ICPL Top Picks for 2020 Middle Grade & Children's

by Sam

Each winter the ICPL staff vote on our favorite books published during the current year. We call this vote the ICPL TOP PICKS. Our ten TOP PICKS categories are Fiction, Young Adult, Picture Books, Middle Grade and Children’s, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Biographies and Memoirs, Nonfiction, and Graphic Novels.

How do our TOP PICKS for MIDDLE GRADE and CHILDREN'S books match your favorite reading experiences in 2020? We would like to hear about your favorites too!

Stay tuned for the BEST OF THE BEST list for the year which will be awarded from each TOP PICKS category. The title with the most staff nominations will be awarded the honor of ICPL BEST BOOK of 2020. We'll announce the BEST OF THE BEST for 2020 and our pick for BEST BOOK of 2020 on December 31.

We hope you enjoy our favorite MIDDLE GRADE and CHILDREN'S books of 2020. Let us know if we may connect you with any titles that you find interesting!

Clean getaway

Nic Stone

jFICTION Stone Nic

"For the life of him, William "Scoob" Lamar can't seem to stay out of trouble--and now the run-ins at school have led to lockdown at home. So when G'ma, Scoob's favorite person on Earth, asks him to go on an impromptu road trip, he's in the RV faster than he can say FREEDOM. With G'ma's old maps and a strange pamphlet called the 'Travelers' Green Book' at their side, the pair takes off on a journey down G'ma's memory lane. But adventure quickly turns to uncertainty: G'ma keeps changing the license plate, dodging Scoob's questions, and refusing to check Dad's voice mails. And the farther they go, the more Scoob realizes that the world hasn't always been a welcoming place for kids like him, and things aren't always what they seem--G'ma included."--Jacket flap.

Crossings : extraordinary structures for extraordinary animals

Katy Duffield

j333.954 Duffield

"A non-fiction exploration of animal crossings built by animal lovers around the world to help animals cross over, under, around, and through human construction"--

Dress coded

Carrie Firestone

jFICTION Fireston Carrie

Olivia was yelled at for wearing a tank top when she had to keep her sweatshirt wrapped around her waist. Liza got dress coded and Molly didn't, even though they were wearing the exact same outfit. Jessica was pulled over by the principal, missed a math quiz, and her teacher gave her an F. Molly starts a podcast protesting that it's impossible to find shorts that are longer than her fingertips, and that middle school is hard enough without accusing girls of using their bodies as a distraction. As their small rebellion swells into a revolution, the girls are not backing down. -- adapted from jacket

Echo Mountain

Lauren Wolk

jFICTION Wolk Lauren

When twelve-year-old Ellie and her family lose livelihood and move to a mountain cabin in 1934, she quickly learns to be an outdoors woman and, when needed, a healer.

The list of things that will not change

Rebecca Stead

jFICTION Stead Rebecca

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.

Pretty things : a novel

Janelle Brown

FICTION Brown Janelle

"Nina once bought into the idea that her fancy liberal arts degree would lead to a fulfilling career. When that dream crashed, she turned to stealing from rich kids in L.A. alongside her wily Irish boyfriend, Lachlan. Nina learned from the best: Her mother was the original con artist, hustling to give her daughter a decent childhood despite their wayward life. But when her mom gets sick, Nina puts everything on the line to help her, even if it means running her most audacious, dangerous scam yet. Vanessa is a privileged young heiress who wanted to make her mark in the world. Instead she becomes an Instagram influencer - traveling the globe, receiving free clothes and products, and posing for pictures in exotic locales. But behind the covetable façade is a life marked by tragedy. After a broken engagement, Vanessa retreats to her family's sprawling mountain estate, Stonehaven: A mansion of dark secrets not just from Vanessa's past, but from that of a lost and troubled girl named Nina. Nina, Vanessa, and Lachlan's paths collide here, on the cold shores of Lake Tahoe, where their intertwined lives give way to a winter of aspiration and desire, duplicity and revenge."--Provided by publisher.

Skunk and Badger

Amy Timberlake

jFICTION Timberla Amy

The last thing Badger wants is a roommate, and certainly not Skunk, but since the house does not belong to him he does not have a choice; and soon everything in Badger's quiet and ordered life studying rocks is turned upside down (and where on earth did all the chickens come from)--but after he drives Skunk and his chickens away, Badger starts to miss his roommate and sets out to find him and make amends.

Stand up, Yumi Chung!

Jessica Kim

jFICTION Kim Jessica

When eleven-year-old Yumi Chung stumbles into a kids' comedy camp she is mistaken for another student, so she decides to play the part.