2023 Staff Picks for Kids - Nonfiction & Poetry

Each year, we follow the latest children's book releases and publish an annual roundup of our favorites. From board books to nonfiction to books in Spanish, discover something great for all the young readers in your life! 

Explore More 2023 Staff Picks for Kids:

Glitter Everywhere! : Where It Came From, Where It’s Found & Where It’s Going Book Cover
Barton, Chris

An informative picture book about the origins and present day uses of -- and obsession with -- glitter.

Search for a Giant Squid : Pick Your Path Book Cover
Forrester, Amy Seto

A choose your own path style story that guides the reader through the very real job of being a teuthologist.

My Head Has a Bellyache: And More Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups Book Cover
Harris, Chris

A witty, illustrated collection of humorous (and sometimes even heartwarming) poems and nonsense inspired by the absurdities of everyday life.

The Mona Lisa Vanishes : A Legendary Painter, a Shocking Heist, and the Birth of a Global Celebrity Book Cover
Day, Nick

A narrative nonfiction about how the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre, how the robbery made the portrait the most famous artwork in the world-and how the painting by Leonardo da Vinci should never have existed at all.

Stand as Tall as the Trees : How an Amazonian Community Protected the Rain Forest Book Cover
Gualinga, Patricia

One activist's story shows how indigenous communities can fight to protect their sacred lands-and win.

A River of Dust : The Life-Giving Link Between North Africa and the Amazon Book Cover
Hoffmann, Jilanne

A narrative nonfiction story detailing the long distance that dust from the Sahel in Africa travels across the Atlantic Ocean to replenish life in the Amazon Rainforest. Told from the perspective of dust, A River of Dust takes readers on a journey through vibrantly illustrated landscapes, celebrating the power and wonder of Earth's ecosystems, and showing how these tiny particles are in fact key to the health of our planet.

Luminous: Living Things That Light up the Night Book Cover
Kuo, Julia

Kids 4 to 8 will marvel at the brightly glowing creatures and other living organisms in this stunning, poetic, and science-based exploration of bioluminescence. When it's dark out, we need light to see. But what if your body could make its own light? From acclaimed author-illustrator Julia Kuo comes a remarkable picture book about bioluminescence, the light made from living things, and its many forms: fireflies and foxfire, fungi and glow-worms, deep-sea fish and vampire squids. Kuo's radiant art portrays a young child and adult discovering different bioluminescent creatures, accompanied by simple lyrical text and informative sidebars that reveal fascinating scientific facts about each of them. An introduction to an extraordinary natural phenomenon, Luminous shines a light upon how truly wondrous the world is. Luminous features: Brilliant and unique illustrations: The depiction of vibrant bioluminescent species against an unusual black backdrop creates an unforgettable visual experience for readers. The science of bioluminescence: Shares the real-life magic of bioluminescence with sidebars about the various places and species in which bioluminescence is found. Text can be read on two levels: Kuo's simple and poetic narrative is accompanied by scientific facts about bioluminescence.

They Hold the Line : Wildfires, Wildlands, and the Firefighters Who Brave Them Book Cover
Paley, Dan

An informative picture book that takes readers along on a high stakes mission to battle one of the deadliest natural disasters to threaten the nation, while offering a dramatic look into the work of the highly-trained first responders who risk their lives to fight wildfires.

Hidden Creature Features Book Cover
Park, Jane

Animals have adaptations to help them survive. But some of those traits can be hard to spot. Rhyming text and eye-catching photos introduce eight creatures with hidden features.

365: How to Count a Year Book Cover
Paul, Miranda

This unique take on a concept book will introduce young readers to numbers both big and small, and give them the tools to understand all of the time that passes by in mysterious and exciting ways each year. It takes the Earth 365 days to spin around the sun. But what does that actually look like? Find out in this fun numerical breakdown of a whole entire wonderful year.

Astonishing and Extinct Professions : 89 Jobs You Will Never Do Book Cover
Rottmann, Markus

Gladiators fought for glory. Ice harvesters chopped up lakes. In the USA, human computers, called rocket women, calculated the paths of spaceships with pen and paper. All these jobs really existed. Now they are gone. This is a book of extraordinary periods in history on six continents. It spans the centuries of the professional fartists and the walking toilets, of the brave riders of the Pony Express, and the lazy ornamental hermits. Marvel at Germany's feared coffee sniffers and London's dreaded executioners.

Jovita Wore Pants : The Story of a Mexican Freedom Fighter Book Cover
Salazar, Aida

Jovita didn't want to cook and clean like her sisters, and she especially didn't want to wear the skirts her abuela gave her. She wanted to race her brothers and climb the tallest mesquite trees in Rancho Palos Blancos, ride horses, and wear pants! When her father and brothers joined the Cristeros War to fight for the right to practice religion, she wanted to help. She wasn't allowed to fight, but that didn't stop her from observing how her father strategized and familiarizing herself with the terrain. When tragedy struck, she did the only thing that felt right to her -- cut her hair, donned a pair of pants, and continued the fight, commanding a battalion who followed her without question. Jovita Wore Pants is the story of a trailblazing revolutionary who fought for her freedom, told by her great niece, bestselling author Aida Salazar, and illustrated by Molly Mendoza.

The Monkey Trial: John Scopes and the Battle Over Teaching Evolution Book Cover
Sanchez, Anita, 1956- author.

Revealing little-known facts about the fight to teach evolution in schools, this riveting account of the dramatic 1925 Scopes Trial (aka "the Monkey Trial") speaks directly to today's fights over what students learn, the tension between science and religion, the influence of the media on public debate, and the power of one individual to change history.

Jerry Changed the Game!: How Engineer Jerry Lawson Revolutionized Video Games Forever Book Cover
Tate, Don

This engaging picture book biography explores how Jerry Lawson, a Black engineer, revolutionized the video game industry. Before Xbox and Playstation and Nintendo Switch, there was a tinkerer named Jerry Lawson. As a boy, Jerry loved playing with springs, sprockets, and gadgety things. When he grew up, Jerry became an engineer-a professional tinkerer! In the 1970s, Jerry decided to tinker with video games. Back then, if players wanted a new video game, they had to buy an entire new console. This made gaming very expensive. Jerry was determined to fix this problem. He hit some roadblocks along the way and had to repeat a level or two, but it was never GAME OVER for Jerry. After working hard to find a solution, he finally LEVELED UP and built a brand new kind of video game console-one that allowed players to switch out video game cartridges! He also founded Video Soft, Inc., the first African American owned video game company in the country. Jerry's tinkering and inventions changed the video gaming world forever. Today, gamers have access to hundreds of video games at the push of a button, all thanks to him. GAME ON!

Hooray for Dna!: How a Bear and a Bug Are a Lot Like Us Book Cover
Thompson, Pauline Elizabeth

A playful and rhythmic nonfiction picture book that introduces readers to the concept of DNA, and celebrates the similarities we share with all life forms--and each other!

Cut!: How Lotte Reiniger and a Pair of Scissors Revolutionized Animation Book Cover
Winters, C. E.

A picture book biography about the remarkable and often overshadowed career of Lotte Reiniger, a moviemaking pioneer, who first used her talent for hand-cutting paper silhouettes in the 1920s to create stop-motion animated movies. She invented the multiplane camera to give her animations depth of field and, with a small team, designed and directed the oldest full-length animated film in existence. Lotte eventually created approximately sixty films for movies and television.

Summaries provided by DPL's catalog unless otherwise noted. Click on each title to view more information.

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