Award-Winning Children’s Books Of 2020
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”— Dr. Seuss
Reading is a joyous and self fulfilling experience. There is no looking back once a child discovers the joy of reading. Despite the ongoing pandemic, the children’s literary world put forth some of their best writing for children in 2020. And with nowhere else to go, kids have had more opportunities to discover the magic hidden between the covers of these books.
We have curated a list of our choicest books that have won awards for children’s literature in 2020. These books are packed with fun, adventure, mystery, life lessons, poetry, diverse characters and more. Take your pick to introduce your little ones with some of the finest writings of last year.
The Old Truck by Jarrett and Jerome Pumphrey
Although this book is on our list of award winners for 2020, it is actually a timeless classic. Through the story of an old truck, the Pumphrey Brothers also tell us about life on a farm. The hard work, perseverance and determination of a Black woman farmer and what this truck means to her. The simple text and the charming hand-carved stamps are a treasure for young readers.
Grade level: 1.2 I Interest level: Lower Years I Page Count: 48
Lift by Minh Le
A delightful picture book graphic novel about a child’s imagination and the relationship between siblings. Iris is thrilled to press the elevator buttons until her normal routine is changed by her little brother one day when he starts pushing the elevator buttons instead of her. However, she finds a fix for this which in turn leads her to magical adventures in her own bedroom.
Grade level: 1.3 I Interest level: Lower Years I Page count: 56
Outside In by Deborah Underwood
This book is a simple and poetic narrative with lovely artwork about nature, our most wondrous playmate. The outside is amazing and has a beautiful connection with all humans and our everyday lives.
Grade level: 2.3 I Interest level: Lower Years I Page count: 40
Bedtime Bonnet by Nancy Redd
A humorous tale about the night hair routine of a Black family where every member of the family has a different one. What happens when the little girl does not find her bonnet one night? This is an unusual and endearing bedtime story.
Grade level: 2.5 I Interest level: Lower Years I Page count: 40
The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander
This powerful poem was written when Barack Obama was elected to the office of the President of The United States of America. This poem is about African American history with beautiful art that is rich in colour. The book also features quotes and references from some of the world’s heroes such as Martin Luther King Jr, Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks.
Grade level: 2.6 I Interest level: Lower Years I Page count: 40
If You Come to Earth by Sophie Blackall
This book is inspired by thousands of children from around the world who Sophie Blackall met during her travels in support of UNICEF and Save the Children. In this story, a young boy tries to explain what Earth is to an imaginary alien visitor. The delightful illustrations invite infinite conversations that can be prompted while reading the book.
Grade level: 3 I Interest level: Lower Years I Page count: 74
Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming
This book has the most amazing and detailed illustrations of honeybees ever seen. A fun and engaging book to learn about the life of honeybees.
Grade level: 4.2 I Interest level: Lower Years I Page count: 40
Fauja Singh Keeps Going: The True Story of the Oldest Person to Ever Run a Marathon by Simran Jeet Singh
Fauja Singh broke world records and became the first one hundred year old to run a marathon. An inspirational and positive story about the kind of characters that is not usually found in children’s books makes this a must-read for the young readers.
Grade level: 4.4 I Interest level: Lower Years I Page count: 48
Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln by Margarita Engle
This is a story of Teresa Carreño, a child prodigy, who played the piano for Abraham Lincoln. Her journey is full of courage, hope and kindness. It is beautifully told and illustrated in this book.
Grade level: 5.5 I Interest level: Lower Years I Page count: 40
Class Act by Jerry Craft
This sequel to New Kid is a critically acclaimed, full-color graphic novel, about an African American eighth grader who still feels unwelcome at his privileged school. This award winning book manages to be laugh-out-loud funny while still addressing important themes like privilege, discrimination and friendship.
Grade level: 2.9 I Interest level: Middle Years I Page count: 249
When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson
This National Book Award finalist is a graphic novel about growing up in a refugee camp. Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, lived most of their life in a refugee camp in Kenya. When Omar gets the opportunity to go to school he has a difficult choice to make – choose being with his brother or leave to make a better future for them. This story is based on the true experiences of a refugee named Omar.
Grade level: 3.7 I Interest level: Middle Years I Page count: 264
The Silver Arrow by Lev Grossman
Winner of The New York Times bestseller, it is an enthralling fantasy adventure about Kate and her brother’s adventure on a quirky magic train with passengers and talking animals as they attempt to save the world.
Grade level: 4.9 I Interest level: Middle Years I Page count: 272
The Last Kids on Earth and the Skeleton Road by Max Brallier
This is the sixth book of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling series, Last Kids on Earth. In this book, Jack Sullvan and his friends are about to have their epic road trip adventure. But can they save the world? Read this action and humour filled story to find out.
Grade level: 4.4 I Interest level: Middle Years I Page Count: 240
King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender
Kingston James, a 12 year old, is sure that his brother Khalid has turned into a dragonfly after his unexpected death. As King mourns, he also struggles to reconcile with his brother’s last words. If only his brother hadn’t asked him to stay away from his best friend Sandy. But now Sandy is missing. What should the King do?
Grade level: 4.9 I Interest level: Middle Years I Page count: 272
The Tower of Nero by Rick Riordan
This is the finale of the number one bestseller, Trials of Apollo series. Lester and Meg have to overcome one seemingly impossible adventure after another. This book ties up all the loose ends well to conclude the series on a high.
Grade level: 5.5 I Interest level: Middle Years I Page count: 410
City Spies by James Ponti
This is a spy mystery with fun characters which makes for an engaging experience. The story revolves around five diverse characters who are from different cities around the world and how they are brought together to save the world.
Grade level: 5.6 I Interest level: Middle Years I Page count: 384
We hope that our young readers have as much fun reading these award winning books as we had picking them for our collection. We also hope that the journey of reading more, knowing more, learning more and going more places never stops for all our kids.
Choose from these or loads of other fun reads from around the globe, specially curated for BookGuru’s young readers. We will be happy to deliver them to your doorstep!