Picture Books

Migration: Incredible Animal Journeys

Mike Unwin, illus. by Jenni Desmond

Unwin presents the epic journeys of 21 species, from dragonflies to whales, adroitly relating marvels of each creature’s migration. Desmond’s masterful illustrations capture the fragility and abundance of the natural world, and a map traces the migration paths globally.

Who Wet My Pants?
Bob Shea, illus. by Zachariah Ohora

The animal scout troop is gathered around the campfire when everyone notices a crescent-shaped wet patch at the crotch of Reuben’s pants. The bear immediately deflects the blame: “Who wet my pants?” he shouts, improbably. Shea and Ohora make a terrific team, creating a comedy that is both laugh-out-loud off-kilter and deeply humane.

Middle Grades

The Next Great Paulie Fink
Ali Benjamin

A wildly imaginative but never mean-spirited prankster, Paulie Fink was the life of Mitchell School. When he doesn’t appear on the first day of seventh grade, his classmates stage a reality TV–style competition, recruiting new girl Caitlyn to replace him with someone who can make things memorable. Genuinely original, the novel offers thoughtful perspectives on friendship, change, and the many guises of storytelling.

Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks
Jason Reynolds, illus. by Alexander Nabaum

Reynolds packs the 10 blocks surrounding multiple schools with 10 relatable slice-of-life stories that start after school ends. An overlapping cast of characters experiences the tribulations of familial love, fears, first crushes, and more. In Reynolds’s signature style, each story rings with emotional authenticity and empathy, and not a small amount of humor offsets the sometimes bittersweet realities of the characters’ lives.

Young Adult

Sarah Deming

This gritty, uplifting story follows Gravity Delgado, who begins boxing at age 12 and is preparing for the 2016 Summer Olympics by age 16 while navigating familial and social matters. Deming gives readers a thrilling firsthand look inside a boxing ring while offering the layered tale of a dedicated, formidable young woman.

The Waning Age
S.E. Grove

Emotions have dried up in this stripped-down sci-fi noir novel in which people “wane”—lose their ability to experience feelings—ever earlier. When Nat’s little brother Cal is identified as a late waner and taken in for testing, she determines to help him, even without the ability to feel traditional love. In Grove’s rich near-future world, a Raymond Chandler–style narrative meets questions of ethics and technology.

Parent Magazine