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Bill Martin, Jr. Picture Book Award 2020 Nominees

2020 Winner & Nominees

2020 Winner


Grumpy Monkey

Written by Suzanne Lang
Illustrated by Max Lang
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers

Copyright May 15, 2018
ISBN-13: 978-0553537864

Jim Panzee is grumpy. He tries to deny being in a bad mood on such a nice day, but no advice makes him feel any better. After a bit of a meltdown, Jim realizes that he just needs a grumpy day once in a while.

2020 Nominees


A Round of Robins

Written by Katie Hesterman
Illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier
Published by Nancy Paulsen Books

Copyright March 27, 2018
ISBN-13: 978-0399547782

Rhyming verse is used to tell the story of a pair of robin parents. Following the cycle of bird life, Mama creates her nest and lays her eggs while Dad defends the turf. The eggs quickly turn into hungry hatchlings which then turns into Mama and Dad sending off their flying fledglings only to turn around and start again.


Giraffe Problems

Written by Jory John
Illustrated by Lane Smith
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers

Copyright September 25, 2018
ISBN-13: 978-1524772031

Edward the giraffe doesn’t like his neck. He finds any way he can to hide his neck from the other animals. If there’s a way to hide his neck , Edward has done it. Ready to give up, a friendly turtle named Cyrus helps Edward see how helpful his long neck can be.


The Great Dictionary Caper

Written by Judy Sierra
Illustrated by Eric Comstock
Published by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books

Copyright January 23, 2018
ISBN-13: 978-1481480048

When the words escape from the dictionary, Noah Webster has to restore alphabetical order. Webster discovers the words are gathering in like groups, such as the onomatopoeia marching band, palindrome family reunion, and hide-and-seek antonyms. Webster has to step in and organize the dictionary that has gotten out of control.


If Sharks Disappeared

Written by Lily Williams
Illustrated by Lily Williams
Published by Roaring Brook Press

Copyright May 23, 2017
ISBN-13: 978-1626724136

Sharks are apex predators and are essential to keeping order in the food chains. A world without sharks could lead to the danger of extinction for many other species. Learning about this cause and effect cycle now, can help everyone become aware of the important role sharks play in the ecosystem.


Juno Valentine and the Magical Shoes

Written by Eva Chen
Illustrated by Derek Desierto
Published by Feiwel & Friends

Copyright November 6, 2018
ISBN-13: 978-1250297266

When Juno Valentine can’t find her shoes, she discovers a magical room with all kinds of shoes hidden in her closet. Juno begins to try on the shoes and steps into the role of female icons. Ranging from Cleopatra to Lady Gaga to Frida Kahlo, Juno experiences each pair. In the end, she still wants her own shoes and they might not be so boring anymore.


Lovely Beasts: The Surprising Truth

Written by Kate Gardner
Illustrated by Heidi Smith
Published by Balzer + Bray

Copyright September 18, 2018
ISBN-13: 978-0062741615

Some animals can be scary, but are they always what they seem? Gorillas can be ferocious but they also provide care for their children and each other. Sharks can seem scary but they are really holding the ocean’s ecosystem in check. Lions and elephants might be large but they are also leading entire herds and packs. It’s always important to see the full story, even when it’s scary.


My Heart Is a Compass

Written by Deborah Marcero
Illustrated by Deborah Marcero
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Copyright November 6, 2018
ISBN-13: 978-0316561761

Rose is hoping to take something extraordinary to show and tell. So she sets off on an adventure and discovers all of these far off places that she created in her own imagination. Using maps that she herself drew, Rose follows her compass and finds just the thing to take back to class.


We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga

Written by Traci Sorell
Illustrated by Frané Lessac
Published by Charlesbridge

Copyright September 4, 2018
ISBN-13: 978-1580897723

Journeying with a Cherokee family, the reader learns what it means to be grateful or express gratitude. Using the Cherokee word Otsaliheliga, the family expresses gratitude through every season of the year and shares their celebrations.


What If…

Written by Samantha Berger
Illustrated by Mike Curato
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Copyright April 10, 2018
ISBN-13: 978-0316390965

Expressing herself is what’s most important to this girl. She ponders the idea of no longer having a way to draw, sculpt, or build, or carve. But she knows she could still dance or sing or dream. No matter what, she will find a way to imagine and create.