I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a challenging year to say the least. But as we head into the new year, one thing I can safely say is that 2020 has given us some excellent new children’s books. Perusing lists share by various review sources, I’ve been blown away by the variety I’ve seen. While some titles appear in many lists, others make surprise appearances – and yet, I agree with almost every selection.
So in that vein, and much like my picture book post from last November, this month I’ll be highlighting some top releases from 2020 as selected by some of my favorite librarians.
Bedtime for Sweet Creatures by Nikki Grimes
A very sleepy child resists their mother’s efforts to put them to bed in this sweet bedtime read.
The Paper Boat by Thao Lam
A refugee story creatively told through the experience of a family of ants on a paper boat.
In My Anaana’s Amautik by Nadia Sammurtok
Experience the world through the eyes of a baby carried around in mother’s amautik – the pouch in the back of her parka.
Three Squeezes by Jason Pratt
Follow a father and son as their relationship grows and changes over time.
Fly on the Wall by Remy Lai
After his family’s yearly visit to see his father in Singapore is cancelled, Henry Khoo hatches a plan to make the trip on his own.
Diana and the Island of No Return by Aisha Saeed
With the help of her friends, a young Diana must face off against a demon bent on destroying Themyscira and its neighboring lands.
Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park
Half-Chinese Hanna and her white father face racism and resistance to change as they attempt to make their home in 1880s Dakota Territory.
The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez by Adrianna Cuevas
A Cuban-American boy who just wants to fit in must use his ability to talk to animals to save his community from a witch.
Stepping Stones by Lucy Knisley
A semi-autobiographical account of young Lucy’s first summer living with her mom and stepfather on a farm.
City of Secrets by Victoria Ying
A young orphan who is secretly in charge of an amazing mechanical building must face off against a band of ruffians looking to unlock the secret he holds.
The Deep & Dark Blue by Niki Smith
After fleeing from a political coup, siblings Hawke and Grayson assume new identities in order to hide among an order of magical women while planning to avenge their family.
Snapdragon by Kat Leyh
A young girl begins an apprenticeship with the town witch after rescuing a family of opossums.
Eat Your Rocks, Croc! by Jess Keating
Dr. Sugar Glider travels around the world dispensing advice to animals with problems – all while teaching kids interesting, unusual facts about them.
Blood and Germs: the Civil War Battle Against Wounds and Diseases by Gail Jarrow
Another stand-out from Gail Jarrow, this non-fiction title uses first-hand accounts and actual medical cases to explore the grisly medical history of the U.S. Civil War.
History Smashers by Kate Messner
A new series rather than a specific title, Kate Messner smashes the stories you thought you knew to bring readers a more complete picture of various historical events.
Looking for more great titles from 2020? Check out these lists:
The Best Children’s Books of 2020 (Book Riot)
The Best Children’s Books of 2020 for All Ages (The Guardian)
The 25 Best Children’s Books of 2020 (The New York Times)
30 Best Children’s Books of 2020 (Parents)
Best Children’s Books of 2020 Reveal a Growing Diversity (The Washington Post)
This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: IV. Knowledge, Curation, and Management of Materials.