2020 in Review – the Books

Following my report of how I read by the numbers, here’s looking at a different set of numbers – the books that I rated 9 or 10.  It’s always fun to look back at the books I loved over the past year!  Even if I wonder at myself for the ratings I gave at times – why, for example, did I rate only one book in a trilogy a 9, when I now have overwhelmingly positive memories about all the books?  Nevertheless, giving you all the books I loved would officially be Way Too Many, so for the most part, I stuck with my original ratings to put this list together.  

This is the first year that there are no picture books on this list.  My picture book reading has gone way down since my own children rarely read them.  While I still read a few dozen picture books over the year, I didn’t write reviews of them because of trying to focus on keeping up with the reviews of my other reading, and I traditionally only log them if I’m writing reviews of them.  Now I’m realizing that that makes it hard to go back and find the picture books I loved when I need them, so I may need to reconsider that policy!  And (as I drafted this post last week and am now posting it after watching the ALA Youth Media awards), I am super excited that one of the two picture books I bought for myself this year, We Are Water Protectors, won the Caldecott Award!

Here is my standard disclaimer about rating books:

“I have never liked doing a public scale rating of books – the librarian in me would rather describe what’s in the book and let you decide if it sounds good for you. But I do give books number ratings on my own private spreadsheet. I shamelessly borrowed the Book Smugglers’ 10-point rating system for this, where 0 is “I want my time and my money back”, 5 is “meh” and so on. For my purposes, 7 is a book I enjoyed, 8 is one I loved and 9 is one I really, really loved. 10 only gets given out retrospectively to books I find myself re-reading and thinking about a lot – a true personal classic.”

Not Quite Middle Grade

  • Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake. Illustrated by Jon Klassen. Read by Michael Boatman

Middle Grade

  • Go with the Flow by Karen Schneemann & Lily Williams
  • Guts by Raina Telgemeier
  • Indian No More by Charlene Willing Mcmanis and Traci Sorell
A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat



  • Broken Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin. Narrated by Cassaundra Freeman
  • Bryony and Roses by T. Kingfisher
  • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin. Narrated by Cassaundra Freeman
  • Paladin’s Grace by  T. Kingfisher
  • The Self-Driven Child by Ned Johnson and William Stixrud
  • “Why are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” by Beverly Tatum


All but the first of these are books that I had previously read to myself and then read aloud or listened to with one of my kids. I also read bits and pieces of two other books without finishing them: Ghosts of Greenglass House by Kate Milford, and Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelsson – because somehow reading about how to keep one’s home in perfect order is enormously comforting during global chaos.  

About Katy K.

I'm a librarian and book worm who believes that children and adults deserve great books to read.
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7 Responses to 2020 in Review – the Books

  1. Loved seeing your list. I can’t wait to get Eva Evergreen from the library. I also read and enjoyed Ways to Make Sunshine and Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe.

  2. What a great list! So many good ones, and you’ve added more to my TBR now!

  3. I’m just going to permanently bookmark this post and keep going back to it when I don’t know what to read next!

  4. Pingback: 2021 in Review – the Books | alibrarymama

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