Dav Pilkey's favorite reads of 2020

Seira Wilson on December 03, 2020

Dav Pilkey's favorite reads of 2020

Best-selling children's book author Dav Pilkey is a publishing superhero. Kids love his books and each one is met with wild enthusiasm from new and existing fans. Pilkey is outdoing himself this year, releasing the latest installment of his Dog Man series—titled Dog Man: Grime and Punishment—and publishing a brand new story, Cat Kid Comic Club. Cat Kid Comic Club is not only stylistically creative but it invites kids (in Pilkey's warm, inclusive style) to let their own imagination and inner artist shine. You'll find both titles on our list of editors picks for the Best Children's Books of 2020.

We asked this truly thoughtful and interesting author what books he read and would recommend from this year. Below are four of Pilkey's picks, along with his recommended reading age and what he loved about each of them.

Akissi: Tales of Mischief written by Marguerite Abouet, illustrated by Mathieu Sapin

Akissi: Tales of Mischief and both sequels: recommended for ages 7 and up

These three hilarious and beautifully illustrated graphic novel collections are a celebration of childhood. Akissi’s joyful, adventurous, and gleefully audacious personality will resonate with every kid who is lucky enough to meet her. 

Odessa written and illustrated by Jonathan Hill

Recommended for ages 12 and up

This thrilling page-turner takes place eight years after “the big one,” in the harsh ruins of California. Three siblings searching for their mother encounter one seemingly hopeless situation after another. It’s dark and gritty, yet there are moments of kindness and strength that will keep you thinking about these characters long after you’ve finished the book. Hill’s storytelling and artwork bring to mind the brilliance of writer/cartoonists like Jeff Smith and Kazu Kibuishi. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Rusty Brown written and illustrated by Chris Ware

Recommended for mature audiences

It’s hard to believe that stories about loneliness, disappointment and despair could be so much fun, but that’s the genius of Chris Ware. In Rusty Brown, Ware not only reveals gorgeously illustrated tales of the title’s namesake, but also of his father, his teachers, his bully, and several others. Everyone and everything is intricately connected, and when it’s all over we feel like we’ve walked a gloomy, frozen mile in each characters’ soaking-wet boots. Chris Ware is a national treasure.

Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White by Michael Tisserand

Recommended for mature audiences

Tisserand writes a thorough and captivating biography of George Herriman, a racially-mixed cartoonist who had to pose as a white man in order to find an audience. Herriman was best known for creating Krazy Kat, one of the most influential comic strips of all time. Incorporating rare illustrations by Herriman, Tisserand skillfully reveals a historic snapshot of systemic racism in the early 20th century, and the tenacity and courage of a gentle, poetic genius who was forced to hide in plain sight.

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