SLJ's Most Popular Stories of 2020

In an unprecedented year, managing the pandemic dominated attention. SLJ covered the gamut, from publisher policies adjusted to accommodate remote learning, to tips on running a virtual book club for middle schoolers. Despite all, fostering literacy and celebrating great books persisted as key topics of interest for our readers.

montage of thumbnail images representing SLJ top posts

In an unprecedented year, managing the pandemic dominated attention. SLJ covered the gamut, from publisher policies adjusted to accommodate remote learning, to tips on running a virtual book club for middle schoolers. 

Also evident in this accounting of School Library Journal's most viewed posts of 2020 are perennials: fostering literacy and celebrating literature, which have endured despite all.

Publishers Adapt Policies To Help Educators 
In an effort to help educators move to remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic, children's publishers changed their policies on copyright infringement. (SLJ Staff, Mar 18, 2020)

Tackling Copyright Concerns When Taking Storytime Online
Teachers and librarians want to record themselves reading aloud and post the video publicly for kids to watch, but is it legal? (Carrie Russell, Apr 09, 2019)

Kid Lit Authors Step Up To Help Educators, ­Students, and Parents
Children's authors and illustrators created resources and reached out to educators to help during the coronavirus school closures. (Kara Yorio, Mar 16, 2020)

IMLS, CDC Offer Guidance for Disinfecting Returned Library Books
Study showed that the novel coronavirus can only survive on paper for a few hours. An IMLS webinar with CDC officials called the material "a low concern." (Lisa Peet, Apr 09, 2020)

Little House, Big Problem: What To Do with ‘Classic’ Books That Are Also Racist
Students have been reading To Kill a MockingbirdAdventures of Huckleberry Finn, and the “Little House” series for generations, and having these “classics” available in school libraries is a given. Should that change? (Marva Hinton, May 28, 2020)

Reese Witherspoon Seeks Book Club Librarian-in-Residence
The actress posted a call for a professional to talk about books with her and her online community. (SLJ Staff, Jan 22, 2020)

With Remote Learning Still the Norm, Publishers Extend Permissions for Read Alouds UPDATED 
Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster extended permissions for online story time and classroom read-aloud videos to March 31, 2021. Publishers can submit their policies to SLJ for inclusion in our COVID-19 Publisher Information Directory. (Kathy Ishizuka, Nov 06, 2020)

New Kid Makes History as First Graphic Novel To Win Newbery; Caldecott Goes To The Undefeated
Jerry Craft's title was named Newbery winner on a huge day for graphic novels at the 2020 Youth Media Awards. Kadir Nelson's illustrations earned the Caldecott for The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander. (Kara Yorio, Jan 27, 2020)

An Educator’s Guide to Stamped: Racism, ­Antiracism, and You
A curricular guide for Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi, geared for educators and students, ages 12 and up. (SLJ staff, Feb 25, 2020)

Weeding Out Racism’s Invisible Roots: ­Rethinking Children’s Classics
Challenging old classics is the literary equivalent of replacing statues of racist figures. (Padma Venkatraman, Jun 19, 2020)

A Crisis—as in School Closures Due to Coronavirus—Justifies Fair Use, Say Librarians
A group of college, university, and public librarians released a statement outlining why they believe the extraordinary circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic meet qualifications for fair use within copyright law. (Kara Yorio, Mar 14, 2020)

School Library Journal Offers Free Full Access to Content, Digitized Magazines 
School Library Journal offered free access to digitized editions of SLJ, as well as all content on its website, including reviews. (SLJ Staff, Mar 21, 2020)

SLJ Best Books 2020
This year's list features 108 stellar titles. The selections, wrote the editors, "offer a way to share the message that rings through Tami Charles’s revelatory book: 'You, dear child, matter.'" (Nov. 23 2020)

Social Justice: Fifteen titles to address inequity, equality, and organizing for young readers | Great Books
A collection of titles across all genres to build up resources for budding young activists. (Taylor Worley, Mar 05, 2020)

Diverse Editions Pulled Before Release; Author David Bowles, Others, Speak Out Against New Covers of “Classics”
Barnes & Noble and Penguin Random House planned to get young readers interested in the classics by creating new covers featuring people of color. The idea backfired badly. (Kara Yorio, Feb 05, 2020)

Wake up, Libraries: Curbside Pickup is NOT the Answer | Reimagining Libraries
Identifying community needs is crucial in a crisis. Participants proposed some recommendations in this next stage of the COVID-19 Reimagining Youth Librarianship project. (Mega Subramaniam and Linda W. Braun, Jul 30, 2020)

Jerry Craft Breaks Barriers with Historic 2020 Newbery Win
The first graphic novel to take home the award, New Kid is the book that Craft wrote for his 10-year-old self, who rarely saw books with which he could identify. (Kara Yorio, Jan 27, 2020)

How To Run a Virtual Book Club with Middle Schoolers
School librarian Laura Gardner offered best practices to stay connected with students and keep the fun factor high. (Laura Gardner, Mar 26, 2020)

Dhonielle Clayton.
From Racists Abuse Authors During  Virtual Events.
Photo by Amir Lowery

Racists Abuse Authors During Virtual Events
Authors, including Kelly Yang and Dhonielle Clayton, endured racist comments on Zoom, Instagram, and other digital platforms used to connect educators, students, and creators during this unprecedented time. (Kara Yorio, Apr 24, 2020)

Summer Reading 2020
SLJ presented our top picks for summer reading, from read-alouds to share with the youngest prereaders to engrossing titles for tweens and teens. The majority of the titles have been published over the last two years, almost all of them are available as ebooks, and many of them have received starred reviews or been selected as past Best Books. New lists published every week during the month of June, with additional lists in July and August.


Author Image
Kathy Ishizuka

Kathy Ishizuka is editor in chief of School Library Journal.

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