Parents Magazine Best Children’s Books of 2020

Parents Magazine has released their annual list of the best books of the year. Selected by the magazine editors and a panel of librarians and young readers, the list contains their top 30 titles of 2020. Here is the full list:

The Alphabet’s Alphabet by Chris Harris, illustrated by Dan Santat

The Box Turtle by Vanessa Roeder

Catch That Chicken! by Atinuke, illustrated by Angela Brooksbank

City Spies by James Ponti

Class Act by Jerry Craft

Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera

Friday Night Wrestlefest by J. F. Fox, illustrated by Micah Player

From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks

Hand in Hand by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, illustrated by Sheryl Murray

Hello Elephant! by Sam Boughton

History Smashers: The Mayflower by Kate Messner, illustrated by Dylan Meconis

Hooray for Little Fingers by Tristan Mory

How Big Is Zagnodd? by Sandra Boynton

Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea by Meena Harris, illustrated by Ana Ramirez Gonzalez

Lift by Minh Le, illustrated by Dan Santat

Mail Duck by Erica Sirotich

Old Rock (Is Not Boring) by Deb Pilutti

The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate, illustrated by Patricia Castelao

Our World by Sue Lowell Gallion, illustrated by Lisk Feng

The Paper Kingdom by Helena Ku Rhee, illustrated by Pascal Campion

Play with Your Plate! by Judith Rossell

Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park

See the Cat: Three Stories about a Dog by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka

Shirley & Jamila Save Their Summer by Gillian Goerz

Vinny Gets a Job by Terry Brodner

Ways to Make Sunshine by Renee Watson

What about Worms!? by Ryan T. Higgins

What Is Baby Going to Do? by Laura Knowles, illustrated by Juliana Perdomo

Who Does What? by Stephanie Babin, illustrated by Ilaria Falorsi

You’re My Little Baby by Eric Carle

Julia’s House Moves On by Ben Hatke

Cover image for Julia’s House Moves On

Julia’s House Moves On by Ben Hatke (9781250191373)

This sequel to Julia’s House for Lost Creatures carries readers back to the marvels of the Julia’s unusual house and the creatures she shares it with. Julia’s house was getting restless and all of the different creatures who lived there could feel it and started to act out too. Luckily, Julia had a plan for moving them, she even knew just the spot in the mountains for them. But then, the turtle whose back carried the house decided to move right then, down into the ocean. Now the house was tattered and barely afloat. Julia though had a plan filled with paddling and pushing but the house sunk faster and sharks were circling. She went to her other plan, and blew on Triton’s Horn but that didn’t work out either. With her house sinking, the creatures floated off away from Julia. All was lost. Or perhaps they had their own plan!

Written just for compulsive planners like myself, this picture book is funny and full of dynamic moments. Hatke, the creator of graphic novels like Zita the Spacegirl, is just as at home in the picture book format. His pacing is brisk, never letting poor Julia linger for long in her new spot of trouble. Julia’s plans are feats in themselves, constantly figuring out what to do, and show real resilience in dire situations.

As with all of Hatke’s art, he creates characters who are fascinating, friendly and full of life. Here he gets to delve into all sorts of strange creatures too who liven up the story. His illustrations are worth lingering over, with small touches that make Julia’s house come alive (literally).

Perhaps the perfect COVID fantasy read that shows how communities can work to save one another. Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by First Second.