Each month we post an annotated bibliography of books that were rated ‘Outstanding’ at our previous month’s meeting and nominated for our year-end Distinguished List. Members can see full reviews of these books and many more in the November edition of BayViews. Not a member? Join, come to our (currently virtual) monthly meetings, and hear about these Outstanding books “in person”!
If You Come to Earth written and illustrated by Blackall, Sophie; Chronicle, 2020.
Blackall’s long-form picture book acts as a basic primer on on Planet Earth: a vividly-colored and breathtakingly-detailed visual feast, with a logical visual and narrative flow, that one will want to return to and pore over again and again. (Grades PreK-2)
See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog written by LaRochelle, David and illustrated by Wohnoutka, Mike; Candlewick, 2020.
Gouache illustrations humorously tell of an exasperated dog named Max who learns to channel the power of the text in this best in class easy reader. Hand to fans of “The Book with No Pictures.” (PreK-2.)
All He Knew written by Frost, Helen; Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020.
Six-year-old Henry is sent to a special home for disabled boys after he becomes deaf from an illness, in this poignant novel in verse set in 1939-1945. A conscientious objector named Victor is assigned to work there as part of the WWII draft, which benefits Henry. (4-8.)
My Storied Year written by Proctor, Katie; Fawkes Press, 2020.
A thoughtful middle grade story depicting empathy and learning differences, and sure to inspire young writers, this debut novel is a valuable choice for public and school library shelves.
Turning Point written by Chase, Paula; Greenwillow / HarperCollins, 2020.
Monique attends an intensive ballet program where she is one of only two Black students, while her best friend Rasheeda struggles with the restrictions imposed by her religious aunt. A compelling narrative filled with well-developed characters grappling with issues of race, identity and trust. (5-9.)
We Are Not From Here written by Sanchez, Jenny Torres; Philomel/Penguin Random House, 2020.
Teen cousins Pulga and Pequena recount their harrowing journey fleeing from their home in Guatemala toward what they hope will be the safety of the United States. Well-documented and beautifully narrated, this is a truly terrifying story buoyed by the strength and hope of its narrators. (8-Adult.)
Displacement written and illustrated by Hughes, Kiku; First Second/Roaring Brook, 2020.
Japanese American teen Kiku visits San Francisco and is pulled back in time to the 1942 incarceration camps. Her experience leads her to become an anti-racist activist. The strong story, spare art, and muted color palette communicate the camp’s bleakness and Kiku’s current day activism equally well. (7-12.)
The Magic Fish written and illustrated by Trung, Le Nguyen; RH Graphic/Penguin Random House, 2020.
Thirteen-year-old Tiến and his mother share fairytales to help bridge his limited Vietnamese and her limited English. Tiến has something important to tell her but can’t find the right words. Supported by stunning artwork, this moving tale shows how stories can help communicate even sensitive things. (7-11.)
How We Got to the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity’s Greatest Adventure written and illustrated by Rocco, John; Crown/Penguin Random House, 2020.
Caldecott Honor illustrator Rocco has written and created detailed artwork for this history of how the U.S. was able to successfully land on the moon. The book has sidebars, charts, diagrams, and portraits. (4-10.)
The Voice of Liberty written by Carpenter, Angelica Shirley and illustrated by Fotheringham, Edwin; South Dakota State Historical Society, 2020.
In 1886, three intrepid women — Lillie Devereux Blake, Blake’s daughter Katie, and Matilda Joslyn Gage — fought to be in the boat parade dedication ceremony for the Statue of Liberty. Although only able to afford a smelly cattle boat, two hundred (including twenty-five men) joined them in protest. (2-6.)