This article originally appeared in the March 16, 2021, issue of DPI-ConnectEd.
The Cooperative Children’s Book Center, a part of UW Madison - School of Education and partially supported by the Department of Public Instruction, recently released their CCBC Choices best-of-the-year list in a virtual format this year. Librarians of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center are recommending 257 books published in 2020, out of the nearly 3,000 books they received.
The CCBC is a non-circulating research library for anyone interested in children’s and young adult literature. The CCBC receives almost every children’s and young adult book from the publishing industry in the United States each year. CCBC librarians have read, cataloged, and written the recommendations for the best-of-the-best books since 1980. The CCBC has also been documenting books by and about Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) it has received since 1994 and is an authoritative national source on tracking diversity in children's and young adult literature.
CCBC Choices 2021 is organized by several themes and genres and provides efficiently detailed descriptions of what makes each book stellar. Their recommendations also offer an age range for each book. The librarians include their observations in the publishing industry, noting, among several other items in their introduction:
The most welcome thing we noticed in 2020 was the number of outstanding books that speak to the many-faceted lives and experiences of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), from those that are directly and intentionally affirming (e.g., Black Is a Rainbow Color, Brown Baby Lullaby, I Am Every Good Thing) to those that affirm through the simple yet profound importance of authentic visibility (e.g., Bedtime Bonnet, Evelyn Del Ray Is Moving Away, Me & Mama, The Most Beautiful Thing, The Range Eternal) (2021).
Physical copies of last year’s CCBC Choices are still available upon request, and past editions can be found in PDF format online.
Books recommended in CCBC Choices are included in the searchable CCBC- Recommended Books Database.
References: CCBC. (2021). “Observations on Publishing in 2020.” Accessed March 2, 2021. https://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/observations-on-publishing-in-2020/.