2020 Staff Picks: Grades K-3

By Skokie Staff Youth Services

Our favorite books of 2020 for kids in kindergarten through 3rd grade.

  • Joey: The Story of Joe Biden

    2020 by Biden, Jill

    I enjoyed this anecdotal picture book biography about President-elect Joe Biden (aka Joey) written by his wife and esteemed author Kathleen Krull. The illustrations by Amy June Bates warmly depict the character lessons Joey/Joe learned throughout his life. Recommended by Mandy.

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  • The Tinaja Tonight

    2020 by Bissonette, Aimée M.

    I love exploring nonfiction picture books and how this one (part of a series) combines facts with beautiful illustrations and poetic language. Recommended by Gudrun.

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  • Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us

    2020 by Castillo, Lauren

    A sweet story about a hedgehog who loses a friend and, on the way to find him, makes a whole lot of new friends. Reminiscent of Winnie the Pooh, this book is a great read-aloud for younger readers and a nice choice for early chapter-book readers. Recommended by Caitlin S.

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  • All Because You Matter

    2020 by Charles, Tami

    This gorgeous book is for all ages. Share the beautiful, almost glowing pictures with the youngest readers and the lyrical text with older children and adults. The message resonates: You matter! Recommended by Caitlin S.

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  • The Barnabus Project

    2020 by Fan, Terry

    The art alone will make you want to read this book over and over. My daughter and I spent a lot of time poring over each pet and thinking about whether it's more important to be perfect or free. This book would also make an amazing classroom read-aloud for a mystery reader. Recommended by Caitlin S.

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  • Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera

    2020 by Fleming, Candace

    The illustrations in this book are out of this world! The detailed illustrations, mixed with rhythmic text, truly bring the honeybee to life. Recommended by Katie.

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  • Birdsong

    2020 by Flett, Julie

    This beautiful book celebrates intergenerational friendships and Native voices. It is a story to savor. Recommended by Katie.

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  • Max Meow

    2020 by Gallagher, John

    This hilarious graphic novel has tons of jokes and a great message about how we can all learn and grow from our mistakes. Plus, radioactive meatballs! Recommended by Caitlin S.

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  • The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read

    2020 by Hubbard, Rita L.

    At a time when things seem hard, the life of Mary Walker is truly inspiring--and the collage illustrations by Oge Mora only add to the beauty of her life story. Recommended by Gudrun.

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  • Digging for Words: José Alberto Gutiérrez and the Library He Built

    2020 by Kunkel, Angela Burke

    The inspiring story of a garbage collector who gathers books along his route to eventually build a library for his poor neighborhood in Bogota, Colombia. With access to these books, the people of his community are able to learn about and experience places around the world for the first time through reading and listening to the stories. Recommended by Katie.

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  • The Cat Man of Aleppo

    2020 by Latham, Irene

    I enjoyed this picture book so much because it's comforting and beautiful to see how human beings, even when faced with war and violence, find it in their hearts to show kindness to animals. Recommended by Gudrun.

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  • The Camping Trip

    2020 by Mann, Jennifer K.

    I loved reading this book with my kids this summer. It captures the thrill, excitement, and trepidation that everyone feels when camping for the first time. It's a great story to visit again and again. Recommended by Katie.

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  • In a Jar

    2020 by Marcero, Deborah

    I love this book because it is a book about collecting--not only things, but moments of beauty. It portrays a beautiful friendship--the coming together and moving apart--and how to keep it alive no matter what. Recommended by Katie.

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  • The Little Mermaid

    2020 by Pinkney, Jerry

    I've been waiting for this story since I was a mermaid-obsessed kid! Here, Melody opts for legs: not for love at first sight, but for curiosity and friendship. Along the way, she discovers that her powerful voice is something she must never give up. The story is fantastic, and there's so much to look at in Pinkney's underwater world. Recommended by Caitlin S.

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  • On Account of the Gum

    2020 by Rex, Adam

    This book is so funny! The illustrations, the rhyme scheme, the read-aloud potential--it's is a ridiculous, laugh-out-loud delight. Recommended by Caitlin S.

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  • How to Solve a Problem: The Rise (and Falls) of a Rock-Climbing Champion

    2020 by Shiraishi, Ashima

    Ashima is such an inspiration! I love this beautifully illustrated biography of a true superhero who's just 19 years old. I love the illustrations as well as the message of learning from your mistakes. Recommended by Gudrun.

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