Your Place in the Universe by Jason Chin
Published by Neal Porter Books
I notice that Jason Chin has made it onto three of my last five favorite nonfiction book lists, so guess I’m a bit of a fan. His illustrations are awe-inspiring, and I loved the comparisons in this book that made enormous numbers and sizes a little more understandable.
Grow: Secrets of Our DNA by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Emily Sutton
Published by Candlewick
Explaining DNA and genetics in a way that’s accessible to readers as young as kindergarten is no easy feat, but Nicola Davies and Emily Sutton pulled it off. Watson and Crick would be proud.
We Are Power: How Nonviolent Activism Changes the World by Todd Hasak-Lowy
Published by Abrams Books for Young Readers
I thought I knew a fair amount about nonviolent activism–I’m a Quaker, for Pete’s sake–but I learned so much from reading this book. 2020 had its share of activism and books about activism, but this was the one I found most inspiring.
The Fabled Life of Aesop by Ian Lendler, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers
I’m sure Aesop never imagined he’d be part of the Common Core, but there he is. As a school librarian, I am grateful for this comprehensive introduction to his life and fables, and I also appreciated the sly observations on what it means to have power. Pamela Zagarenski has a couple of Caldecott honors to her name, so don’t count her out this year.
Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots by Michael Rex
Published by Nancy Paulsen Books
Who knew that when I was playing Kick the Can with Michael Rex and the rest of our neighbors in 1970’s suburban New Jersey that in 2020 I’d be reviewing his book? Well done, Michael, I loved your take on facts vs. opinions. Librarians everywhere should thank you for this book.
All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat
Published by Candlewick Press
I guess none of us should be surprised that this drama we watched unfold a couple of years ago would be made into a gripping nonfiction tale. Christina Soontornvat added so much context with her sidebars on Thailand, caves, and Buddhism, as well as her personal connection to the story that readers get much more than just a survival story.