The Times 2016 Best Young Adult & Children’s Books

We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen
Two turtles fight over who gets to keep the chapeau they’ve found.
They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
This picture book beautifully imagines a cat through the eyes of all the animals it passes as it walks through the world. To a dog, the cat looks lean and creepy; to a mouse, it looks enormous and menacing; to a bee, it looks like a pointillist landscape.
Thunderboy Jr. by Sherman Alexie
In his ode to individuality, a young Native American boy struggles with his name—the same as his father’s, which he feels doesn’t fit him at all. He wants a name that reflects his own personality, and eventually his father agrees.
The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas, ill. Erin E. Stead
A lonely man whose job is to deliver the messages in bottles to the right people finds one letter without a To person or address. As he asks around, trying to find the intended recipient, he finds friendship in unexpected places.
As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds
Two Brooklyn brothers spend the summer at their grandparents’ house in rural Virginia, where they discover that their blind grandfather lives a sheltered life, escaping nightly to a secret room in his house. When he tries to teach one of his grandsons how to shoot a gun, an unfortunate turn of events teaches everyone a lesson in bravery.
Pax by Sarah Pennypacker
In an alternative present-day America, Peter’s father is heading off to war, and makes his son leave a pet fox in the woods before he marches off. Across 300 miles, the boy and his fox try to reunite, struggling through the wilderness of being alone.
It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas
In 1970s California, Zomorod (Cindy) Yousefzadeh moves with her Iranian parents to a nicer new neighborhood, but they quickly encounter bigotry from certain neighbors. While Cindy works hard at school and tries to make friends, the Iran hostage crisis only heightens animosity to her family.
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Moon
A Jamaican teen in New York City is racing against the clock to save her family from deportation when she meets an Korean American guy feeling pressure to follow his parents’ plan for his life. As they begin to fall in love with each other, they realize their lives will be intertwined in unexpected ways.
A Torch Against the Sky by Sabaa Tahir
The eagerly anticipated sequel of An Ember in the Ashes finds the young members of the “Scholars” resistance under autocratic rule as the emperor’s cronies pursue them. While they try to protect themselves, they also attempt to save a beloved brother imprisoned for his dangerous knowledge.
Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer
Something odd is going on at Covington High School: the seniors are spontaneously combusting. While the FBI investigates what’s going on, protagonist Mara—who witnessed the first poof—just tries to survive ‘til graduation.

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