December is one of my favorite times of the year. Not only do students and staff members ask for reading recommendations for the upcoming holiday break, they request help to find the perfect book for a child, friend or family member. With the thousands of books published each year, selecting the right book for someone could seem like a daunting task. However, it is easier than you may think.
There are plenty of book lists available to narrow down your choices. As there are a variety of readers and/or age groups, I chose four book lists to share. These lists offered different ways to organize book recommendations and should meet the needs of everyone.
Goodreads Choice Awards 2020 - This is one of my favorite reading lists, as the winners across 20 categories were chosen by the readers! Eligible recommendations were books published in the United States between November 16, 2019, and November 17, 2020. This site also has a “Best of” Lists link (left-hand side) that includes recommendations from the New York Times, Amazon, Audible and many more!
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books - This is a leading children’s book review journal for school and public librarians located at the University of Illinois. Every year, they publish a free Guide Book to Gift Books. Due to COVD-19 restrictions, they weren't able to publish the 2020 version. However, the 2019 version still offers plenty of recent titles and recommendations. This annual publication highlights more than three hundred of the best books and is organized by age group: Picture Books, Books for Young Readers (Grades 1-3; 6-8 years), Books for Middle Readers (Grades 4-6; 9-11 years) and Books for Older Readers (Grades 7-12; 12-18 years).
MU Libraries - University of Missouri - The professors at the University of Missouri celebrated its 175th anniversary by compiling a list of the 175 most influential books. Their choices are broken down by autobiographies/biographies, fiction, non-fiction, philosophy/spirituality, plays & poetry, science and social sciences. As you can see, it’s pretty impressive.
NPR's Book Concierge - The NPR staff and critics selected their favorite books for 2020. You’ll find that it’s super easy to use the filter to find just the right book for someone. There are also links to their 2013-2019 lists.
Congratulations to the best and most influential books of the year.
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