Picture Book Highlights | My Favorite Books of 2020

By Monica C. RSS Thu, December 10, 2020

I wanted to write a blog post about my favorite picture books of 2020; all the books that touched me through their text and art... but that is not an easy thing to do. There are so many wonderful books published every year – how do you even start to choose? Even harder, how do you limit your choice to just 10?

There is definitely an element of personal taste related to a story topic or an illustration style, but there are other considerations as well, especially with regards to picture books. This is a magical format, one where words and art share equal billing, where they complement each other, each making the whole greater than the sum of its parts.

So, here are my picks for this year. I’d love to hear what your favorite picture books are too, so let me know in the comments section!


We Are Water Protectors written by Carole Lindstrom; illustrated by Michaela Goode

ebook available from Overdrive.

Told from the perspective of a Native American child, this bold and lyrical picture book is a powerful call to action to defend Earth’s natural resources—inspired by the Dakota Access Pipeline protests and similar movements led by Indigenous tribes all across North America.


I Am Every Good Thing written by Derrick Barnes; illustrated by Gordon C. James

ebook and audiobook available from Overdrive.

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. And other times he’s afraid, because he’s so often misunderstood and called what he is not. So slow down and really look and listen, when somebody tells you—and shows you—who they are. There are superheroes in our midst!


The Old Truck by Jerome Pumphrey and Jarrett Pumphrey

ebook available from Overdrive.

When is an old truck something more? On a small, bustling farm, a resilient and steadfast pickup works tirelessly alongside the family that lives there and becomes a part of the dreams and ambitions of the family’s young daughter.



A Polar Bear in the Snow written by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Shawn Harris

Follow a magnificent polar bear through a fantastic world of snow and shockingly blue sea. Over the ice, through the water, past Arctic animals and even a human… where is he going? What does he want? Tag along in this brilliant adventure.




You Matter by Christian Robinson

ebook available from Overdrive.

In this full, bright, and beautiful picture book, many different perspectives around the world are deftly and empathetically explored—from a pair of bird-watchers to the pigeons they’re feeding. Young readers will be drawn into the luminous illustrations inviting them to engage with the world in a new way and see how everyone is connected, and that everyone matters.



The Bear and the Moon written by Matthew Burgess; illustrated by Cátia Chien

ebook available from Overdrive.

When the gift of a balloon floats into Bear's life, the two companions embark on a journey of discovery as small as a clearing in the forest... and as deep as the sky.




My Best Friend written by Julie Fogliano; illustrated by Jillian Tamaki

ebook available from Overdrive.

What is a best friend, if not someone who laughs with you the whole entire day, especially when you pretend to be a pickle? Two girls quickly become best friends, even before they learn one another's names.




I Talk Like a River written by Jordan Scot; illustrated by Sydney Smith

audiobook available from Hoopla.

What if words got stuck in the back of your mouth whenever you tried to speak? What if they never came out the way you wanted them to? When a boy who stutters feels isolated, alone, and incapable of communicating in the way he’d like, it takes a kindly father and a walk by the river to help him find his voice.


Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away written by Meg Medina; illustrated by Sonia Sánchez

ebook available from Overdrive.

Evelyn Del Rey is Daniela’s best friend. They do everything together and even live in twin apartments across the street from each other: Daniela with her mami and hamster, and Evelyn with her mami, papi, and cat. But not after today—not after Evelyn moves away. Until then, the girls play amid the moving boxes until it’s time to say goodbye, making promises to keep in touch, because they know that their friendship will always be special. 


Becoming a Good Creature written by Sy Montgomery; illustrated by Rebecca Green

ebook available from Overdrive.

School is not the only place to find a teacher. Sy Montgomery has had many teachers in her life: some with two legs, others with four, or even eight! Some have had fur, feathers, or hooves. But they’ve all had one thing in common: a lesson to share. Gorillas, dogs, octopuses, tigers, and more all have shown Sy that there are no limits to the empathy and joy we can find in each other if only we take the time to connect.


Be sure to check our catalog and Overdrive Kids eReading Room, for these titles and many more being added!

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