Sneak Peek: SLJ Best Books 2020

SLJ's full Best Books 2020 list will be revealed on November 23, but check out a few of the titles that earned this year's honor.

For the first time, SLJ's reviews editors offered a sneak peek at the Best Books list during the SLJ Summit in October. If you missed the presentation, you're in luck: Below is the list of titles (in alphabetical order) revealed during the Summit.

The full Best Books list for 2020 will be posted on on Monday, November 23.


Picture Books

All Because You Matter cover imageAll Because You Matter by Tami Charles, illus. by Bryan Collier

A Gift for Amma: Market Day in India by Meera Sriram, illus. by Mariona Cabassa

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes, illus. by Gordon C. James

I Do Not Like Stories by Andrew Larsen, illus. by Carey Sookocheff

The Paper Boat: A Refugee Story by Thao Lam

Nana Akua Goes to School by Tricia Elam Walker, illus. by April Harrison

Nonstop by Tomi Ungerer

Magnificent Homespun Brown: A Celebration by Samara Cole Doyon, illus. by Kaylani Juanita

Salma the Syrian Chef by Danny Ramadan, illus. by Anna Bron

Woodpecker Girl by Chingyen Liu and I-Tsun Chiang, illus. by Heidi Doll

You Matter by Christian Robinson


Chapter Books

Alicia Alonso Takes the Stage by Nancy Ohlin, illus. by Josefina Preumayr

Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us by Lauren Castillo

Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake with pictures by Jon Klassen


Middle Grade

Chirp by Kate Messner

Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender

Land of the Cranes by Aida Salazar

Loretta Little Looks Back: Three Voices Go Tell It by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illus. by Brian Pinkney

Magnificent Monsters of Cedar Street by Lauren Oliver

Maya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron

Twilight Hauntings by Angie Sage

When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller

Ways To Make Sunshine by Renée Watson

We Dream of Space by Erin Entrada Kelly


The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

Breathless by Jennifer Niven

Camp by L.C. Rosen

Clap When you Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

How It All Blew Up by Arvin Ahmadi

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

The Mermaid the Witch and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

Stay Gold by Tobly McSmith

Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry


All of a Sudden and Forever: Help and Healing After the Oklahoma City Bombing by Chris Barton, illus. by Nicole Xu

This Book Is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell, illus. by Aurélia Durand

Desert Diary: Japanese American Kids Behind Barbed Wire by Michael O. Tunnell

Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks by Suzanne Slade, illus. by Cozbi A. Cabrera

Flowers in the Gutter: The True Story of the Teenagers Who Resisted the Nazis by K.R. Gaddy

Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming, illus. by Eric Rohmann

Lifting as We Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box by Evette Dionne

Poisoned Water: How the Citizens of Flint, Michigan, Fought for Their Lives and Warned the Nation by Candy J. Cooper with Marc Aronson

RESPECT: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul by Carole Boston Weatherford, illus. by Frank Morrison

Sharuko: El Arqueólogo Peruano Julio C. Tello/Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello by Monica Brown and Elisa Chavarri

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice by Mahogany L. Browne with Elizabeth Acevedo and Olivia Gatwood, illus. by Theodore Taylor III

Your Place in the Universe by Jason Chin, illus. by Jason Chin

Graphic Novels

Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir by Robin Ha

Be Gay Do Comics: Queer History, Memoir, and Satire from the Nib

Beetle & the Hollowbones by Aliza Layne

Consent (For Kids): Boundaries, Respect, and Being in Charge of You by Rachel Brian

Dancing at the Pity Party: A Dead Mom Graphic Memoir by Tyler Feder

Flamer by Mike Curato

Snapdragon by Kat Leyh

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