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.
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).
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.