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Top 20 Books of 2019: The Full List

Well, that was fun. This week Mr. Schu and I counted down our Top 20 Books of 2019. Here’s the whole list in one place.

20. Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers by Celia C. Pérez

[Kokila (Penguin) | Grades 4-7]

Because Ofelia Castillo, Aster Douglas, Cat Garcia, and Lane DiSanti are four memorable and distinct characters. -John

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19. The Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip-Hop by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Frank Morrison

[little bee books (Simon & Schuster) | Grades K and Up]

Because the roots of rap are deep. -Travis

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18. Why? by Adam Rex, illustrated by Claire Keane

[Chronicle Books | Grades K-3]

Because one little question can change everything. -Travis

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17. Noodlephant by Jacob Kramer, illustrated by K-Fai Steele

[Enchanted Lion | Grades K-4]

Because justice can can be delicious. -Travis

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16. Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman

[Viking (Penguin) | Grades K-2]

Because Carl has five capacious and caring hearts. -John

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15. Infinite Hope: A Black Artist’s Journey from World War II to Peace by Ashley Bryan

[Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books (Simon & Schuster) | Grades 5 and Up]

Because love, creativity, and art can overcome the darkness of war. -Travis

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14. My Heart by Corinna Luyken

[Dial Books (Penguin) | Grades K-2]

Because my heart wants to give a copy to your heart. -John

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13. Guts by Raina Telgemeier

[Graphix (Scholastic) | Grades 3-7]

Because it talks about a topic that few comics are willing to talk about. -Travis

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12. Some Places More Than Others by Renee Watson

[Bloomsbury | Grades 4-8]

Because Amara takes us on an interesting and inspiring tour of Harlem. -John

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11. Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams

[Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books (Simon & Schuster) | Grades 4-8]

Because self love can be the hardest to find. -Travis

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10. Truman by Jean Reidy, illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins

[Atheneum (Simon & Schuster) | Grades K-3]

Because a small journey can still be epic. -Travis

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9. Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds

[Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books (Simon & Schuster) | Grades 5-9]

Because Jason Reynolds reels you in on the first page and keeps you glued to the book until the last page. -John

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8. Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

[Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan) | Grades K-2]

Because it contains the best endpapers and author’s note of 2019. -John

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7. Stargazing by Jen Wang

[First Second (Macmillan) | Grades 3-7]

Because friendship can come in unexpected ways. -Travis

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6. Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga

[Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins) | Grades 3-7]

Because Jude’s poetic voice is powerful, memorable, and stays with you forever. -John

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5. Beverly, Right Here by Kate DiCamillo

[Candlewick Press | Grades 5 and Up]

Because even Beverly Tapinski can open up the suitcase of her heart.

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4. Saturday by Oge Mora

[Little, Brown | Grades K-2]

Because love is bigger than disappointment.

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3. Small in the City by Sydney Smith

[Neal Porter Books/Holiday House | Grades K-2]

Because as soon as you finish this book, you’ll want to begin it again.

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2. New Kid by Jerry Craft

[HarperCollins | Grades 3-7]

Because it’s honest and it’s hilarious – what else does a reader need? -Travis

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1. Another by Christian Robinson

[Atheneum (Simon & Schuster) | Grades K-2]

Because Christian Robinson has created a cinematic experience full of cosmic questions. -Travis & John

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About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.