What's New: Children's Books of 2020

Children's librarians introduce new arrivals. You can request them online and check them out with sidewalk service.

One of the joys of my experience as a library patron is the New Books shelf. What treasures can be found here! Sure, if I know something new from a favorite author is due out this year, I get myself on the waiting list right away... but on the New Books shelf I might find something I'd never think to put on hold by myself.

Now that library shelves are closed to the public, though, that kind of discovery from browsing isn't happening. So as a librarian I want to share some of the new arrivals with you here! These titles were recently published, and came to OPL's shelves in 2020. Some have not yet been checked out, even once. You could change that.

Please request one (or many!) using the link to the library's online catalog to place a hold. (Here are some instructions if you're new to that process.) Then, when it is ready at your chosen location, you can come by for socially-distanced sidewalk pickup!

Current Events

Some of these topics can be intense, but many children are facing them in real life in our community. Consider whether literature can help to process their anxieties, make someone in the same situation feel less alone, stimulate empathy for others in tough circumstances, or just provide more information about complex subjects.

  • California Wildfires, by Sue Gagliardi, gives a nonfiction explanation of the factors that affect "fire season" here, while the I Survived... series provides a fictionalized account of 2018 events.
  • Vote for Our Future!, by Margaret McNamara. With election talk all around right now, this picturebook focuses on the practical function of a polling place, and why it's important to cast a vote.
  • Efrén Divided, by Ernesto Cisneros. A 12-year-old Mexican-American boy must take on adult responsibilities, like the care of his younger siblings, when his mother is deported and his father takes a second job.
  • Ruth Objects, by Doreen Rappaport, is just one of the many fine children's biographies and picture books about the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's mark on United States law and society.

These Challenging Times

These titles address the side effects of sheltering in place, schooling from home, missing family members and friends, and not being able to do many normal activities children used to.

  • I Believe in Me, by Lorie Ann Grover. Affirmations in board book form for toddlers and their caregivers.

  • I Calm Down, by Cheri J. Meiners. A little help to soothe tantrums and teach self-regulation to small people feeling stress. Check out similar books by this author for extra support.
  • Taking Time, by Jo Loring-Fisher. A simple tale of mindfulness and using all the senses. Try to take advantage of life moving more slowly than usual right now.
  • In My Heart, by Mackenzie Porter. Mother and child are apart while mom is at work, but they love each other always. Soothing for separation anxiety, daycare worries, or possibly family members separated during quarantine.
  • A Stopwatch from Grampa, by Loretta Garbutt. Now that Grampa's gone, only this keepsake and many memories are left. A child grieving a family member may identify with the young narrator.
  • Cheer: A Book to Celebrate Community, by Uncle Ian Aurora, celebrates the community helpers we all appreciate.

Stories to Relax & Enjoy

And sometimes you'd just like to forget about the big important things happening around you for a while. That's normal and healthy -- try one of these!

  • Henry Wants More!, by Linda Ashman. A toddler on the go wants more, more, more. Can Papa, Grandma, and siblings keep up?
  • In the Sky at Nighttime, by Laura Deal. An Arctic lullaby with beautiful illustrations.
  • Just Like Me, by Vanessa Brantley-Newton. Poetry about many, many kinds of girls.
  • Love You Head to Toe, by Ashley Barron. A board book for any baby who is loved all over!
  • Bowwow Powwow, by Brenda J. Child. Join Windy Girl and her dog at a Native American celebration.
  • Brown Baby Lullaby, by Tameka Fryer Brown. Sweet, calming, affirming representation of an Afro-Latinx family.
  • Bedtime Bonnet, by Nancy Redd. The whole family is getting ready for bed, including protecting their hair for the night... but the youngest can't find her bonnet! Also available as an ebook.
  • Who Is Making a Mess?, by Maria D'Haene. Follow baby around the house to learn the cause of the various messes -- the answer may surprise you!
  • Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe, by Carlos Alberto Hernandez. This genre-straddling sequel combines friendship, science fiction, and mystery for middle graders.
  • Shuri: A Black Panther Novel, by Nic Stone. Wakanda's coolest and smartest little sister saves the day!
  • Plenty of Hugs, by Fran Manushkin. Two moms have lots of reassurance and affection for their toddler.

New Books Anytime

Here's a tip to find something new in the catalog: sort your search results by date. The newest publications come out on top.

  • Try an old favorite -- or the latest in a favorite series. We've got Dog Man, Baby-Sitters Club, Steven Universe, Lumberjanes, Fortnite, and much more!
  • While you're looking for things to do at home, don't forget to check out our collections of cookbooks, gardening guides, and crafts.
  • There are biographies and historical events to explore, too.

Your library is here for you -- even if you can't come inside just yet. Put some new children's books on hold, and we'll see you on the sidewalk.