Thursday, December 17, 2020

Brainstorm 228: Top 10s of 2020 Part 3

In this week of Top 10s of 2020 we look at my top 10s of nonfiction books and Asian books. Working at an international school in Thailand, I’m always on a hunt for great books by creators of Asian descent, featuring Asian characters, and set in Asia so these lists feature books I’ve been thrilled to add to our library and share with our students. There are also more great Asian titles in most of the Top 10s. 

To find out more about a book, click on the title to see my full review, interest level, etc. In general my favorite books appear first in the lists, but just making the list means these titles beat out many, many others (see my 2020 Reading Challenge widget on the right side bar to get an idea of how many). 

I know I said I wasn't separating the Biographies and Christian books into their own sections but I'm making an exception for Picture Book Biographies and Christian nonfiction today. Apart from those Top 10s, if you are interested in those genres look for 1 asterisk to indicate a biography and 2 asterisks to indicate a Christian title. 

Here’s the Top 10s of 2020s Schedule for this year:

Dec 4: Most recent fiction (Picture Books, Lower Grade, Middle Grade, YA, Adult, & Graphic Novels mostly published in 2019-2020)

Dec 11: Elementary librarian, Sarah Foit’s Top 10s

Dec 18: Nonfiction (Lower Grade, Middle Grade & YA, Adult, Christian, Graphic Novels) & Asian Lit

Dec 24 (may appear a few days early): Older fiction (More Picture Books, Lower Grade, Middle Grade, & YA mostly published 2018/2019 and older)

Top 10 Lower Grade Nonfiction Books 

(excluding picture book biographies, limited to those published in 2019-2020)

Fungus Is Among Us! by Joy Keller, ill. by Eric Salcedo

Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You by Sonia Sotomayor, ill. by Rafael López

On the Internet: Our First Talk about Online Safety (The World around Us) by Dr. Jillian Roberts, ill. by Jane Heinrichs

Underground: Subway Systems around the World by Uijung Kim

Skulls! by Blair Thornburgh, ill. by Scott Campbell

Dr. Seuss’s Horse Museum by Dr. Seuss, ill. by Andrew Joyner

Honeybee: the Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming, ill. by Eric Rohmann

So Cool! Leopards (So Cool!) by Chris Boyner

G Is for Golazo: the Ultimate Soccer Alphabet by James Littlejohn, ill. by Matthew Shipley

Walk This Underground World by Kate Baker, ill. by Sam Brewster

Top 10 Picture Book Biographies 

(limited to those published in 2019-2020)

The Fabled Life of Aesop by Ian Lendler, ill. by Pamela Zagarenski*

Ice Breaker: How Mabel Fairbanks Changed Figure Skating by Rose Viña, ill. by Claire Almon*

The Boy Who Grew a Forest: the True Story of Jadav Payeng by Sophia Gholz, ill. by Kayla Harren*

How to Solve a Problem: the Rise (and Falls) of a Rock-Climbing Champion by Ashima Shiraishi, ill. by Yao Xiao*

It Began with a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way by Kyo Maclear, ill. by Julie Morstad*

The Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom by Teresa Robeson, ill. by Rebecca Huang*

Through the Wardrobe: How C.S. Lewis Created Narnia by Lina Maslo*

Saving the Countryside: the Story of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit by Linda Marshall, ill. by Ilaria Urbinati*

Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln by Margarita Engle, ill. by Rafael López

Cubs in the Tub: the True Story of the Bronx Zoo’s First Woman Zookeeper by Candace Fleming, ill. by Julie Downing*

Top 10 Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult Nonfiction Graphic Novels, Comics, and Manga 

(limited to 1 per series)

When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson & Omar Mohamed*

The Boy who Became a Dragon: a Bruce Lee Story by Jim Di Bartolo*

Almost American Girl by Robin Ha*

The Roanoke Colony: America's First Mystery (History Comics) by Chris Schweizer

The Mars Challenge by Alison Wilgus, ill. by Wyeth Yates

Sad Animal Babies by Brooke Barker

Dragon Hoops by Gene Yuen Lang*

Machines That Think (Big Ideas That Changed the World, #2) by Don Brown

Ocean Anatomy: the Curious Parts and Pieces of the World under the Sea (Anatomy) by Julia Rothman with John Niekrasz

Irena: Children of the Ghetto (Irena, #2) by by Jean-David Morvan and Séverine Tréfouël ; illustrated by David Evrard ; colored by Walter ; translation by Dan Christensen*

Top 10 Middle Grade & Young Adult Nonfiction Books 

(limited to 1 per series)

Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of "The Children's Ship" by Deborah Heiligman

Eels (Superpower Field Guide) by Rachel Poliquin, ill. by Nicholas John Frith

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, ill. by Kadir Nelson

Even More Lesser Spotted Animals (Lesser Spotted Animals, #2) by Martin Brown

History’s Mysteries: Curious Clues, Cold cases, and Puzzles from the Past by Kitson Jazynka

On the Horizon by Lois Lowry, ill. by Kenard Pak*

Manhattan: Mapping the Story of an Island by Jennifer Thermes

Pencils, Pens & Brushes: a Girls’ Guide to Disney Animation by Mindy Johnson, ill. by Lorelay Bove*

The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh by Candace Fleming*

Big Cats by Nic Bishop

Top 10 Adult Nonfiction Books

(Christian nonfiction in separate list)

The Last Boat out of Shanghai: the Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao’s Revolution by Helen Zia

Every Tool’s a Hammer: Life Is What You Make It by Adam Savage*

Whiter: Asian American Women on Skin Color and Colorism edited by Nikki Khanna

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes with Joe Layden*

The Great Penguin Rescue: 40,000 Penguins, a Devastating Oil Spill, and the Inspiring Story of the World's Largest Animal Rescue by Dyan deNapoli*

The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down by Colin Woodard

Rebooting AI: Building Artificial Intelligence We Can Trust by Gary F. Marcus & Ernest Davis

No Beast So Fierce: The Terrifying True Story of the Champawat Tiger, the Deadliest Man-Eater in History by Dane Huckelbridge*

Dutch Girl: Aubrey Hepburn and World War II by Robert Matzen*

Truffle Underground: a Tale of Mystery, Mayhem, and Manipulation in the Shadowy Market of the World’s Most Expensive Fungus by Ryan Jacobs

Top 10 Lower Grade, Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult Christian Nonfiction Books

Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts by Jennie Allen**

Uncommon Ground: Living Faithfully in a Broken World edited by Timothy Keller & John Inazu**

Humble Roots by Hannah Anderson**

Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible by E. Randolph Richards & Brandon J. O’Brien**

What Are You Going to Do with Your Life? by J.D. Greear**

That Grand Easter Day! by Jill Roman Lord, ill. by Alessia Trunfio**

Jesus and the Very Big Surprise: a True Story about Jesus, His Return, and How to Be Ready (Tales That Tell the Truth) by Randall Goodgame, ill. by Catalina Echeverri**

Free of Me: Why Life Is Better When It’s Not about You by Sharon Hodde Miller**

God’s Great Love for You by Rick Warren, ill. by Chris Saunders

Where Is God in All the Suffering? by Amy Orr-Ewing

Top 10 Books Illustrated by Artists of Asian Descent

No Fuzzball! by Isabella Kung

Stormy by Guojing

Gurple and Preen: a Broken Crayon Cosmic Adventure by Linda Sue Park, ill. by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Lift by Minh Lê, ill. by Dan Santat

The Paper Boat: a Refugee Story by Thao Lam

A Big Bed for Little Snow by Grace Lin

Chirri & Chirra Under the Sea (Chirri & Chirra) by Kaya Doi, translated by David Boyd

Natsumi’s Song of Summer by Robert Paul Weston, ill. by Misa Saburi

Almost American Girl by Robin Ha*

Dragon Hoops by Gene Yuen Lang*

Top 10 Lower Grade, Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult Asian Fiction Books 

(limited to books by creators of Asian descent featuring characters of Asian descent, limited to those published in English in 2019-2020)

Midsummer’s Mayhem by Rajani LaRocca

Silver Spoon Vol. 14 by Hiromu Arakawa, translated by Amanda Haley

A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat

The Missing Dragon (Student Ambassador, #1) by Ryan Estrada, ill. by Axur Eneas

Bilal Cooks Daal by Aisha Saeed, ill. by Anoosha Syed

Under the Broken Sky by Mariko Nagai

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

Wonton Terror (A Noodle Shop Mystery, #4) by Vivien Chien

Mindy Kim and the Lunar New Year Parade (Mindy Kim, #2) by Lyla Lee, ill. by Dung Ho

Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes (Pandava Quartet, #3) by Roshani Chokshi

Top 10 Asian Settings in Lower Grade, Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult Books

A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat    :     Reimagined Thailand

Under the Broken Sky by Mariko Nagai    :    Manchuria (Modern Day China/ Past Japan)

The Frangipani Tree Mystery (Crown Colony, #1) by Ovidia Yu    :    Singapore

The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra (Baby Ganesh Agency Investigation, #1) by Vaseem Khan    :    India

The Missing Dragon (Student Ambassador, #1) by Ryan Estrada, ill. by Axur Eneas    :    South Korea

The Last Boat out of Shanghai: the Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao’s Revolution by Helen Zia    :    China/Hong Kong/Taiwan

Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxuan, translated by Helen Wang    :    China

Natsumi’s Song of Summer by Robert Paul Weston, ill. by Misa Saburi    :    Japan

Raptors of Paradise (Supersaurs, #1) by Jay Jay Burridge    :    Reimagined Indonesia

Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly    :    Reimagined Philippines

*Biography, Autobiography, or Memoir

**Christian title

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for including my book in your list! Wu is a very dear subject to me because of our shared Chinese-American heritage and a love of physics. :)


Polite and respectful comments are welcome.