100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

Top 20 Books of 2020: The Full List

Well, that was a good time. This week Mr. Schu and I counted down our Top 20 Books of 2020. Here’s the whole list in one place.

20. Willa the Wisp (Fabled Stables Book #1) by Jonathan Auxier, illustrated by Olga Demidova [Amulet (Abrams) | Grades 1-3]

Because it’s a whole new magical world for readers to explore. -Travis

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19. Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohman [Neal Porter Books (Holiday House) | Grades K-3]

Because you’ll never look at a honeybee the same way again. -John

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18. The Oldest Student by Rita Lorraine Hubbard, illustrated by Oge Mora [Schwartz & Wade (Random House) | Grades K-3]

Because you never stop learning. -Travis

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17. My Best Friend by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki [Atheneum (Simon & Schuster) | Grades K-2]

Because it beautifully and authentically captures the moment you meet a best friend for the first time. -John

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16. I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James [Nancy Paulsen Books (Penguin) | Grades K-2]

Because it’s joy in print. -Travis

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15. All Because You Matter by Tami Charles, illustrated by Bryan Collier [Orchard Books (Scholastic) | Grades K-2]

Because it is a picture book every bookshelf needs. -John

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#14. Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake, illustrated by Jon Klassen [Algonquin Books (Workman) | Grades 1-4]

Because readers will love spending time with this unlikely pair. -Travis

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#13. From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks [Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins) | Grades 3-7]

Because it will inspire readers to stand up for what is right. -John

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#12. Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte [Scholastic Press | Grades 3-7]

Because it is historical fiction at its best. -John

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#11. All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat [Candlewick Press | Grades 3-7]

Because fact can be more incredible than fiction. -Travis

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#10. Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us by Lauren Castillo [Knopf (Random House) | Grades K-3]

Because, as Kate DiCamillo shared during an episode of Book Joy Live, “It is a book about togetherness. It is cozy.” -John

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9. I Talk Like a River by Jordan Scott, illustrated by Sydney Smith [Neal Porter Books (Holiday House) | Grades K-4]

Because it’s a perfect example of text and illustration coming together to make magic. -Travis

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8. We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade [Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan) | Grades K-3]

Because it’s important to stand up and stand together. -Travis

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7. Class Act by Jerry Craft [Quill Tree Books (HarperCollins) | Grades 3-7]

Because it speaks the truth – and it’s also really really funny. -Travis

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6. Ways to Make Sunshine by Renée Watson [Bloomsbury | Grades 2-5]

Because we all needed to find ways to make more sunshine in 2020. -John

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5. The Old Truck by Jarrett & Jerome Pumphrey [Norton Young Readers | Grades PreK-1]

Because it feels like a timeless classic with a modern sensibility. -Travis

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4. Lift by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat [Little, Brown | Grades K-3]

Because it’s an immersive cinematic experience in book form. -Travis

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3. Twins by Varian Johnson, illustrated by Shannon Wright [Graphix (Scholastic) | Grades 3-7]

Because Varian Johnson and Shannon Wright created a phenomenal graphic novel readers will pass from hand to hand, from heart to heart. -John

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2. Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang [First Second (Macmillan) | Grades 4 and up]

Because it’s a compelling true story, expertly told with love, curiosity, and humor. -Travis

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1. When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson & Omar Mohamed [Dial (Penguin) | Grades 4-7]

Because Omar and Hassan’s story is one you’ll never forget. -Travis

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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.

Comments

  1. Lisa Schoof says

    Thanks for the great list. Several to add to my list.
    Personal favorites:
    OurFriend Hedgehog
    Skunk and Badger
    I would have considered Julian at the Wedding by Jessica Love. Because it allows us to be who we are and be included.
    The Voice of Liberty by Angelica Carpenter. Because it tells a story of the early women’s movement to a younger audience.
    The Curious Story of Edward Gorey Nonsense!
    Because it depicts an interesting tale of the author/illustrator and shows the humor he had. By Lori Mortensen.
    Thanks, Lisa