Bold New Topics and Innovative Thinking: Children’s Books of 2020


There are only a few days left of 2020 and in some ways, the year went fast. But, in other ways, the last 365 days felt like it took 1095 days to pass. It’s been an interesting, challenging, and unprecedented year in so many ways.

Despite all of the discomfort and uncertainty, we can’t deny that history is being written and rewritten right at this very moment. Who would have thought 2020 would be fraught with global pandemics, the debate over wearing face coverings, how to protect ourselves and others from COVID19, job insecurities, stock market crashes, small businesses failing, PPE shortages, civil unrest, and so much more.

But these trying times have also taught us how to “pivot” and roll with the punches. It also challenged creatives like authors to produce books (or shine the spotlight on existing books) that add voice to the many struggles of 2020.

That being said, we thought a great way to recap this year would be to share some of our Bold New Topics and Innovative Thinking: Children’s Books of 2020 picks. Enjoy!

Messages of Peace: More than ever, people want peace. Children’s books can help adults and kids alike to see and appreciate that everyone is unique and because of that, we need to focus on being more accepting. Working towards a mission of peace also encourages tolerance, open-mindedness, and kindness worldwide

Here is a great booklist for kids from Franticmommy that drives home a beautiful message of PEACE.

Kidlit Picture Books with Messages of PEACE

Books about Social Distancing, Masks, and Germs: Words like “mask-debate,” face-coverings,” “social distancing,” and “distance learning” weren’t really even a “thing” prior to February 2020. This new way of life has been reflected in many new books this year: books designed to help kids understand the confusing world they live in right now. Books like Brandon and His Mask not only ease fears…

Brandon and His Mask - Brandon y Su Mascarilla by [Katherine Morbán-Smith, Nandzy Marcelin]

…but this book and others will mark a time in history hopefully we won’t ever have to revisit again. Here are more picture book recommendations that are relevant to current times.

Kidlit Picture Books about Germs, Viruses, and Social Distancing

Coping and Navigating a Pandemic: Our youngest generation has had its share of struggles over the course of the last 10+ months as well. “Doing school” has changed…and changed…and changed again. More and more kids are spending more and more time at home and away from friends.

That being said, even kids need help adjusting. Diverse Book Publisher, Barefoot Books, created an exceptional article for the MCBD blog called 3 screen-free ways to help kids feel connected during COVID that we feel is worth a read.

Powerful Female Role Models: And then one day a sunbeam of light burst through the clouds and the sunbeam’s name was Kamala Harris. Our Vice-President-Elect is only one of many, many strong and intelligent women who stood out (and rose up) in 2020. We can’t wait until all of the books that will honor the strong women of these last 365 days are written!

In the meantime, Svenja from Colours of Us shares her list of 55 Multicultural Picture Books About Strong Female Role Models Biographies about famous women of African/Asian/Hispanic/Native American heritage.

55 Multicultural Picture Books About Strong Female Role Models

Happy New Year, everyone! Don’t forget to Keep Calm and Read ON :)

Rebecca “Becky” Flansburg is an author, freelance writer, and project manager for the non-profit online children’s Becky Flansburgliteracy initiative, Multicultural Children’s Book Day/ #ReadYourWorld. Join the celebration! Our 8th annual celebration will take place on January 29, 2021. For more information, visit Multicultural Children’s Book Day on the web.

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