Mash-Up 2020 Gift Guide: Best Books, All Ages

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We all deserve to escape and get lost in a good book any year, but ESPECIALLY we deserve this year! All of us: The littles, the in-betweens, and even us grownups (or the ones of us who can’t believe we are now grownups).

So here we go: Our very best mashy book picks for the Mash-Ups in our life (and ourselves). Happy gifting


Swashby and the Sea

By Beth Ferry and Juana Martinez-Neal

Image courtesy of Bookshop

A sweet-and-salty story of neighbors, friendship, and the sea. Captain Swashby loves his salty, sandy, and serene life until a young girl and her granny move in next door. Swashby tries to tell his noisy neighbors to GO AWAY with notes in the sand. Meanwhile, the sea (his oldest and dearest friend) interferes with his messages, and Swashby gets what he really needs.


By Minh Lê and Dan Santat

Image courtesy of Bookshop

Iris loves pushing the elevator button for her family…until one day, her toddler brother manages to push it first. When a mysterious new button shows up, Iris discovers new worlds and realms of adventure. But should she go it alone, or let her little brother tag along? It’s a dynamic comic-inspired book where the best experiences are the ones you share.

Sofia Valdez, Future Prez

By Andrea Beaty and David Roberts

Image courtesy of Bookshop

Sofia’s Abuelo hurt his ankle at the dangerous Mount Trashmore (their local landfill), and Sofia has a brilliant idea: turn the landfill into a lovely park! With only City Hall in her way, Sofia will show everyone what just one kid can do.

Thank you Omu

By Oge Mora

Image courtesy of Bookshop

The scrumptious scent of Omu’s delicious stew fills the neighborhood. One by one, Omu offers a portion of her meal until the pot is empty. Inspired by the strong female role models in the author’s life, this book tells a story of community and sharing with colorful paper-cut designs.


Prarie Lotus

By Linda Sue Park

Image courtesy of Bookshop

It’s the mashy prairie story we never had–Hanna is a young half-Asian girl growing up in America’s heartland in 1880. Determined to fit in and realize her dreams, this heroine navigates her world with a poignant and wry voice that speaks to readers of today.


By Kazu Kibuishi

Image courtesy of Bookshop

In the bestselling Amulet graphic novel series, discover an underground world of man-eating demons, a mechanical rabbit companion, a talking fox, a giant robot—and two ordinary children on a mission.


DMZ Colony

By Don Mee Choi

Image courtesy of Bookshop

2020 National Book Award recipient! Don Mee Choi explores the “intertwined and overlapping histories” of South Korea and the United States with an intricate weaving of poems, prose, photos, and drawings. Using translation as a poetic device to cross historic and linguistic barriers, it is a personal and political reckoning.

Postcolonial Love Poem: Poems

By Natalie Diaz

Image courtesy of Bookshop

“I am doing my best to not become a museum / of myself. I am doing my best to breathe in and out. // I am begging: Let me be lonely but not invisible.”

This collection of poems by Natalie Diaz are sharp and resonant, radically unravelling and reclaiming the love poem to entwine the anguish, joy, grief, sensuality and autonomy of history, culture, and desire.

Jasmine Guillory Series

Image courtesy of Bookshop

Jasmine Guillory gives us rom-coms from the perspective of smart, ambitious, sexy and competent Mash-Up women. It’s what rom coms should be in 2020. Freshand real and sexy and smart. They can be read over and over!

Pretty Bitches: On Being Called Crazy, Angry, Bossy, Frumpy, Feisty, and All the Other Words That Are Used to Undermine Women

By Lizzie Skurnick

Image courtesy of Bookshop

Essays from powerhouse women writers (like…Mash-Up’s own Amy Choi!) breakdown and examine the words that diminish, wound, inflate, define, and demean women — and imagine a more liberated world.

Intimations: Six Essays

By Zadie Smith

Image courtesy of Bookshop

Written during the early months of lockdown, this book explores the unprecedented questions of 2020: “When an unfamiliar world arrives, what does it reveal about the world that came before it? How do we compare relative sufferings? In our isolation, what do other people mean to us?”

Reflect with Zadie Smith on what has happened, what is happening, and what should come next.

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