100 books like Lullabies for Little Criminals

By Heather O'Neill,

Here are 100 books that Lullabies for Little Criminals fans have personally recommended if you like Lullabies for Little Criminals. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Glass Castle

Robin van Eck Author Of Rough

From my list on jaw-dropping books about family connections that will make you laugh, cry and scream.

Why am I passionate about this?

Someone once said I can’t believe you didn’t end up in a ditch with a needle in your arm. It sounds harsh, but they meant it with love. In spite of my broken home, familial dysfunction, trauma, and bad decisions, I found a way to be okay and share my life experiences through words and stories rather than a bottle. I am the Executive Director of a non-profit organization specializing in developing authors who want to publish and use writing for therapy and healing. I live in Calgary, AB, Canada, with my teenage daughter and act as the emotional support human for an anxious dog. 

Robin's book list on jaw-dropping books about family connections that will make you laugh, cry and scream

Robin van Eck Why did Robin love this book?

This is quite possibly my favourite memoir ever written. It made me laugh, cry and scream. Never have I seen such a clearly dysfunctional family that didn’t even realize they were dysfunctional.

I loved them because they embraced life no matter what and hated them because they didn’t see how bad what they were doing to one another was. Full of elements and emotions from my own childhood, this book made me feel deeply and emotionally.  

By Jeannette Walls,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked The Glass Castle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a major motion picture starring Brie Larson, Naomi Watts and Woody Harrelson.

This is a startling memoir of a successful journalist's journey from the deserted and dusty mining towns of the American Southwest, to an antique filled apartment on Park Avenue. Jeanette Walls narrates her nomadic and adventurous childhood with her dreaming, 'brilliant' but alcoholic parents.

At the age of seventeen she escapes on a Greyhound bus to New York with her older sister; her younger siblings follow later. After pursuing the education and civilisation her parents sought to escape, Jeanette eventually succeeds in her quest for the 'mundane,…

Book cover of Angela's Ashes

Why am I passionate about this?

My life and work have been profoundly affected by the central circumstance of my existence: I was born into a very large military Catholic family in the United States of America. As a child surrounded by many others in the 60s, I wrote, performed, and directed family plays with my numerous brothers and sisters. Although I fell in love with a Canadian and moved to Canada, my family of origin still exerts considerable personal influence. My central struggle, coming from that place of chaos, order, and conformity, is to have the courage to live an authentic life based on my own experience of connectedness and individuality, to speak and be heard. 

Caitlin's book list on coming-of-age books that explore belonging, identity, family, and beat with an emotional and/or humorous pulse

Caitlin Hicks Why did Caitlin love this book?

Frank McCourt's classic book, the memoir of his childhood, is proof in the pudding that the origin of humor is the suffering of the low-status character. And that’s only one reason why I love it.

He had me at “Above all -- we were wet.” His descriptions of the impossible and undignified conditions of his childhood, where children had absolutely no control over anything and adults were at the mercy of life itself, brought me so close to him that I think I started believing we were actually related and scribbled him into the family tree as a long-lost uncle.

McCourt captures the hapless quality of gullible, unsupervised children let loose on an unforgiving world with a buoyancy that comes through every sentence and rises above the brutal conditions of his childhood. 

And the truth he finds in the details, from the brutality of religious authority figures to the abject…

By Frank McCourt,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Angela's Ashes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The author recounts his childhood in Depression-era Brooklyn as the child of Irish immigrants who decide to return to worse poverty in Ireland when his infant sister dies.

Book cover of The Book Thief

Jesse Maas Author Of Not for the Faint of Heart

From my list on fiction books that capture the meaning of simply being human.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am passionate about writing books that put good into the world and highlight meaningful and inspiring themes, which, in turn, means I am also passionate about reading books that do the same. I love to write and read books that leave the reader feeling like there is still good in the world, even when it seems to be very dark around us. If people read my books or any on this list, I sincerely hope they feel encouraged and inspired and enjoy them as much as I do.

Jesse's book list on fiction books that capture the meaning of simply being human

Jesse Maas Why did Jesse love this book?

My husband first recommended this book to me, and when he described it, he said it was written from the perspective of death, and I was not very interested in learning more about what exactly that meant. It took me years to finally follow his recommendation, and when I did, I was greatly surprised.

This historical fiction novel is very different than the others on this list, but it is inspiring all the same. Its unique narrative perspective challenges readers to think about life from a different point of view, and I thoroughly enjoyed the thought-provoking challenge.

By Markus Zusak,

Why should I read it?

30 authors picked The Book Thief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

'Life affirming, triumphant and tragic . . . masterfully told. . . but also a wonderful page-turner' Guardian
'Brilliant and hugely ambitious' New York Times
'Extraordinary' Telegraph


1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.
Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.


Book cover of Where the Crawdads Sing

Lori Duffy Foster Author Of Never Let Go

From my list on thrillers with twists.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my years on the crime beat, I often met good people who did bad things and criminals with good intentions and good hearts. We tend to draw a line between good and evil, putting ourselves on the good side. From that perspective, we sit in judgment, believing we are incapable of evil because it’s “over there.” Inaccessible. Unfathomable. But that line is fictional. We redraw it constantly to feel good about ourselves and avoid empathizing with the worst of human nature. What I love about these five novels is that they expose that truth. The twists remind me that even my own line is blurred and ever-shifting.

Lori's book list on thrillers with twists

Lori Duffy Foster Why did Lori love this book?

I love historical fiction, especially when authors throw in a touch of crime. So, that’s what first drew me to this book.

What kept me reading and what made me rank this novel so highly is the gradual unlayering of the main character as the story progresses. Sure, Kya is a victim and a survivor, but she is so much more, and she is capable of more than I could have anticipated. As in some of my other favorite novels, it’s that loyalty to human nature, the understanding that circumstances can make good choices wrong and poor choices right, that pulled me in.

If I had known the ending when I started the book, I might not have believed it possible, but Delia Owens made it work.

By Delia Owens,

Why should I read it?

44 authors picked Where the Crawdads Sing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


For years, rumours of the 'Marsh Girl' have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be…

Book cover of Station Eleven

Eric Porter Author Of A People's History of SFO: The Making of the Bay Area and an Airport

From my list on airports teaching us about society.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve long had an ambivalent relationship with airports. They have been the starting point for my adventures, but I have also known well the discomfort, boredom, stress, surveillance, bad food, and other unpleasantries that often define airport experiences. Despite my ambivalence, I’ve found airports to be fascinating places where differently situated people (travelers and workers) encounter one another. I’ve learned that those encounters, as well as airport operations and design, tell us something about the places where they are located and the broader societies in which we live. I’ve since become aware that reading (and writing) about airports are also great ways to gain such insights. 

Eric's book list on airports teaching us about society

Eric Porter Why did Eric love this book?

In addition to eerily anticipating the COVID-19 pandemic—thankfully, our pathogen was not nearly as virulent and lethal—this post-apocalyptic novel offers interesting commentary about airports as microcosms of society.

The airport that figures prominently here is the gateway to and manifestation of a “secure” society structured as much by those it excludes as by those it includes. It is also the archive of a society defined, for better and for worse, by its relationship to technology. 

By Emily St. John Mandel,

Why should I read it?

25 authors picked Station Eleven as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Best novel. The big one . . . stands above all the others' - George R.R. Martin, author of Game of Thrones

Now an HBO Max original TV series

The New York Times Bestseller
Winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award
Longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction
National Book Awards Finalist
PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist

What was lost in the collapse: almost everything, almost everyone, but there is still such beauty.

One snowy night in Toronto famous actor Arthur Leander dies on stage whilst performing the role of a lifetime. That same evening a deadly virus touches down in…

Book cover of Shuggie Bain

Sherry Chiger Author Of Beyond Billicombe

From my list on families affected by addiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having known families affected by substance abuse, I’ve long been fascinated by the resiliency of addicts’ relatives and close friends. Equally compelling to me, as a one-time wannabe psychologist, was how living with substance abusers shaped people’s characters and lives. But while the search for a recovering addict drives Beyond Billicombes plot, the book is also an ode of sorts to North Devon, the area of England where I spent three of the happiest years of my life. Though I now live outside New York City, I haven’t given up hope on being able to move back there someday. 

Sherry's book list on families affected by addiction

Sherry Chiger Why did Sherry love this book?

Shuggie Bain invades the senses: You smell the sour breath of Shuggie’s mum as she snores, open-mouthed, in a drunken stupor; you feel the stiffness of the rug where endless spilled drinks were left to dry. Just as important, you feel the push-and-pull of love and despair, hope and anger, as Shuggie grows up, the youngest child of an alcoholic who is ultimately abandoned by the rest of their family. The final chapters, as Shuggie moves into adolescence and struggles to break from the burden of becoming caretaker to the woman who should have been taking care of him, are exceptional.

By Douglas Stuart,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Shuggie Bain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


A stunning debut novel by a masterful writer telling the heartwrenching story of a young boy and his alcoholic mother, whose love is only matched by her pride.

Shuggie Bain is the unforgettable story of young Hugh “Shuggie” Bain, a sweet and lonely boy who spends his 1980s childhood in run-down public housing in Glasgow, Scotland. Thatcher’s policies have put husbands and sons out of work, and the city’s notorious drugs epidemic is waiting in the wings.

Shuggie’s mother Agnes walks a wayward path: she…

Book cover of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Richard Scrimger Author Of At the Speed of Gus

From my list on neurodivergent voices, quirky, heartbreaking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I can’t count the number of conversations where I’ve been asked to slow down, or take a breath, or talk in a straight line. My neurodivergent heroes are versions of me: me if I were an alien, or a dying old lady, or a zombie. Gus is the closest I’ve come yet to writing my true self. He’s just me. I want readers who identify with Gus to feel seen and accepted and those who don’t—to understand what it’s like to live like this. And, just maybe, to have a little fun along the way. 

Richard's book list on neurodivergent voices, quirky, heartbreaking

Richard Scrimger Why did Richard love this book?

I love story remixes: new takes on an existing genre. This book takes a conventional mystery plotline and gives it bright new coloring thanks to the narrator’s autism.

As is often the case with neurodivergent folks, Christopher doesn’t know much about the world, but he understands himself. A quiet masterpiece. No sentimentality, thank heavens.

By Mark Haddon,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year

'Outstanding...a stunningly good read' Observer

'Mark Haddon's portrayal of an emotionally dissociated mind is a superb achievement... Wise and bleakly funny' Ian McEwan

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone. Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger's Syndrome. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth. He hates the colours yellow and brown and being touched. He has never gone further than the…

Book cover of White Oleander

Katie K. May Author Of You're on Fire, It's Fine: Effective Strategies for Parenting Teens with Self-Destructive Behaviors

From my list on healing family dynamics and generational trauma.

Why am I passionate about this?

My journey from a teen struggling with self-harm, drug use, and overwhelming emotions to a DBT-Linehan Board of Certification Clinician™ and director of Creative Healing, Teen Support Centers, uniquely positions me to understand the deep emotional challenges teens face. Having navigated my own tumultuous youth and now parenting a "Fire Feeler" teen, I use my personal and professional insights to guide thousands of teens and their parents. I am passionately committed to creating environments where teens are supported while the entire family learns skills to improve and work together.

Katie's book list on healing family dynamics and generational trauma

Katie K. May Why did Katie love this book?

This book struck a chord with me as it masterfully portrays a journey through hardship and transformation. Astrid’s resilience, especially in the haunting absence of her mother, resonated deeply with me as I navigated similar challenges in my own life. Her path to self-discovery and breaking free from generational patterns illustrates the profound strength required for self-reclamation.

By Janet Fitch,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked White Oleander as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

White Oleander is a painfully beautiful first novel about a young girl growing up the hard way. It is a powerful story of mothers and daughters, their ambiguous alliances, their selfish love and cruel behaviour, and the search for love and identity.Astrid has been raised by her mother, a beautiful, headstrong poet. Astrid forgives her everything as her world revolves around this beautiful creature until Ingrid murders a former lover and is imprisoned for life. Astrid's fierce determination to survive and be loved makes her an unforgettable figure. 'Liquid poetry' - Oprah Winfrey 'Tangled, complex and extraordinarily moving' - Observer

Book cover of The Girl with the Louding Voice

Kimberly Garret Brown Author Of Cora's Kitchen

From my list on celebrate the global resoluteness of Black women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been drawn to stories where I see aspects of myself in the characters since I was an adolescent and found comfort in the pages of Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. As a Black woman, I find validation and encouragement in novels where other Black women navigate life's obstacles to reach the desires of their hearts. It makes my life feel more manageable, knowing that I am not alone in the face of fear, loneliness, and self-doubt or more challenging social issues like racism, sexism, and classism. These stories give me hope and insight as I journey toward living life to its fullest. 

Kimberly's book list on celebrate the global resoluteness of Black women

Kimberly Garret Brown Why did Kimberly love this book?

This story, set in Nigeria, is a commentary on social economics and gender without sounding like one.

Fourteen-year-old Adunni wants an education to actualize her voice and make a difference but is seen as a commodity by her father and sold to be an old man's third wife. When tragedy hits her new household, she is backhandedly sold as a domestic servant.

I immediately fell in love with Adunni, savoring her simple but insightful descriptions. I identified with the grief she felt for her mother. Though heartbreaking at times, her determination was inspirational and encouraging as I continue on my own grief journey. She never loses hope and fights for what she wants for herself.

I felt the urge to applaud when I finished reading this book. 

By Abi Daré,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Girl with the Louding Voice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The most uplifting debut of 2020

'Unforgettable' New York Times 'Impressive' Observer 'Remarkable' Independent 'Important' Guardian 'Captivating' Mirror 'Luminous' Daily Mail 'Sparkling' Harper's Bazaar 'Beautiful' Herald


I don't just want to be having any kind voice . . .
I want a louding voice.

At fourteen, Adunni dreams of getting an education and giving her family a more comfortable home in her small Nigerian village. Instead, Adunni's father sells her off to become the third wife of an old man. When tragedy…

Book cover of Speak

Alexandra V. Méndez Author Of What the Jaguar Told Her

From my list on the power of stories and finding your voice.

Why am I passionate about this?

Stories and the myriad ways they’re told fascinate me. Growing up in Atlanta with Mexican and American heritage, I first learned about Mexican códices—centuries-old books that tell stories through images—on a trip to visit family in Mexico. Later, I studied the history and literature of Latin America at Harvard and got a Ph.D. in Latin American and Iberian Cultures and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. I’ve studied storytelling in many forms, from Mesoamerican maps to early Spanish chronicles of exploration and invasion, to modern Latin American novels. The books listed here celebrate oral storytelling, written traditions, and artistic expression, and they take seriously the perspectives of young people.

Alexandra's book list on the power of stories and finding your voice

Alexandra V. Méndez Why did Alexandra love this book?

In this book Laurie Halse Anderson lets us inside the mind of Melinda, a high schooler who finds herself increasingly isolated from friends and family.

As a reader, it was easy to share her frustration with how others treat her, because it was clear that her inner world didn’t match up with what others perceived outside of her. She has experienced a traumatic event, a violation that she doesn’t know how to process or talk about.

This novel masterfully captures the way Melinda compartmentalizes what has happened to her and grasps for coping mechanisms. Some of my favorite scenes occur in art class, where art-making becomes a key part of Melinda’s journey of gaining the courage to speak up about her trauma, and of reconnecting with others. 

By Laurie Halse Anderson,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Speak as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

A fiercely authentic, critically acclaimed and award-winning modern classic.

'Speak up for yourself - we want to know what you have to say.'

From my first day at Merryweather High, I know this is a lie.

Nobody will even talk to me, let alone listen - all because I called the cops on an end-of-summer party.

But if I could only tell everyone why I called the police that night...

If I could explain what happened to me...

If I could speak...

Then everything might change.

'With the rise of women finding their voices and speaking out about sexual assault…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in foster care, foster children, and Montreal?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about foster care, foster children, and Montreal.

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