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The end of the year means it's time for "best of" lists and we're happy to throw our 2 cents into the mix! We present just a few of our top picks from Library staff. Here's to an ever-growing "to-read" list!

Book River
Book River Title
Best of 2020 Staff Picks
Book River Items

Kamala Harris : Rooted in Justice (2020)

by Nikki Grimes

This picture book highlights the life, career and social justice focus of Kamala Harris leading up to her history making nomination as the Vice President of the United States.   It tells of her successes and failures  in a beautifully illustrated, kid friendly format appealing to readers of all ages. — Vicki Heller, Collection Development Librarian

Mexican Gothic (2020)

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

This take on Gothic horror is done elegantly and effortlessly. Though it is set in the 1950s there is something so timeless about a story featuring a house that isn't haunted by ghosts but rather its current inhabitants and a relationship that is toxic in the most literal sense. — Emily Vinci, Fiction Manager

Clap when You Land (2020)

by Elizabeth Acevedo

Two sisters. One plane crash. Their lives forever changed. This emotional Young Adult novel in verse is a story about grief, love, and forgiveness. Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. — Allison Riggs, Teen Librarian

The Little Mermaid (2020)

by Jerry Pinkney

This picture book by Caldecott Award medalist illustrator Pinkney reimagines the classic fairy tale about love and redemption as a story of friendship and inner strength and the gorgeous illustrations give the traditional white characters brown skin. Melody, the littlest sea princess who loves to explore, gives up her voice for legs so she can see what life is like above the ocean and meet the girl she saw from a distance, but trouble brews back home culminating with a classic good vs evil battle. It is an empowering and accessible adaptation suitable for all ages. — Gail Tobin, Hanover Park Branch Manager

Fighting Words (2020)

by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Phenomenal. A moving book about two sisters finding safety and refuge from an abusive household in the foster care system. Words they have been so quiet about, will set them free and bring them protection. The book deals with a lot of hard topics, and is ultimately a huge winner. — Gretchen Schulz, Tween Librarian

Jack (2020)

by Marilynne Robinson

Hauntingly beautiful, complex, character-driven fiction about a ne'er-do-well who's sworn off all relations, convinced he brings others nothing but pain. Inconveniently, love comes knocking. — Magan Szwarek, Reference Services Director

Class Act (2020)

by Jerry Craft

The sequel to New Kid is a middle-grade graphic novel that focuses on Drew, Jordan's friend and fellow black student in eighth grade at their elite, mostly white private school in New York. The book is funny and appealing while tackling inequity, microaggressions and the importance of friends. — Gail Tobin, Hanover Park Branch Manager

Beetle & the Hollowbones (2020)

by Aliza Layne

This middle grade full-color graphic novel feautring a goblin trying to learn magic and her best friend who is a cursed ghost, is an adorable inclusive fantasy. I liked it so much that I read it twice... so far! — Allison Riggs, Teen Librarian

Hamnet (2020)

by Maggie O'Farrell

With its story of plague and family, Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell is an engrossing take on a little-known tragedy that inspired one of Shakespeare's most revered works. — Magan Szwarek, Reference Services Director