If you need help choosing a book or two for a gift this year, look no further! Books make wonderful gifts for kids and 2020 had no shortage of amazing releases for children. Below are some of the best books released in 2020 for preschoolers, elementary-aged kids, and tweens. You’ll also find a few bookish gift suggestions for the young bookworm in your life.
Best books of 2020
Antiracist Baby by Ibram X Kendi: If you're looking for a board book, check out Ibram X Kendi's critically-acclaimed primer about racism for young readers. Although it's about a baby, this book is actually great for toddlers and preschoolers alike. It's a great way to begin conversations about race and racism in an age-appropriate way.
I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James: This book is about a boy with some serious self-confidence! As the narrator, he's celebrating his gifts throughout the book. It's an empowering story about all the wonderful things inside of us.
Jabari Tries by Gaia Cornwall: I loved Cornwall's first book featuring Jabari mustering up the courage to jump off the diving board at the swimming pool. In this next installment Jabari is building a machine and must use persistence to make it work.
Construction Site Mission: Demolition by Sherri Duskey Rinker: If you have a child in your life who loves construction equipment, any one of the books from the "Goodnight, Construction Site" series is sure to become a favorite. The newest release is about the construction vehicles demolishing a building!
I Promise by LeBron James: This book is all about achieving great things by promising to do the right things. Author and NBA star LeBron James inspires success through instilling the values of hard work and determination.
Our Little Kitchen by Jillian Tamaki: This is a lovely story about a neighborhood coming together and preparing a meal. Fro the garden to the kitchen to the table, follow along as they cook delicious dishes and share with everyone.
The Old Truck by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey: This story reminds me a bit of The Giving Tree, but this time the child in the story grows up to repay the favor. An old truck sits rusting amidst the weeds after years of service on a family farm. When a little girl grows up and starts running her own farm, she decides it's time to restore the truck to its former glory.
Black is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy: This is an uplifting book about the color black and all it's positive connotations––especially when used to describe skin color. Angela Joy celebrates Blackness by reflecting on Black people, culture, and history that have contributed to our beautiful world.
Bookish Gifts for Preschoolers
Book character plushies: Book character stuffed toys make a great companion to a new book. Castlemere Books offers stuffed toys and puppets for tons of popular book characters. You can also check out Kohl’s for inexpensive stuffed versions of favorites like Pete the Cat, Llama Llama, and Brother Bear of Berenstain Bear fame.
Best books of 2020
Vamos! Let’s Go Eat by Raul the Third: Little Lobo is getting lunch before a big wrestling match. In this book, readers explore his favorite foods, like quesadillas and tacos, by visiting different food trucks. This book has Spanish words throughout, a perfect introduction to non-Spanish-speakers.
The Paper Kingdom by Helena Ku Rhee: Daniel must accompany his parents to their overnight jobs as office cleaners. But instead of being a mundane task, his parents turn the outing into a magical adventure in a paper kingdom. This story is full of dragons and kings, while also celebrating the ways we can turn ordinary days (and nights) into memorable family experiences.
Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away by Meg Medina: In this book, Daniela's best friend Evelyn is moving away from their street. The story captures their last day playing together and keeps a hopeful tone. It's the perfect book for elementary-aged readers, who may be confronted with a friend moving away for the first time.
The Little Mermaid by Jerry Pinkney: Jerry Pinkney is the king of fairy tales and he's back again with a reimagined version of The Little Mermaid. In this story, the mermaid Melody isn't looking for love. Instead, she sacrifices her voice to make friends with another young girl she's seen walking on land. It's an updated version for 21st century readers, complete with Pinkney's classically beautiful illustrations.
The Secret Explorers series by SJ King: In this chapter book series, a group of smart kids come together to solve mysteries, fix problems, and learn new things from all over the world. When they're called upon, they go to their Exploration Station for a new mission. The books are educational, covering history and science topics such as whales, Ancient Egypt, and dinosaurs.
Cat Crusader (Max Meow #1) by John Gallagher: This is the first in a new graphic novel series for fans of Dogman. It's a cat who becomes a superhero after eating a radioactive meatball, so now he fights crime. It's perfectly silly for it's intended audience.
Ways to Make Sunshine by Renee Watson: In this chapter book, a young girl tries to maintain a positive attitude about life despite her family's struggles. Money is tight and things don't always go her way, but she always seems to find a way to make some sunshine.
Shirley and Jamila Save Their Summer by Gillian Goerz: In this graphic novel, Jamila is expecting a boring summer when she meets Shirley. Turns out Shirley is the neighborhood's best detective, and the two girls team up to find a boy's missing gecko. This is a great mystery for young readers.
Bookish Gifts for Kids
Finger Point Bookmarks: These bookmarks are perfect for kids beginning to read chapter books. It allows them to mark their exact spot, right down to the line, so they don’t lose their place.
Personalized Bookplate Stickers: These custom-made stickers come in a variety of adorable designs, from rainbows to owls and raccoons reading books. Kids can stick them on the inside cover of their favorite books to mark that they belong to them.
Best books of 2020
The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate: This is a follow up to Applegate's extremely popular book, "The One and Only Ivan." In this book, Ivan's friend Bob, a dog, sets off to find his long-lost sister. This is a heartwarming story and a great sequel to Ivan's story.
Class Act by Jerry Craft: Jerry Craft won the Newbery Medal in 2020 for his graphic novel "New Kid," and he's back in the same world with his newest book. This time, we follow Drew, one of the only Black kids at a prestigious private middle school, as he navigates the challenges that come with that. Craft's books cover nuanced, difficult topics with lightness and humor in a way that works great for middle schoolers.
Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park: For historical fiction and Little House on the Prairie fans, this book is perfect. A half-Asian girl named Hanna moves to a small town on the prairie in 1880, and must adapt to her new surroundings while dealing with racism.
Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia: This book is part of "Rick Riordan Presents," a publishing imprint run by the Percy Jackson author that publishes diverse fantasy stories written by own-voices authors. Any one of the books published from the imprint would make a great gift, but this one was especially well-received. In it, an aspiring scientist is confronted with supernatural happenings and must tackle a world that defies scientific logic to save her friend from a ghostly force.
Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewel Parker Rhodes: Two Black brothers attend the same elite prep school, but they couldn't be treated more differently. Donte has darker skin and his teachers and classmates are always comparing him to his mild-mannered, lighter-skinned brother Trey. After an arrest and a suspension, Donte takes up fencing to beat the king of the school at his own game. As always, Jewel Parker Rhodes explores race and identity in an age-appropriate way, perfect for middle school readers.
From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks: Zoe Washington has never met her father. He's in prison and on Zoe's 12th birthday, she receives a letter from him saying he's innocent. Should Zoe believe him? She decides to start investigating, while also doing an internship at a local bakery.
Twins by Varian Johnson and Shannon Wright: In this graphic novel, Maureen and Francine Carter are twins and best friends. But when they get to middle school, Francine becomes "Fran" and her whole personality begins to change. Maureen feels left behind as her sister grows apart from her. Will they remain best friends as they grow and change?
Finish the Fight by Veronica Chambers: Chambers collaborated with the New York Times to bring to life this non-fiction account of the women who fought for the 19th Amendment. Since 2020 is the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage, it's a great time to celebrate with the preteen reader in your life.
Bookish Gifts for Tweens
Out of Print Tee-Shirts: Out of Print has so many amazing bookish products to choose from, but their book cover tee-shirts are classic. They’re perfect for a book-loving preteen. They come in so many varieties, from classics like Brian Jacque’s Redwall, Matilda, Harry Potter, and my personal favorite, this stunning edition of Anne of Green Gables. The shirts come in men’s, women’s, and kid’s styles and sizes, so check out the website to find the best fit for your young reader.
Rechargeable Book Light: If your reader likes paper books, get them a book light for late-night reading sessions. I love this rechargeable one. The charge lasts a long time and it has three brightness settings.
And, we are always here to do the heavy lifting for you (which includes shipping!!). Our monthly subscription, which includes 5 board books or easy reader books in each box or 4 chapter books, is about the same price as a new book. Check out our Monthly Subscriptions and Holiday Gift Subscriptions here: www.mybookwormbox.com
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