Where I Belong

This moving novel of self-discovery and awareness takes place during the Oka crisis in the summer of 1990. Adopted as an infant, Carrie has always felt out of place somehow. Recurring dreams haunt her, warning that someone close to her will be badly hurt. When she finds out that her birth father is Mohawk, living in Kahnawake, Quebec, she makes the journey and finally achieves a sense of home and belonging.

El Vacío

Julia was a happy girl, until one day everything went away, leaving her a big “vacío.” Her “vacío” was huge; cold came through it, and monsters emerged from it. She tried to fill it with food, social media and medicine, but nothing helped. In a moment of extreme frustration and tiredness, Julia collapsed and cried without comfort until falling asleep. Suddenly, a voice coming from the ground told her to look through her “vacío.” When she did, she saw and felt colors, melodies and magic worlds that gave her a sense of connection to herself, to others and to nature. She began approaching people differently and noticed that they also had their own “vacíos” and wonderful worlds. Julia’s “vacío” started to shrink, but rather than disappearing, it remained as a window into Julia’s magical worlds; a reminder of the importance of feeling connected to the world.

Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide

Graciela Iturbide was born in Mexico City in 1942, the oldest of 13 children. When tragedy struck Iturbide as a young mother, she turned to photography for solace and understanding. From then on Iturbide embarked on a photographic journey that has taken her throughout her native Mexico, from the Sonora Desert to Juchitán to Frida Kahlo’s bathroom, to the United States, India, and beyond. Photographic is a symbolic, poetic, and deeply personal graphic biography of this iconic photographer. Iturbide’s journey will excite readers of all ages as well as budding photographers, who will be inspired by her resolve, talent, and curiosity.

Middle Bear

Susanna Isern’s melodic picture book tale uses repetition throughout and offers an upbeat and positive message to middle children everywhere. It’s a subject that is not often addressed in this format. With its hero’s quest theme, the story has the feel of a modern-day fairy tale. Manon Gauthier’s spare artwork and understated palette perfectly capture the poignancy of the bear cub’s emotional journey. Though the book focuses on the role of middle children, it really celebrates every child’s efforts toward self-discovery, as they seek out their own special place in the world. It also offers a wonderful opportunity to highlight the character education subject of perseverance or a lesson on empathy.

The Bear Who Wasn’t There

Bear’s search for himself doesn’t matter so much as the charm of Lavie’s storytelling voice as he narrates it . . . Erlbruch gives the bear big, puzzled-looking eyes and a lovable grin. He lives in a forest made of ornate trees seemingly lifted from vintage engravings, whose delicate lines play off Bear’s dumpy figure. Bear’s encounters with various characters—the Turtle Taxi, the Penultimate Penguin—feature gentle wordplay and Lewis Carroll–like paradoxes . . . Everything is new to Bear, and his discoveries will delight readers.

Being Henry David

Seventeen-year-old “Hank” has found himself at Penn Station in New York City with no memory of anything—who he is, where he came from, why he’s running away. His only possession is a worn copy of Walden by Henry David Thoreau. And so he becomes Henry David—or “Hank”—and takes first to the streets, and then to the only destination he can think of—Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts.

Cal Armistead’s remarkable debut novel is about a teen in search of himself. Hank begins to piece together recollections from his past. The only way Hank can discover his present is to face up to the realities of his grievous memories. He must come to terms with the tragedy of his past, to stop running, and to find his way home.

The Voice Inside My Head

Seventeen-year-old Luke’s older sister, Pat, has always been his moral compass, like a voice inside his head, every time he has a decision to make. So when Pat disappears on a tiny island off the coast of Honduras and the authorities claim she’s drowned – despite the fact that they can’t produce a body – Luke heads to Honduras to find her because he knows something the authorities don’t. From the moment of her disappearance, Pat’s voice has become real, guiding him to Utila, where she had accepted a summer internship to study whale sharks. Once there, he meets several characters who describe his sister as a very different girl from the one knows. Does someone have a motive for wanting her dead? Determined to get to the bottom of Pat’s disappearance, Luke risks everything, including his own life, to find the answer.