2023 Staff Picks for Kids - Picture Books

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:

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Acevedo, Linda J.

In the 1970s Bronx, Manolo, a shy Puerto Rican boy, overcomes his fears and insecurities to become part of a new innovative dance style called breaking.

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Henderson, Judith

When a yellow envelope arrives at Hollyhock House addressed to the greatest grandmother in the world, it causes a disturbance among the grandmothers and great-grandmothers living there.

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Fang, X.

A picture book about a girl and her love of food, set in a restaurant.

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Aguilera, Claudio

As a young boy walks nine kilometers to school, he travels through the mountain and rain forest landscapes of southern Chile.

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Arnaldo, Monica

Prepare for plenty of giggles as a kindergarten class arrives for their first day of school, but can't find their teacher--only a delicious-looking sandwich and the words 'Mr. S' scribbled on the chalkboard. Chaos ensues as the kids argue whether or not the sandwich must be their teacher.

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Barnett, Mac

Not all questions have answers. Some have more than one answer. And others have endless answers, unfolding out to the edges of the world. In this spare yet expansive narrative, acclaimed author Mac Barnett poses twenty questions both playful and profound. Some make us giggle. Others challenge our assumptions. The result is a quirky, wandering exploration of where the best questions lead--to stories. Intriguing, richly interactive, and brought to vivid life by Caldecott Honor recipient Christian Robinson's bright and whimsical illustrations, Twenty Questions is a charming invitation to speculate without limits and know no bounds.

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Bergame, Cécile

When a little pea escapes a girl who is shelling peas, it rolls off the kitchen table, onto the floor, and an adventure begins. The runaway pea rolls passed several hungry animals. It manages to evade a mouse, a cat, a rabbit, a hen, a pig, and a wolf, finally resting in the perfect place. The girl will find it again after some time has passed for a surprise conclusion. This circular story, told with repetition, predictive vocabulary, and bright colorful art, delivers a natural history lesson about plant life for the youngest of readers. They will enjoy repeated readings as they join in the telling of this sweet pea of a tale.

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Bolling, Valerie

Told in rhyming text, a young boy learns to swim in a pool with the example and encouragement of his family.

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Boynton, Sandra

An extremely exuberant chicken has an important message to share in this entertaining rhyming book that reminds readers that trying your best is reason enough to celebrate.

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Brown, Tameka Fryer

[A picture book] that challenges the meaning behind the still-waving Confederate flag through the friendship of two young girls who live across the street from each other.

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Bui, Hanh

A debut picture book about a little girl who connects to her Vietnamese heritage when she accidentally rips her late grandmother's áo dái.

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Burgess, Matthew

Sylvester imaginatively creates a special letter full of loving memories and shared moments for his favorite person, his beloved grandmother, even though she is gone.

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Chapman, Jared

Lorelei is shocked to learn that her favorite animal, seals, actually eat penguins, so she sets out to do some in-person research--and discovers that in nature things are complicated.

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Ben Clanton and Andy Chou Musser

Ploof is a puffy cloud who's a little lonely -- but now you're here, and the fun can begin! Can you help Ploof overcome their shyness? Play pretend? Make Ploof laugh with your funny faces, find their hiding spot, give them a high five! Full of imaginative and interactive fun, each page of this perfect book for preschoolers offers a chance to play. By following cues to say hello, clap, blow, shake, wave or make a funny face, young readers will be delighted to see the effects of their actions on Ploof. They'll learn social-emotional skills like empathy, encouragement and kindness through Ploof's emotional journey -- and, along the way, they'll learn how to be a fantastic friend!

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Chen, Nathan

Olympic gold medalist and three-time World Champion Nathan Chen delivers an inspirational picture book about facing your fears and finding the joy in sports, no matter the outcome. Wei has loved ice-skating ever since his first visit to the rink. He loves gliding across the ice, taking flight on jumps, and moving with the music--there's nothing else like it! But as Wei's first big competition draws near, he begins to worry. He's been training hard, but what if he doesn't win? With help from Mom, can Wei find a way to handle his nerves? What would it feel like to skate without the pressure of winning? As the first Asian American man to win gold in figure skating, Nathan Chen is a celebrated role model for kids who want to shine on and off the ice. His uplifting message of positivity and perseverance makes this story the perfect choice for social emotional learning at home or in the classroom.

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Diaz, Lucky

When Canta finds a guitar in the trash, she is one step closer to becoming a rock star. Even though the guitar is broken and she doesn't know how to play, nothing can stop Canta from going after her dreams!

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DiPucchio, Kelly

Mouse and Giraffe are neighbors, but because of their relative sizes, their experiences are very different, so they usually disagree; however, when Mouse catches cold, they find something they both agree on.

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Dyson, DK

Amir bonds with Rudeday, his downstairs artist neighbor, over a game they invented.

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Ejaita, Diana

Illustrations and simple text depict children in different countries around the world enjoying the universal benefits of the Sun from sunup in Japan to sundown in Madagascar.

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Evans, Gabriel, 1991- author, illustrator.

Kingsley had decided to own a human. This was not a decision to be taken lightly. After all, owning a human is a responsibility. But finding the right kind of human is much harder than Kingsley expected. Some are too bossy. Some are too busy. And some just don't seem to appreciate a dog the way they should. Will Kingsley ever find a human that is exactly right? A sweet, tender and deeply funny story about the power of friendship, and one dog's mission to find his perfect person.

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Fehr, Daniel

When a little girl goes to bed, she finds a rather big problem - there's a cow in her bed! When her father goes to her room, the cow has gone and her father tells her to go to sleep. Later on that night, the cow comes back, together with a card-playing duck and a counting elephant! Is the little girl just stalling? Either way, it looks like no one is getting much sleep tonight!

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Gravett, Emily

Bursting with energy and fun, young children will love to count the dogs and the sausages, as well as looking out for all the funny details on each page. The book explores numbers one going up to ten, and ten going down to zero, touching on several simple concepts like half, all, more, less along the way.

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Greanias, Margaret Chiu

When Red, a young red panda, finds her book about pandas completely omits red pandas, she decides to write a book herself.

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Hammond, Tiffany

A must-read that belongs in every home and classroom, A Day With No Words invites readers into the life of an Autism Family who communicates just as the child does, without spoken language.

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Hassani, Mojdeh

Mama Shamsi is off to the market, and today, Samira gets to go with her! Samira loves spending time with her grandmother, and she especially loves her chador, which Mama Shamsi wraps around herself every time they leave the house. As the pair get closer and closer to the market, Samira is worried about getting lost in the crowded streets of Tehran, until she has an idea: She can hide under her grandmother's chador. But when Mama Shamsi says no -- if Samira hides under there, the pair of them will look like a strange animal! In imaginary spreads, Samira and Mama Shamsi turn into a donkey, a giraffe, a kangaroo, a turtle -- hiding isn't working at all. But maybe there's some other way for Samira to stay safe with her grandma in the crowded market.

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Heidbreder, Robert

A boy compares the antics of his ballet cat with those of his friends, and invites them to bring their cats over to join in a Corp de Chat performance. Includes numerous ballet terms as well as information on famous dancers.

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LaRocca, Rajani

Ravi spends summer vacation with his cousins sharing in all their favorite activities, including eating ice cream.

100 Mighty Dragons All Named Broccoli Book Cover
LaRochelle, David

High on a mountain live 100 mighty dragons all named Broccoli. When a tremendous wind blows half the dragons away, ten others sail off to become professional surfers in Hawaii. The oldest and youngest dragons take a train to New York City to start their own heavy metal band. And a mysterious wizard turns four more into a unicorn, a werewolf, a zombie, and a tiny pink poodle. Now how many dragons are left? Young readers will delight in following each and every dragon as they leave their home for marvelous adventures, until there is but one dragon remaining. That's when this final dragon named Broccoli retreats to a cave for the winter and reappears in the spring with a surprise that will thrill and delight. Prepare to read again!

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Li, Hui

After learning how to draw Chinese characters, Lulu and her dog Dumpling step into a magical world where the characters come to life.

My Powerful Hair Book Cover
Lindstrom, Carole

After generations of short hair in her family, a little girl celebrates growing her hair long to connect to her culture and honor the streength and resilience of those who came before her.

Benita and the Night Creatures Book Cover
Llanos, Mariana

Creatures from Peruvian lore try to scare a child who's so absorbed in her bedtime reading that she comically rebuffs their attempts.

I Love You Mucho Mucho Book Cover
Más Davidson, Rachel

Rosie and her grandmother find a way to communicate despite speaking different languages.

Baby Be Book Cover
McGhee, Alison

As they dance, wiggle, and boogie together, fathers assure their sons that they can become anything they want and that they will always have their fathers' support.

What Do Brothas Do All Day? Book Cover
Mance, Ajuan

A picture book with illustrated portraits of real Black men celebrating the daily lives and activities of African Americans, from visiting the barber shop to exploring outer space

To the Other Side Book Cover
Meza, Erika

A girl reframes the dangerous border crossing between Mexico and the United States as a game to help her brother through the journey.

The Light Inside Book Cover
Misdea, Dan

How far would you go to get back your favorite toy? In this heartwarming tale, a timid jack-o'-lantern finds its courage in the darkest of places.

Snowflakes on Our Tongues Book Cover
Ornstein, Mike

When a farmer is not paying attention, the farm animals romp and play as they try to catch snowflakes on their tongues. Includes back matter with animal facts as well as information on the science of snowflakes.

The Only Way to Make Bread Book Cover
Quintero, Cristina

[An] exploration of all kinds of breads, from sourdough to bannock to bao, that will tickle your taste buds and warm your heart.

¡Vamos! Let's Go Read. Book Cover
Raúl the Third

Little Lobo and his friends are excited for the out-of-this-world book festival the Guadalupian Library hosts every year! Everyone has a special book they're looking for, but there's so much to see and do first. From cookbook demonstrations and comics workshops to mask making and language classes, this library has something for everyone. Can Little Lobo, Bernabé, Kooky Dooky, Coco Rocho, and La Chida each find the book of their dreams?

Sam With Ants in His Pants Book Cover
Reynolds, April

Restless Sam spends his naptime with the wild animals that leap off the pages of his favorite storybook.

There Was a Party for Langston, King O’ Letters Book Cover
Reynolds, Jason

A celebration of Langston Hughes and African American authors he inspired, told through the lens of the party held at the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in 1991.

The Song That Called Them Home Book Cover
Robertson, David

A picture book about two siblings who go on a strange, beautiful adventure while visiting with their grandfather.

A Letter for Bob Book Cover
Rogers, Kim

Celebrates the treasured cars that carry us through our most meaningful childhood moments.

Bhangra Baby Book Cover
Sehgal, Kabir

Bhangra Baby learns to step, hop, twist, and jump as he moves to the rhythm of the dhol.

Wild Blue: Taming a Big-Kid Bike Book Cover
Slater, Dashka

Kayla loves riding her pink pony, a three-wheeled bike, up and down the street, day after day. But then Daddy announces that it's time for a big-kid bike, one with just two wheels. At the store, Kayla selects her mount, but when she tries to ride it, she is thrown-again and again. Can she tame this intimidating set of wheels? Or is the new blue bike just too wild? Tender and relatable, Wild Blue captures the emotions of moving up in the world through an endearing character with a boundless imagination. Despite falls, bumps, and bruises, Kayla takes her time learning the ropes, until she finally has the confidence to let go of her fear, climb back on, and ride again. Her story will delight and reassure readers transitioning from trikes or training wheels and inspire them to manage setbacks with patience and creativity.

A Garden in My Hands Book Cover
Sriram, Meera

A mother shares family memories and stories with her daughter as she applies henna to the young girl's hands.

Very Good Hats Book Cover
Straub, Emma

Some people think hats are fancy things you can buy at a dressy store, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. In this book, acorns and raspberries are snug hats for your fingers, and an empty pudding cup is a good hat for a stuffed bear. Pajama pants make dangly hats, books can be dramatic hats, and bubbles make very fine hats as well (if temporary).

Salat in Secret Book Cover
Thompkins-Bigelow, Jamilah

When Muhammad gets a special salat rug on his seventh birthday, he is determined to do all five daily prayers on time. But one salat occurs during the school day--and he's worried about being seen praying at school. His father parks his truck to worship in public places, and people stare at him and mock him. Will the same thing happen to Muhammad? From two powerhouse creators comes an empowering story about an important part of Islamic faith that many Muslim children cherish but might be scared to share.

The Good Hair Day Book Cover
Trimmer, Christian

With the help from his loving and observant family, a little boy gets a birthday present that gives him the confidence to be himself and let his hair down.

Who I Am: Words I Tell Myself Book Cover
Verde, Susan

This empowering collection of positive affirmations shows kids how to silence the unkind voice in their minds and find the uplifting voice instead that will tell them words that are positive, supportive and true.

Ode to a Bad Day Book Cover
Wallace, Chelsea Lin

Told in rhyming text, a little girl is having a day where absolutely nothing goes right, a day filled with frustration and annoyances, but even bad days end eventually.

Everything a Drum Book Cover
Warren, Sarah

A musical toddler explores his world and keeps his parents on their feet, as he uses everything from walls to the family pet to tap out a beat.

Have You Seen My Invisible Dinosaur? Book Cover
Yoon, Helen

Help! This little girl has lost her best friend. He's a dinosaur (not the extinct kind). He's enormous (bigger than a panda!). He was last seen before she gave him a bath and washed off all the mud (maybe that wasn't a good idea?). She's tried to lure him with snacks and put up Lost Dinosaur posters, but nothing has helped. If only it weren't such a clear day--if only it were raining, or snowing, or the leaves were falling, or something. Would it help if she drew a picture? With delicate visual sleights of hand and an underlying sweetness, author-illustrator Helen Yoon invites us to see through a child's eyes. 

Is This the Bus for Us? Book Cover
Ziefert, Harriet

Join Leo and his sisters as they discover that every bus has surprises on board!

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