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 October edition of BayViews. Not a member? Join, come to our (currently virtual) monthly meetings, and hear about these Outstanding books “in person”!
I Am Every Good Thing written by Barnes, Derrick and illustrated by James, Gordon C.; Nancy Paulsen/Penguin Random House, 2020.
The boys in this book soar and fall, are brave and also scared, are held by family and supported by history. Probably one of the most important and also one of the most amazing picture books released this year. The book is a love letter to and a celebration of black boyhood. (Grades PreK-5.)
The Same But Different Too written by Newson, Karl and illustrated by Hindley, Kate; Nosy Crow/Candlewick; 2020.
Newson celebrates many differences and similarities people have by comparing various types of kids with wide ranging variety of anthropomorphic animals. (PreK-1.)
Before the Ever After written by Woodson, Jacqueline; Nancy Paulsen/Penguin Random House, 2020.
This middle grade tour de force shows the decline of a successful pro- football player as seen through his 12-year-old son’s eyes. Heartbreaking in a way that only Woodson can be. This book portrays a family being torn apart but also pulling together while facing a bewildering disability. (4-8.)
Fighting Words written by Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker; Dial/Penguin Random House, 2020.
Sexual abuse, sexual harassment among tweens, suicide, homelessness-Bradley has covered a variety of tough topics with her signature strong characterization. Ultimately, this survival story is a triumph against being dealt a very poor hand. (4-7.)
Grown written by Jackson, Tiffany D.; Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins, 2020.
Based partially on the stories of R. Kelly’s victims, Grown is a condemnation of the social and legal systems which facilitate the victimization of black women, especially in the entertainment world. Protagonist Enchanted’s voice is convincing and her story is disturbing, powerful and important. (9-12.)
Raybearer written by Ifueko, Jordan; Amulet/Abrams, 2020.
Author Ifueko uses the unique heroine sixteen- year-old Tarisai, raised in isolation and thrust into her world’s political and spiritual center, to explore themes of belonging, difference, power, and imperialism in a sensitive and sensual fantasy coming-of-age novel. (8-12.)
Show Me a Sign written by LeZotte, Ann Clare; Scholastic, 2020.
An articulate 11-year-old girl who is Deaf faces danger when she is abducted by a ruthless scientist seeking a “live specimen.” Set in a historic Martha’s Vineyard town, the author brilliantly weaves sign language into an exciting and unique narrative set at the turn of the 19th century. (4-7.)
Trowbridge Road written by Pixley, Marcella; Candlewick, 2020.
Fellow outcasts June Bug and Ziggy work through the pain in their lives by retreating to the “ninth dimension”, an imaginary place where they have some control over their environment. A heavy and intense, though ultimately hopeful, novel for fans of Katherine Paterson’s The Bridge to Terabithia. (4-8.)
What If a Fish written by Fajardo, Anika; Simon & Schuster, 2020.
Even though Eddie Aguado is half-Colombian from his dad’s side of the family, he doesn’t speak Spanish and barely remembers his dad. Drawing on her own experiences, the author creates a moving story with believable characters and a few touches of magical realism. (3-7.)
When Stars Are Scattered written by Jamieson, Victoria and Mohamad, Omar, and illustrated by Jamieson, Victoria; Dial/Penguin Random House, 2020.
In this graphic novel memoir, Somalian brothers Omar and Hassan live on their own in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, with Omar continually hoping for some sort of reunification with their mother and wrestling with guilt after getting an opportunity to attend school in the camp. A must read. (4-7.)
The Teachers March!: How Selma’s Teachers Changed History written by Wallace, Sandra Neil and Wallace, Rich, and illustrated by Palmer, Charly; Calkins Creek, 2020.
A march in Selma, Alabama in 1965 to advocate for voter registration and civil rights was led by Reverend F.D. Reese, a teacher at a local segregated high school. This true story is a timely look at the act of protesting, describing how average people really can make a difference. (2-5.)