best books
D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 0 | I S S U E N O . 1
A SELECTION OF #OWNVOICES TITLES FROM 2020
HANDPICKED BY WHEELER'S PRESCOTT LIBRARIANS
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MS. SMITH'S PICKS
Middle School Librarian
& Department Chair
MS. STRACHAN'S
PICKS
Lower School Head Librarian
MS. COVINTREE'S
PICKS
Upper School Librarian
MS. WILLIAMS'S
PICKS
Early Childhood Librarian
contents
BONUS CONTENT!
Adult titles, plus the 2021
Reading Across RI selection,
& additional reading lists
This year, our Best of 2020 List focuses on
fiction written by Black, Indigenous, or other
People of Color (BIPOC) with an emphasis on
#ownvoices.
The #ownvoices movement started in 2015
with a tweet by Young Adult author Corinne
Duyvis. The hashtag primarily highlights fiction
in which the protagonist and author share a
marginalized, but socially significant identity (SSI),
be it race, ability-difference, sexual orientation,
or other lived experience. The #ownvoices
movement has helped spark conversations on
racial prejudice, injustice, and oppression and
is one way to diversify your reading.
We hope you will find a few new titles to enjoy!
Happy Reading!
The library staff
of the Prescott Library
at the Wheeler School
#ownvoices
books
ISSUE 1 / DECEMBER 2020

ms. charlene
williams'
LIFT,
BY MINH LE & ILLUSTRATED
BY DAN SANTAT
When it's time for Iris to share the fun of
pushing elevator buttons with a new member
of the family, she's pretty put out. That is, until
a mysterious new button opens up entire
realms of possibility, places where she can
escape and explore on her own. But what will
she do when forced to choose between going
at it alone or letting her little brother tag along?
Water is the first medicine. It affects and
connects us all. When a black snake threatens
to destroy the Earth and poison her people's
water, one young water protector takes a stand
to defend Earth's most sacred resource
4 / prescott library
WE ARE WATER PROTECTORS,
BY CAROLE LINDSTROM &
ILLUSTRATED BY MICHAELA GOODE
top picks
of 2020
JUST LIKE ME,
BY VANESSA BRANTLEY NEWTON
An ode to the girl with scrapes on her knees
and flowers in her hair, and every girl in
between, this exquisite treasury will appeal to
readers of Dear Girl and I Am Enough and have
kids poring over it to find a poem that's just for
them.
In this new Vamos! title, Little lobo takes
readers on a tour of food trucks that sell his
favorite foods, like quesadillas with red
peppers and Mexican-Korean tacos. Peppered
with easy-to-remember Latin-American
Spanish vocabulary, this glorious celebration of
food is sure to leave every reader hungry for
lunch!
best books of 2020 / 5
¡VAMOS! LETS GO EAT,
BY RAÚL THE THIRD III
ms. brooke
strachan's
BECOMING MUHAMMAD ALI,
BY JAMES PATTERSON &
KWAME ALEXANDER
A biographical novel tells the story of Cassius
Clay, the determined boy who would one day
become Muhammad Ali, one of the greatest
boxers of all time.
Mindy Kim wants to fit in at her new school,
but her favorite lunch leads to scorn, then a
thriving business, and finally big trouble.
6 / prescott library
MINDY KIM AND THE YUMMY
SEAWEED BUSINESS,
BY LYLA LEE & ILLUSTRATED BY
DUNG HO
top picks
of 2020
PRAIRIE LOTUS,
BY LINDA SUE PARK
In Dakota Territory in the 1880s, Hanna, who is
half-Chinese and her father, who is white, face
racism and resistance to change as they try to
make a home for themselves.
G'ma is Scoob's favorite person on Earth, and
when she asks him to go on an impromptu
road trip, he's in the RV faster than he can say
FREEDOM. With G'ma's old maps and a strange
pamphlet called the 'Travelers' Green Book' at
their side, the pair takes off on a journey down
G'ma's memory lane. (From the jacket flap)
best books of 2020 / 7
CLEAN GETAWAY,
BY NIC STONE

ms. christine
smith's
WE ARE NOT FREE,
BY TRACI CHEE
The collective account of a tight-knit group of
young Nisei, second-generation Japanese
American citizens, whose lives are irrevocably
changed by the mass U.S. incarcerations of
World War II.
Eighth grader Drew Ellis recognizes that he isn't
afforded the same opportunities, no matter
how hard he works, that his privileged
classmates at the Riverdale Academy Day
School take for granted, and to make matters
worse, Drew begins to feel as if his good friend
Liam might be one of those privileged kids and
is finding it hard not to withdraw, even as their
mutual friend Jordan tries to keep their group
of friends together.
8 / prescott library
CLASS ACT,
BY JERRY CRAFT
top picks
of 2020
FROM THE DESK OF ZOE
WASHINGTON,
BY JANAE MARKS
Zoe Washington isn't sure what to write. What
does a girl say to the father she's never met
and hadn't heard form until her 12th birthday.
He's been in prison for a terrible crime he says
he never committed. Can Zoe help prove his
innocence? Should she?
Morgan and Eli, two Indigenous children forced
away from their families and communities, are
brought together in a foster home in Winnipeg,
Manitoba. They each feel disconnected, from
their culture and each other, and struggle to fit
in at school and at their new home--until they
find a secret place, walled off in an unfinished
attic bedroom.
best books of 2020 / 9
THE BARREN GROUND,
BY DAVID. A. ROBERTSON
ms. kate
covintree's
THE BLACK FLAMINGO,
BY DEAN ATTA
Michael is a mixed-race gay teen growing up in
London. All his life, he's navigated what it
means to be Greek-Cypriot and Jamaican, but
never quite feeling Greek or Black enough. As
he gets older, Michael's coming out is only the
start of learning who he is and where he fits in.
When he discovers the Drag Society, he finally
finds where he belongs--and the Black
Flamingo is born.
It's the summer between middle school and
high school, and Aiden Navarro is away at
camp. Everyone's going through changes--but
for Aiden, the stakes feel higher. As he
navigates friendships, deals with bullies, and
spends time with Elias (a boy he can't stop
thinking about), he finds himself on a path of
self-discovery and acceptance.
10 / prescott library
FLAMER,
BY MIKE CURATO
top picks
of 2020
Perfect for fans of The Hate U Give, this
unforgettable coming-of-age debut explores
issues of race, class, and violence through the
eyes of a wealthy black teenager whose family
gets caught in the vortex of the 1992 Rodney
King Riots. With her world splintering around
her, Ashley Bennett, along with the rest of Los
Angeles, is left to question who is the us? And
who is the them?
best books of 2020 / 11
THE BLACK KIDS,
BY CHRISTINA HAMMONDS REED
Liz Lighty has always done her best to avoid
the spotlight in her prom-obsessed Indiana
high school; instead she has concentrated on
her future at the elite Pennington College and
their famous orchestra where she plans to
study medicine--but when a scholarship falls
through she is forced to turn to her school's
scholarship for prom king and queen. Plunged
into a gauntlet she hates, Liz discovers more
about her own identity and the value of true
friendships.
YOU SHOULD SEE ME IN A
CROWN, BY LEAH JOHNSON
top adult picks
THE VANISHING HALF,
BY BRIT BENNETT
SELECTED BY BROOKE STRACHAN
The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical.
But after growing up together in a small,
southern black community and running away
at age sixteen, it's not just the shape of their
daily lives that is different as adults, it's
everything: their families, their communities,
their racial identities. What will happen to the
next generation, when their own daughters'
storylines intersect?
Erdrich pays poignant homage to her
grandfather in this sweeping novel about
Native American dispossession in the 1950s.
Like her grandfather, our titular hero is a
humble night watchman, also the tribal
chairman of the Turtle Mountain Band of
Chippewa in North Dakota. Initially an
uneventful post, Thomas Wazhashk’s life is
upended when he learns that the U.S.
government has earmarked them for
“emancipation'.
12/ prescott library
THE NIGHT WATCHMAN,
BY LOUISE ERDRICH
SELECTED BY CHRISTINE SMITH
for 2020
WORLD OF WONDERS,
BY AIMEE NEZHUKUMATHATHIL
SELECTED BY KATE COVINTREE
From a beloved and award-winning poet
comes this work of nonfiction—a collection of
essays lyrically written about the natural world,
and the way its inhabitants can teach, support,
and inspire us.
Trần Diệu Lan, who was born in 1920, was
forced to flee her family farm with her six
children during the Land Reform as the
Communist government rose in the North.
Years later in Hà Nội, her granddaughter,
Hương, comes of age as her parents and
uncles head off down the Hồ Chí Minh Trail to
fight in a conflict that tore apart not just her
beloved country, but also her family.
best books of 2020 / 13
THE MOUNTAIN SINGS,
BY NGUYN PHAN QU MAI
SELECTED BY CHARLENE WILLIAMS
Reading Across Rhode Island, Rhode
Island’s One Book, One State
community read program kicks off its
19th year by encouraging everyone to
read Stamped: Racism, Antiracism,
and You by Ibram X Kendi and Jason
Reynolds. Learn more on our blog.
reading
across RI
discover more
books
ISSUE 1 / DECEMBER 2020
best books of 2020 / 15
H U M B L E B U N D L E : B E T H E C H A N G E
Support the Americ an Libr ary Ass ociatio n and
PoC authors by pur chasing one of five a mazing
bundles of ebooks and aud iobooks .
https://www.humblebundle.com/books/be-the-change-
american-library-associati on-books
Book Riot's Best Books of 2020
Cicely Lewis' Top 20 Books of 2020
Five Books' Best Books of 2020
New York Times' 25 Best Children's Books of 2020
Vanity Fair's 15 Best Books of 2020
ADDITIONAL LISTS
ISSUE 1 / DECEMBER 2020
Barrington Books
Books on the Square
Ink Fish Books,
RiffRaff Books
Symposium Books
prescott library's best books of 2020
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