May 2020 Starred Reviews

Book award season is in full swing now! The Kirkus Finalists and the National Book Award Longlist have both been announced. The online Mock Award Community has also started picking up steam: SLJ’s Heavy Medal is back with posts providing in-depth analysis of possible Newbery contenders as is the Pondering Printz column. Horn Book’s Calling Caldecott announced their plan for this award year earlier in September.

And me? I’m still behind, but plugging away at trying to get caught up.

May 2020 stars tally:

  • 668 books published in 2020 have been awarded 1051 starred reviews and 4 books published in 2021 have been awarded 8 starred reviews as of the end of May.
  • 3 books with 6 starred reviews; 8 books with 5 starred reviews; 30 books with 4 starred reviews; 57 books with 3 starred reviews; 132 books with 2 starred reviews; 438 books with 1 starred review.
  • 14 books are entirely new to the list: all with three starred reviews.

2020 Starred Reviews

6 starred reviews:  3 books

Honeybee book coverThe List of Things That Will Not Change book coverThe Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh book cover

Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera. Candace Fleming, illus. by Eric Rohmann. Holiday House/Neal Porter. 9780823442850. B, BCCB, HB, K, PW, SLJ.
The List of Things That Will Not Change. Rebecca Stead. Penguin Random House/Wendy Lamb. 9781101938096. B, BCCB, HB, K, PW, SLJ.
The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh.
Candace Fleming. Penguin Random House/Schwartz & Wade. 9780525646549. B, BCCB, HB, K, PW, SLJ.

5 starred reviews:  8 books – BoxDancing at the Pity Party; and Kent State move up from 4 starred reviews

Box book coverDancing at the Pity Party book coverHike book coverKent State book coverThe Old Truck book coverPrairie Lotus book coverWhen Stars Are Scattered book coverWhen You Trap a Tiger book cover

Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom. Carole Boston Weatherford, illus. by Michele Wood. Candlewick. 9780763691561. BCCB, HB, K, PW, SLJ.
Dancing at the Pity Party: A Dead Mom Graphic Memoir. Tyler Feder. Penguin Random House/Dial. 9780525553021. B, BCCB, HB, PW, SLJ.
Pete Oswald. Candlewick. 9781536201574. B, HB, K, PW, SLJ.
Kent State. Deborah Wiles. Scholastic/Scholastic Press. 9781338356281. B, BCCB, HB, K, PW.
The Old Truck. Jerome and Jarrett Pumphrey. W.W. Norton and Company/Norton Young Readers. 9781324005193. B, HB, K, PW, SLJ.
Prairie Lotus. Linda Sue Park. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Clarion. 9781328781505. B, HB, K, PW, SLJ.
When Stars Are Scattered. Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, illus. by Victoria Jamieson with Iman Geddy. Penguin Random House/Dial. 9780525553915. B, HB, K, PW, SLJ.
When You Trap a Tiger.
Tae Keller. Penguin Random House. 9781524715700. B, BCCB, K, PW, SLJ.

4 starred reviews:  30 books – 7 books move up from three starred reviews: The Camping Trip; Daring Darleen: Queen of the ScreenDragon HoopsRed Hood; Summer Song; Together We Grow; and We Dream of Space

¡Vamos!: Let's Go Eat book coverAlmost American Girl book coverBedtime for Sweet Creatures book coverThe Camping Trip book coverThe Cat Man of Aleppo book coverDaring Darleen book coverDon't Worry, Little Crab book coverDragon Hoops book coverHello, Neighbor! book coverKing and the Dragonflies book coverLift book coverLizzie Demands a Seat book coverMy Best Friend book coverNesting book coverThe Next President book coverNot So Pure and Simple book coverThe Oldest Student book coverOutside In book coverOverground Railroad book coverRaybearer book coverRed Hood book coverRick book coverStamped book coverSummer Song book coverThey Went Left book coverTigers, Not Daughters book coverTogether We Grow book coverWe Are Not From Here book coverWe Are Water Protectors book coverWe Dream of Space book cover

¡Vamos!: Let’s Go Eat. Raúl the Third, illus. by Raúl the Third with Elaine Bay. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Versify. 9781328557049. HB, K, PW, SLJ.
Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir.
Robin Ha. HaperCollins/Balzer + Bray. 9780062685100. B, K, PW, SLJ.
Bedtime for Sweet Creatures. Nikki Grimes, illus. by Elizabeth Zunon. Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky. 9781492638322. B, K, PW, SLJ.
The Camping Trip. Jennifer K. Mann. Candlewick. 9781536207361. B, HB, K, PW.
The Cat Man of Aleppo. Irene Latham and Karim Shamsi-Basha, illus. by Yuko Shimizu. Penguin Random House/Putnam. 9781984813787. B, BCCB, K, PW.
Daring Darleen: Queen of the Screen. Anne Nesbet. Candlewick. 9781536206197. B, K, PW, SLJ.
Don’t Worry, Little Crab. Chris Haughton. Candlewick. 9781536211191. B, K, PW, SLJ.
Dragon Hoops. Gene Luen Yang, illus. by Gene Luen Yang and Lark Pien. Macmillan/First Second. 9781626720794. B, BCCB, HB, PW.
Hello, Neighbor!: The Kind and Caring World of Mister Rogers. Matthew Cordell. Holiday House/Neal Porter. 9780823446186. B, K, PW, SLJ.
King and the Dragonflies. Kacen Callender. Scholastic Press. 9781338129335. B, HB, PW, SLJ.
Lift. Minh Lê, illus. by Dan Santat. Hachette/Little, Brown. 9781368036924. B, K, PW, SLJ.
Lizzie Demands a Seat!: Elizabeth Jennings Fights for Streetcar Rights. Beth Anderson, illus. by E.B. Lewis. Boyds Mills/Calkins Creek. 9781629799391. B, K, PW, SLJ.
My Best Friend. Julie Fogliano, illus. by Jillian Tamaki. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum. 9781534427228. B, BCCB, PW, SLJ.
Nesting. Henry Cole. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen. 9780062885920. B, K, PW, SLJ.
The Next President: The Unexpected Beginnings and Unwritten Future of America’s Presidents. Kate Messner, illus. by Adam Rex. Chronicle. 9781452174884. B, HB, PW, SLJ.
Not So Pure and Simple. Lamar Giles. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. 9780062349194. B, K, PW, SLJ.
The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read. Rita Lorraine Hubbard, illus. by Oge Mora. Penguin Random House/Schwartz & Wade. 9781524768287. B, K, PW, SLJ.
Outside In. Deborah Underwood, illus. by Cindy Derby. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 9781328866820. BCCB, K, PW, SLJ.
Overground Railroad. Lesa Cline-Ransome, illus. by James E. Ransome. Holiday House. 9780823438730. B, BCCB, K, PW.
Raybearer. Jordan Ifueko. Abrams/Amulet. 9781419739828. B, BCCB, K, PW.
Red Hood. Elana K. Arnold. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. 9780062742353. B, HB, PW, SLJ.
Rick. Alex Gino. Scholastic/Scholastic Press. 9781338048100. B, K, PW, SLJ.
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-Winning Stamped From the Beginning. Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. Hachette/Little, Brown. 9780316453691. B, K, PW, SLJ.
Summer Song. Kevin Henkes, illus. by Laura Dronzek. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. 9780062866134. B, BCCB, K, SLJ.
They Went Left. Monica Hesse. Hachette/Little, Brown. 9780316490573. B, BCCB, PW, SLJ.
Tigers, Not Daughters. Samantha Mabry. Workman/Algonquin. 9781616208967. B, BCCB, PW, SLJ.
Together We Grow. Susan Vaught, illus. by Kelly Murphy. Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman. 9781534405868. B, K, PW, SLJ.
We Are Not From Here. Jenny Torres Sanchez. Penguin Random House/Philomel. 9781984812261. B, K, PW, SLJ.
We Are Water Protectors. Carole Lindstrom, illus. by Michaela Goade. Macmillan/Roaring Brook. 9781250203557. B, K, PW, SLJ.
We Dream of Space. Erin Entrada Kelly. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. 9780062747303. B, HB, PW, SLJ.

3 starred reviews:  57 books – 14 books are new to the list; they are marked *NEW* below

19 Love Songs book coverAgnes at the End of the World book coverAll the Birds in the World book coverAll the Days Past, All the Days to Come book coverAll the Dear Little Animals book coverAstronauts book coverBanned Book Club book coverBear Goes Sugaring book coverBeing Frog book coverThe Black Flamingo book coverBlack Is a Rainbow Color book coverThe Boy Who Dreamed of Infinity book coverBurn book coverCast Away book coverA Ceiling Made of Eggshells book coverChild of the Universe book coverConsent (For Kids!) book coverDandelion's Dream book coverDeeplight book coverDress Coded book coverEcho Mountain book coverEfrén Divided book coverFelix Ever After book coverFly on the Wall book coverFrom the Desk of Zoe Washington book coverGet a Grip, Vivy Cohen! book coverGirl, Unframed book coverThe Girl Who Speaks Bear book coverGreen on Green book coverIn a Jar book coverIn My Anaana's Amautik book coverIn the Woods book coverLeaving Lymon book coverLetters from Bear book coverLifting As We Climb book coverMadame Badobedah book coverThe Magic in Changing Your Stars book coverMagnificent Homespun Brown book coverThe Magnificent Monsters of Cedar Street book coverMañanaland book coverOnce Upon an Eid book coverThe One and Only Bob book coverOne Little Bag book coverThe Only Black Girls in Town book coverParachutes book coverPoisoned Water book coverSal & Gabi Fix the Universe book coverSalma the Syrian Chef book coverSantiago's Road Home book coverShow Me a Sign book coverSnapdragon book coverA Song of Wraiths and Ruin book coverThe Thief Knot book coverThis Book Is Anti-Racist book coverTwo Little Trains book coverWays to Make Sunshine book coverWhat Lane? book cover

19 Love Songs. David Levithan. Penguin Random House/Knopf. 9781984848635. B, BCCB, SLJ.
*NEW* Agnes at the End of the World. Kelly McWilliams. Hachette/Little, Brown. 9780316487337. K, PW, SLJ.
*NEW* All the Birds in the World. David Opie. Peter Pauper Press. 9781441333292. B, K, PW.
All the Days Past, All the Days to Come.
Mildred D. Taylor. Penguin Random House/Viking. 9780399257308. B, K, PW.
All the Dear Little Animals. Ulf Nilsson, illus. by Eva Eriksson. Lerner/Gecko Press. 9781776572892. B, K, PW.
Astronauts: Women on the Final Frontier. Jim Ottaviani, illus. by Maris Wicks. Macmillan/First Second. 9781626728776. B, K, PW.
Banned Book Club. Kim Hyun Sook and Ryan Estrada, illus. by Ko Hyung-Ju. Iron Circus. 9781945820427. B, PW, SLJ.
Bear Goes Sugaring. Maxwell Eaton, III. Holiday House/Neal Porter. 9780823444489. BCCB, K, PW.
Being Frog. April Pulley Sayre. Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane. 9781534428812. BCCB, K, PW.
The Black Flamingo. Dean Atta. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. 9780062990297. K, PW, SLJ.
Black Is a Rainbow Color. Angela Joy, illus. by Ekua Holmes. Macmillan/Roaring Brook. 9781626726314. B, HB, K.
The Boy Who Dreamed of Infinity: A Tale of the Genius Ramanujan. Amy Alznauer, illus. Daniel Miyares. Candlewick. 9780763690489. B, K, PW.
*NEW* Burn. Patrick Ness. HarperCollins/HarperTeen/Quill Tree. 9780062869494. B, PW, SLJ.
*NEW* Cast Away: Poems for Our Time. Naomi Shihab Nye. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. 9780062907691. B, K, SLJ.
*NEW* A Ceiling Made of Eggshells. Gail Carson Levine. HarperCollins/Quill Tree. 9780062878199. K, PW, SLJ.
Child of the Universe. Ray Jayawardhana, illus. by Raúl Colón. Penguin Random House/Make Me a World. 9781524717544. K, PW, SLJ.
Consent (For Kids!): Boundaries, Respect, and Being in Charge of You. Rachel Brian. Hachette/Little, Brown. 9780316457736. B, K, SLJ.
Dandelion’s Dream. Yoko Tanaka. Candlewick. 9781536204537. BCCB, K, SLJ.
Deeplight. Frances Hardinge. Abrams/Amulet. 9781419743207. BCCB, K, PW.
*NEW* Dress Coded. Carrie Firestone. Penguin Random House/Putnam. 9781984816436. B, K, SLJ.
Echo Mountain. Lauren Wolk. Penguin Random House/Dutton. 9780525555568. B, K, PW.
Efrén Divided. Ernesto Cisneros. HarperCollins/Harper. 9780062881687. B, K, PW.
*NEW* Felix Ever After. Kacen Callender. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. 9780062820259. B, PW, SLJ.
Fly on the Wall. Remy Lai. Macmillan/Henry Holt. 9781250314116. B, K, SLJ.
From the Desk of Zoe Washington. Janae Marks. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen. 9780062875853. B, K, PW.
Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen! Sarah Kapit. Penguin Random House/Dial. 9780525554189. B, K, SLJ.
*NEW* Girl, Unframed. Deb Caletti. Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse. 9781534426979. B, K, PW.
The Girl Who Speaks Bear. Sophie Anderson. Scholastic/Scholastic Press. 9781338580839. B, K, PW.
*NEW* Green on Green. Dianne White, illus. by Felicita Sala. Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane. 9781481462785. B, HB, PW.
In a Jar. Deborah Marcero. Penguin Random House/Putnam. 9780525514596. B, K, SLJ.
*NEW* In My Anaana’s Amautik. Nadia Sammurtok, illus. by Lenny Lishchenko. Inhabit Media. 9781772272529. HB, K, SLJ.
In the Woods. David Elliott, illus. by Rob Dunlavey. Candlewick. 9780763697839. B, HB, K.
Leaving Lymon. Lesa Cline-Ransome. Holiday House. 9780823444427. B, K, PW.
Letters from Bear. Gauthier David, illus. by Marie Caudry. Eerdmans. 9780802855367. B, K, SLJ.
Lifting As We Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box. Evette Dionne. Penguin Random House/Viking. 9780451481542. B, K, SLJ.
Madame Badobedah. Sophie Dahl, illus. by Lauren O’Hara. Candlewick/Walker US. 9781536210224. B, K, PW.
The Magic in Changing Your Stars. Leah Henderson. Sterling. 9781454934066. B, K, SLJ.
Magnificent Homespun Brown: A Celebration. Samara Cole Doyon, illus. by Kaylani Juanita. Tilbury House. 9780884487975. K, PW, SLJ.
The Magnificent Monsters of Cedar Street. Lauren Oliver, illus. by Ethan M. Aldridge. HarperCollins/Harper. 9780062345073. K, PW, SLJ.
Mañanaland. Pam Muñoz Ryan. Scholastic Press. 9781338157864. B, K, PW.
Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices. S.K. Ali and Aisha Saeed, eds, illus. by Sara Alfageeh. Abrams/Amulet. 9781419740831. B, K, PW.
*NEW* The One and Only Bob. Katherine Applegate, illus. by Patricia Castelao. HarperCollins/Harper. 9780062991317. K, PW, SLJ.
One Little Bag: An Amazing Journey. Henry Cole. Scholastic/Scholastic Press. 9781338359978. K, PW, SLJ.
The Only Black Girls in Town. Brandy Colbert. Hachette/Little, Brown. 9780316456388. B, K, PW.
Parachutes. Kelly Yang. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen. 9780062941084. B, PW, SLJ.
Poisoned Water: How the Citizens of Flint, Michigan Fought for Their Lives and Warned the Nation. Candy J. Cooper with Marc Aronson. Bloomsbury. 9781547602322. B, PW, SLJ.
*NEW* Sal & Gabi Fix the Universe. Carlos Hernandez. Hachette/Disney/Rick Riordan Presents. 9781368022835. B, K, PW.
Salma the Syrian Chef. Danny Ramadan, illus. by Anna Bron. Annick Press. 9781773213750. B, K, SLJ.
*NEW* Santiago’s Road Home. Alexandra Diaz. Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman. 9781534446236. B, K, PW.
Show Me a Sign. Ann Clare LeZotte. Scholastic/Scholastic Press. 9781338255812. K, PW, SLJ.
Snapdragon. Kat Leyh. Macmillan/First Second. 9781250171115. B, K, PW.
*NEW* A Song of Wraiths and Ruin. Roseanne A. Brown. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. 9780062891495. B, K, PW.
The Thief Knot: A Greenglass House Story. Kate Milford, illus. by Jaime Zollars. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Clarion. 9781328466891. B, K, SLJ.
This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How To Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work. Tiffany Jewell, illus. by Aurélia Durand. Quarto Knows/Frances Lincoln. 9780711245211. K, PW, SLJ.
Two Little Trains. Margaret Wise Brown, illus. by Greg Pizzoli. HarperCollins/Harper. 9780062676511. K, PW, SLJ.
Ways to Make Sunshine. Renée Watson, illus. by Nina Mata. Bloomsbury. 9781547600564. B, K, PW.
What Lane? Torrey Maldonado. Penguin Random House/Nancy Paulsen. 9780525518433. K, PW, SLJ.

For information on titles with one or two starred reviews, please see the spreadsheet.

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Happy reading!

5 thoughts on “May 2020 Starred Reviews

  1. Hi Jen- this has been such a crazy year and I haven’t seen you online for so long that I just wanted to make sure that you are okay.


    1. Thank you kindly for your concern – sorry for the very long delay in responding. I’m doing ok, just struggling to keep up with online things still.
      I am hoping to resurrect this project by the end of February, but we will see how it goes. Thank you again for reaching out. It is much appreciated and warms my heart.


  2. Have you put together a final list of top books we might expect to see as Printz winners? I have so lost the thread of the project this year I’m afraid I won’t have read any of the winners.


    1. Hi Anne – I hope things are well with you. I have not been able to keep up with this over the past year so I do not have a list of what could rise to the top! SLJ has been continuing their monthly column from past Printz committee members and that’s probably the best place to get a feel for what might make the list. I just finished listening to Red Hood, loved it, and would not be surprised to see that on there. I would love it if Stamped was there, but I haven’t looked into whether it meets the eligibility requirements since it’s an adaptation.


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