Best Books of 2020

  •  Before the Ever After Cover

    Before the Ever After

    by Jacqueline Woodson Year Published: 2020
    For as long as ZJ can remember, his dad has been everyone's hero. As a charming, talented pro football star, he's as beloved to the neighborhood kids he plays with as he is to his millions of adoring sports fans. But lately life at ZJ's house is anything but charming. His dad is having trouble remembering things and seems to be angry all the time. ZJ's mom explains it's because of all the head injuries his dad sustained during his career. ZJ can understand that--but it doesn't make the sting any less real when his own father forgets his name. As ZJ contemplates his new reality, he has to figure out how to hold on tight to family traditions and recollections of the glory days, all the while wondering what their past amounts to if his father can't remember it. And most importantly, can those happy feelings ever be reclaimed when they are all so busy aching for the past?
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  •  Green Lantern Cover

    Green Lantern Legacy

    by Minh Le Year Published: 2020

    Thirteen-year-old Tai Pham lives in the apartment above his grandmother's store, where his bedroom is crammed with sketchpads and comic books. But not even his most imaginative drawings could compare to the colorful adventure he's about to embark on.

    When Tai inherits his grandmother's jade ring, he soon finds out it's more than it appears. Suddenly he's being inducted into a group of space cops known as the Green Lanterns, his neighborhood is being overrun by some racist bullies, and every time he puts pen to paper, he's forced to confront that he might not be creative enough or strong enough to uphold his ba's legacy.

    Now Tai must decide what kind of hero he wants to be- will he learn to soar above his insecurities or will the past keep him grounded?

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  • I am Every Good Thing

    by Derrick Barnes Year Published: 2020

    An upbeat, empowering, important picture book from the team that created the award-winning Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut

    I am
    a nonstop ball of energy.
    Powerful and full of light.
    I am a go-getter. A difference maker. A leader.

    The confident Black narrator of this book is proud of everything that makes him who he is. He's got big plans, and no doubt he'll see them through--as he's creative, adventurous, smart, funny, and a good friend. Sometimes he falls, but he always gets back up. And other times he's afraid, because he's so often misunderstood and called what he is not. So slow down and really look and listen, when somebody tells you--and shows you--who they are. There are superheroes in our midst!

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  •  leaving lymon cover

    Leaving Lymon

    by Lesa Cline-Ransome Year Published: 2020

    Lymon's father is, for the time being, at Parchman Farm--the Mississippi State Penitentiary--and his mother, whom he doesn't remember all that much, has moved North. Fortunately, Lymon is being raised by his loving grandparents. Together, Lymon and his grandpops share a love of music, spending late summer nights playing the guitar.

    But Lymon's world as he knows it is about to dissolve. He will be sent on a journey to two Northern cities far from the country life he loves--and the version of himself he knows. In this companion novel to the Coretta Scott King Honor wining Finding Langston, readers will see a new side of the bully Lymon in this story of an angry boy whose raw talent, resilience, and devotion to music help point him in a new direction.

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  • a new green day cover

    A New Green Day

    by Antoinette Portis Year Published: 2020

    If you listen, nature speaks. Explore nature through evocative riddles and bold imagery that take the reader from day to night and back again in this perfect read aloud. From the author of the Sibert Honor-winning title Hey, Water! comes a book of poetic riddles that encourage young readers to explore the natural world. Who scribbles on the sidewalk with glistening ink? Snail! Who's a comma in a long, long sentence of a stream? Tadpole! On each spread, children will solve riddles about the familiar animals, plants and the weather that one child encounters outdoors throughout a whole day. Active readers will delight in the clever language and striking illustrations.

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  • Snapdragon

    by Kat Leyh Year Published: 2020

    Snap's town has a witch. At least, that's the rumor. In reality, Jacks is just a Crocs-wearing, internet-savvy old lady who sells the skeletons of roadkill online. It's creepy, sure, but Snap thinks it's kind of cool, too. Snap needs a favor from this old woman, though, so she begins helping Jacks with her strange work. Snap gets to know her and realizes that Jacks may in fact have real magic--and an unlikely connection to Snap's family's past.

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  •  Sporting Chance cover

    A Sporting Chance : How Paralympics Founder Ludwig Guttmann Saved Lives with Sports

    by Lori Alexander Year Published: 2020

    Telling the inspiring human story behind the creation of the Paralympics, this young readers biography artfully combines archival photos, full-color illustrations, and a riveting narrative to honor the life of Ludwig Guttmann, whose work profoundly changed so many lives. Dedicating his life to helping patients labeled incurables, Ludwig Guttmann fought for the rights of paraplegics to live a full life. The young doctor believed and eventually proved that physical movement is key to healing, a discovery that led him to create the first Paralympic Games. Told with moving text and lively illustrations, and featuring the life stories of athletes from the Paralympic Games Ludwig helped create, this story of the man who saved lives through sports will inspire readers of all backgrounds.

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  •  superman smashes the klan cover

    Superman Smashes the Klan

    by Gene Luen Yang Year Published: 2020

    The year is 1946, and the Lee family has moved from Chinatown to Downtown Metropolis. While Dr. Lee is eager to begin his new position at the Metropolis Health Department, his two kids, Roberta and Tommy, are more excited about being closer to the famous superhero Superman! Tommy adjusts quickly to the fast pace of their new neighborhood, befriending Jimmy Olsen and joining the baseball team, while his younger sister Roberta feels out of place when she fails to fit in with the neighborhood kids. She's awkward, quiet, and self-conscious of how she looks different from the kids around her, so she sticks to watching people instead of talking to them. While the Lees try to adjust to their new lives, an evil is stirring in Metropolis: the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan targets the Lee family, beginning a string of terrorist attacks. They kidnap Tommy, attack the Daily Planet, and even threaten the local YMCA. But with the help of Roberta's keen skills of observation, Superman is able to fight the Klan's terror, while exposing those in power who support them-and Roberta and Superman learn to embrace their own unique features that set them apart. Multi-award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Gene Luen Yang and artist Gurihiru tell a bold new story based on a classic Superman radio serial!

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  •  Twins cover

    Twins

    by Varian Johnson Year Published: 2020

    Coretta Scott King Honor author Varian Johnson teams up with rising cartoonist Shannon Wright for a delightful middle-grade graphic novel!Maureen and Francine Carter are twins and best friends. They participate in the same clubs, enjoy the same foods, and are partners on all their school projects. But just before the girls start sixth grade, Francine becomes Fran -- a girl who wants to join the chorus, run for class president, and dress in fashionable outfits that set her apart from Maureen. A girl who seems happy to share only two classes with her sister!Maureen and Francine are growing apart and there's nothing Maureen can do to stop it. Are sisters really forever? Or will middle school change things for good?

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  •  We are Water Protectors cover

    We are Water Protectors

    by Carole Lindstrom Year Published: 2020

    Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, Carole Lindstrom's bold and lyrical picture book We Are Water Protectors issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguarding the Earth's water from harm and corruption.

    Water is the first medicine.
    It affects and connects us all . . .

    When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth
    And poison her people's water, one young water protector
    Takes a stand to defend Earth's most sacred resource.

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