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CRC Reads: December 2020

Visit this site to see recent additions to the Curriculum Resource Center that we highly recommend.

Best of 2020

What 2020 lacked in moments of calm and joy (frankly, I won't miss waking up with my heart in my throat every day), it made up for in quality literature for children.

As a nightcap to The Year That Made Panic Attacks Feel Like A Normal Part of Life, I present to you my five favorite books in each of our categories. Perhaps, if you trust my opinions, these will make excellent holiday gifts for the young people in your life.

Some of these have been highlighted in previous issues of CRC Reads. Some I'm springing on you now because why not. 

Enjoy. See you in 2021. 

Picture Books and Early Readers

Above the Rim

Follows the life of basketball great Elgin Baylor, whose greatest accomplishments happened off-court where he combatted racist laws. Winner of the Orbis Pictus Medal.

I Am Every Good Thing

The confident Black narrator of this book is proud of everything that makes him who he is. He's got big plans, and no doubt he'll see them through--as he's creative, adventurous, smart, funny, and a good friend. Sometimes he falls, but he always gets back up. Winner of the Charlotte Huck Medal.

If You Come to Earth

A boy writes a letter to an imagined alien, explaining all the things he will need to know about Earth and the people who live here--and adding a postscript asking what the alien might look like.

The Most Beautiful Thing

Drawn from Kao Kalia Yang's childhood experiences as a Hmong refugee, this heartfelt picture book offers a window into the life of a family with little money and a great deal of love

A Thousand Glass Flowers

Paints the portrait of Marietta Barovier, the groundbreaking Renaissance artisan who helped shape the future of Venetian glassmaking.

Middle Grade

Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri

Everything Sad Is Untrue

Iranian refugee and middle schooler Daniel Nayeri tells his class the twisty, tragicomic story of his family's history. Awards: Printz Medal, Walter Award Honor for Middle Grade

Fighting Words by Kimberley Brubaker Bradley

Fighting Words

After an unspeakable act of violence, Della and her sister Suki begin the healing process while staying with their prickly foster mother. Awards: Newbery Honor, Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor for Fiction, Golden Kite Middle Grade Honor

King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender

King and the Dragonflies

In a small but turbulent Louisiana town, one boy's grief takes him beyond the bayous of his backyard, to learn that there is no right way to be yourself. Awards: National Book Award for Young People's LiteratureBoston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction, Coretta Scott King Author Honor

The Last Tree Town by Beth Turley

The Last Tree Town

Struggling with her Puerto Rican identity, her grandfather's memory loss and transfer to a nursing home, and her sister's depression, seventh-grader Cassi joins the Mathletes at school, finding comfort in numbers and in her new friendship with Aaron.

The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead

The List of Things That Will Not Change

Despite her parents' divorce, her father's coming out as gay, and his plans to marry his boyfriend, ten-year-old Bea is reassured by her parents' unconditional love, excited about getting a stepsister, and haunted by something she did last summer at her father's lake house.

Young Adult

Camp by L.C. Rosen


At Camp Outland, a camp for LGBTQIA teens, sixteen-year-old Randall "Del" Kapplehoff's plan to have Hudson Aaronson-Lim fall in love with him succeeds, but both are hiding their true selves.

Flamer by Mike Curato


Aidan navigates friendships, deals with bullies, and spends time with Elias, a boy he can't stop thinking about, while at summer camp.

Kent State by Deborah Wiles

Kent State

Recounts the story of what happened at Kent State in May 1970, when four college students were killed by National Guardsmen, and a student protest was turned into a bloody battlefield. Winner of the Odyssey Medal

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

Punching the Air

A teen who is wrongfully incarcerated works through the injustice of his imprisonment through art and poetry. Awards: Walter Award for Young Adult, Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor for Fiction

We Are Not Free by Traci Chee

We Are Not Free

For fourteen-year-old budding artist Minoru Ito, her two brothers, her friends, and the other members of the Japanese-American community, the three months since Pearl Harbor was attacked have become a waking nightmare. Awards: Finalist for the National Book Award, Walter Award Honor for Young Adult, Printz Honor