The 2020 Notable Books for a Global Society have been announced. This is an annual list of 25 books created by the International Literacy Association which enhance student understand of people and cultures. The list includes books published during the previous year for grades K-12. Here are the 2020 books:
The Book Rescuer: How a Mensch from Massachusetts Saved Yiddish Literature for Generations to Come by Sue Macy, illustrated by Stacy Innerst
At the Mountain’s Base by Traci Sorrell, illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre
The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman
Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee
Dreams from Many Rivers by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Beatriz Gutierrez Hernandez
Feed Your Mind: A Story of August Wilson by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Cannaday Chapman
Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
Indian No More by Charlene Willing McManis
Lubna and Pebble by Wendy Meddour, illustrated by Daniel Egenėus
Mario and the Hole in the Sky: How a Chemist Saved Our Planet by Elizabeth Rusch,
illustrated by Teresa Martinez
Martin & Anne, the Kindred Spirits of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Anne Frank by Nancy Churnin, illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg
The Moon Within by Aida Salazar
New Kid by Jerry Craft
Orange for the Sunsets by Tina Athaide
The Other Side: Stories of Central American Teen Refugees Who Dream of Crossing the Border by Juan Pablo Villalobos
Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga
Paper Son: The Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist by Julie Leung, illustrated by Chris Sasaki
Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpre by Anika Aldamuy Denise, illustrated by Paoal Escobar
Room on Our Rock by Kate and Jol Temple, illustrated by Terri Rose Baynton
Soldier for Equality: Josė de la Luz Sáenz and the Great War by Duncan Tonatiuh
Thanku: Poems of Gratitude by Miranda Paul (Ed.), illustrated by Marlena Myles
Todos Iquales / All Equal: Un corridor de Lemon Grove/ A Ballad of Lemon Grove by Christy Hale
The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Under the Broken Sky by Mariko Nagai
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Furious Thing by Jenny Downham (9781338540659)
Lex is angry almost all the time. Her anger burns through her for reasons she can’t explain even to herself. Her mother’s fiance, John, is convinced that there is something wrong with her and that she should be medicated. Her mother is distant but loving, unwilling to stand up to John about anything much at all. He tells Lex that bad things happen when she is around and that seems to be true. Her little sister fell out of a tree and hurt her head because she was climbing with Lex as their parents fought. At school, Lex throws a chair through a window in a rage after auditioning for a drama production. Lex knows she isn’t a monster though at times that might be just what her world needs. She only has two more years at home and even though she tries, she can’t be perfect enough to make John happy for more than a few hours. As her mother’s relationship with John hits a bad patch, Lex begins to find her voice and reach out to tell others what is really happening.
On the shortlist for the Costa Book Award for youth, this novel captures the horrors of living in a controlling relationship filled with verbal and emotional abuse. The novel allows the abuse to be revealed gradually, so that readers begin by wondering about Lex and her mental health for different reasons than the true causes of the problem. It is this slow unveiling that really makes the abuse all the more disturbing and allows readers to see how it hides in plain sight. The effect is entirely riveting. It’s a book you can’t look away from.
Lex is a tremendous accomplishment as a heroine. She is abused but not cowed, wild with rage but also full of love. She is unwilling to be told who she is or should be, yet also pushes back on things that would help her like having friends and doing better in school. Her relationship with her stepbrother is a vital component to the book, a glimpse of a young abusive male. Readers will be stunned to watch as Lex realizes the abuse she too is caught up in and will relish her strength in walking away.
A stunning novel about being righteously raging as a young woman in our society. Appropriate for ages 14-18.
Reviewed from ARC provided by Scholastic.