7 Great YA Books Coming in December

Admission by Julie Buxbaum

Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person by Frederick Joseph

The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

The Good Girls by Claire Eliza Bartlett

It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley

This Is How We Fly by Anna Meriano

2021 Nonfiction Award Finalists

YALSA has announced the five finalists for the 2021 Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award, which honors books published between November 1, 2019 and October 31, 2020. The winner will be announced at the Youth Media Awards on January 25. Here are the finalists:

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team, written by Christina Soontornvat

The Cat I Never Named: A True Story of Love, War, and Survival, written by Amra Sabic-El-Rayess with Laura L. Sullivan

How We Got To the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity’s Greatest Adventure, written and illustrated by John Rocco 

The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh, written by Candace Fleming 

You Call This Democracy?: How to Fix Our Democracy and Deliver Power to the People, written by Elizabeth Rusch

6 Great Children’s Books Coming in December

The Dog Who Saved the World by Ross Welford

Girl Giant and the Monkey King by Van Hoang

History of the World in Comics by Jean-Baptiste de Panafieu, illustrated by Adrienne Barman

Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy by Melissa de la Cruz

Pirate Stew by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell

The Smartest Kid in the Universe by Chris Grabenstein

2020 Costa Book Awards Shortlists

The shortlists for the UK Costa Book Awards have been announced. The winners will be announced on January 4th with a “book of the year” prize named on January 26th. The award is the only major UK book award that is open only to authors who reside in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Here are the books named in the children’s award shortlist:


The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff

The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates by Jenny Pearson

Voyage of the Sparrowhawk

Voyage of the Sparrowhawk by Natasha Farrant

Wranglestone (Wranglestone, #1)

Wranglestone by Darren Charlton

9 Great Picture Books Coming in December

The ABCs of Black History by Rio Cortez, illustrated by Lauren Semmer

After the Snowfall by Richard Lo

Amy Wu and the Patchwork Dragon by Kat Zhang, illustrated by Charlene Chua

Dear Earth…from Your Friends in Room 5 by Erin Dealey, illustrated by Luisa Uribe

Ice! Poems about Polar Life by Douglas Florian

Little Blue Truck’s Valentine by Alice Schertle, illustrated by Jill McElmurry

Quiet Down, Loud Town! by Alastair Heim, illustrated by Matt Hunt

Snoozie, Sunny and So-So by Dafna Ben-Zvi, illustrated by Ofra Amit, translated by Annette Appel

A Year of Everyday Wonders by Cheryl B. Klein, illustrated by Qin Leng

2021 NCTE Charlotte Huck Awards

The winners of the National Council of Teachers of English’s Charlotte Huck Award have been announced. The award is given for excellence in writing of fiction for children that has “the potential to transform children’s lives by inviting compassion, imagination, and wonder.” Here are the award recipients for 2021:


I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James


A High Five for Glenn Burke by Phil Bildner

Land of the Cranes by Aida Salazar

Quintessence by Jess Redman

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom; illustrated by Michaela Goade

When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson & Omar Mohamed


Alice’s Farm by Maryrose Wood

The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story by Aya Khalil, illustrated by Anait Semirdzhyan

The Blackbird Girls by Anne Blankman

Braver by Suzanne Selfors and Walker Ranson

Efren Divided by Ernesto Cisneros

Hike by Pete Oswald

Ways to Make Sunshine by Renee Watson

When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller

2020 An Post Irish Book Award Winners

The 2020 An Post Irish Book Award winners were announced in an online ceremony on Wednesday, November 25th. The awards are given for several different categories with three that are specifically for youth and teens. Here are the winners in those categories:


The Great Irish Farm Book by Darragh McCullough, illustrated by Sally Caulwell



Break the Mould by Sinéad Burke, illustrated by Natalie Byrne


Savage Her Reply

Savage Her Reply by Deirdre Sullivan, illustrated by Karen Vaughan

Kirkus Best Picture Books & Middle-Grade Books of the Year 2020

Best Books of 2020

Kirkus has announced their picks for the best 100 picture books and the best middle-grade books of the year.

The books are grouped into categories for easier browsing in both lists. You can also see their entire picture book list and middle grade list alphabetically by author, which makes collection development simpler. Lots of great titles here!

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

Cover image for The Black Kids

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed (9781534462724)

Set in Los Angeles in 1982 during the Rodney King riots, this teen novel deals directly with racism and class. Ashley lives in a wealthy part of LA, attends a private school, and has only white friends who she has known since childhood. They spend lots of time around the pool drinking, flirting and planning their prom. As the protests engulf LA though, race becomes a part of everyone’s focus, something that Ashley has tried to ignore, including all the comments one of her friends keeps making. Ashley finds herself becoming closer with LaShawn, a Black kid at school who is a star athlete and whose home is threatened by the protests. He has gotten into Stanford while Ashley has been placed on the waitlist. Ashley makes a comment about his new shoes to her white friends and suddenly becomes a rumor, leading to LaShawn punching another student and potentially losing his place at Stanford. Ashley must figure out how to make things right and also what side she is on.

Reed takes a historical moment in time that continues to resonate today. Remarkably, this is a debut novel. Written with such assurance and clarity, the book allows Ashley to find her own way, something that is often not clear as she continues to make mistakes based on her friends and her class. Reed keeps from becoming didactic at all, instead giving us the perfect character to learn alongside, to hope realizes what is truly happening, and to empathize with and get really angry at.

This book doesn’t duck away from anything. Reed takes on micro and macroaggressions around race and class. She explores how wealth does not protect Black Americans from being targeted, treated differently in our justice system, or stopped by police at gun point. She shows readers this with such power and straightforward honesty that it is impossible to rationalize it away.

Beautifully written, this historical novel is powerful and gripping. Appropriate for ages 14-18.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Simon & Schuster.