Favorite Books of 2020
Not surprisingly, the Happy Valley Library staff like to read! Whether it’s silly picture books or social science reads, romantic comedies or gorgeous graphic novels, they’ve compiled their favorite books that came out in 2020.
Want to check any of these out? Place a hold on a title at lincc.org or give us a call (503-783-3455). For even more ideas, just ask your librarian!
Also, take a peek at our favorites from 2019.
Overground Railroad by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by James Ransome
Ruth Anne, a young girl, tells the story of her family’s train journey from North Carolina to New York City as part of the Great Migration.
Lift by Minh Lê, art by Dan Santat
Iris’ little brother has taken over her favorite job, pushing the elevator button. In a funk she tapes an old button to her bedroom wall, and a magic portal appears at the touch of the button.
We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade
Inspired by indigenous-led movements across North America, this book calls upon us to protect and respect our earth and water.
Beginning readers, short chapters and lots of fun
Peter & Ernesto: Sloths in the Night by Graham Annable
Adventure awaits Peter and Ernesto in this third entry in a charming series. Here, the sloth pals head out on a nighttime adventure to find a lost friend.
Layla and the Bots: Happy Paws by Vicky Fang, illustrated by Christine Nishiyama
Inventor and rock star, Layla, comes up with a great solution to save the amusement park in the first of a new series for emergent readers that teaches science concepts with fun stories and comic book style illustrations.
Ty’s Travels: All Aboard! by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Nina Mata
Ty wants to play, but everyone is busy. When he uses his imagination to create a train from a cardboard box, his joy is contagious and others join in, a great start to a new series that celebrates imagination and family.
Just right for grade schoolers
Stand Up, Yumi Chung! by Jessica Kim
Yumi tries to live up to her parents high academic expectations, but her secret passion is stand-up comedy — when she stumbles into a kids’ comedy camp and is mistaken for a student, she decides to play the part.
Fly on the Wall by Remy Lai
Henry is tired of being treated like a baby by his overprotective family. He’s forbidden from going anywhere alone, so he definitely cannot take a journey halfway around the world all by himself, but that’s exactly his plan.
From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks
Aspiring baker Zoe receives an unexpected letter on her twelfth birthday from her imprisoned father. The letter sends Zoe and her best friend on a quest to solve the mystery of the crime for which her father was convicted.
Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet by Zanib Mian, illustrated by Nasay Mafaridik
Omar goes through the ups and downs of starting a new school and making friends with the help of his family in this funny highly illustrated book.
Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park
After her mother’s death, half-Chinese Hanna and her white father head to the Dakota Territory for a fresh start in this title that offers a fresh perspective on Westward Expansion.
A Whale of the Wild by Roseanne Parry
When a devastating earthquake and tsunami render the seascape unrecognizable and separate two young Orcas from their pod, they journey to find food and their way home, filled with illustrations and facts about PNW wildlife and ecology.
Lightfall: The Girl and the Galdurian by Tim Probert
Enter the magical world of Irpa, where animals and humans work side by side — Bea, a human girl, meets Cad, a Galdurian, a friendship forms and a quest begins that could change their world forever.
Just right for 6th-8th graders, everything from comics to historical fiction to fantasy
The Blackbird Girls by Anne Blankman
One morning in April of 1986 Valentina and Savchenko wake up to a red sky, the nuclear power plant where their fathers work, Chernobyl, is on fire; the two girls are sent to Leningrad, thus begins a series of discoveries about one another and their world.
When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed
This graphic novel recounts the true story of Omar and his younger brother Hassan, a moving portrayal of family and daily life in a refugee camp
Beetle and the Hollowbones by Aliza Layne
Twelve-year-old goblin and witch-in-training Beetle enlists her former best friend, Kat Hollowbones, to help stop Kat’s sorceress aunt from demolishing the mall where Beetle’s friend Blob Ghost is trapped.
Daring Darleen, Queen of the Screen by Anne Nesbet
Darleen, a 12 year old silent-film star, finds herself caught up in a series of hair-raising adventures when she attempts to rescue a kidnapped young heiress.
Clean Getaway by Nic Stone
Join William “Scoob” Lamar on a wild road trip through The South with his unconventional G’ma, along the way he learns about the history of the Jim Crow South and starts to wonder about just what G’ma is up to on this unplanned adventure.
Drama, heartbreak, and finding your voice
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
When their father unexpectedly dies, two daughters discover their father’s secret life, two families, one in New York, and the other in the Dominican Republic; their grief, anger and different perspectives are told in verse.
We Are Not Free by Traci Chee
Growing up together in the community of Japantown, San Francisco, four second-generation Japanese American teens find their bond tested by widespread discrimination and the mass incarcerations of people of Japanese ancestry during World War II.
When We were Magic by Sarah Gailey
When Alexis accidentally kills a classmate on prom night using magic, her best friends Roya, Iris, Paulie, Marcelina, and Maryam join in using their powers to try to set things right.
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
Shy studious Liz has always avoided the spotlight, but needs must, she enters the competitive and highly publicized prom queen contest in order to win the college scholarship that accompanies the crown.
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X Kendi and Jason Reynolds
This timely, empowering exploration of racism and antiracism shines a light on the history and many insidious forms of racist ideas in America, and on ways to identify and stamp out racist thoughts in our own lives.
I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee
Skye dreams of joining the glittering world of K-Pop, to do that she has to break all the rules that society, the media, and even her own mother, have set for plus-sized girls.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
In this spellbinding romantic mystery, Yadriel, a trans boy, eager to prove himself a brujo to his family, accidentally summons the spirit of a recently departed high school classmate and agrees to help him learn how he died.
Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang
Yang interweaves the history of basketball, autobiography, and the epic story of the Dragons Varsity basketball team, for whom the state championship has remained ever elusive, in this slam-dunk of a graphic novel.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
Separated by their embrace of different racial identities, two mixed-race identical twins reevaluate their choices as one raises a black daughter in their southern hometown while the other passes for white with a husband who is unaware of her heritage.
A modern retelling of the Bigfoot legend is presented as a gripping journal by a woman from a high-tech Pacific Northwest community who becomes cut off from civilization by a volcanic eruption before witnessing the flight of starving humanoid beings.
Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline
A 1980s cultural assessment of the fantastical future of online behavior continues the story that began in the internationally best-selling futuristic novel, Ready Player One, which inspired a blockbuster Steven Spielberg film.
Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev
When chef Ashan Raje joins the cast of a hit reality television show to save her restaurant, she finds herself paired with her first love, soccer star and celebrity Rico Silva.
The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante
The best-selling author of My Brilliant Friend presents the story of an Italian teen who searches for a sense of identity and clear perspectives when she finds herself torn between the refinements and excesses of a divided Naples.
Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory
Going against her better judgement, LA lawyer Olivia Monroe secretly starts dating a hotshot junior senator until their romance is made public and her life falls under intense media scrutiny, jeopardizing everything.
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
A novel about faith, science, religion, and family that tells the deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief, narrated by a sixth-year candidate in neuroscience at Stanford school of medicine studying the neural circuits of reward seeking behavior in mice.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune
Given a curious classified assignment to evaluate the potential risks posed by six supernatural orphans, a case worker at the Department in Charge of Magical Youth bonds with an enigmatic caregiver who hides dangerous secrets.
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
A reimagining of the classic gothic suspense novel follows the experiences of a courageous socialite in 1950s Mexico who is drawn into the treacherous secrets of an isolated mansion.
Such a Fun Age by Kiely Reid
Seeking justice for a young black babysitter who was wrongly accused of kidnapping by a racist security guard, a successful blogger finds her efforts complicated by a video that reveals unexpected connections.
Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab
Making a Faustian bargain to live forever but never be remembered, a woman from early eighteenth-century France endures unacknowledged centuries before meeting a man who remembers her name.
Harleen by Stjepan Sejic
Dr. Harleen Quinzel has a theory: mental illness is a survival mechanism. As she seeks to help the broken souls of Gotham City piece together their sanity she will become the one thing she fears the most: one of them. A bold new retelling of the tragic origin of Harley Quinn told through the eyes of the only person who knows her better than anyone: Harleen.
One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London
Frustrated by a lack of body diversity on her favorite reality show, a plus-sized fashion blogger uses an unexpected invitation to star in the show to bolster her career, before unexpected romance complicates her prospects.
Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh
The creator of “Hyperbole and a Half” presents a new collection of comedic, autobiographical, and deceptively illustrated essays on topics ranging from childhood and very bad pets to grief, loneliness, and powerlessness in modern life.
Weird but Normal by Mia Mercado
Mia Mercado’s humorous essay collection exploring the absurd and yet very regular parts of being a millennial woman navigating racial identity, gender roles, workplace dynamics, and beauty standards.
Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald
The award-winning author of H Is for Hawk presents a collection of top-selected essays about humanity’s relationship with nature, exploring subjects ranging from captivity and immigration to ostrich farming and the migrations of songbirds from the Empire State Building.
Dancing at the Pity Party by Tyler Feder
A debut graphic novel traces the author’s experiences with the loss of her mother, tracing the poignant journey of her mother’s diagnosis and treatment and her own experiences with sitting Shiva and making sense of life after her mother’s death.
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Warmth of Other Suns identifies the qualifying characteristics of historical caste systems to reveal how a rigid hierarchy of human rankings, enforced by religious views, heritage and stigma, impact everyday American lives.