HoB icon

Children & early adolescent literature books database


Literature database: 2020 - 2030


Database of books that readers who express interest in the books topics or genre enjoyed.

Books 2020 - 2029

Books published in 2020

Title Author Publication date Summaries & Notes Genre & themes
The Three Billy Goats Gruff

Mac Barnett

Illustrated by Jon Klassen


The Three Billy Goats Gruff Traditional The Three Billy Goats Gruff story with a slighly different ending. As usual each big billy goat gets bigger and the Troll describes different ways to feast on goat . Until the last arrives with only his legs in the picture. This enormous goat butts the troll down the river where he is washed over three levels of waterfalls.

Illustrations are browns and blues with a hit of oranges.

fairy tale picture book fantasy
Concrete Rose Angie Thomas 2021

The book is set in Garden Heights seventeen years before the events of The Hate U Give.

Follows the events of Maverick Carter (17) strives to take care of his family. The son of a former gang legend, Mav survives by dealing for the King Lords to get money to help his mom, who works two jobs while his dad’s in prison. Life’s not perfect, but with a fly girlfriend, and a cousin who always has his back, he has everything under control. Until, he finds out he’s a father. Suddenly he has a baby, Seven, who depends on him for everything. But it’s not so easy to sling dope, finish school, and raise a child. So when he’s offered the chance to go straight, he takes it. In a world where he’s expected to amount to nothing, maybe he can prove otherwise. Can he just walk away? Loyalty, revenge, and responsibility threaten ... especially after the brutal murder of a loved one. He’ll have to figure out for himself what it really means to be a man. 

historical realistic fiction
Firekeeper's Daughter Angeline Boulley 2021

Daunis Fontaine (18) has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. She dreams of a fresh start at college, but a family tragedy, puts her future on hold. A bright spot is meeting Jamie, a charming new recruit on Levi’s (brother) hockey team.

She becomes conflicted between liking the hockey star and the feeling he is hiding something. Then Daunis witnesses a murder, putting her into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug.

Reluctantly, she agrees to go undercover. Using her understaning of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the source. But her search is more complicated as secrets and old scars are uncoverd and the investigation seems more focused on punishing the offenders than protecting the victims.

Comlications mounting, Daunis must decide if she will be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) or someone else.

historical realistic fiction
Brother Wulf: A Spook's Apprentice Adventure Joseph Delaney 2020

Brother Wulf coverThe story starts a new apprentice adventure trilogy and stands on its own.

However, it is the 17 in a series, and starts after the The Dark Assassin (last in The Darkness Trilogy (3) preceded by 13 stories in the The Last Apprentice series.

Plot summary

Fantasy horror fiction duty obligation
Wulf's Bane: A Spook's Apprentice Adventure Joseph Delaney 2021

Brother Wulf's Bane coverThe story is the second in a new apprentice adventure trilogy.

However, it is the 18 in a series, preceded by Brother Wulf, which follows the The Dark Assassin (last in The Darkness Trilogy (3) which is preceded by 13 stories in the The Last Apprentice series.

Plot summary

Fantasy horror fiction duty obligation
Brother Wulf: The Last Spook Joseph Delaney 2022 Brother Wulf: The Last Spook


Plot summary


Fantasy horror fiction duty obligation
Fox: A Circle of Life Story Isabel Thomas 2021 Fox searches for food for her three cubs and teaches them how to survive in the wild. Until one day, she is hit by a car and dies. Her body provides food for scavengers and decomposers as fox is recycled back to earth to nourish the grass and air to sustain life in the forest. While the book suggest the kits survive, in real life they probably wouldn’t. As such it might be unsettling for some children.
Non fiction Science environment death energy cycle life cycle
Tu Youyou's Discovery: Finding a Cure for Malaria Songju Ma Daemicke 2021 Story of Tu Youyou who as a child is interested in learning and is sent to school. Unusual for girls in China at the time. At 15 she got tuberculosis. Her slow recovery inspired her to become a research scientist in 1955. The story describes her dedication, hard work and numerous challenges she overcomes to develop, from traditional medicines (sweet wormwood) a treatments for drug-resistant malaria. Her treatment, artemisinin has saved millions of children’s lives.
Non fiction malaria Nobel prize, medicine, research
Snoozefest: The Surprising Science of Sleep Tanya Lloyd Kyi 2021 Snoozefest cover

An eye-opening illustrated look at the science of sleep. Everything an adolescents needs to know about sleep and what keeps them up at night! Information, crucial for our health and happiness.
A fascinating and readable story that explores why sleep is important, what happens in our bodies while we're sleeping, and how the science of sleep research has evolved. Includes sidebars and boxes full of fun facts that break the text into readable chunks. Along with links to information for life science, the human body, and health.


Activities and fact sheet on sleep!

Non fiction sleep, health
Good Eating: The Short Life of Krill Matt Lilley 2022

The SHort Life of Krill coverHi!

What are you?

You appear to be an egg.

Yes, you are and you are sinking … day after day, one krill among billions, eating and eating while metamorphosing from one thing into another and trying to avoid being eaten.

Questions and advice are hurled at the krill on every page, but the krill never responds-because, after all, krill can't talk, and this is nonfiction.

An accurate narrative of krill and how they are really good at eating, which makes them really good eating. And perhaps the most important animal in their ecosystem.

Dan Tavis's illustrations are accurate, expressive, and alive with humor. For example the main character krill is so good at gobbling up phytoplankton, that he turns green, so we can pick him out from the crowd racing to escape a penguin's beak or a blue whale's gaping maw.

Non fiction environment krill life cycle ocean life
It Takes Guts: How Your Body Turns Food Into Fuel (and Poop) Belle Wuthrich and Jennifer Dr. Gardy 2022 It Takes Guts coverAn illustrated 152 page book about the digestive system and microbiome for middle level readers with the story about the journey food takes from the time it enters our bodies to when it exits. A long and complicated process that involves many cells, tissues, and organs and the amazing tools they are at breaking down food with acids, enzymes, gastrin, ghrelin, villi, crypts, bile, insulin, an glucagon. The story also describes the role food and digestion play in your mood and immune system. And the incredible truth that not all bacteria is bad! Oh! the author also investigates the science behind burps, barfs, and farts, proving that learning about the wonderful world of your gut might not be everything you expected!
Non fiction digestion digestive system, health
The Last Mapmaker Christina Soontornvat 2022

Sai (12) is struggling to escape the lowly position she has been born into. Along the way her struggles provide insight into the social and ecological dilemmas we face when we try to improve our status at the expense of others or wildlife.


The Last MapmakerMangkon - a kingdom where the class of your ancestors determines your social condition.

Land beyond Mangkon - to exploit for a better life.

An Lung - the capital city and home for Sai


  • Paiyoon Wongyai - mapmaker
  • Sai - main character
  • Mud - father, con artist
  • Tippy - assistant for a master pastry chef with 7 links in her lineal
  • Queen Siripatra
  • Captain Anchalee Sangra - Queens great niece, war hero
  • Mr. Lark - naturalist
  • Miss Rian Prasomsap captains friend, later find she is her step sister
  • Grebe - from the Fens, sailor,


Sai is working at the Goldhope Harbor Market delivering shrimp when she passes the master mapmaker shop and Paiyoon is dismissing his assistant. And frustrated he asks: is anyone who can use an ink pen? Sai raises her hand and is hired on the spot.

Weeks later, Queen Siripatra announces a prize for ship captains who explore beyond the known lands and return with a map of their discoveries.

Myths and other tales are told about the lands beyond and dragons and other sea creatures who protect them.

We learn Sai lives in the Fens, hides her earnings and stiff clothes she wears at the map shop, when she returns each night. Her father, Mud, survives with a friend, Catfish, by scams and other schemes, and part of Sai's earnings. Catfish creates a plan to steal and sell valuable armor by using a forged letter written by Sai. She refuses at first and later thinks about how she might do it.

Master Paiyoon discovers how Sai is able to make accurate copies.

He then tells her, that he begged to be the official map maker for the Queens’s vessel, but has found out he will be unable to write if he goes because the medicine he needs to keep his hands from shaking can’t be preserved for as long as the journey will be. But, she could do the writing, if she would be willing, and they could go.

Should they worry about what is below the Dragon Line or the Fiftieth parallel…

Sai jumps at the chance, as it fits with her plans to leave A Lung and create a new life somewhere else.

Weekend before departure, Mud finds out she hasn't been working for the shrimp shop and demands to know what she is doing. Not being able to tell him she is forced to flee shortly before the ship sails and almost misses it.

Settles in after she gets her sea legs. Learns how to take readings, ... and fisherman's maps.

Sail to Pitaya Island.

Sai goes ashore, discovers lemon colored dragon haw, (turtle shell) eat, boy tries to pick her pocket. Return to the ship.

Head to Fahlin.

Rian befriends her. Shares part of Queen's decree that wasn't printed. Prize to discover the great southern continent (Sunderlands). Lineals or money as prize of honor. Wants Sai to convince Paiyoon to search and find the Sunderlands.

Sai discovers a stowaway ... Bo ... pickpocket ...

Sai comes face to face with Grebe. Continues her education with Paiyoon by mapping the islands of Deserdells. Sai talks about looking for the Sunderlands. Paiyoon says the Harbinger Sea is too violent to sail into and it is because there is no large body of land within it.

Grebe and others on the crew who are afraid of dragons don't want to cross 50th parallel ...

Befriends Bo. Find is is half Mangkon, born in Amnaj. His mom took him to Pitaya, left him, and died.

They work together to review all of Paiyoon's documents looking for any evidence for where the Sunderlands might be. Don't find int of land ... or dragons ... and its like ships get sucked in ...

Arrive Fahlin, fever flags. No one goes ashore, Get water, move on, head to Avens Island.

Sai shares her research with Rian ... no evidence of Sunderland. Hopes and dreams ... Rian tells Sai Sangra is her sister, when born sent us away, wanted no part of us ... shares fisherman's map, ...

See Slakes? ... Whales ...

See whaling ship, watch catch whale, frightened by giant squid or ?? leave before finished harvesting. Discuss how hundreds of whaling ships will come when finish with mapping. Run aground?! Argue with Paiyoon over whose fault it is that whales are and will die, about the map causing the conquest of newly found worlds and people. That the maps saved lives of sailor's so they can navigate safely. Conclude ... I can't change the path behind me, but I can the path ahead!

Captain Sangra takes ill. Rian volunteers to take care of her.

Days later Rian talks to Sai to see how talk to convince Paiyoon to search for the Sunderlands is going ... Sai ... not going to happen. Well we could make you the mapmaker and ... Rian finds Bo hiding in the cabin. gets Sai to counterfeit two letters, she does, and when reach Avens Island she reads them to the crew.

Depart to find the Sutherlands with Sai as map maker and a much smaller crew and Rian's fisherman map piece. Run into squall, Rian won't shorten sail, Sangra is better talks to Sai ... Finds out she is being drugged by Rian, and Rian's story is backward. She was given same as Sangra, but always wanted more... Finds out she had a child, left with her husband when she was called to war. He was killed, but his aunt took the baby to Pitaye Island. I searched for him, but couldn't find him. Amanat - Bo. Fire. Sangra takes charge. Order sailors to fight fire, trim sails .... Sai gets Bo ... Storm get worse. Sangra and Rian fight, Sangra pushed overboard.

Sai connects Bo and Sangra and tells Bo ...

Grebe comes for Sai going to mutiny and everyone needs to be together and the others don't trust her so she needs to ... Find Bo ...Tells that Mud saved his life so will return the favor... You set a good course so ... swim to ... that little island? ... Then what? ... You live another day.

Some debris and row boat wash ashore. Finds Paiyoon's fisherman's map inside lens case. Know both halves go together.... Bo ... I took it when I was in her ... Sai puts both together and finds out Rian is sailing in the opposite direction of Sunderland.

Use boat and leave island, Thinks about Mud and her sixth birthday when he gave her a bunch of presents and was arrested, served time, and probably met Grebe... Dream? See Slake looks into her eyes with his haw (second eyelid) and leaves. Row after her, land ahoy, sunderland. Find abundance, cave, Slake with eggs, explore, Rian finds her, asks if Sangra fell or she pushed her ... She fell ... You lie ... fight, use Mud's move, Bo comes capture Rian, put in brig, repair ship, return ... Home.

Sangra alive, reunited with Bo, used reward for orphans, travel around kingdom trying to improve relations.

Master Paiyoon is reunited with Sodsai Mudawan finish map of sunderland use names to discourage settlers and tell stories to discourage adventurers, but sailors tell different.

Still looking for Mud.

Historical fiction Map making cartography writing drawing exploration conservation colonialism sustainability mythology
How to Build a Human: In Seven Evolutionary Steps Pamela S Turner 2022

How to Build a Human coverA great story told in seven steps along with detailed portraits by John Gurche. Seven steps on how, when, and why Homo sapiens: 1. stand up, 2. smash rocks, 3. get swelled heads, 4. take a hike, 5. invent barbecue, 6. start talking (and never shut up), and 7. become storytellers?
A fascinating, wickedly funny account of our evolutionary journey turns science into an irresistible story.

Excellent source for middle level and above. Only weakness in the story is not including epigenetics, (changes in an organisms by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code) along with the environmental impacts on evolution. Otherwise, an excellent source.

Non fiction human evolution walking erect hands cooking
Funky Fungi: 30 Activities for Exploring Molds, Mushrooms, Lichens, and More Alisha Gabriel and Sue Heavenrich 2022 Funky Fungi coverFungi are everywhere! In the coldest corner of Antarctica and hot sandy desert dunes. In the air you breathe and the food you eat. They form partnerships with plants and are important decomposers for our planet. Some eat our crops; others protect them. Some cause diseases; others cure them. Some are bigger than you; others are microscopic. And now, people are finding ways to use fungi to make furniture, building materials, and even sneakers. So grab your gear and explore! Non fiction fungi life living mushrooms lichen mold
School Trip Jerry Craft 2023

School trip coverMiddle school trip ...

Jordan Banks and a group of his school mates take a school trip to Paris, France. A prank by another group of students mixes-up the teacher sponsers, pairing them different groups than what was planned. This unexpectedly results in challenges for both teachers and students as they explore Paris with on the fly decisions being made that no one expected they would be making.

Among the humerous adventures the cultural differences that have caused friction in school is hightened as the teachers and students are challenged with collaborating and cooperating as they travel together on their school trip.

Main characters

  • Jordan Bank (Dad - Chuck, Mom - Ellice, Grandpa, two younger sisters)
  • Drew (Andrew Ellis)
  • Liam Landers

Paris group

  • Jordan
  • Drew
  • Maury - Maurice
  • Girl Alex - Alexandra
  • Ashley
  • Samira
  • Andy Peterson
  • Teachers - Mr. Roche & Mr Garner

Older students as protagonists

  • Eric
  • Deandre
  • Winston

Other students

  • Ryan
  • Bonnie
  • Gabby
  • Cassey
  • Ruby Wu

Jordan's neighborhood friends

  • Kenny
  • Kirk
  • Carlos

Other teachers

Headmaster Hansen, Ms. Slate, Ms Brosnan, Ms. Hochstein, Ms Schweir, Ms. Rawle, Professor Mensky, Mr. Mellins, Mr. Bechenstein, Mr. Rivero, Mr. Backer, Mr. Rosner, Mr. Neuman, Mr. Disteler, Mr. Zigbi

Previous graphic novel, New Kid - 2019

Middle school travel, cultural differences, getting along, what is funny or hurtful
The Unstoppable Bridget Bloom Allison L Blitz 2023 The Unstoppable Bridget Bloom cover

The best adolescent literature book I've read in years.
Bridget Bloom (17) explores relationships, friendship, and love, with a tone and style that is mind opening wowing! Page after page I marveled at the creative insightful thoughtful punch of reality that makes the story pop.
While Bridget thinks she is learning humility, which may be an oxymoron for an unstoppable Bridget Bloom, she is really learning what makes a true and strong relationship: love in the real sense of people who care for each other and provide safe spaces when they are around each other. A tremendous story about how working together creates lifelong relationships and success unstoppable!

Major characters
Bridget Bloom

Dodge Chad
Liza Lawless
Amber Deterding
Duke Ericson
Max Griffin
Octavia Lawless
Hans - Socks & June

Setting Richard James Academy - Prep school includes an MFP (music focus program)

High school relationships performing arts high school boarding school family friends love collaboration teamwork
Brother Wulf: Wulf's War Joseph Delaney 2023

Brother Wulf: Wulf's WarBrother Wulf's War


Fantasy horror fiction duty obligation
The Jockey & Her Horse Sarah Maslin Nir & Raymond White Jr. 2023 The Jockey & Her Horse

A story inspired by the childhood of the first Black woman jockey, Charyl White (17).

Sorry of her life and struggles with her family and society to become the first Black female jockey. Who learns about herself and how to lose.
Mom - Doris Jean Gorse, Worked at the Ball factory, adored technology, worked overtime to buy first silks orange with yellow polka dots and DJG,
Father - Raymond White Sr. famous horse trainer,
Brother - Drew (Drool) Raymond White Jr.
Best friend - Earlene Hill Quote You can only be you, because everyone else has been taken. Once you love yourself, the world is yours.
Kathy Kusner - first female jockey
Inua Toure - African horse owner and trainer.
Setting rural Ohio, Raymond White Racing Stables, late 1960’s & early 1970’s
Horses: Jetolara, Savannah Lily, Ace Rewards, Aristides
Third person with dialogue of humans and horses.

Historical fiction family horses racing Black experience first Black women jockey winning losing history prejudice
The Chalice of the Gods Rick Riordan 2023

The Chalice of the GodsThe story of three friends, Percy, Annabeth, and Grover, continues.

As Percy begins his senior year he learns that he will need to obtain three good recommendations for college.

Which ends, what he had hoped, would be a normal year with Annabeth near by attending the School of Design, New York City (SODNYC) ... while he finishes his high school work at Alternative High School (AHS), Before he and Annabeth attend New Rome University.

However, the counselor (Eudora) informs him, he will need three divine recommendation letters ... Flush to ... Poseidon who explains a quest is required for each letter.

SO Percy advertises ... Percy Jackson will do your request (in exchange for college recommendatinletters) ... and waits.

First request is from Ganymede, Zeus's cupbearer, to find and return the chalice of the gods. Then the adventures begin.

Percy, Annabeth, and Grover team up to find and return the chalice in this the first of three (?) books. The quest has twist, turns, and detours to keep the reader turning the page to see what obstacle they will run into next and how they will solve the problem to return the chalice, before Zeus discovers it missing and turns Ganymede to ash.

The dialogue is lighthearted and amusing as our heroes use humor to distract them from the serious and deadly nature of their quest.

Since three quests are required it seems returning the chalice is the first, and we will need to wait for two more as Rick finishes the trilogy!

Percy parents - Poseidon, Sally, Paul Conroy

Annabeth Chase - parents - Athena,

Grover Underwood satyr

Ganymede, Poseiden, Athena, Hebe god of youth, River god Elisson, Gary god of old age Barbara dryad, Chef Naomi

Modern fantasy Greek gods teens adventure friends family
Thieves' Gambit

Kayvion Lewis



Thieves gambitA cross between the Hunger Games, Artemis Fowl, and the Cahills in the 39 Clues.

Rosalyn (Ross) Quest (17) has been taught the family trade as a thief, to trust no one but family, and her limited interactions with others her age when 9 was tramatic.

When she decides to try something new for a few days, her mother rejects the idea. Taking matters in her own hands, Ross plans to skip our for a few days at a gymnastic camp. However, things don't go as planned, when her mother gets caught and held for ransom. Having no way to meet the demands for a billion dollars, she joins the thieves gambit to free her mother with the prize of one wish.

Sequel: Heist Royale

realistic fiction thieves, friendship, trust, stealing betrayal loyalty family
Rosie Frost & the Falcon Queen Geri Halliwell-Horner 2023

Rosie Frost coverRosie Frost is sent to Bloodstone Island and the Haverstone school for extraordianry teens, which is also a sanctuary for endangered species.

Prologue describes how on June 1st, 1563, Queen Elizabeth opens Heverbridge School in honor of her mother Anne Boleyn.

Setting present day England, Bloodstone Island.

Bloodstone Island map


  • Ottilie
  • Jackson
  • Charlie
  • Bina - roommate
  • Mr. F. Hemlock
  • Miss Churchill
  • Isambard


Plot Rosie Frost is sent to Bloodstone Island and the Haverstone school for extraordianry teens, which is also a sanctuary for endangered species.

Prologue describes how on June 1st, 1563, Queen Elizabeth opens Heverbridge School in honor of her mother Anne Boleyn.

Chapter 1 Rosie is living with her mother and attending school where she is bullied and wrongly accused of stealing the teacher’s book and writing derogatory remarks on the board. After being sent to the principal’s office she is told by Cheif Inspector Clarke and lawyer Colin Fletcher her mother passed away and her final wishes were for her to attend school on Blackstone Island. She was given a red case and instruction only open it with Miss Churchill, and wished off to a helicopter and flown to the island. Her pineapple emojis were not answered.

She received no answer and arrived at Heverbridge School feeling alone with no one coming to save her. She meets Mr. Hemlock, who takes her red case … introduces her to Ottilie and asks her to show her to her room.

Reviews the history of the island and school, shows her the gallery of the Falcon Queens and locks her in.

During the night she meets the ghost of Queen Anne Boleyn …

In the morning Charlie opens the door, talk, breakfast, …

Learn of the Falcon Queen games and signs up … Any challenge you face have courage … a voice whispers , along with a waft of velvet plum, cloves and spices.

Roomate Bina..

First challenge, cross a melty frozen lake … Rosie helps Charlie and they work to gather to complete the first challenge along with 30 others to move on.

Animo, Imperium, Libertas!

Hemlock plays power games with Rosie and her case, Ottilie and her squad bully Rosie,

Rosie journals letters to her mom.

Rosie explores the island and discovers wildcats - Mercury. Professor J. Isambard. Meets Jackson. Lunchroom trouble for Rosie, Ottilie, & Charlie. Assigned to Ms. Parr’s - Gutter Club.

Look for case in Miss Churchill office and find little purple book. Charlie comes to find her… Then Hemlock …

Book is locked. Key? Ghost portrait of Anne Boleyn …

Gutter Club - Conservation Club Bina joins.

Science experiment bam, Ottiie - lphoto, online, …

Rules will teach you everything …

Piece together materials in shed to make explosives.

Challenge 2 - Rosie, Ottilie, Charlie, Jackson ...


modern fantasy fiction history Spice Girls Ginger Spice Anne Boleyn Elizabeth 1 English
If I Were a Fish Corook & Olivia Barton 2023 If I Were a Fish cover

A story of a young girl who wonders how people might treat her differently if she were a fish.

With minimalist brightly colored sketches and

Great themes:

  • Celebrate everyone's differences.
  • Everyone gets to be themselves.
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Joining in a celebration.

To comprehend the plot and empathize with the characters and authors, a familiarity with cyber bullying and the internet might be necessary.

Authors singing


Page from If I Were A Fish!

If I Were A Fish page
picture book modern fantasy internet technology feelings cyber bullying bully song
Ruby Bridges: This Is Your Time Ruby Bridges 2020 Ruby Bridges: This Is Your Time cover

Nonfiction picture book, illustrated with black and white photos, and 35 pages of short paragraphs that tells the story of Ruby Bridges and her experience as the first Black student to integrate an all White elementary school in New Orleans.

A concise well written summary of civil rights events in America and how they touched her life and the consequences for her, her family, others who touched her life, and all Americans.

Born in 1954 in Mississippi, same year Brown v Board of Education ordered integration of public schools. She later moved, with her family, to New Orleans where in 1960 she began school and the start of desegregation of public education in New Orleans. Her walk to the school front door was made famous by Norman Rockwell in his painting The Problem We All Live With, see cover art.

Additional Sources about her life:

  • Her autobiography: Through My Eye.
  • Robert Cole: The Story of Ruby Bridges
  • Disney movie: Ruby Bridges

picture book nonfiction autobiography Ruby Bridges Black experience 1960's






Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes
[Home: homeofbob.com & thehob.net ]