Winter 2020-2021 Kids’ Indie Next List

The American Booksellers Association has their preview of the titles included on the Winter 2020-2021 Kids’ Indie Next List. The list features a top ten as well as additional picks for ages four through teen. The books are nominated by booksellers at independent bookstores across the country. Here are the books that made the list:


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

Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston

The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein

Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho, illustrated by Dung Ho

Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer

The Sea in Winter by Christine Day

Soulswift by Megan Bannen

The Valley and the Flood by Rebecca Mahoney

A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer


Amy Wu and the Patchwork Dragon by Kat Zhang, Charlene Chua (Illus.)

Beak & Ally: Unlikely Friends by Norm Feuti

Benny’s True Colors by Norene Paulson, Anne Passchier (Illus.)

The Couch Potato by Jory John, Pete Oswald (Illus.)

Counting Creatures by Julia Donaldson, Sharon King-Chai (Illus.)

Dear Earth…From Your Friends in Room 5 by Erin Dealey, Luisa Uribe (Illus.)

Find Fergus by Mike Boldt

I Love My Teacher by Giles Andreae, Emma Dodd (Illus.)

The Little Mermaid by Jerry Pinkney

No Reading Allowed: The Worst Read-Aloud Book Ever by Raj Haldar, Chris Carpenter, Bryce Gladfelter (Illus.)

Oona by Kelly DiPucchio, Raissa Figueroa (Illus.)

Over the Shop by Jonaro Lawson, Qin Leng (Illus.)

Sylvia and Marsha Start a Revolution!: The Story of the Trans Women of Color Who Made LGBTQ+ History by Joy Ellison, Teshika Silver (Illus.)

The Trouble With Penguins by Rebecca Jordan-Glum

Wreck This Picture Book by Keri Smith

AGES 9 TO 12

The Ballad of Tubs Marshfield by Cara Hoffman

Exploring the White House: Inside America’s Most Famous Home by Kate Andersen Brower

Fantastic Tales of Nothing by Alejandra Green, Fanny Rodriguez

Hard-Boiled Bugs for Breakfast: And Other Tasty Poems by Jack Prelutsky, Ruth Chan (Illus.)

Katie the Catsitter by Colleen AF Venable, Stephanie Yue (Illus.)

Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes

Max and the Midknights: Battle of the Bodkins by Lincoln Peirce

The Mouse Watch by J.J. Gilbert

The Retake by Jen Calonita

Root Magic by Eden Royce

Serena Says by Tanita S. Davis

Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone

Take Back the Block by Chrystal D. Giles

This Is Your Time by Ruby Bridges

Unplugged by Gordon Korman


Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala

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

The Camelot Betrayal by Kiersten White

Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett

The Good Girls by Claire Eliza Bartlett

Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley

One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite, Maritza Moulite

Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

You Have a Match by Emma Lord

Saucy by Cynthia Kadohata

Cover image for Saucy

Saucy by Cynthia Kadohata (9781442412781)

Becca is a quadruplet which makes it hard to be unique. Her three brothers all have their own thing that makes them special: sports, music or science. Becca doesn’t have anything, though she keeps on searching for it. So when she finds a piglet with a bad case of mange on the side of the road, she thinks she may have found it. After a long stay at the vet, Becca is the owner of a pig, one that will grow to 600 pounds! She knows that eventually she will need to donate the pig to a sanctuary, but for now Saucy lives with her and her family. Saucy though has her own ideas about how to live in a house. They involve flipping chairs to ask for more food, rooting around in the refrigerator at night, and needing Becca to sleep in the kitchen on the floor with her. Becca must wrestle with losing Saucy as she grows bigger and bigger. Then Becca decides that she must find out where Saucy came from, something that will involve her entire family, just like caring for Saucy did.

Kadohata has written award-winning books that are heart wrenching. Here, she offers readers a light and fresh read that is just as well written as her previous books. Just having a pig in a book changes it for the better, offering humorous moments that the pig brings on their own. Saucy is a pig that readers will fall for just as hard as Becca and her family does. There is an underlying question throughout the book about factory farms and the treatment of farm animals that Kadohata takes on directly in a way that shows that children can make a difference even about such large topics.

The characters are great from all of the brothers with their unique attitudes and personalities to Becca herself who is seeking to discover who she really is and clearly does by the end of the book. The adult characters are well done too, including a grandmother who is quite prickly but also smitten with Saucy. Then there is Saucy herself, who makes her own sort of noises and pushes her humans around very effectively.

Funny with real depth, this novel will have you falling in love with Saucy too. Appropriate for ages 9-12.

Reviewed from copy provided by Atheneum.