Today’s the big day! The ALA (American Library Association) announced the 2020 John Newbery and Randolph Caldecott awards.
I’m excited because I really like the Newbery and Caldecott book picks. And, both the Newbery and Caldecott book winners are on my best of 2019 book lists:
Ready to find out what books got the top spots for this year?
2020 Newbery Awards
The 2020 Newbery award winner for “the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children” goes to New Kid by Jerry Craft— the first graphic novel ever to win a Newbery. And it’s well deserved, too. New Kid is an insightful story about growing up, prejudice, culture, and art.
At his new private school across town, Jordan is one of the only kids of color. Besides dealing with the tricky business of making new friends, he now faces two separate worlds; the world of his neighborhood and the world at school. Adding to the challenges, at his new school, he encounters prejudice and stereotyping from both teachers and other students. And, because Jordan is an artist, he also struggles to balance academics with his artwork. It’s honest, relatable, and funny — an enjoyable must-read. You’ll find a lot to discuss.
2020 Newbery Honor Books
These are the four Newbery Honor titles:
The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
This moving, emotionally compelling poem celebrates the strong, unforgettable, hard-working black Americans who persevered through slavery, prejudice, war, civil rights, and who rise up, cool and unbending. The lush, realistic illustrations feel transcendent.
Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidecker, illustrated by Junyi Wu
The creepy storyteller in the sinister Bog Cavern tells short, interconnected SCARY stories to a litter of seven foxes with a warning: the stories might just scare them (and you) half to death. As the horrifying tales are told, we see how they connect. But how will they end? I love that the stories are all about animals and that there are tender and funny moments of love and family along with the scary parts. But beware of the rest…
Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga
Written in evocative yet readable verse, follow a young girl from her home in Syria as she moves with her mother the United States. Jude’s journey is one of growing up, being brave, and discovery. Readers will see how Jude finds her way– relating other ESL students in their safe classroom space, finding new friends, getting her period and starting to wear a headscarf, and even performing in the school play. Her insights on life in America helps us understand what it’s like to be an immigrant experiencing this country for the first time. Beautiful!
Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams
Don’t miss this important middle-grade book from 2019 about self-worth, beauty, and colorism. Genesis hates her dark skin, believing that if only she were lighter-skinned, she’d be pretty and have a better life. Despite this and troubles at home with a ne’er-do-well father who can’t keep a job, at her newest school an insightful music teacher introduces Genesis to jazz legends like Billie Holliday. This changes everything. Now Genesis can find her voice, literally and metaphorically.
2020 Caldecott Medal
Kadir Nelson‘s illustrations in The Undefeated written by Kwame Alexander won the coveted 2020 Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children. The lush, realistic illustrations feel transcendent. I could look at them for hours. It boggles my mind that Nelson’s artwork in this book feels so tactile and sensory. Beautiful doesn’t even describe it. If you haven’t read this book, I promise you’ll be as impressed as the librarians who voted for this and me.
This picture book is a moving, emotionally-compelling poem that celebrates the strong, unforgettable, hard-working black Americans who persevered through slavery, prejudice, war, civil rights, and who rise up, cool and unbending. It’s on my Best 2019 Picture Books list.
The Caldecott Honor Books
The Caldecott Honor books for 2020 are:
Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Bear discovers that observation of small moments can turn into big adventures with friends. He isn’t aware that he’s on an adventure until he’s floating down the river on a log with Froggy on his head soon to be joined by Turtles, Beaver, and Racoons who don’t know they need to be careful until they run into Duck. With a wonderful circular ending and after a fun-filled fall of the waterfall, the friends realize they’re sharing life together…because the river came along. Love this book and the illustrations.
Double Bass Blues by Andrea J. Loney, illustrated by Rudy Gutirrez
Talk about illustrations with emotion and movement! Here’s a picture book where the pictures tell most of the story and boy do these illustrations do their job! They tell the story of a musician named Nic who spends his days playing in his orchestra at school and later returning to his home neighborhood. It’s a beautiful book that shows a boy living in two worlds as well as the power of music and family.
Going Down Home with Daddy by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Daniel Minter
In this slice-of-life story, a family travels to Granny’s house where they meet up with lots of relatives, packing the house full. The kids play together then listen to stories about their land and their ancestors, finding a way to pay tribute to this history in their own ways. The gorgeous illustrations are filled with textures and emotion.
Book Recommendations By Age:
20 Best Books for Age 2
Best Books for Age 3
Age 4 & 5:
Best Books for Ages 4 and 5
6- and 7-Year-Olds:
Best Easy / Beginning Chapter Books for 6- and 7-Year-Olds
Best Books for Teens