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The OTTER Award

Announcing the 2023 OTTER Award Nominees

WLA's OTTER Award committee is excited to announce the 2023 OTTER Award nominees!

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  • Starla Jean (Starla Jean, book 1) by Elana K. Arnold, illustrated by A. N. Kang (Roaring Brook Press / Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)
  • Monster and Boy (Monster and Boy, book 1) by Hannah Barnaby, illustrated by Anoosha Syed (Square Fish / Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)
  • Max Meow Book 1: Cat Crusader by John Gallagher (Penguin Random House)
  • Missed Meal Mayhem (The Hunger Heroes, book 1) by Jarrett Lerner (Aladdin / Simon & Schuster Publishing)
  • The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian #1: The Fuzzy Apocalypse by Jonathan Messinger, illustrated by Aleksei Bitskoff (Harper / HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Trouble at Table 5 #1: The Candy Caper by Tom Watson, illustrated by Marta Kissi (HarperChapters / HarperCollins Publishers)

Please check back soon for more information along with soon-to-be updated materials (bookmarks! videos!) for the 2023 nominees.

The goal of the OTTER Award is to highlight titles that are both engaging and developmentally appropriate for readers transitionin into chapter books. With a motto of “books kids like, not books adults think kids should like,” student feedback is utilized when selecting the nominees. A maximum of six titles are selected each year. Voting occurs in May, and the results are announced in June.


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Cover of "Red Panda & Moon Bear"

Red Panda & Moon Bear! by Jarod Roselló, illustrated by Nina Matsumoto

Two Latinx kids battle supernatural threats to their working-class neighborhood with the power of science, magic, and a pair of very special hoodies.

Red Panda and Moon Bear are the defenders of their community! Together, these brave siblings rescue lost cats, scold bullies, and solve mysteries, all before Mami and Papi get home. But lately... the mysteries have been EXTRA mysterious. All of RP and MB's powers may not be enough to handle spooks, supervillains, alien invaders, and time warps! It'll take all their imagination -- and some new friends -- to uncover the secret cause behind all these events before the whole world goes crazy.

In his first book for young readers, Cuban-American cartoonist Jarod Roselló presents a whimsical and tender-hearted adventure, packed with Saturday-morning action and glowing with Caribbean sunshine.