Best Chapter Books 2020 | SLJ Best Books

Four superb titles made SLJ's list of must-have chapter books. 


Chapter Books


Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us

by Lauren Castillo. illus. by author. Knopf. ISBN 9781524766719.
K-Gr 3 –A delightful chapter book, strongly reminiscent of Winnie-the-Pooh, invites readers into a forest filled with anthropomorphized critters as they share friendship stories. While enjoyable as an independent read, this lovely volume can be shared with adults, as they are likely to pick up on more subtle themes and can guide discussion. Sweet but on the safe side of saccharine, Hedgehog charms.


The Fuzzy Apocalypse

by Jonathan Messinger. illus. by Aleksei Bitskoff. HarperCollins/Harper. ISBN 9780062932150.
Gr 1-3 –Finn Caspian and his troop of interstellar space scouts are in search of an inhabitable planet when they are drawn to a planet that is about to explode. Once there, they receive conflicting stories from the planet’s inhabitants and it is unclear whom they can trust. Funny moments and genius plans abound in this early chapter book about friendship and teamwork.


Alicia Alonso Takes the Stage

by Nancy Ohlin. illus. by Josefina Preumayr. Rebel Girls. ISBN 9781733329224.
Gr 1-3 –This historical fiction installment chronicles Alicia Alonso’s story, from her love of dancing as a child to a visual impairment that could have threatened her career. With grace and poise, Alicia overcomes every obstacle sent her way. While ballet and dance lovers may especially enjoy Alicia’s journey, the full-page illustrations and inspiring tone will draw readers of all interests.


Skunk and Badger

by Amy Timberlake. illus. by Jon Klassen. Algonquin. ISBN 9781643750057.
Gr 2-5 –An odd-couple redux featuring introverted rock collector Badger and extroverted gourmand Skunk. Ideal for read-alouds and discussion, this title subtly covers myriad topics including homelessness, racism, prejudice, friendships, and communication. With well-developed, relatable characters and superb illustrations, this deceptively simple entry is a most welcome series opener.

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