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OTTER Award History

And the winner is...Pets Rule! Kingdom of Darkness By Susan Tan! 

Pets Rule! Kingdom of Darkness By Susan Tan Book Cover 

Graph of 2024 OTTER Award distribution


2024 OTTER Award Nominees:

  • Aven Green, Sleuthing Machine (Aven Green, book 1)by Dusti Bowling, illustrated by Gina Perry (Union Square Kids / Sterling Publishing Company)

  • Planetary-YUM (Waffles and Pancake, book 1) by Drew Brockington (LB Ink / Little, Brown Young Readers)

  • Blast Off! (Abby in Orbit, book 1) by Andrea J. Loney, illustrated by Fuuji Takashi (Albert Whitman & Co.)

  • Awesome Orange Birthday (The Party Diaries, book 1) by Mitali Banerjee Ruths, illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel (Branches / Scholastic)

  • My Kingdom of Darkness (Pet Rule, Book 1) by Susan Tan, illustrated by Wendy Tan Shiau Wei (Branches / Scholastic)

  • The Underdogs (Underdogs, Book 1) by Tracey West, illustrated by Kyla May (Scholastic)


 Graph of 2024 OTTER Award distribution

2023 OTTER Award Nominees:

" "

  • 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)

 2023 Nominee Presentation Links and Resources for Educators

2022 OTTER Award Winner:

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.

2022 OTTER Award Nominees:

Cover Images for the OTTER Award Nominee Books for 2022

     Dancing at Carnival (Ana & Andrew) by Christine A Platt, illustrated by Sharon Sordo (Calico Kid / ABDO)
     Dave the Unicorn: Welcome to Unicorn School by Pip Bird, illustrated by David O’Connell (Imprint / Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)
     High and Dry by Eric Walters, illustrated by Sabrina Gendron (Orca Book Publishers)
     Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business by Lyla Lee, illustrated by Dung Ho (Aladdin / Simon & Schuster Publishing)
     Red Panda & Moon Bear by Jarod Roselló (Top Shelf Productions / IDW Publishing)
     Willa the Wisp (The Fabled Stables, book #1) by Jonathan Auxier, illustrated by Olga Demidova (Amulet Books / Abrams)
 View the 2022 nominees as presented during the WLA 2021 Conference, with links to videos, bookmarks, printables, and more!

2021 OTTER Award Winner:

Cover image of Sparks! by Ian Boothby, illustrated by Nina Matsumoto

Sparks! by Ian Boothby, illustrated by Nina Matsumoto

2021 OTTER Award Nominees

Book Covers for 2021 OTTTER award nominees

  • Sparks!  by Ian Boothby, illustrated Nina Matsumoto (Graphix by Scholastic)
  • Didi Dodo, Future Spy: Recipe for Disaster (Didi Dodo, Future Spy #1) by Tom Angleberger, illustrated by Jared Chapman (Amulet Books)
  • Truman the Dog (My Furry Foster Family, book #1) by Debbi Michiko Florence, illustrated by Melanie Demmer (Capstone Publishers)
  • Isle of Misfits 1: First Class by Jamie Mae, illustrated by Freya Hartas (Little Bee Books)
  • Mia Mayhem is a Superhero! by Kara West, illustrated by Leeza Hernandez (Simon & Schuster)
  • Stealing the Sword! (Time Jumpers, book #1) by Wendy Mass, illustrated by Oriol Vidal (Scholastic Branches)

View the 2021 nominees as presented during the WLA 2020 Conference, with links to videos, bookmarksprintables, and more!

Wendy Mass thanks the OTTER Committee

2020 OTTER Award Winner:

Mr. Wolf's Class By Aron Nels Steinke

2020 OTTER Award Nominees

  • Two’s a Crowd (Pug Pals #1)  by Flora Ahn (Scholastic)
  • Mac Undercover (Mac B., Kid Spy #1) by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Mike Lowery (Scholastic)
  • Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters (The Questioneers, book #1) by Andrea Beady, illustrated by David Roberts (Amulet / Abrams)
  • Meet Yasmin! by Saadia Faruqi, illustrated by Hatem Aly (Picture Window Books / Capstone)
  • Rabbit’s Bad Habits (Rabbit & Bear, book 1) by Julian Gough, illustrated by Jim Field (Silver Dolphin Books / Hachette Children’s Group)
  • Mr. Wolf’s Class (Mr. Wolf’s Class #1) by Aron Nels Steinke (Graphix / Scholastic)

 2019 OTTER Award Winner:







Mr. Wolf's Class By Aron Nels Steinke Game Over, Super Rabbit Boy! (Press Start #1) by Thomas Fllintham 

2019 OTTER Award Nominees

  • Catstronauts: mission moon by Drew Brockington (Little, Brown)
  • Dragons and Marshmallows (Zoey and Sassafras) by Asia Citro, illustrated by Marion Lindsay (The Innovation Press)
  • Game Over, Super Rabbit Boy! (Press Start!) by Thomas Flintham (Branches/Scholastic)
  • Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen by Debbi Michiko Florence, illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic (FSG / Macmillian Kids)
  • March of the Mini-Beasts (The D.A.T.A. Set) by Ada Hopper, illustrated by Sam Ricks (Little Simon / Simon & Schuster)
  • Dolphin Rescue (Animal Planet Adventures) by Catherine Nichols , illustrated by James Burks (Liberty Street / Time Inc. Books)

 2018 OTTER Award Winner:






The Bad Guys: Episode 1 by Aaron Blabey

2018 OTTER Award Nominees

Bad GuysGreat pet escapeAll PawsInfamous ratsosGoodallLola levine

  • The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey
  • The Great Pet Escape by Victoria Jamieson
  • All Paws on Deck by Jessica Young
  • The Infamous Ratsos by Kara LaReau
  • I am Jane Goodall by Brad Meltzer
  • Lola Levine Is Not Mean by Monica Brown

2018 Bookmarks and Otter Award Labels Avery 22830.pdf

 2017 OTTER Award Winner:

HiLo The Boy Who Crashed to Earth


Hilo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick

2017 OTTER Award Nominees

The Haunted LibraryShelter Pet Squad Book CoverKung Pow Chicken Let's Get Cracking Book CoverRanger in Time Book CoverRise of the Earth Dragon Book CoverHiLo The Boy Who Crashed to Earth

  • The Haunted Library By Dori Hillstad Butler (Grosset & Dunlap)
  • Jelly Bean (Shelter Pet Squad #1) by Cynthia Lord (Scholastic Press)
  • Let's Get Cracking! (Kung Pow Chicken #1) Cyndi Marko (Scholastic Press)
  • Rescue on the Oregon Trail (Ranger in Time #1) by Kate Messner (Scholastic Press)
  • Rise of the Earth Dragon (Dragon Masters #1) by Tracey West (Scholastic Press)
  • The Boy Who Crashed to Earth (HiLo #1) by Judd Winnick (Random House)