and she is bringing with her two trunks of tea, twelve pet tortoises, and three servants. Life at the ranch is quiet and peaceful until word gets out and suddenly Tulip is overrun with suitors! Now Tulip has to devise a plan that will not only keep the farm running, but also take care of all those men.

Kanefield, Teri. The Girl from the Tarpaper School: Barbara Rose Johns and the Advent of the Civil Rights Movement. Abrams, 2014. 56p. Gr. 5-8.
Before the Little Rock Nine, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King Jr., there was Barbara Rose Johns. Barbara was just a teenager when she decided to act out against the unfair conditions of her racially segregated high school, organizing the first walkout protest in the name of what would become the American civil rights movement. Despite harsh criticism and dangerous threats, Barbara and her peers stood strong, going all the way to the Supreme Court to help end segregation as part of Brown v. Board of Education.

Kehoe, Stasia Ward. The Sound of Letting Go. Viking, 2014. 388p. Gr. 7-10.
Daisy Meehan has always been a good girl: a good student; a good daughter; a good friend. When her parents make a drastic decision about her autistic brother that threatens to break their family in two, Daisy decides it’s time to embrace her inner musician, the side of her that has a crush on slacker Dave, and be a little bad. It’s time for her to learn when to hold on and how to let go.

Kelly, Tara. Amplified. Holt, 2011. 293p. Gr. 10-12.
Jasmine is a privileged seventeen-year-old with dreams of becoming a musician, until she is kicked out of her house. Now, she takes what is left of her savings to pursue her dream in Santa Cruz, finding her ideal home and ideal band in a beautiful oceanfront house. Too bad the spoiled guitarist is having a little trouble fitting in with the three guys who live there.

Kessler, Liz. Poppy the Pirate Dog’s New Shipmate; illus. by Mike Phillips. Candlewick, 2014. 58p. Gr. 1-2.
Poppy the Dalmatian pirate dog is lonely; with the summer over, the kids are back at school and Mom and Dad are busy at work. Her family decides to soothe her loneliness and get her a new baby brother to keep her company, and Poppy is thrilled. But is her new shipmate all he’s cracked up to be?

Lewis, Gill. Wild Wings; illus. by Yuta Onoda.Atheneum, 2011. 287p. Gr. 4-7.
Iona and Callum bond as they put everything they have into saving a vulnerable osprey from poachers. The pair name the bird Iris, and they are able to get her tagged by a preservationist, but when Iris flies to Africa for the winter, her signal becomes stagnant, and then lost, just as Iona falls dangerously ill. Callum pledges to Iona that he will save Iris, and with a little help from a girl in Gambia, he might be able to do just that.

Martin, Ann. Rain Reign. Feiwel, 2014. 226p. Gr. 4-7.
Not a lot of people understand Rose Howard’s quirks. They don’t understand her rules, or her obsession with homonyms (her own name is a homonym, and she gave her dog Rain a name with two homonyms), but that doesn’t matter so much. When a violent storm strikes her town and everything is flooded, Rain goes missing, and Rose must choose between the comfort and security of her routines and the safety of her beloved Rain.

Pakkala, Christine. Jasmine and Maddie. Boyds Mills, 2014. 203p. Gr. 4-7.
Jasmine and Maddie don’t understand each other. Jasmine, grieving in the wake of her father’s death and still adjusting to life in the trailer park, thinks Maddie is just a rich kid with no problems. Maddie, lonely and in the middle of an identity crisis, assumes that Jasmine is just cool and aloof. When an Emily Dickinson project brings them together, can they give each other what they need and become true friends along the way?

Raschka, Chris. Daisy Gets Lost. Schwartz & Wade, 2013. 32p. 3-5 yrs.
Daisy the dog is back, but this time she finds herself in an unfamiliar part of the park after following a squirrel, and she is very uneasy. No amount of wandering and howling seem to get her any closer to her human, while the youngster searches just as desperately for her friend. They find each other in the end, but that squirrel is still looking mighty tempting!

Schmid, Paul. Petunia Goes Wild. Harper/HarperCollins, 2012. 40p. 4-6 yrs.
Petunia is sick and tired of being a stiff, stuffy, clean human, so it’s only natural that she would ditch her boring human ways in favor of something a little more wild. Yet just as she’s about to leave her old life behind, she realizes that there might be a few things about being human that make it worth sticking around.

Selznick, Brian. Wonderstruck. Scholastic, 2011. 637p. Gr. 5-8.
Ben and Rose are children fifty years apart united by circumstance and symmetry. As both search for something, their hearing loss isolating them from the rest of the world, the two protagonists follow a similar pattern, in a story related through a unique combination of text and picture storytelling. When they finally meet, they might find what they were looking for all along.

Templeman, McCormick. The Glass Casket. Delacorte, 2014. 337p. Gr. 8-12.
Rowan Rose has not seen death since her mother passed when Rowan was just a child. That changes when five horses and five riders travel through her village, only to be found dead days later, shattering the tranquility of the village and bringing with them an indescribable evil. Death has returned to Rowan’s life, and it doesn’t look ready to leave.

Tingle, Tim. House of Purple Cedar. Cinco Puntos, 2014. 326p. Gr. 10 & up.
Rose Goode is growing up in pre-statehood Oklahoma in Skullyville, a once-thriving Choctaw community destroyed by land-grabbers. She escaped the New Hope Academy fire of 1896, which killed twenty Choctaw girls, and has been blessed with a grandmother and grandfather who are well respected elders of the Choctaw community. When her grandfather is publicly beaten, rather than choosing the path of vengeance, he begins the path to forgiveness, unraveling a mystery of spiritualism, Christianity, and villainry.

Wein, Elizabeth. Rose Under Fire. Hyperion, 2013. 360p. Gr. 9-12.
In this companion tale to Wein’s Code Name Verity, Rose Justice is an American ATA pilot and amateur poet who is captured by Nazis and sent to the notorious women’s concentration camp, Ravensbrück. Enduring horrific circumstances, Rose has only the loyalty, bravery, and friendship of her fellow prisoners to keep her going. Is it enough?

Woods, Brenda. The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond. Paulsen/Penguin, 2014. 222p. Gr. 5-8.
Violet is tired of being asked if she’s adopted. Yes, she sticks out a little in her family of blonds with her dark hair and dark eyes, traits she inherited from a black father who died before she was born. It’s not much different at school, where she sometimes feels like a brown leaf in a pile of snow. At eleven, Violet decides that it’s high time to explore her African American heritage, and as the pieces of the puzzle start to come together, Violet’s confidence grows and she finds her courage after all.

Zapf, Marlena. Underpants Dance; illus. by Lynne Avril.Dial, 2014. 40p. 4-6 yrs.
Lily McBride is distraught when her mother bans one of her favorite things in life: the Underpants Dance! Not only that, but now she has to give up her dancing skirt for boring old jeans. Lily decides that she won’t stand for it, and with a little creativity, underpants can go a long way.