Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson's Milo Imagines the World, a Kids' Indie Next List picture book, centers on a child's regular ride on public transportation. The occasion for the trip, it turns out, is Milo's monthly visit to see his incarcerated mother. To pass the time, Milo people-watches, using a notebook to record the places he imagines his fellow passengers going after they reach their stops. Robinson is back with his robust paint-and-collage art. Chunky geometric shapes stand out with brazen brightness against various train stations' determinedly industrial color schemes. To conjure what Milo puts in his notebook, Robinson switches to blunt strokes that look as though they were forged with crayons.
On the subway, Milo feels "excitement stacked on top of worry on top of confusion on top of love"; readers will likely feel compassion stacked on top of heartache on top of humility on top of hope. --Nell Beram, freelance writer and YA author