Spit Feathers

Ferguson is trying to help his grandfather figure out his legacy. His grandfather doesn’t want to have any regrets, like his old friend McDermit, who famously caught a giant lobster but regretted not returning it to sea. So when another giant lobster is caught in their fishing community and put up for auction, Ferguson cooks up a plan with his grandfather to bid on the lobster and set it free.

Out the Window

This wordless board book consists of one double-sided, fan-folded page that opens out to reveal a unique bear’s-eye view of the world. Effective use of white space helps depict the initial journey, in contrast with energetic illustrations presenting an alternate view when the leaf is seen in reverse. A simple yet ingenious exploration of perspective.

Only Ever Always

The notes of an old music box connects two girls from very different worlds–Clara, who struggles to survive poverty and violence in a troubled city, and Claire, whose ordinary life is beset by grief–in a place where neither can be sure what is real.

The View From Saturday (Newbery Medal Book)

HOW HAD MRS. OLINSKI CHOSEN her sixth-grade Academic Bowl team? She had a number of answers. But were any of them true? How had she really chosen Noah and Nadia and Ethan and Julian? And why did they make such a good team?

It was a surprise to a lot of people when Mrs. Olinski’s team won the sixth-grade Academic Bowl contest at Epiphany Middle School. It was an even bigger surprise when they beat the seventh grade and the eighth grade, too. And when they went on to even greater victories, everyone began to ask: How did it happen?

It happened at least partly because Noah had been the best man (quite by accident) at the wedding of Ethan’s grandmother and Nadia’s grandfather. It happened because Nadia discovered that she could not let a lot of baby turtles die. It happened when Ethan could not let Julian face disaster alone. And it happened because Julian valued something important in himself and saw in the other three something he also valued.

Mrs. Olinski, returning to teaching after having been injured in an automobile accident, found that her Academic Bowl team became her answer to finding confidence and success. What she did not know, at least at first, was that her team knew more than she did the answer to why they had been chosen.

This is a tale about a team, a class, a school, a series of contests and, set in the midst of this, four jewel-like short stories — one for each of the team members — that ask questions and demonstrate surprising answers.

The Uninvited

Mimi Shapiro had a disturbing freshman year at NYU, thanks to a foolish affair with a professor who still haunts her caller ID. So when her artist father, Marc, offers the use of his remote Canadian cottage, she’s glad to hop in her Mini Cooper and drive up north. The house is fairy-tale quaint, and the key is hidden right where her dad said it would be, so she’s shocked to find someone already living there — Jay, a young musician, who is equally startled to meet Mimi and immediately accuses her of leaving strange and threatening tokens inside: a dead bird, a snakeskin, a cricket sound track embedded in his latest composition. But Mimi has just arrived, so who is responsible? And more alarmingly, what does the intruder want? Part gripping thriller, part family drama, this fast-paced novel plays out in alternating viewpoints, in a pastoral setting that is evocative and eerie — a mysterious character in its own right.