What books are you and your kids looking forward to reading in 2020? We’re entering this new decade with another epic list of diverse reads to share with you. Ready?
Most of the books listed here are recommended either for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and early elementary readers since my children fall within those groups and so do the little readers in my core target audience. However, ETI has also included a few middle grade and young adult books for slightly older readers to enjoy as well. The best part is most of these books are available for pre-order now so you can get a head start on your shopping.
Rest assured, ETI has selected what we think will be the “best of the best” in terms of diverse books. We know other amazing books will be released throughout the year, but these are the ones that were on our radar right now.
ETI is definitely looking forward to sharing most (if not all) of these books with our little readers. As always, We’ve tried to target books that will likely have: stunning illustrations, read aloud appeal, a kid-friendly theme – or all three! Enjoy!
Trailblazers: Beyonce Queen of the Spotlight by Ebony Joy Wilkins Ages 8 – 12 and up
Beyoncé Knowles became famous as the lead singer of the popular group Destiny’s Child. But on her own, she’s had even bigger hits. From movies to Grammy Awards to performing at the Super Bowl halftime show, Beyoncé is one of the world’s most amazing superstars. Find out how the girl who entered local singing competitions became one of history’s greatest trailblazers!
The Elle Rays by Amari Yarbrough and Cherelle Yarbrough (Ages 2 – 7)
Lily “Elle” Ray is frightened one night when the light that shines through her bedroom window goes dark. To comfort Lily, her older sisters, Ari “Elle” and Bri “Elle”, hold her hands while she sleeps. Unknown to them, the act of joining their hands would catapult them into a magical universe where their hidden powers would be unleashed.Their mother dismisses their adventure as a dream until she, too, begins to see the changes in her daughters. When odd things begin to happen around the house, and huge colorful explosions appear outside, their mother wonders what will happen next. The ELLERAYs is the first book in a new advanced early reader series for young super readers.
Isaiah Dunn is My Hero by Kelly J. Baptist (Ages 8 – 10)
Isaiah is now the big man of the house. But it’s a lot harder than his dad made it look. His little sister, Charlie, asks too many questions, and Mama’s gone totally silent.
Good thing Isaiah can count on his best friend, Sneaky, who always has a scheme for getting around the rules. Plus, his classmate Angel has a few good ideas of her own–once she stops hassling Isaiah.
Mindy Kim and the Lunar New Year Parade by Lyla Lee, Dung Ho Ages 6 – 9
Mindy is excited to celebrate the Lunar New Year! Even though it’s the first one without her mom, Mindy is determined to enjoy the day. She decides to make traditional Korean New Year food, a rice cake soup that’s her favorite. But things aren’t going quite to plan, and the celebration doesn’t feel the same as it did before.
With the help of her family and friends, can Mindy find a way to still enjoy her old holiday traditions, and create new ones along the way?
Yasmin the Writer by Saadia Faruqi (Author), Hatem Aly (Illustrator) Ages 5 – 8
Ms. Alex has assigned Yasmin’s class to write about their heroes. Yasmin loves to write, but she can’t decide who her hero is. After dismissing lots of ideas, could it be that Yasmin’s hero has been right beside her all along?
Farah Rocks Fifth Grade by Susan Muaddi Darraj (Author), Ruaida Mannaa (Illustrator) Ages 8 – 12
Farah and her best friend, Allie Liu, are getting excited to turn in their applications to the Magnet Academy, where they both hope to attend sixth grade. But when new girl Dana Denver shows up, Farah’s world is turned upside down. As Dana starts bullying Farah’s little brother, Samir, Farah begins to second-guess her choice to leave him behind at Harbortown Elementary/Middle School. Determined to handle it on her own, Farah comes up with a plan–a plan that involves lying to those closest to her. Will her lies catch up with her, or can Farah find a way to defeat the bully and rock fifth grade?
Stella Diaz Never Gives Up by Angela Dominguez
Stella gets a big surprise when her mom plans a trip to visit their family in Mexico! Stella loves marine animals, and she can’t wait to see the ocean for the first time . . . until she arrives and learns that the sea and its life forms are in danger due to pollution. Stella wants to save the ocean, but she knows she can’t do it alone. It’s going to take a lot of work and help from old and new friends to make a difference, but Stella Díaz never gives up!
Leaving Lymon by Lesa Cline-Ransome Ages 8 – 12
Lymon’s father is, for the time being, at Parchman Farm–the Mississippi State Penitentiary–and his mother, whom he doesn’t remember all that much, has moved North. Fortunately, Lymon is being raised by his loving grandparents. Together, Lymon and his grandpops share a love of music, spending late summer nights playing the guitar.
The Amazing Life of Azaleah Lane by Nikki Shannon Smith (Author), Mari Lobo (Illustrator) Ages 6 – 8
Azaleah can’t wait for her class field trip to the National Zoo in Washington D.C., especially when her teacher announces the chance to earn extra credit. But when Azaleah gets home, she quickly realizes extra credit isn’t as easy as she thought. Azaleah’s younger sister Tiana can’t find Greenie, her stuffed animal, and she’s sure he’s been stolen. With Mama at the restaurant and Daddy at work on a big case, it seems Azaleah is the only one available to track down the stolen stuffie. Can Azaleah get to the bottom of the mystery in time to finish her extra credit?
Ready to Fly: How Sylvia Townsend Became a Bookmobile Ballerina by Lea Lyon & Alexandria LaFaye, illustrated by Jessica Gibson
This beautiful first-ever biography of Sylvia Townsend tells the story of how one determined girl got her wings by discovering the magic of the bookmobile, keeping the beat in her feet, and staying on her tippy-toes . . . always ready for liftoff.
Just Like Me by Vanessa Brantley-Newton (Ages 4 – 8)
A collection of poetry filled with engaging mini-stories about girls of all kinds: girls who feel happy, sad, scared, powerful; girls who love their bodies and girls who don’t; country girls, city girls; girls who love their mother and girls who wish they had a father. With bright portraits in Vanessa’s signature style of vibrant colors and unique patterns and fabrics, this book invites readers to find themselves and each other within its pages.
Just Like a Mama by Alice Faye Duncan, illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow Ages (4-8)
Carol Olivia Clementine lives with Mama Rose. Mama Rose is tender and sweet—everything a child could wish for in a parent. But she is also as stern and demanding as any good parent should be. In the midst of their happy home, Carol Olivia Clementine misses her mother and father. While she longs to be with them, she also learns to embrace the love that is present. Mama Rose becomes her “home.” And Carol Olivia Clementine concludes that she loves Mama Rose “just like a mama.”
Earth Hour: A Lights-Out Event for Our Planet by Nanette Heffernan, illustrated by Bao Luu (Ages 3- 7)
Kids around the world use electric energy to do all kinds of things–adults do, too! From cleaning the clothes we play in, to lighting up our dinner tables, to keeping us warm and toasty when the weather is cold, electricity is a huge part of our lives. Unfortunately, it can also have a big impact on our planet.
Earth Hour–a worldwide movement in support of energy conservation and sustainability–takes place each March and is sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF). During Earth Hour, individuals, communities, and businesses in more than 7,000 cities turn off nonessential electric lights for one hour. Across each continent–from the Eiffel Tower to the Great Wall of China to the Statue of Liberty–one small act reminds all of us of our enormous impact on planet Earth.
A Ride to Remember: A Civil Rights Story by Sharon Langley (Author), Amy Nathan (Author), Floyd Cooper (Illustrator) Ages 6-9
A Ride to Remember tells how a community came together—both black and white—to make a change. When Sharon Langley was born in the early 1960s, many amusement parks were segregated, and African-American families were not allowed entry. This book reveals how in the summer of 1963, due to demonstrations and public protests, the Gwynn Oak Amusement Park in Maryland became desegregated and opened to all for the first time.
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