Top Ten Picture Books of 2020

Cover of the book I AM THE STORM by Jane Yolen and Heidi STemple

I Am The Storm by Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple, illustrated by Kristen and Kevin Howdeshell is the perfect book for 2020. Lyrical text paired with stunning illustrations and a message of empowerment make this a wonderful book to read with your kids when they are weathering the storms of life.

Help Wanted: Must Love Books, by Janet Summer Johnson and illustrated by Courtney Dawson is a delightful daddy daughter tale interspersed with fairytale characters. Bright illustrations combined with an engaging story make this a must read.

Dozens of Donuts by Carrie Finison, illustrated by Brianne Farley is a hilarious and heartwarming story with themes of friendship, math, and teamwork. Perfect rhyme and whimsical illustrations make this the best kind of read-aloud.

Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe by Vivian Kirkfield, illustrated by Alleanna Harris is a story of an unlikely yet powerful friendship. Its parallel structure, brilliant writing, and emotive illustrations will evoke discussion as kids explore authentic friendships with people who are different than they are.

Soaked!, by Abi Cushman shows kids that even when circumstances seem grim, they can choose how they react to tough experiences. Hilarious text pairs with expert illustrations to make this the kind of book kids won’t put down.

Emily’s Idea, by Christine Evans and illustrated by Marla Alvarez Miguens builds bridges with themes of love, acceptance and the power of one person to make a difference. Lovely illustrations combine with the sweet story to make the perfect book for learning about togetherness.

The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read, by Rita Lorraine Hubbard, illustrated by Oge Mora is a powerful story of perseverance. Mary Walker’s story of learning to read at age 116 inspires. Lyrical words pair with lovely illustrations to make this the kind of book that encourages growth mindset that will motivate kids to never give up.

National Regular Average Ordinary Day, by Lisa Katzenberger and illustrated by Bakos is the kind of book that will resonate with everyone. This hilarious story brings celebration of holidays to a whole new level. Hilarious words and illustrations combine with a heartwarming conclusion to make this a favorite with kids.

May Saves the Day, by Laura Gehl and illustrated by Serena Lombado combines girl power with word power. Laura’s clever wordplay combines with expressive illustrations to make this book a fantastic read aloud at school or home.

For Spacious Skies: Katherine Lee Bates and the Inspiration for “America the Beautiful” by Nancy Churnin, illustrated by Olga Baumert is a powerful story that brings people together. Stunning illustrations combine with lyrical and lovely words to make this the kind of biography that inspires people to become better, to do better and change the world for good.

What are your favorite 2020 picture books?

17 comments

  1. I’m such a fan of lists…especially picture book lists, Kirsti. And when I find one of MY books on them, I totally have to dance with joy! Thank you for including Making Their Voices Heard…and for recommending all of the others – I’ve featured most of them on my blog – they are fabulous books!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Kirsti,
    Thank you for highlighting such a beautiful collection of picture books. All would make for lovely holiday gifts!! I’d like to add SEVEN GOLDEN RINGS: A TALE OF MUSIC AND MATH by Rajani LaRocca to the list (Writers’ Rumpus book review and interview on 11/10).

    Liked by 1 person

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