It's hard to believe that this year is half over already and I don't know about you, but I'm ready to put January through June in the rear view mirror and get on to the rest of 2020! A bright spot of this year, though, has definitely been the books. While many titles moved into the fall (the "to be read" stack for September and October is gigantic) there were still so many fantastic titles that released this year. Here's a look at our editors' picks for the Best Children's Books of 2020 So Far, from favorite new books for babies to the best middle school reads. You'll see our top pick in each age range below, with links to the corresponding top 20 lists.
Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes
*Our editors' pick for the No. 1 Best Children's Book of the Year So Far.
A timely novel by award-winner Jewell Parker Rhodes about two biracial brothers whose prep school experience is vastly different because of the color of their skin. Black Brother, Black Brother is a thought-provoking read about the effects of racism, and the strength of friendship and family, that invites kids of middle school age to consider how they define themselves. An important and engaging addition to contemporary literature for middle school readers.
>See all our editors' top 20 picks for ages 9 to 12
InvestiGators by John Patrick Green
Something new for readers who love Dav Pilkey's graphic novels, InvestiGators introduces a silly, quirky pair of alligator sleuths in the first book of a new series. Special agents Mango and Brash are all geared up with Very Exciting Spy Technology and jump right into solving not one, but two, mysteries in their first adventure. Colorful fun on every panel will have even reluctant readers turning the pages and giggling their way through this one.
>See all our editors' top 20 picks for ages 6 to 8
The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard
An inspiration for readers of all ages, this beautifully illustrated picture book tells the story of Mary Walker, a woman who's life began in slavery in 1848. Walker saw the end of the Civil War and became a free woman with a family, who worked in a variety of jobs throughout her life and decided at age 116 that she was going to learn to read—and did. The Oldest Student reminds us that we are never too old to learn.
> See all our editors' top 20 picks for children's nonfiction
The Old Truck by Jerome Pumphrey and Jarrett Pumphrey
The illustrations of The Old Truck were created using handcrafted stamps and they are stunning. The visual beauty pairs perfectly with a story about a family, persistence, and renewal. A family works long days on their farm, and their steady truck is hard at work too. Time and wear take their toll on the faithful truck and it falls into disuse and disrepair. But the young girl grows up and takes over the farm, including a labor or love to bring the rusted relic back to life once more. A touching and beautiful picture book with the potential to become a modern classic.
>See all our editors' top 20 picks for ages 3 to 5
This Little Dreamer: An Inspirational Primer by Joan Holub
Featuring ten important figures who dared to dream and change the world, this brightly colored board book highlights all the ways people can make a difference for everyone. From Mother Theresa's work on behalf of the poor, to Martin Luther King Jr.'s leadership for freedom and equality, each luminary is presented with a brief bit of text about their life and achievement. A great way to start kids on the path to changing the world for their generation.
>See all our editors' top 20 picks for Baby to age 2
Our top picks in children's books published from January through June this year.