2020 Finalists: Easy Readers and Early Chapter Books 

Easy Readers:

Cat Has a Plan (Ready-to-Reads) (Amazon, IndieBound
by Laura Gehl, illustrated by Fred Blunt
Simon Spotlight
Nominated by: Cathy Ballou Mealey

Cat Has a Plan written by Laura Gehl and illustrated by Fred Blunt was chosen by our panelists for its witty humor and delightful illustrations. The short easy sentence structure and word repetition along with colorful retro illustrations paired nicely together delivering a hilarious clever story that children will enjoy.

Tiffany Sorensen, Provo Library Children’s Book Reviews

King & Kayla and the Case of the Unhappy Neighbor (Amazon, IndieBound)  
by Dori Hillestad Butler, illustrated by Nancy Meyers
Nominated by: Melissa Fox

King & Kayla and the Case of the Unhappy Neighbor written by Dori Hillestad Butler and illustrated by Nancy Meyers is an enjoyable mystery featuring a likable young detective and an appealing narrator. The diverse characters and the fact that it is part of a popular series made this book a top choice for the judges.

Claire Noland, A Field Trip Life – Books, Places, and Books that Take You Places

See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog (Amazon, IndieBound
by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
Candlewick Press
Nominated by: Joella Bagshaw

See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog written by David LaRochelle and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka is hilariously adorable. The simple, just-right sentences are perfect for the early reader. Judges enthusiastically chose this book due to the humor and combination of text and speech bubbles. We think readers will laugh aloud at this brilliant book with its repetitive text and twist at the end.

Sheri Howard, Lobit Education Village Library

The Best Seat in First Grade (AmazonIndieBound
by Katharine Kenah, illustrated by Abby Carter
Nominated by: Terry Doherty

The Best Seat in First Grade written by Katharine Kenah and illustrated by Abby Carter was enjoyed by the panelists for its surprise ending. The story contains more text than a typical easy reader, but its clever ending and inclusive storyline and illustrations make it an enjoyable read for more advanced early readers. The classroom setting is relatable for young readers, as well.

Katie Michols, Little House of Reading

Ty’s Travels: All Aboard! (My First I Can Read) (Amazon, IndieBound
by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Nina Mata
Nominated by: Tasha

Ty’s Travels: All Aboard! by Kelly Starling Lyons was selected by the judges for its fun, engaging diverse story that celebrates imagination and family! Readers will enjoy reading about Ty and his family while building skills and confidence in this well written and kid-friendly illustrated easy reader.

Katie Bruechert, GoodReads

What About Worms!? (Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!) (AmazonIndieBound
by Ryan T. Higgins and Mo Willems
Nominated by: Bridget Wilson

A TIGER is afraid of WORMS! This silly story is sure to be a hit with kids. Colorful, detailed illustrations and suspenseful page-turns – readers will laugh out loud at this beginning reader book by Ryan T. Higgins.

Valerie Byrd Fort, Library Goddess

Yasmin the Gardener (Amazon, IndieBound
by Saadia Faruqi, illustrated by Hatem Aly
Picture Window Books
Nominated by: Darshana Khiani

Yasmin The Gardener written by Saadia Faruqi and illustrated by Hatem Aly was a favorite of all the judges. The author included multigenerational characters and a universal topic to introduce Yasmin’s culture. The inclusion of culture and or diversity introduced through the story was the top reason the judges selected this book.

Pam Jones-Nill, Pam Jones-Nill – Children’s Author

Early Chapter Books:

Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business (Amazon, IndieBound
by Lyla Lee, illustrated by Dung Ho
Nominated by: Deb Nance at Readerbuzz

Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business written by Lyla Lee and illustrated by Dung Ho was chosen by the panelists for its diversity and introduction to Korean culture and language. It’s a great mesh of culture with a main character who is relatable and faces problems young readers can empathize with. An early chapter book with a good balance of illustrations to text appropriate for primary grade readers.

Tiffany Sorensen, Provo Library Children’s Book Reviews

Monster and Boy (Amazon, IndieBound
by Hannah Barnaby, illustrated by Anoosha Syed
Henry Holt
Nominated by: Sondra Eklund

A relatable tale about a monster and his boy. Beautifully written – lends itself to be read aloud or read alone. Illustrations throughout are lovely.

Valerie Byrd Fort, Library Goddess

Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us (AmazonIndieBound
by Lauren Castillo
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Nominated by: Katie B

Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us written and illustrated by Lauren Castillo was a favorite among all the panelists for its classic feel and lovely illustrations. Each chapter introduces a new animal friend and how they came together. The panelists enjoyed the depth of characters, vocabulary, and sweet theme of friendship.

Katie Michols, Little House of Reading

Sofia Valdez and the Vanishing Vote (The Questioneers) (Amazon, IndieBound
by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts
Nominated by: Charlotte

Sofia Valdez and the Vanishing Vote written by Andrea Beaty and Illustrated by David Roberts is a timely title in this election year, a fact that was not lost on any of the judges. The author has created a relatable way to introduce voting to kids. Most judges enjoyed how the author explained the responsibility of voting and participating in the voting process in an age-appropriate and easily understandable way. Excellent back matter rounds out the experience.

Pam Jones-Nill, Pam Jones-Nill – Children’s Author

Stella Endicott and the Anything-Is-Possible Poem: Tales from Deckawoo Drive, Volume Five (Amazon, IndieBound
by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
Candlewick Press
Nominated by: Patricia Tilton

Judges loved Stella Endicott and the Anything-is Possible Poem written by Kate Dicamillo and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen. This book will appeal to all readers and is a great next step for Mercy Watson fans. Chapter lengths and intelligent, appropriate vocabulary make this perfect for the category. The sweet, funny friendship story makes it perfect for kids.

Sheri Howard , Lobit Education Village Library