Islandborn by Junot Díaz; illustrated by Leo EspinosaWhat it's about: Assigned to draw her country of origin, Lola – who doesn't remember life on "the Island" -- collects reminiscences from her family and neighbors.
Why kids might like it: Brilliantly colored artwork depicts Lola's city neighborhood, as well her neighbors' evocative memories of music, mangoes, and people "like a rainbow -- every shade ever made."
Author alert: Islandborn is the picture book debut from award-winning author Junot Díaz.
Harriet Gets Carried Away by Jessie SimaWhat it's about: When Harriet, a spirited girl with a penchant for costumes, wears her penguin costume on an errand with her dads, she meets a group of real penguins who sweep her away on an epic journey.
Why kids might like it: Young readers will delight in Harriet's sweetness, skill, and sense of adventure as she navigates her way back home.
Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles by Patricia Valdez; illustrated by Felicita SalaStarring: smart, determined Joan Procter, a real-life reptile fanatic who grew up in the early 1900s and defied expectations by becoming curator for reptiles at the British Natural History Museum and the London Zoo.
Did you know? Joan used to take a huge Komodo dragon for leisurely strolls through the zoo.
Who it's for: aspiring herpetologists and other STEM-obsessed kids (or adults).
Hello Hello by Brendan WenzelWhat it is: a dazzling, contemporary bestiary featuring a variety of animal greetings and groupings, all vibrantly illustrated by artist Brendan Wenzel.
Who it's for: Bursting with creatures both common and endangered, Hello Hello is a treasure trove for young animal-fact collectors.
Don't miss: the handy animal-identification key, which will help to answer kids' questions about less-familiar species such as echidnas and mudpuppies.
I Got It! by David WiesnerWhat it's about: A young outfielder prepares to snag a high-flying baseball, declaring "I got it!" But does he? Several possible scenarios for failure -- some realistic, some surreal -- play out before the exuberant conclusion.
Read if for: an underdog athlete who triumphs (even if it's only in his imagination).
About the creator: A three-time Caldecott Medalist, David Wiesner heightens the drama in this nearly wordless tale with distinctive, hyperrealistic illustrations.
Magritte's Marvelous Hat by D.B. JohnsonWhat it is: a visual homage to famous surrealist painter René Magritte, a fable about inspiration, and a story about a mischievous hat.
Starring: a suit-wearing dog in the role of Magritte, a painter who's learning to look at things differently.
Look for: clever, interactive artwork, including transparent pages that kids can turn to transform the images on the pages they cover.
We Found a Hat by Jon KlassenWhat it's about: Two desert-dwelling turtles discover -- and immediately covet -- a single cowboy hat.
Why kids might like it: From the comically oversized hat to the turtles' shifty eyes, the spare illustrations speak volumes, ramping up the tension over hat ownership only to resolve it with a surprisingly gentle twist.
For fans of: the hat-based moral dilemmas in Jon Klassen's earlier books, I Want My Hat Back and This is Not My Hat.
Brimsby's Hats by Andrew PrahinWhat it's about: After his badger BFF leaves to become a sea captain, hat maker Brimsby lives a sad, solitary life...until he meets a group of snowbound birds in need of some unique hats.
Why kids might like it: Illustrated with the crisp lines of an animated cartoon, Brimsby's longing for a friend is something that any child can understand.
Reviewers say: "This quiet charmer of a picture book is an inspiration" (Booklist).
The Red Hat by David Teague; illustrated by Antoinette PortisStarring: Lonely Billy Hightower, who lives "atop the world's tallest building" with a lively breeze as his only companion -- a breeze that interferes every time Billy tries to get the attention of the red-hatted girl in the neighboring skyscraper.
Look for: the vivid pops of red that stand out against the book's black-white-and-blue illustrations, creating striking visuals for this story about overcoming obstacles to find friendship.
Hooray for Hat! by Brian WonWhat it's about: After Elephant wakes up feeling grumpy, he discovers that donning a stack of colorful hats banishes his bad mood.
Why kids might like it: Children will want to cheer along as Elephant distributes funky headgear to his grouchy friends, transforming each grumbled "go away!" into a gleeful refrain of "hooray for hat!"
Try this next: Hooray for Today! and Hooray for Books!, also by Brian Won.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 0-8!