2023 Children's Books · Children's Book Recommendations

Pumpkin Children’s Books–2023

Pumpkin Children’s Books recommendations–2023 are by Angela Ferraris, The Retired School Librarian.

Children’s book titles are carefully handpicked by a certified elementary school librarian who, although retired, still enjoys reading children’s books, especially picture books, and recommending them to busy teachers, school librarians, parents, grandparents, and other book lovers.

Most of the books Mrs. Ferraris reads before recommending are checked out from the public library, except for those much-appreciated complimentary copies sent to her for an honest review. Those are noted. 

The content below contains Amazon affiliate links. When you buy through these links, she may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

See a Pumpkin Grow (See It Grow!) 

by Kirsten Chang (Author)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Bellwether Media
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: 1-3
  • Children’s nonfiction paperback ‏ : β€Ž 24 pages
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 979-8886872033

Brief summary: Young readers will learn the pumpkin’s life cycle and what uses there are with this fruit.

Comments: Words and photos are large, with many nonfiction text features. The back sections are GlossaryTo Learn More, and Index.

This book also comes in library binding.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

This is part of the See It Grow! series.

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Zoo animals sitting on a gigantic pumpkin

Pumpkin Day at the Zoo 

by Susan Meissner (Author), Pablo Pino (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Tommy Nelson
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-3
  • Hardcover picture book‏ : β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1400243386

Brief summary: It’s Pumpkin Day at the zoo when the zoo animals receive yummy pumpkins to eat from families who donate their uncarved and unpainted pumpkins.

Comments: The illustrations are vivid and humorous. The text is a mix of fonts and sizes that are fun to say aloud with many descriptive adjectives, alliterations, and all in rhyming sentences.

The back page does have a word about pumpkin donations to zoos.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

 A little old lady is picking up a pumpkin with a black bird and black dog next to her.

There Was an Old Lady Who Picked a Pumpkin!

by Lucille Colandro (Author), Jared Lee (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Cartwheel Books
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-1
  • Paperback picture book ‏ : β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1338882953

Brief summary: There was an old lady who went on the school bus to a farm looking for a pumpkin patch. She and the students follow the sign and see many farm items before finding the patch. Each child picks out a pumpkin and hops back onto the bus.

Comments: This is a fun fall early reader in rhyme. The book is not the usual cumulative “There was an old lady” who eats something book.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Molly is looking through the leafy vines at a large pumpkin. Bee is flying around

The Pie That Molly Grew 

by Sue Heavenrich (Author), Chamisa Kellogg (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Sleeping Bear Press
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK -2
  • Hardcover picture book‏ : β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1534111840

Brief summary: Molly plants a pumpkin seed and transplants the sprout to watch it grow into a vine with yellow flowers. After all of the care she has given to produce the ripened pumpkin, Molly bakes a pie.

Comments: Cumulative story of the pumpkin’s life cycle.

The back pages have four additional informative sections: American Pie, How to Turn a Pumpkin Into Pie, When You’re Ready to Make the Pie…, and No Bees.No Pie.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

2023 Children's Books · Children's Book Recommendations

September Children’s Book Recommendations–2023

September Children’s Book Recommendations–2023 are by Angela Ferraris, The Retired School Librarian.

Children’s book titles are carefully handpicked by a certified elementary school librarian who, although retired, still enjoys reading children’s books, especially picture books, and recommending them to busy teachers, school librarians, parents, grandparents, and other book lovers.

Most of the books Mrs. Ferraris reads before recommending are checked out from the public library, except for those much-appreciated complimentary copies sent to her for an honest review. Those are noted. 

The content below contains Amazon affiliate links. When you buy through these links, she may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

A young girl waving as she looks out into the sea

On the Edge of the World (Stories from Latin America) 

by Anna Desnitskaya (Author), Lena Traer (Translator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-5
  • Hardcover picture book ‏ : β€Ž 48 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0802856128

Brief summary: Vera lives on the east coast of Russia. She longs to have a friend and often imagines one enjoying her interests and the places she goes. When it is dark, Vera goes to the beach with her mom and turns her flashlight off and on in Morse code for “hi.”

Lucas lives in Chile and longs to have a friend too. He imagines what it would be like to have someone to play soccer or read a book high up in a tree. In the evening, Lucas and his father go to the beach and turn his flashlight off and on, blinking four short flashes, pause, and two short flashes.

Will these two get a response?

Comments: Half of the book is Vera’s story, and then one flips the book over and reads about Luca’s story. I love upside-down books.

Teachers could share this in social studies. For example: “If we are standing on the eastern section of our school and shine a flashlight at night, what is the closest city, state, or country.

It could also supplement a science class on how far a flashlight’s beam can be seen or even have the students practice Morse Code.

Rating: 4/5πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

*I received a complimentary print copy of this children’s book from the publisher to give an honest review.

A large cat with a grin that is holding a red rose

Carina Felina 

by Carmen Agra Deedy (Author), Henry Cole (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Scholastic Press
  • Year : 2023
  • Grades: PreK-2
  • Hardcover picture book ‏ : β€Ž 48 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1338749161

Brief summary: Pepe the parrot loves Carina Felina, the cat. He invites her to his house for dinner, where he has made 100 Cuban crackers. Carina Felina ate them all and Pepe! The greedy and narcissistic cat goes through the town, eating and eating everyone she comes across. Will they ever get out of the cat’s belly?

Comments: This is a Caribbean retelling of “The Cat and the Parrot”. There are some Spanish words in the story with a pronunciation key in the back and the recipe for Pepe’s Cuban Crackers.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

An old man with a cane following a boy running with his dog along a river with kingfisher sitting on a branch in the middle of cat tails

Grandpa and the Kingfisher

by Anna Wilson (Author), Sarah Massini (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Nosy Crow
  • Year ‏ : β€Ž 2023
  • Grades: PreK-3
  • Hardcover picture book‏ : β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 979-8887770178

Brief summary: A young boy and his grandpa visit the river in the spring and discover a kingfisher diving in the water to catch a fish. They come back in the summer to find two kingfishers building a nest.

The boy and his grandfather keep coming to the river over the seasons, watching the birds’ life cycle.

 The boy asks questions about the birds while the man answers, paralleling his life.

Comments: This story does talk about death and how nature continues but gently and matter-of-factly so that children can understand.

Wonderful watercolor illustrations.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A red pickup truck full of books and storytelling props with children jumping with excitement

Colorful Mondays: A Bookmobile Spreads Hope in Honduras (Stories from Latin America) 

by Nelson RodrΓ­guez (Author), Leonardo AgustΓ­n Montes (Author), Rosana FarΓ­a (Illustrator), Carla Tabora (Illustrator), Lawrence Schimel (Translator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-3
  • Hardcover picture book‏ : β€Ž 36 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0802856160

Brief summary: Luis lives in Villa Nueva, Honduras, and prefers sharing happy stories with his friends and neighbors to take their minds off unhappiness. He is good at storytelling and likes to retell stories. Monday is when the bookmobile comes for the Hour of the ChochororochochochΓ³, where the bookmobile comes to share stories and books. Luis repeats the stories he has heard with his family.

Comments:Β The back pages tell the factual story of JustWorld International. This would be a wonderful book for children to learn about how other cultures learn about storytelling and books.

Rating: 4.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

*I received a complimentary print copy of this children’s book from the publisher to give an honest review.

A young girl wearing a tutu over a basketball uniform holding the basket while standing in a ballerina pose on a basketball court

Baller Ina 

by Liz Casal (Author, Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Knopf Books for Young Readers
  • Year : β€Ž 2023
  • Grades: Prek-2
  • Hardcover picture book‏ : β€Ž 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0593567099

Brief summary: Ina loves to practice her ballet steps. She changes into her high tops to play basketball, using the steps she has learned in ballet class.

Comments: This is an upbeat book on how athletes can use skills from one sport to another.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A girl with a blue polka dotted handkerchief hanging from a stick she has over her shoulder walking along a dirt path with a ghost, troll, witch and black cat watching her.

The Baddies 

by Julia Donaldson (Author), Axel Scheffler (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Scholastic Press
  • Year ‏ : β€Ž 2023
  • Grades: PreK-3
  • Hardcover picture book‏ : β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1339009064

Brief summary: A troll, ghost, and witch are baddies who enjoy being bad and bragging about it. A girl moves into a nearby cottage. The baddies devise different ways to scare her but are unsuccessful as she shows them kindness and understanding.

Comments: Young readers will enjoy the humorous story.

This is the author of the two books Room on the Broom and The Gruffalo.

This was originally printed in the UK in 2022.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“— 1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A mother and her toddler son are in the pool. She is holding him as he tries to swim

Together We Swim 

by Valerie Bolling (Author), Kaylani Juanita (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Chronicle Books
  • Year: β€Ž 2023
  • Grades: Toddlers-K
  • Hardcover picture book‏ : β€Ž 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1797212494

Brief summary: A toddler learns to swim in the pool with the reassurance of his mother and father when he fails and the praise when he accomplishes the steps to swimming without help.

Comments: I recommend this book for preschool and kindergarten teachers looking for fun rhythmic and rhyming text that young readers will enjoy saying aloud.

Perseverance and reassurance after failing a task can lead to success.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

MIa is wearing tute while doing a headstand

Wepa 

by J de laVega (Author, Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Lil’ Libros; Bilingual edition
  • Year : β€Ž 2023
  • Grades: PreK-3
  • Hardcover ‏ : β€Ž 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1948066548

Brief summary: Besides being intelligent, Mia likes to be creative and fashionable but has some things she does not do well. Her Mami says she has too much wepa. Mia tries ballet, hoping to get some of the wepa out, but it does not work. She finally finds an avenue where she releases her wepa.

Comments: According to dictionary.com, wepa means “a Spanish slang used to convey excitement, congratulations, and joy, similar to the English Oh yeah!Wow!, or That’s awesome!

The author shares that everyone in her family has ADHD.

This is a bilingual English-Spanish picture book.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A young Judit is intentely looking across a chess board

The Queen of Chess: How Judit PolgΓ‘r Changed the Game 

by Laurie Wallmark (Author), Stevie Lewis (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž little bee books (July 25, 2023)
  • Year ‏ : β€Ž 2023
  • Grades: PreK-5
  • Hardcover narrative nonfiction biography picture book ‏ : β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1499813066

Brief summary: Judit and her sisters were trained by their parents to play chess. They competed, with Judit being the youngest. She won junior tournaments against adults. Judit and her family went to the USA, where she competed in games against adults and won. Her goal was to become the youngest grandmaster. She returned to Budapest to study and became the national champion of Hungary. Will Judit’s chess journey lead her to her goal?

Comments: The back pages include Timeline and The Mathematics of Chess.

This is an inspirational story of encouragement, hard work, and perseverance.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A teacher is on the shore of the rainforest

The Young Teacher and the Great Serpent (Stories from Latin America) 

by Irene Vasco (Author), Juan Palomino (Illustrator), Lawrence Schimel (Translator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
  • Year: β€Ž 2023
  • Grades: PreK-5
  • Hardcover ‏ picture book: β€Ž 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0802856179

Brief summary: A young teacher is given her first teaching assignment in Las Delicias, in the middle of the jungle in the Amazon. She brings her many books on an eventful four-day journey to the new school, a straw roof with a blackboard against a tree trunk.

She begins teaching and sharing her books for the students to take home. One morning, the children ran by the school, urging her that a great serpent was coming. They must get to higher ground. The serpent does come, destroying everything, including her precious books.

A few days later, around a fire, the women began to share legends from the squares of white fabric they had been embroidering and making into cloth books. The students translated the words for the teacher. Over time, the teacher learned the language of Las Delicias and how to embroider. She decided to stay.

Comments: Young readers will stay interested in the curiosity of how this young teacher’s journey unfolds.

I kept wondering where I would have been sent to teach. I’m thankful I was able to choose myself.

Wouldn’t this be an excellent book to share on a teachers’ professional development day? 

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

*I received a complimentary print copy of this children’s book from the publisher to give an honest review.

2023 Children's Books · Children's Book Recommendations

Children’s Book Recommendations 2023, So Far: A-G Titles

Children’s book recommendations are by Angela Ferraris, The Retired School Librarian.

Children’s book titles are carefully handpicked by a certified elementary school librarian who, although retired, still enjoys reading children’s books, especially picture books, and recommending them to busy teachers, school librarians, parents, grandparents, and other book lovers.

Most of the books Mrs. Ferraris reads before recommending are checked out from the public library, except for those much-appreciated complimentary copies sent to her for an honest review. Those are noted.Β 

The content below contains Amazon affiliate links. When you buy through these links, she may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

Children’s Book Titles A to G

A red hen pulling a wheelbarrow full of flour while a horse, cow, pig and fox look at the fowl

All By Myself 

by Stephanie Shaw (Author), Emilie Gill (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Peachtree
  • Year: 2023
  • Ages: Prek-3
  • Hardcover picture book ‏ : β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1682634876

Brief summary:Β Hen refuses help from Pig, Horse, and Cow as she struggles to carry a large flour sack to the wheelbarrow to take home to bake bread. On her way, Hen comes across Fox, who wants to watch her cook. Hen agrees to allow Fox to observe her in the kitchen.

At the end of the day, the three barn animals notice Hen’s footprints, the wheelbarrow marks in the mud, and the footprints of a fox. They hurry to Hen’s cottage to rescue her, predicting the worst.

Comments: This children’s book has the flavor of The Little Red Hen and Henny Penny mixed throughout.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Children's book cover  showing children and adults with flashlights shining on cave art of ancient people

Ancestory: The Mystery and Majesty of Ancient Cave Art 

by Hannah Salyer (Author, Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Clarion Books
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: 2-6
  • Hardcover ‏narrative nonfiction picture book : β€Ž 48 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0358469848

Brief summary: This narrative nonfiction picture book explains to young readers when and how our ancestors created ancient cave art all over the world.

Comments: Nonfiction text features help explain the materials used to make the art, when it occurred, and where. Although the illustrations were detailed, I would have liked photos of the most famous art cave drawings.

This book is a good choice for an art teacher and school librarian lesson collaboration. The librarian could teach how to research online for art cave drawings, and the art teach could help students creating their own modern art cave drawings.

The back sections include Site Map, A Story Within a Story: The Rediscovery of the Lascaux Caves, Author’s Note, Words to Know, Time Line, and Resources for Further Reading and Investigation.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Children's book cover of animals wearing pants

Animals in Pants 

by Suzy Levinson (Author), Kevin Howdeshell (Illustrator), Kristen Howdeshell (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Harry N. Abrams
  • Year: 2023
  • Ages: PreK-3
  • Hardcover nonfiction picture book ‏ : β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1951836626

Brief summary: Short rhyming poetry about various animals wearing different types of pants that fit their personalities.

Comments: Cute and humorous verses and illustrations that will amuse young readers.

It’s nice to see a silly book to make young readers laugh.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Bee without wings standing on a sunflower

The Bee Without Wings

by Amberlea Williams (Author, Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€ŽΒ Princeton Architectural Press
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-2
  • Hardcover picture book ‏ : β€Ž 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1797222503

Brief summary: Sasha is out in her garden and notices a bee without wings. The girl decides to help the insect become more robust and live in a safe environment. She calls it Bea, and they have a good time together until Winter comes along. Sasha honors her friend in the spring.

Comments: Lovely large illustrations. It’s a nice story about empathy, friendship, and death.

The back sections are Care for Early Spring Bees and Create Your Own Bee-Friendly Garden.

Rating: 4/4 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Children's book cover of a scared boy

Bunso Meets a Mumu

by Rev Valdez (Author, Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Paw Prints
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: 1-3
  • Hardcover picture book: 48 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1223186393

Brief summary:Β Bunso is having trouble with a Mumu, a ghost, who is taking all of the fun out of the boy’s life. Bunso comes up with a plan to catch it even though he is scared. His plan succeeds in capturing the supernatural creature but with a few consequences.

Comment: The illustrations have a comic and cartoon feel with large words and figures. Tagalog terms are sprinkled throughout the book.

I enjoyed learning about the Filipino version of the Boogeyman that adults use to tell children for them to behave. I hope that Rev Valdez does more picture books with Filipino lore.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Chef Edna with white hair cradling a table of peple eating

Chef Edna: Queen of Southern Cooking, Edna Lewis 

by Melvina Noel (Author), Cozbi A. Cabrera (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Harry N. Abrams
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-3
  • Biography Hardcover picture book ‏ : β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1951836391

Brief summary:Β Edna Regina Lewis grew up on a farm in Freetown, Virginia, where she learned to cook southern dishes from Mama Daisy. Edna’s father passed away, requiring the teenager to work to help her mother and five siblings. At 15, she left for New York to find work to send money home. She had dinners for her friends, cooking the Southern dishes she had learned. They were so successful that she co-owned a restaurant on the Upper East Side of Manhattan featuring the flavors and dishes she knew in Virginia.

Comments: The back sections are Author’s Note, and Edna’s “Biscuits for Two or Three”. The illustrations of this book are large and bright, really bringing the story to life.

Rating: 4.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Cicadas in a circle

Cicada Symphony 

by Sue Fliess (Author), Gareth Lucas (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Albert Whitman & Company
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-5
  • Hardcover ‏ nonfiction picture book : β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0807511617

Brief summary: Young readers will learn about the interesting life cycle of a cicada and what they do in each life stage.

Comments: This children’s book has large rhyming text and smaller detailed text on the pages.

I believe it would be a good one to share with younger kids as a read-aloud with just the larger text and possibly choosing to share more details of each illustration if there is time or interest.

Or. After reading the large text, I would do a book teaser and suggest they learn more about this extraordinary insect by checking out the book and reading the smaller detailed text.

Large two-page spreads. The back pages include a cicada’s life cycle, a glossary, an author’s note, and a detailed insect parts diagram.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Cartoon versions of Charles Albert and John Tortes Meyer standing next to one another

Contenders: Two Native Baseball Players, One World Series 

by Traci Sorell (Author), Arigon Starr (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Kokila
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: 1-4
  • Hardcover narrative nonfiction biography picture book ‏ : β€Ž 48 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0593406478

Brief summary: Young readers will learn about the life and careers of two Native American baseball legends, Charles Albert and John Tortes Meyer. They excelled despite racist remarks from the newspapers and fans.

Comments: The back section includes other Native American baseball players from the past and present. There is an Author’s Note and Time Line.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

 This is the children's book cover of Dear Earth with  child writing a letter while looking at an octopus and sea gulls

Dear Earth 

by Isabel Otter (Author), Clara Anganuzzi (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Tiger Tales
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-2
  • Hardcover picture book ‏ : β€Ž 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1664300147

Brief summary: Tessa writes a letter to Earth highlighting and celebrating all its beauty. She enjoys all of the habitats and creatures.

Comments: This text is uplifting. The back sections include If You Want to Know More… and Get Involved!

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A girl holding up a giant banana with dancing food around her

Eat Your Superpowers!: How Colorful Foods Keep You Healthy and Strong 

by Toni Buzzeo (Author), Serge Bloch (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Rise x Penguin Workshop
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-3
  • Hardcover nonfiction ‏ picture book: β€Ž 80 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0593522958

Brief summary:Β Young readers will learn how fruits, grains, nuts, and vegetables help different body parts.

Comments: I loved this book! It is so informative and done humorously. The book is in sections by the color of the food. Meat is not included. The bottom of the page lists if the food is rich in vitamins, nutrients, etc. The back sections are Food Options and Body Chart. 

This children’s book is a cross between a picture book and a board book. The pages are cardstock.

Where was this book when I was a kid? It is an excellent addition to home, school, and public libraries.

Rating: 4.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“— 1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A woman carrying a baby on her back with a little girl by her side walking in the prairie with two birds flying above. Wildflowers surround them

Forever Our Home 

by Tonya Simpson (Author), Carla Joseph (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Orca Book Publishers
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: Prek-2
  • Hardcover picture book‏ : β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1459835638

Brief summary: This is a beautiful and touching lullaby honoring the prairie plants and animals while connecting them to the sacred spirit of the land to where the child and mother belong.

Comments:Β Illustrations are with acrylics and truly capture the Ingenious children enjoying the nature around them.

Rating: 4.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

There is also a Cree version of this picture book.

A oy, girl and cat are on the floor with a map amongst them

From Here to There: A First Book of Maps 

by Vivian French (Author), Ya-Ling Huang (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€ŽΒ Candlewick
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-2
  • Hardcover narrative nonfiction picture book ‏ : β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1536225118

Brief summary:Β Zane sends Anna an invitation to come over, including a map. Anna decides to try to make her own map with the help of her father, who explains different types of maps and what various symbols mean on them.

Comments: An elementary introduction to maps with simple explanations that young readers are able to understand.Β 

Rating 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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Children's book cover. A young Mahani Teave playing the piano dressed in isalnd clothing with a crown of flowers

The Girl Who Heard the Music: How One Pianist and 85,000 Bottles and Cans Brought New Hope to an Island 

by Marni Fogelson (Author), Mahani Teave, Marta Álvarez MiguΓ©ns (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€ŽΒ Sourcebooks Explore
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: 1-5
  • Hardcover narrative nonfiction picture book‏ : β€Ž 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1728262313

Brief summary: Mahani heard music wherever she walked on Rapa Nui(Easter Island). She enjoyed it when visitors came and played music but had none of those instruments herself. There wasn’t a piano on the island until a music teacher visited and gave Mahani lessons on playing. A visiting Chilean pianist visited the island as well and encouraged her to leave the island to study music. Although it was hard to leave Rapa Nui, she did and became a famous pianist playing all around the world.

She returned home and joined a team to build a music school. Using the garbage coming to the island by the ocean, they created an Earthship, a structure built with natural and recycled materials with renewable energy sources and roofs designed to collect rainwater for gardens. It was a success.

Comments:Β This book’s story is about music, upcycling, and island life and could fit in several units. I enjoyed learning about the pianist’s life and how she came back to help others from her island enjoy music.

Rating: 4/4 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A young girl in a leotard jumping

Gloria’s Promise (American Ballet Theatre): A Ballet Dancer’s First Step 

by Robin Preiss Glasser (Author), Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman (Author)

Brief summary: Gloria wants to be in the summer program at the American Ballet Theatre School. She auditions for the opportunity to be in the class, but it does not go as well as she planned.

Comments: A story of persistence towards perfecting an artistic talent. This is an inspirational children’s book for young readers.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A girl with her arms up and the wind blowing with birds and wildflowers around her

God, Right Here: Meeting God in the Changing Seasons 

by Kara Lawler (Author), Jennie Poh (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž IVP Kids (June 20, 2023)
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-2
  • Hardcover picture book ‏ : β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1514006596

Brief summary:  Young readers will learn how God is in Nature all around us through all four seasons.

Comments:Β The lovely illustrations align with the text, sharing the peace and harmony one goes through in each season.

I especially liked the different color palettes used with each season and how the fonts and styles matched the emotion being emphasized. Clever. This book’s mood and message is positive and uplifting. I hope to see more books from this duo.

*I received a complimentary print book copy of this children’s book from the publisher to review, and I’m so glad. I was a child who found God through Nature and enjoyed this book’s positive and beautiful message.

Rating: 5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

2023 Children's Books · Children's Book Recommendations

Children’s Book Recommendations 2023, So Far: H-R Titles

Children’s book recommendations are by Angela Ferraris, The Retired School Librarian.

Children’s books are carefully handpicked by a certified elementary school librarian who, although retired, still enjoys reading children’s books, especially picture books, and recommending them to busy teachers, school librarians, parents, grandparents, and other book lovers.

Most of the books Mrs. Ferraris reads before recommending are checked out from the public library, except for those much-appreciated complimentary copies sent to her for an honest review. Those are noted. The content below contains Amazon affiliate links. When you buy through these links, she may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

H-R

A father and child on a tree swinging

I Hope You Will Know 

by Jaren Ahlmann (Author), Pete Olczyk (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž The Collective Book Studio
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-3
  • Hardcover ‏ : β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1951412982

Brief summary: While a father and child snuggle, a father gives thirteen wisdoms wishes for his child for the future. 

Comments: Done in rhyming couplets.

A sweet bedtime story or a nice gift for a child attending school, college, or an important milestone. 

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Children's book cover of Josephine Cochrane juggling dishes

Josephine and Her Dishwashing Machine: Josephine Cochrane’s Bright Invention Makes a Splash 

by Kate Hannigan (Author), Sarah Green (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Calkins Creek
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: 1-5
  • Hardcover ‏ narrative nonfiction picture book: β€Ž 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1635926211

Brief summary: Josephine Cochrane was tired of spending so much time washing dishes while wanting to do more exciting things in her household. Plus, her dishes were getting chipped. After several tries, she came up with the dishwasher and patented it.

Her invention was used in hotels, hospitals, restaurants, and other places with high quantities of dishwashing. Thankfully, she was also able to invent a small dishwasher to be used in homes.

Comments: The back sections are Author’s Note (with a photo of the dishwashing machine, patented on Dec. 28, 1886), Notable Women Inventors,  and Timeline of Fascinating Inventions.

This is an excellent addition to any library for learning about inventions.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A boy and and a girl Double Dutch jump roping

Jump In! 

by Shadra Strickland (Author, Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Bloomsbury Children’s Books
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-2
  • Hardcover ‏ : β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1619635801

Brief summary: Various members of the community join in and show their moves as they share the fun of Double Dutch jump roping on a spring day.

Comments: Fun and lively illustrations made me want to jump in and do Double Dutch skipping myself.

Several foldouts.

This book has many ways that it can be shared in a school. I can see this book being read by a PE teacher before a lesson on jump roping. Or a classroom teacher could share it with a short video demonstration before taking the students outside to try it. I can even see this book shared in music class to help students learn the rhythm and rhymes of Double Dutch chants. 

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“— 1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A llama and an alpaca sticking their tonges at one another

A Llama Is Not an Alpaca: And Other Mistaken Animal Identities 

by Karen Jameson (Author), Lorna Scobie (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Running Press Kids
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-2
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0762478780
  • Hardcover nonfiction picture book ‏ : β€Ž 32 pages

Brief summary: Readers are asked if they know the name of a pair of two animals that are similar in looks.

Comments: This book teaches how to look at specific traits to identify an animal.

I even learned the difference between crocodiles and alligators which I never knew before reading this book.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

This book's cover has several different participants on the cover of the competitions such as a man with a large moustache, camel, and large watermelon

The Mind-Blowing World of Extraordinary Competitions: Meet the Incredible People Who Will Compete at ANYTHING 

by Anna Goldfield (Author), Neon Squid (Author), Hannah Riordan (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Neon Squid
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: 3-6
  • Hardcover nonfiction children’s book ‏ : β€Ž 80 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1684492866

Brief summary: Young readers will learn about the exciting stories of some of the most unusual competitions of humankind from ancient times to now.

Comments: I learned about competitions I never knew existed before reading this fascinating book. Ripley’s Believe it Or Not and Guinness World Record fans will love this children’s book.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

This children's book cover of My Elephant is Blue has a child being sat on by a blue elephant.

My Elephant is Blue 

by Melinda Szymanik (Author), Vasanti Unka (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Flyaway Books
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-2
  • Hardcover picture book‏ : β€Ž 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1947888412

Brief summary: A young child has a blue elephant sitting on him and rides on his back wherever he goes. His family tries different things to make the elephant go away. The child and elephant decide to walk together to see if that will make them feel less of the weight of sadness that has been with them. Soon, the elephant changes colors and does not weigh as much.

Comments:Β This children’s book is about being sad and not really knowing what to do about it except acknowledging it and later figuring out what will work to make you feel happier in your own time. This is not a “heavy” book, thanks to the use of humor and empathy.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A young Rosa Bonheur at an easel painting horses

No Horses in the House!: The Audacious Life of Artist Rosa Bonheur

by Mireille Messier (Author), Anna Bron (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Orca Book Publishers
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: 1-3
  • Hardcover narrative nonfiction biography picture book ‏ : β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 145983352X

Brief summary: Rosa Bonheur loved to draw animals. In France in 1829, Rosa would go around the city drawing animals all day even though her mother wanted her to learn to read. Her mother was finally able to teach her daughter how by having the girl make each letter into an animal.

Because Rosa was not good at the skills traditionally taught to young girls, like sewing, cooking, gardening, and so on, her father decided to teach his daughter about art like he did with his sons. Rosa loved to draw horses but was dragged out of the market several times as it was not considered ladylike.

She even dressed like a boy to sneak in and draw. She was finally given permission to go to the market and draw and paint horses. Her paintings were exhibited, and she became famous for being a realistic painter.

Comments: The back sections of this children’s book are Author’s Note and Rosa Bonheur Milestones.

I like stories like this that remind and teach what privileges and rights we have now and to understand what a person’s life was like about two hundred years ago without them.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Children's book cover of Ode to a Bad Day with a little girl wearing a yellow coat and pink tutu in three spotlights yelling and bent over with having a bad day

Ode to a Bad Day

by Chelsea Lin Wallace (Author), Hyewon Yum (Artist)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Chronicle Books
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-2
  • Hardcover picture book ‏ : β€Ž 48 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1797210807

Brief summary: A child’s day begins with mushy cereal, not finding comfortable clothing, and hurrying to get to school. The rest of the day has little mishaps all adding up. Hoping for a better day as hers falls apart, she continues making odes with each incident.

Comments: This children’s book would make an excellent choice to read to young readers to encourage perseverance and hope to get through a difficult day because tomorrow’s could be fantastic.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Children's book cover of One Chicken Nugget has a purple monster with horns holding a chicken nugget with a little Celeste looking at him

One Chicken Nugget 

by Tadgh Bentley (Author, Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Balzer + Bray
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-3
  • Hardcover ‏ : β€Ž 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0062689827

Brief summary: Frank loves to eat chick nuggets from Celeste’s food truck but doesn’t pay for them and scares everyone away. Celeste went to the library and did a little research, coming up with a plan based on the Indian folktale of Sissa to solve her problem with the monster.

Comments: Young readers will enjoy the silliness of the monster and the hilarious illustrations while trying to guess just how many chicken nuggets Frank can eat.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

2023 Children's Books · Children's Book Recommendations

Children’s Book Recommendations 2023, So Far: S-Z Titles

Children’s book recommendations are by Angela Ferraris, The Retired School Librarian.

All reading books are carefully handpicked by a certified elementary school librarian who, although retired, still enjoys reading children’s books, especially picture books, and recommending them to busy teachers, school librarians, parents, grandparents, and other book lovers.

Most of the books Mrs. Ferraris reads before recommending are checked out from the public library, except for those much-appreciated complimentary copies sent to her for an honest review. Those are noted. The content below contains Amazon affiliate links. When you buy through these links, she may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

S-Z

The children's book cover of The Seasons Within Me has a little girl standing under a large white umbrella with her dog nearby.

The Seasons Within Me 

by Bianca Pozzi (Author, Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Rise x Penguin Workshop
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-2
  • Hardcover picture book ‏ : β€Ž 48 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0593522915

Brief summary: A young girl feels sad and alone as though it is raining on her and realizes no one is noticing. The child tells her mother and is consoled with the hope of feeling better soon. On her way home from school, she meets a dog that matches her rain. The girl cares for the dog, and they become friends, both feeling happier.

Comments: This children’s book is a lovely metaphor for feeling sad.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Dario is standing with his arms up with a joyous facial expression as is his imaginary tiger as they enjoy the monarch butterflies.

Sometimes, a Tiger 

by Z.B. Asterplume (Author, Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Feiwel & Friends
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-2
  • Hardcover ‏picture book : β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1250823447

Brief summary: Dario wakes to another morning without a good breakfast but uses his imagination to bring a tiger to school. Soon, other students use their imagination to create something exciting and different.

Dario walks home in the rain with his friends, parting ways when it is his home. They return later in the day with food for his family’s pantry.

Comments: This would be an excellent book to share before a school can/food drive.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Lintang is sitting at the table trying sambal with her Nenek to one side and the cat on the ohter noticing that her mouth is hot.

Spicy Spicy Hot! 

by Lenny Wen (Author, Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-3
  • Hardcover ‏picture book : β€Ž 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0316281026

Brief summary: Lintang ‘s grandma, Nenek, is flying in from Indonesia to meet her for the first time. Nenek teaches her granddaughter how to make sambal, which is too hot for her granddaughter to enjoy. After several different variants, Nenek creates one with mango that is just right.

Comments: Young readers will learn about different peppers and how to make sambal using the recipe in the back of this children’s book.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

This children's book cover has the Crab Nebula and other plants on it.

A Star Explodes: The Story of Supernova 1054 

by James Gladstone (Author), Yaara Eshet (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Owlkids
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: 1-4
  • Hardcover nonfiction picture book ‏ : β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 177147498X

Brief summary: A distant star exploded and was seen by earthlings in 1054. It was called a guest star(later called Supernova 1054). It faded. Over the centuries, astronomers have studied it through the eye of telescopes, realizing it had changed to a nebula, a large cloud of gas and dust. It is now called the Crab Nebula.

Comments: In this children’s book, there are three back sections called What is a Supernova?, Supernova 1054, and The Crab Nebula. 

I thought this would make a great beginning understanding of supernovas and how they change over time.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Yakov and Aicha are eating as they are looking at a store's display of space books and decorations.

The Stars (Aldana Libros) 

by Jacques Goldstyn (Author), Helen Mixter (Translator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Greystone Kids
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: 2-5
  • Hardcover ‏ graphic novel: β€ŽΒ 72 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1771649194

Brief summary: Yakov(Orthodox Jewish) meets a girl, Aicha(Muslim), in his neighborhood. Both are passionate about the stars and share their interest when meeting in a park. They watch the stars together one night when her hijab slips down, revealing her beautiful hair.

Her father sees this and bans them from seeing one another. The two parents argue about their children not seeing each other ever again. Many years later, the boy and girl encounter one another at an international astronomy conference. Will they talk to one another?

Comments: A Romeo and Juliet type of story. The illustrations are vignettes, comic frames, and regular text styles.

Some libraries have this in the picture book area, while others have it in the graphic novel section.

This is an English translation.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Tilly is standing with her suitcase at the bottom of two mountains that are connected with a bridge.

Stuck in the Middle: A Story About Separation (Difficult Conversations) 

by Tom Tinn-Disbury (Author, Illustator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž DK Children
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-3
  • Hardcover picture book ‏ : β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0744080282

Brief summary: Tilly lives in a beautiful area and enjoys playing in it, except that her Mommy lives on one Mountain and her Daddy lives on another. Each week, she must climb down one mountain with one of her parents and up another to be with the other parent. It was leaving her very tired, and she wanted to use the bridge in the middle that connects the two mountains but was told that the bridge was too dangerous with fog or too wobbly.

Tilly decides one night to go and fix the bridge. The parents come together and learn how to repair that bridge to make crossing easier for their daughter.

Comments: There is a Guide for Grown-Ups page in the back of the book. This is Tom Tin-Disbury’s second children’s book of the Difficult Conversations series.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Lost in the Clouds: A gentle story to help children understand death and grief (Difficult Conversations)  is the first book of the series.

Sunny and Oswaldo are sitting back to back not happy with the other one

Sunny and Oswaldo 

by Nicole Melleby (Author), Alexandra Colombo (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Algonquin Young Readers (February 7, 2023)
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-2
  • Hardcover picture book ‏ : β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 164375095X

Summary: Sunny does not like cats, especially the one her father brought home called Oswaldo. She tried to play with it and pet the cat, but they did not get along. She was glad that Oswaldo would leave for the day but always returned in the evening. The cat adored her father. The cat did not return one day, making her father very sad. Sunny tells her father that the cat is mean, and her father explains the cat’s history, helping the young girl understand the cat’s emotions and actions. The cat returns, and a new perspective allows Sunny to care for the cat too.

Comments: A story of understanding and empathy towards another. Social and emotional learning.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

There is a swing of two ontop of the grassy dune over looking the sea

The Swing 

by Britta Teckentrup (Author, Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Prestel Junior
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-3
  • Hardcover ‏ : β€Ž 160 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 3791375369

Brief summary: A swing sits by the sea and is shared by many people. Seasons come and go. The narrator shares the many reasons people visit the swing: to make big decisions, to just play, for reflection, and so on. These people grow older, and sometimes, some new people discover the swing. The swing was deserted for a while, and vegetation covered it until a group came and repainted and cut away the weeds so that others could enjoy it again.

Comments: Beautiful illustrations that calmly examine the passing of time. Some things change; some do not.

Rating: 5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Several pigeons are in an art museum looking at bird paintings

This Art Is for the Birds 

by Susan Bednarski (Author, Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Kind World Publishing
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: Prek-3
  • Hardcover picture book ‏ : β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1638940185

Brief summary: Alex is not like the other birds in the neighborhood. He likes to collect things and combine them to create mobiles and accessories for his pals. He and his friends decide to take his creations to the art museum. Will the establishment accept art from a crow? Will they love and appreciate them as much as his four pigeon friends?

Comments: Whimsical text with puns. Some speech bubbles. Watercolor and ink illustrations.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A young girl holding a shabby yellow umbrella with her dog staring at it too.

The Umbrella 

by Beth Ferry (Author), Tom Lichtenheld (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Clarion Books
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-2
  • Hardcover picture book‏ : β€Ž 48 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0358447720

Brief summary: The walk to the school bus stop is soaking wet as they wait and does not let up after a day of school or when getting home. A girl and her dog need to walk despite the weather. They come across an antique store with a yellow umbrella for free. They run home with it, unaware that it is falling apart as they go.

It continues to rain and rain. The girl and the dog go on a walk and discover something magical has happened to make the sun come back out.

Comments: The illustrations are what I believe a picture book is all about in telling a story. The grays are the only color seen until the umbrella is bought.

The words rhyme and are ones that a young reader can read and relate to in their world.

The text and illustrations complement one another in portraying this humorous story of sharing and fun in the rain.

Rating: 5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

The children's book cover to Welcome, Rain! is of wo girls are looking up as the rain falls onto their faces

Welcome, Rain! 

by Sheryl McFarlane (Author), Christine Wei (Illustrator

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Greystone Kids
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-2
  • Hardcover picture books ‏ : β€Ž 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1771646950

Brief summary: A young girl talks to the rain as she walks through the spring, observing how it provides puddles, worms to come out of the ground, and helps the plants grow. Then, it rains a lot, so the little girl says they have enough. Summer comes, and it is hot with little rain. The autumn leaves fall, and the grass is brown. She is glad that it rains again and asks for snow.

Comments: Each season with rain in it(or not so much) is addressed in this children’s book. I’d pair this with seasons or the water cycle units of study.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Kayla is wearing a red bike helmet standing between two trees next two her blue bik. Her shadow is of a cowgril while the bike's shadow is a horse.

Wild Blue: Taming a Big-Kid Bike

by Dashka Slater (Author), Laura Hughes (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Candlewick
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-2
  • Hardcover ‏ picture book: β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1536215678

Brief summary: Kayla’s dad believes his daughter has outgrown her bike with training wheels(Pink Pony) and is ready to learn how to ride a bigger bike without the extra help(Wild Blue, horse). Kayla gets bucked off Wild Blue several times, and her father encourages her to get back in the saddle.

Comments: The metaphor of her bike as a horse using equine language is clever. Book of encouragement, grit, and perseverance.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Naliah is peaking out from behind a door where their is a yellow ao dai hung on the title's words

The Yellow Áo DΓ i 

by Hanh Bui (Author), Minnie Phan (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Feiwel & Friends
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-2
  • Hardcover picture book‏ : β€Ž 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1250842069

Brief summary: Naliah planned to perform the Fan Dance, the same one her mother learned from her grandmother in Vietnam, on International Day at school, but found that her ao dai was too tight. She went to her mother’s closet to see if any of her mother’s ao dais fit. As she practiced the fan dance, she tore it.

Naliah’s mother presented her with a unique yellow ao dai to wear. The young girl confesses to her mother that she tore the yellow one in the closet and learns about the history of it.

Comments: This children’s book is a lovely story of tradition and remembering our ancestors.

Rating 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

2023 Children's Books · Children's Book Recommendations

Babies–Five Human and Animal Picture Books

Babies–human and animal picture book recommendations are by Angela Ferraris, The Retired School Librarian.*

A baby tap dancing on a Broadway stage

Broadway Baby 

by Russell Miller (Author), Judith A. Proffer (Author)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Meteor 17 Books (April 4, 2023)
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: Babies-2nd grade
  • Hardcover picture book‏ : β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1957317043

Brief summary: An adorable tribute to Broadway with a baby dreaming of dancing and singing on stage. Baby shares about opening night, getting ready in the dressing room, and reviewing lines before going on stage.

The rhyming text is fun and exciting. The illustrations are bright and full of detail.

Comments: A cute bedtime story for babies and toddlers or the perfect gift for any music or drama teacher.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

*It should be noted that this a complimentary book sent to me for an honest review.

A baby standing between a mother and father in a field of flowers reaching for an apple

All Your Tomorrows 

by Harriet Evans (Author), Heidi Griffiths (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Tiger Tales (February 14, 2023)
  • Year: 2023
  • Ages: Babies-2nd grade
  • Hardcover ‏ : β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1664300139

Brief summary: A mother and father hold their baby and bestow upon the child all their hopes and dreams for the newborn’s future. Readers are taken upon the parents’ wishes as the child grows with bright, beautiful, and pleasant illustrations with many two-page spreads. Gentle, lyrical text.

Comments: What a lovely book for babies and toddlers at bedtime.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Wolf babies playing under the full moon with pine tree on either side of the pups

Full Moon Pups 

by Liz Garton Scanlon (Author), Chuck Groenink (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (April 25, 2023)
  • Year: 2023
  • Ages: Toddler-2nd grade
  • Hardcover picture book ‏ : β€Ž 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0525514554

Brief summary: In rhyming text and gentle rhythm, a mother wolf gives birth to her pups in a cave under a full moon. The mom and pack care for the babies as they grow during the moon’s cycle.

Comments: Lovely illustrations include gouache, acrylics, pencils, oil pastels, and digital media. The back pages include Author’s Note and The Phases of the Moon.

I suggest sharing this with primary grades during a baby animal or moon cycle unit of study.

Rating: 4/4 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A cub with his Walrus mother

Little Walrus

by Julie Abery (Author), Suzie Mason (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Amicus Ink (March 14, 2023)
  • Year: 2023
  • Ages: Baby-Toddler
  • Hardcover board book picture book‏ : β€Ž 20 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1681528711

Brief summary: Little Walrus plays near his mom and the herd of walruses while exploring his world.

Comments: The rhyming of verbs in each line is one I don’t often see, and I found it refreshing. Couplet rhyming as well. Illustrations are large and with all two-page spreads.

This is one of the adorable cute series of baby animals called the Little Animal Friends.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A mother is holding a baby over her shoulder as we see the baby's face

One Day 

by Joanna Ho (Author), Faith Pray (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž HarperCollins (March 14, 2023)
  • Year: 2023
  • Ages: Baby to 2nd grade
  • Hardcover picture book ‏ : β€Ž 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0063056925

Brief summary: A mother cradles her infant son and dreams and shares all the wonderful ways her boy will be as he grows up.

Beautiful two-paged spread illustrations.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

*(This content contains Amazon affiliate links. When you buy through these links, I may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you).

2023 Children's Books · Children's Book Recommendations

Three Letter Writing Children’s Books

Three Letter Writing children’s book recommendations are by Angela Ferraris, The Retired School Librarian.*

A young girl fern who has green fern hair receiving a letter written with RSVP on the back

The Invitation 

by Stacey May Fowles (Author), Marie Lafrance (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Groundwood Books
  • Date: 2023
  • Grade: K-3
  • Hardcover picture book‏ : β€Ž 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1773066617

Brief summary: Fern opens her mailbox and pulls out a yellow letter, too worried to open it until her friend, Fawn, encourages her to see what’s inside. It is an invitation to a surprise exhibition, but Fern does not want to go due to all of the things she imagines could go wrong. Fern goes to the museum’s special exhibition with the help of her friends who help tame her anxiety.

Comments: This could be a nice class discussion after reading this aloud. “How can we help someone who we see is afraid?” “What can you do if you have something you are afraid of, like Fern did?”

I would share this with the guidance counselor to read to those students experiencing anxiety.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A young girl looking out a city window to see if anyone has found her letter written to a stranger

Dear Street

by Lindsay Zier-Vogel (Author), Caroline Bonne-Muller (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Kids Can Press (May 2, 2023)
  • Year: 2023
  • Grade: K-3
  • Hardcover picture book ‏ : β€Ž 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1525303104

Brief summary: Alice loves her street, but only some do, making her think of writing a letter about what she loves about it and placing that letter for someone to find. She continues her letter writing whenever she hears someone complaining. Soon, others are too.

Comments: The author created The Love Lettering Project, which encourages people to anonymously write love letters and leave them for strangers to find, spreading the love.

Rating: 3.5/5πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“— 1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A young girl holding a ltter writteng to her by her grandma

Close to You from Far Away 

by Erica Root (Author)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Running Press Kids (April 4, 2023)
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: K-3
  • Hardcover picture book‏ : β€Ž 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0762481137

Brief summary: Gigi had to move away from her grandmother and misses her terribly. Her grandma tells her, “I’m close to you from far away.” Over the school year, whenever Gigi spoke to her grandma over the phone or when she wrote letters or received letters and packages, she tried to understand this saying.

Comments: I can see this being a lovely read-aloud with the children saying the “I’m close to you from far away” sentence in red capital letters on several pages in the book.

Loved the facial expressions of the grandmother and daughter throughout the book.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon’s page.

*(This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, I may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you).

2023 Children's Books · Children's Book Recommendations

Alphabet Children’s Books: The ABCs in Different Ways

Alphabet children’s book recommendations are by Angela Ferraris, The Retired School Librarian.*

Alphabet Picture Books

Ref in the blue water with a shark swimming in the blue water. There are fish at the top of the pate

A Is for Australian Reefs 

byΒ FranΓ© LessacΒ (Author, Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Candlewick
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-4
  • Hardcover nonfiction picture book ‏ : β€Ž 48 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1536228303

Brief summary:Β Everything one would like to know about the Australian Reefs. This picture book has two-page illustrations for each letter that are bright and detailed.

Comments:Β This could be a group read-aloud sharing the large print, or it can be an individual reading of the more specific facts in small fonts that explain the many details of plants and marine life on each page.

4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A girl with her hand s on her hips at recess standing next to a large letter A with her friends running in the background

A Is for Ambitious (Ambitious Girl, 2) 

by Meena Harris (Author), Marissa Valdez (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-2
  • Hardcover picture book ‏ : β€Ž 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 031635449X

Brief summary: ABCs of descriptive words of empowerment. Aimed towards girls. A “stand up and go for what you believe in” type of book. Inspirationally driven.

Sequel to Ambitious Girl, 2021.

Rating 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“— 1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A banana with a pencil that crossed out bedtime that stood for the B in the alphabet; a star, bear, and crescent book with faces watching the banana

B Is for Bananas 

by Carrie Tillotson (Author), Estrela LourenΓ§o (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Flamingo Books
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: Prek-1
  • Hardcover picture book ‏ : β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0593528069

Brief summary:Β Banana does not want to go to bed and makes “B” for banana instead of bedtime. Banana gets tired after going through the alphabet and changing or adding words.

Comments:Β Cute, humorous bedtime story.Β 

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Portraits of different boys of various ethnic backgrounds with different names of the alphabet

B My Name Is Boy: A Song of Celebration from Australia to Zimbabwe 

by Dawn Masi (Author, Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Doubleday Books for Young Readers
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-2
  • Hardcover picture book ‏ : β€Ž 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0593487125

Brief summary:Β Twenty-six boys share their name, someone else they know, their country, and a verb, all in alliteration.

Comments:Β It would be a fun activity for students to copy the book’s style by developing the alliterations with their own names and then sharing them with others.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“— 1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

If you enjoy this one, there is a companion book titled G My Name is Girl, 2021.

Pink pigs playing on large  alphabet letters

Playful Pigs from A to Z 

by Anita Lobel (Author, Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK -1
  • Hardcover picture book‏ : β€Ž 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1534495037

Brief summary:Β Twenty-six pigs come across a field full of letters. Each pig finds the letter matching its name. In the evening, they all return to their pen.

Comments:Β Each letter is paired with a pig’s name and a verb. The pages have capital letters across the top, with small case letters on the bottom of each page.

Originally printed in 2015.

Rating 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

The letters in the alphabet are talking to one another. z, g, and a.

Alphabuddies: G Is First! 

by Beth Bacon (Author), Karen Kane (Author), Eric Barclay (Illustrator).

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž HarperCollins
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-2
  • Hardcover picture book ‏ : β€Ž 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 006305597X

Brief summary:Β “G” wants to be first in the alphabet song, but “A” argues it will mess up reading. The letters experiment to see if this statement is true or not.

Comments:Β Humorous. Speech bubbles. Individual frames or multi-panels like a graphic novel. Large letters and words.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Alphabet Board Books

A big bear and cub riding bikes with objects of the B in the alphabet

My First Brain Quest ABCs: A Question-and-Answer Book

byΒ Workman PublishingΒ (Author).

  • Publisher ‏ : β€ŽΒ Workman Publishing Company
  • Date: 2023
  • Ages: Baby-3
  • Board book ‏ : β€Ž 26 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1523514124

Brief summary:Β Each letter has a noun and a matching alliteration with three questions at the bottom of the page about the page to encourage more conversation. Capital and small letters are featured. Bright colors. One letter per page.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“— 1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

If you enjoy this book, there are other My First Brain Quest books in the series by Workman Publishing.

Two boys in a small boat on the water with a pirate's flag, monkey, parrot, and seagulls

P Is for Pirate 

by Greg Paprocki (Author, Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž BabyLit
  • Year: 2023
  • Ages: Baby-3
  • Board book ‏ picture book: β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1423661532

Brief summary:Β This board book ABC book is all about pirates and sea jargon. Unique illustrations in the mid-1900s style.

Comments:Β I could tell immediately it was a Greg Paprocki ABC book. He hasΒ several othersΒ in this cool artistic style.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“— 1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Cartoons of various earth objects like the stars, cloud raining, and a sunflower

Mrs. Peanuckle’s Earth Alphabet (Mrs. Peanuckle’s Alphabet) 

by Mrs. Peanuckle (Author), Jessie Ford (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€ŽΒ Rodale Kids
  • Year: 2023
  • Ages: Baby-3
  • Board book picture book ‏ : β€Ž 28 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0593486633

Brief summary:Β Β Youngers will learn about earth-related topics with explanations.

Bright colors and large graphics. Capital letters.

Comment: This is one of theΒ Mrs. Peanucle’s ABCΒ series.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Six portraits of female musicians

A is for Aretha 

by Leslie Kwan (Author), Rachelle Baker (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Kokila
  • Year: 2023
  • Ages: Baby-3
  • Board book picture book ‏ : β€Ž 26 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0593406532

Brief summary:Β Twenty-six black female musicians with a brief explanation of their accomplishments.

Comments:Β I learned a few I was not aware of too. Illustrated with their portrait and colorful background. I’m unsure how much a baby or toddler could understand, but an excellent source for introducing female musicians and vocabulary.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Photographs of four baby animals

My First ABC Animal Book (Happy Fox Books)

by Editors of Happy Fox Books (Author)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Happy Fox Books
  • Year: 2023
  • Ages: Baby-3
  • Board book picture book ‏ : β€Ž 28 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1641242973

Brief summary:Β An animal alphabet book illustrated with photographs. Big and small letters. The back has all the animals, and the child is asked if they know them.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

There is another Happy Fox book that came out this year teaching colors called My First Colors: Learn About Our Colorful World.Β 

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Various cars

C Is for Car: An ABC Car Primer 

by Ashley Marie Mireles (Author), Volha Kaliaha (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Familius
  • Year: Amazon says October 18, 2022, but the book says 2023
  • Ages: Baby to 3
  • Board book picture book ‏ : β€Ž 20 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€ŽΒ 164170725

Brief summary: A car for each letter.

Comments: I learned some new ones. Good visual introduction to specific cars.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

*(This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, I may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you).

2023 Children's Books · Children's Book Recommendations

Children’s Books about Books

Children’s books about books book recommendations are by Angela Ferraris, The Retired School Librarian.*

Cover of Palace of Books with author and illustrator, Patricia Polacco as a girl looking at the Willard Library

Palace of Books 

by Patricia Polacco (Author, Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books. 2023. PreK-5. Hardcover Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1534451315.

Brief summary: As a girl, Patricia Polacco’s family moves from Union City to Battle Creek, Michigan. It is hard for her to adjust from living in a rural area.

One day she walks home from school, taking a different route, and discovers a stately building with giant pillars along the front with many steps leading up to a porch. It is the Willard Library and full of books for people to borrow. Mrs. Creavy, a librarian, helps Patricia find bird books and even shares the notable books of John James Audubon, full of watercolors of birds.

Soon, Patricia paints birds and shares them with her class. This sparks an Audubon bird club at Fremont Elementary School for the next sixty years.

I will always recommend a book by Patricia Polacco, as she is one of the best storytellers and illustrators in the USA. I was honored to have her as a guest author for our elementary school. I will always cherish having lunch with this legendary author and illustrator that day in our little elementary library.

Rating: 5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Children of various backgrounds are either reading or dancing around the book's title

Our Incredible Library Book (and the wonderful journeys it took) 

by Caroline Crowe (Author), John Joseph (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Floris Books. 2023. PreK-3. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1782507418.

Brief summary: Readers will learn about a library book’s adventures into several children’s homes.

In rhyming text. This book was first published in the UK.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A man is sitting on a green striped chair with his children on either side of them reading a book together with a rhino behind them. Books are strewn all over the ground with the car's trunk door open

The Liebrary 

by Amanda Pearlstein (Author), Howard Pearlstein (Author), Maren Amini (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Yeehoo Press. 2023. PreK-3. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1953458602.

Brief summary: Mikayla and Drew take out books from the library and read about things that don’t make sense. Should they believe everything they read? The children suddenly understand when they return their books.

Cute story. It could be used to start a research project to demonstrate why it is essential to check the facts.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

An orange anglerfish with a little light at the end of its antennae is reading a book that has an oyster spine

Hooked on Books 

by Margaret Chiu Greanias (Author), Kristyna Litten (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Peachtree. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1682633675.

Brief summary: Pearl, an anglerfish, reads her book in the depth of the sea but is constantly interrupted. Looking for personal space, she swims down into the abyssal zone, where it is tranquil, and she can finish her book. Lonely, she returns to the twilight zone.

The illustrations were in shades of blues with the various fish in other colors and often two-page spreads. Speech bubbles mixed with traditional text.

Rating: 4/4 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Cover of picture book, This is a Story, of a girl book hugging a book.

This Is a Story 

by John Schu (Author), Lauren Castillo (Illustrator). Publisher: β€Ž Candlewick. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1536204520.

Brief summary: The title page begins this story with a girl receiving a library card from her father.

A little girl walks to the library with her father and younger sibling. She goes into the children’s section carrying a seahorse kite, where a librarian helps her narrow her search from many of the books to the perfect one–a sea horse library book. She begins to read. Other readers in the area are reading books we all know and love that are connected to our hearts and imagination.

The child has found her special library book and now helps her younger brother find his. She proudly uses her library card to check out.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

If you enjoy this book, you may like John Schu’s This is a School.

Cover of picture book, This Book is my Best Friend with two children in a library both pulling in opposite directions of a book

This Book Is My Best Friend 

by Robin Robinson (Author, Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1665906814.

Brief summary: Two best friends, Sunny and Aarush, want to check out the same library book, Factory Friends, but there is only one copy. They each try to persuade the other why the book is their best friend and needs it more. Having failed at trying to book talk each other into other books to check out instead, they realize how to share the library book.

I recommend this book to school librarians who have students fighting over a book, as I have had many times in my school libraries. (They did not always share, so I had a big die on my desk. The one who rolled the highest number could read it first).

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

The Library Fish Learns to Read (The Library Fish Books) 

by Alyssa Satin Capucilli  (Author), Gladys Jose  (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books. PreK-2. 2023. Hardcover. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1534477070.

Brief summary: Library Fish lives in a bowl on the librarian’s desk, Mr. Hughes, where she watches the students check books in and out of the public library. One day, she is listening to Mr. Hughes tell a story about a dog learning how to read and is inspired that she, too, would like to learn to read.

After the librarian says good night, Library Fish gets out of her bowl (with special accommodations) and begins to teach herself the ABCs. Each night she practices until she can read books.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

*(This content contains Amazon affiliate links. When you buy through these links, I may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you).

2023 Children's Books · Children's Book Recommendations

Back-to-School Picture Books–2023

Back to school picture book recommendations are by Angela Ferraris, The Retired School Librarian.*

Kindergartners with all sorts of big heads stading around a large teacher's desk looking at a sandwich that has two olive pierce through a toothpick on top that look like eyes and bologna sticking out the side that sort of looks like a tongue

Mr. S: A First Day of School Book

by Monica Arnaldo (Author, Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Katherine Tegen Books. 2023. K-3. Hardcover picture books. ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0063003953.

Brief summary: The kindergartners of 2B arrive on the first day of school to find a missing teacher. Their first clue is the desk has a ruler, a steaming cup of coffee, and a giant sandwich. They notice “Mr. S” has been written on the chalkboard. They wonder if their teacher could be Mr. Sandwich. They immediately create an alphabet of different sandwiches. They continue their day doing school-related activities without the supervision of an adult. Suddenly, the door opens, and a man hurries inside the classroom. Is this their teacher?

This was one of my favorite back-to-school books. Great mystery. A subplot is also going on in the window frame throughout the story. Clever. Well done. I can’t wait to read more imaginative stories like this from Monica Arnaldo.

Rating: 5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

First day of school and there is no teacher in the classroom with students standing around the room

9 Kilometers (Stories from Latin America)

by Claudio Aguilera (Author), Gariela Lyon (Illustrator), Lawrence Schimel (Translator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Eerdmans Books for Young. 2023. Grades 1-4. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0802856004.

Brief summary: A young Chilean student begins his nine-kilometer walk to school in the darkness of dawn while counting his steps and animals he sees along the way.

Young readers will follow his journey as he goes under a barbed-wired fence, through a forest, across a river, etc., until he is FINALLY to school.

This book could spark some interesting classroom conversations. What was the longest you’ve ever walked? How much is a kilometer? Why did the boy walk so far? Why didn’t a yellow school bus take him? Was it essential for him to go to school? Dangerous?

The back of the book has brief stories of other children worldwide and how they walk to their schools. There is also a section on the birds seen during the boy’s walk.

The front pasted-down end pages have a map of the beginning of the walk, with it continuing onto the back end pages.

Rating: 4.5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Translated and printed to English in 2023.

Marker 

by Anna Kang (Author), Christopher Weyant (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Two Lions. 2023. PreK-3. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1542039614.

Brief summary: Red Pen welcomes the teacher supplies to getting ready for the first day of school. Pinking Shears is accepted as a new member and is placed in the superpower mug on the desk, displacing Permanent Marker to a canister. The supplies are creating back-to-school posters and lists when Marker, which is always used for the class rules poster, makes a mistake but cannot fix it, causing her anxiety as everyone will see it day after day. Will Red Pen come up with an idea to help everyone realize it’s okay to fail?

What a fun read for the beginning of the school year. Cute illustrations and a humorous storyline will help students with any first-day jitters. I’ll not be looking at the supplies on my desk ever the same.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“— 1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

If you like this book, you may also enjoy Anna Kang’s Eraser, published in 2018.

And Then Comes School 

by Tom Brenner (Author), Jen Hill (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Candlewick. 2023. PreK-1. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1536209139.

Brief summary: Two young girls enjoy the last summer days with their friends. A list of school supplies is received. They sort through clothes that are too small, pick up back-to-school supplies, and play on the last day of summer vacation. They prepare for the first day of school by picking out an outfit, filling a backpack, and going to bed, imagining what the first day will bring.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

This is one of the series of And Then Comes by Tom Brenner. I like this series as they share little rituals before a holiday or event that young readers can understand. Nice, lyrical text.

Shy Robin and the First Day of School 

by Jaime Kim (Author, Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Candlewick. 2023. Hardcover picture book. PreK-1. ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1536209295

Brief summary: Robin is usually brave and energetic at home but not in public. Her mother gives her a purple headband on the first day of school to help her feel confident.

While at school, Robin notices another student who is also shy and withdrawn and is wearing purple bracelets. After temporarily losing her headband, Marco offers Robin one of his bracelets while they all look for the hair accessory.

This would be a nice back-to-school story to share with preschoolers and kindergartners to let them know that students may feel shy.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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We’re Going to School 

by Tammi Salzano (Author), Morena Forza (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Tiger Tales. 2023. PreK-K. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 166430021X.

Brief summary: Young readers will wake up early with various kids returning to school. Once inside the school, the day begins with introductions, new routines, and friend-making.

This book would be suitable for preschool or kindergartners who have never been to school to get a general idea of what happens on the first day.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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Giant-Sized Butterflies On My First Day of School 

by Justin Roberts (Author), Paola Escobar (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0525516433.

Brief summary: A young girl has a nervous stomach going back to school and is reassured by her mother that everything will be okay. The mother shares a time when she had butterflies in her stomach and how she let them go.

Teachers and parents could share this book with students about the first day of school to let them know that sometimes we are nervous doing or going places for the first time.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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Mina Belongs Here 

by Sandra Niebuhr-Siebert (Author), Lars Baus (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Floris Books. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1782508112.

Brief summary: Mina attends kindergarten and needs help understanding what anyone is saying or asking. Mina hugs the teddy bear and is quiet all day until she returns to her home and tells her mother about her day.

The next day of school, Mina makes a friend with a girl named Ava even though they do not speak. She returns home to tell her mother all about her day at school.

Each day, Mina learns new words and becomes more relaxed. Her dreams parallel her feelings and become more vivid and bright.This German translation from 2020 was published in the USA in 2023.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A cartoon backpack hanging onto the closet door nervous about going back to school

Back to School, Backpack! 

by Simon Rich (Author), Tom Toro (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0316628344.

Brief summary: A backpack going back to school has the first day jitters but soon fits in the new environment.

This would be a good book to read during the first day or week of school to help those with any nervousness. Cute and humorous.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A Smart, Smart School 

by Sharon Creech (Author), Anait Semirdzhyan (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž HarperCollins. 2023. PreK-4. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0063059614.

Brief summary: Mr. Keene, the principal of Fine Elementary School, loves his school as he strolls through the hallways watching the students drawing, painting, reading, and singing. He immediately has to leave for the hospital. Tillie, one of the students, worries about his recovery.

Mr. Tatters takes over as the principal and notices all of the get-well banners, cards, and artwork the students do for their beloved sick principal and does not like it. He insists that to be a smart, smart school, they must have tests every day that week, causing everyone to have stress and boredom. The students visit their principal at the hospital on Saturday, bringing all their get-well gifts.

Tillie talks to Mr. Keene upon his return on Monday about all the tests. He gathers everyone into an assembly and announces how they will be a smart, smart school again.

What a great book to anonymously leave on each principal’s, board member’s, and central office administrator’s desk. *wink*

Rating: 4.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Companion book to A Fine, Fine School, written in 2001.

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2023 Children's Books · Children's Book Recommendations

Swimming Children’s Books

Swimming children’s book recommendations are by Angela Ferraris, The Retired School Librarian.*

Kids swimming in a blue pool. Our Pool words are in the middle

Our Pool 

by Lucy Ruth Cummins (Author, Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Atheneum Books for Young. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1534499237.

Brief summary: We watch as many wake up and go to the city pool with other families. They change into a bathing suit, get covered with sunblock, and go into the cool blue water. Everyone plays above and below the water until it’s time to eat lunch on spread-out towels on concrete. They do more swimming before heading home with a treat from the ice cream truck.

The bright summer colors illustrations are showcased in many two page spreads with details and descriptive words that had me feeling like I was at the pool smelling the chlorine, hearing the shouting and laughter, and the coolness of the water.

Rating: 5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A young girl swimming in a pool who stopped and lifted her goggles up to stare at the reader

When You Can Swim 

by Jack Wong (Author, Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Orchard Books. 2023. Prek-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1338830961.

Brief summary: A young child encourages those to learn how to swim and shares all the aquatic wonders they could experience while swimming in various types of waters.

The back pages include the author sharing his experience of learning how to swim and going back to some of his favorite swimming spots for inspiration to write and illustrate the book.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A girl is on the edge of a diving board looking into the water with plants and marine animals swimming in it

A Dive Into the Blue 

by Ellie Huynh (Author), Bao Luu (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Beaming Books. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1506486347.

Brief summary: A young girl shares her fear of diving into the public pool while standing at the edge of the diving board and letting her imagination almost overcome her from swimming. Will she be able to dive into the blue water?

I would share this book with students to help them learn coping skills to navigate their fears.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A girl is ready to go swimming with a large life preserver that has a sleeping sloth on top of it

Waiting on Mr. Sloth 

by Katy Hudson (Author, Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Capstone Editions . 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1684464803.

Brief summary: Sasha is excited to go swimming with her best friend, Mr. Sloth, but is losing her patience with his slowness every step of the way. They finally walk to the lake and have lunch before entering the water. Sasha’s friend is taking too long, and she goes into the lake without him, only to realize it’s not as much fun. Sasha returns to their picnic to find Mr. Sloth in a tree enjoying his surroundings. Will Sasha and Mr. Sloth go swimming together in the future? Will Sasha learn to be patience?

In the back of the book, there is a discussion of ways to calm oneself when waiting.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Child with nose plugs and goggle on swimming underneath the water

Facing Your Fear of Water (Facing Your Fears) 

by Heather E. Schwartz (Author). Nonfiction Hardcover. Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Pebble Books. 2023. Grades K-3. Hardcover nonfiction. ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1666355542.

Brief summary: Young readers get advice on ways to be calm if they are afraid of the water and are encouraged to take small steps to learn to be able to go swimming.

The back sections are Sink or Float, Glossary, Read More, and Internet Sites.

This is one of the Facing Your Fears series.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

*(This content contains Amazon affiliate links. When you buy through these links, I may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you).

2023 Children's Books · Children's Book Recommendations

Garden Picture Book Recommendations

Garden picture book recommendations are by Angela Ferraris, The Retired School Librarian.*

Children playing in a garden

Garden Walk 

by Virginia Brimhall Snow (Author). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Gibbs Smith. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1423662525.

Brief summary: Grammy and her four grandchildren walk through the forest and to the garden, learning about plants, animals, and insects. They place a blanket on the ground and picnic while Grammy reads to them. Narrated by one of the children.

Blue ink illustrations with the plants, animals, or insects highlighted with full-colored words that match the subject.

Picnic recipes are in the back.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

If you enjoy this book, you may be interested in Virginia Brimhall Snow’s Seasonal Walks series. For more details or to buy, click here.

A grandfather giving his granddaughter a pot of peonies

Love Makes a Garden Grow 

by Taeeun Yoo (Author, Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books. 2023. Prek-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1534442863.

Brief summary: A young girl and her grandfather tend a garden together until he moves to an apartment where he brings some of his plants.

She grows up and lives far away, but her grandfather sends her a gift of peonies. When her daughter grows, the granddaughter visits the man showing her little one how to tend the house plants and flowers like he taught her.

An Author’s Note in the back explains how this story is based on her relationship with her grandfather.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“— 1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

 A girl in a polka dot dress on the rooftop garden gathering fruit and fegetables for her basket while a cat is chasing butterflies

Linh’s Rooftop Garden (Where In the Garden?) 

by JaNay Brown-Wood (Author), Samara Hardy (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Peachtree. 2023. PreK-1. Hardcover picture book.

Brief summary: Lihn needs to find blueberries for their brunch and walk around the rooftop looking at all the fruits and vegetables. The girl describes what a blueberry looks like and compares those characteristics to each plant methodically until she finds them.

There is a blueberry and banana pancake recipe in the back.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“— 1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

If you enjoy this book, you may be interested in the other three books of the Where in the Garden? series:

A child with flowers all around them wearing a necklace of daisies.

Watch Me Bloom: A Bouquet of Haiku Poems for Budding Naturalists 

by Krina Patel-Sage (Author, Illustrator).Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Lantana Publishing. 2023. PreK-3. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1913747992

Brief summary: A collection of twenty-four haikus about different flower species, all illustrated with lovely bright colors, including the paste-down end pages.

There are Floral Fun Facts in the back of the book.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“— 1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A word on a rock with quilled plants growing beside it

Just a Worm 

by Marie Boyd (Author, Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Greenwillow Books. 2023. PreK-3. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-0063212565.

Brief summary: Worm begins its day crawling through the garden when two humans cause it to have self-doubt. The worm crawls through a garden talking with each insect and creature it comes across, asking what it can do. Will the worm realize its importance to a garden and regain self-confidence?

The back pages include Make Your Own Quilled Butterfly, Earthworm Facts, and a Glossary. Illustrated using quilling techniques to make the plants.

I recommend that this picture book be read to supplement a quilling unit.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

George Washington Carver as a young man with a moustache holding a large pot of white flowers

George Washington Carver: More Than “The Peanut Man” (Bright Minds): More Than “The Peanut Man” 

by Janel Rodriguez (Author), Subi Bosa (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Children’s Press. 2023. Grades 3-6. Hardcover narrative nonfiction hardcover. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1338864205.

I’ve only known George Washington Carver as the “peanut man” and updated my education when reading this narrative nonfiction about this knowledgeable and talented man nicknamed “Plant Doctor.”

Brief summary: This book begins with his life as a child who studied plants and painted them. It continues with his young adulthood of going to college, learning, and experimenting with plants. The book tells of his adulthood of going around in a Jesup wagon, educating farmers on improving their crops and livestock. Readers will learn about many of his inventions and personal life too. I enjoyed reading about this remarkable man.

This book is full of a variety of nonfiction text features. The back sections include Your Turn!, Glossary, Index, and Further Reading.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A child tending a garden with plants and animals. Geese are flying overhead.

Little Land 

by Diana Sudyka (Author, Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. 2023.

Brief summary: This is an ecological/environmental story from the beginning of the earth to its present of how the land and its inhabitant have changed and how to live in balance.

I included this book under gardening(although it could be under ecology or environmental) as it highlights how to tend a little bit of land.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A little girl in a red hoody looking at a flower with her black and white dog. She has a box of seeds.

Every Little Seed 

by Cynthia Schumerth (Author), Elisa Paganelli (Illustrator).Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Sleeping Bear Press. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1534112698.

Brief summary: A young girl with her mother and grandfather plant seeds in the spring garden and tend them to grow, observing how the seed changes to develop. Birds and bugs visit the garden. Soon fall comes when the plants begin to produce seeds they gather for the next planting.

A plant’s cycle.

A story in rhyme.

Facts about seeds are in the back of the book, including a seed diagram.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A little mouse inside of a red tulip

A Flower is a Friend 

by Frieda Wishinsky (Author), Karen Patkau (Illustrator).Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Pajama Press; 1st edition. 2023. Prek-1. Hardcover nonfiction. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1772782806.

Brief summary: An animal/creature is paired with a flower in the garden, and readers are asked why they coexist so well. Answers are in the book of how they benefit each other.

Symbiosis.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

garden and flowers in a circle with a white picket fence with a city scape background

My First Garden: For Little Gardeners Who Want to Grow 

by Livi Gosling (Author). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž DK Children.2023. K-4. Hardcover nonfiction(80pages). ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-0744070866.

Brief summary: This nonfiction book is a beginning guide to gardening with step-by-step instructions. Everything one needs to know is covered with illustrations.

This is for the primary children to learn by looking at the lovely illustrations or for older elementary students who want to start a gardening club.

I usually stick to picture book reviews, but this nonfiction book’s illustrations make a difference with the covered topics by clarifying the lesson.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Ratings:4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A young girl and her mother with henna on their hands.

A Garden in My Hands 

by Meera Sriram (Author), Sandhya Prabhat (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Knopf Books for Young Readers. 2023. Prek-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-0593427101.

Brief summary: A little girl has her hands Painted by her mother for a wedding the next day. Her mother tells her memories as she paints a garden of flowers and decorations. She sleeps with gloves on over the henna to wake and brush the flakes off to reveal her red garden of stories and the fragrance of henna.

Facts about henna are in the back of the book.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Children planting and tending a garden

G is for Gardening (A Gardening ABC Primer) 

by Ashley Marie Mireles (Author), Volha Kaliaha (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Familius. 2023. Baby-3. Hardcover board book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1641707503.

Brief summary: Readers will learn their ABCs of gardening, discovering tools, plants, and animals in a garden.

Large and colorful illustrations. A good builder of garden vocabulary.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

*(This content contains Amazon affiliate links. When you buy through these links, I may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you).

Media Literacy Related

Social Media Acronyms and Abbreviations

Social media acronyms and abbreviations were researched and gathered into this “PG-13” list by Angela Ferraris, The Retired School Librarian.  Learn some of the most common social media acronyms and abbreviations used in the computer culture.

Warning: There is some mild profanity, sexual content, and crudeness.

Symbols and Numbers

  • !–I have a question
  • (U)–Arms around you, hug for you
  • *$–Starbucks
  • ,!!!–Talk to the hand
  • /R/–Requesting
  • 02–My two cents or your two cents
  • 10Q–Thank you
  • 121–One to one
  • 123–I agree
  • 1337–Elite
  • 142n8ly–Unfortunately
  • 143–I love you
  • 1432–I love you too
  • 14AA41–One for all, all for one
  • 182–I hate you
  • 187–Murder/homicide
  • 1daful–wonderful
  • 2–to, too, two
  • 20–location
  • 24/7–Twenty-four seven/ all of the time
  • 2b–To be
  • 2B or not 2B–To be or not to be
  • 2b2–To be at
  • 2BZ4UQT–Too busy for you, Cutey
  • 2d4–To die for
  • 2day–Today
  • 2GTB4G–Too good to be forgotten
  • 2G2BT–Too good to be true
  • 2more–Tomorrow
  • 2QT–Too cute
  • 2U2–To you too
  • 303–Mom
  • 4–For, four
  • 403–Deny access to
  • 404–I haven’t a clue
  • 411–Information
  • 420–Marijuana
  • 459–I love you
  • 4AO–For adults only
  • 4COL–For crying out loud
  • 4e–Forever
  • 4EAE–Forever and ever
  • 4eva–Forever
  • 4ever–Forever
  • 4FS–For F— sake
  • 4NR–Foreigner
  • 4Q–F— You
  • 511–Too much information
  • 5FS–Five Finger salute
  • 747–Let’s fly
  • 775–Kiss me
  • 831–I love you
  • 86–Get rid of
  • 88–Hugs and kisses
  • 8t–It
  • 9–Parent is watching
  • 99–Parent is no longer watching
  • 996–Work 9 am-9pm, 6 days a week
  • ::poof::–I’m gone
  • <3–heart
  • =–Reply
  • ?–I have a question
  • @–At
  • @TEOTD–At the end of the day

A

  • A/N–Author’s note
  • A2D–Agree to disagree
  • A3–Anytime, anyplace, anywhere
  • AAAAA–American Association Against Acronym Abuse
  • AAF–As a friend or always and forever
  • AAK–Asleep at keyboard
  • AAMOF–As a matter of fact
  • AAMOI–As a matter of interest
  • AAP–Always a pleasure(as in you’re welcome)
  • AAR–At any rate
  • AAR8–At any rate
  • AAS–Alive and smiling
  • AATK–Always at the keyboard
  • AAYF–As always, your friend
  • AB–A** Backwards
  • ab/abt–About
  • ABH–Anywhere but here
  • ABITHAD–Another blithering idiot thinks he’s a doctor
  • ABT2–About to
  • ACC–Actually
  • ACD–Alt Control Delete
  • ACK–Acknowledgement
  • ACORN–A completely obsessive really nutty person
  • ADAD–Another day; another dollar
  • ADBB–All done bye bye
  • ADIH–Another day in h—
  • ADIP–Another day in paradise
  • AEAP–As early as possible
  • AF–As f*ck
  • AFAGAY–A friend as good as you
  • AFAIC–As far as I’m concerned
  • AFAICT–As far as I can tell
  • AFAIK – As far as I know
  • AFAIR–As far as I remember
  • AFC–Away from computer
  • AFK–Away from keyboard
  • AFPOE–A fresh pair of eyes
  • AIMB–As I mentioned before
  • AIMP–Always in my prayers
  • AISI–As I see it
  • AITR–Adult in the room
  • AKA–Also known as
  • ALAP–As late as possible
  • ALCON–all concerned
  • ALOL–Actually laughing out loud
  • ALOTBSOL–Always look on the bright side of life
  • ALW–Ain’t life wonderful
  • AMA – Ask me anything
  • AMAP–As many(or much) as possible
  • AMBW–All my best wishes
  • AML–All my love
  • API – Application programming interface.
  • ASAP–As soon as possible
  • AWC–After while, crocodile
  • AWHFY–Are we having fun yet?
  • AWOL–Absent without leave
  • ax–Across
  • AYMM–Are you my mother? (sarcastically)
  • AYOR–At your own risk
  • AYSOS–Are you stupid or something?
  • AYTMTB–And you’re telling me this because

B

  • b/c, bc–Because
  • B@U–Back at you
  • B2B–Business-to-business
  • B2C–Business-to-consumer
  • B4–Before
  • B4N–Bye for now
  • BAE–Before anyone else
  • BAK–Back at keyboard
  • BAU–Business as usual
  • BBBG–Bye bye be good
  • BBIAS–Be back in a sec
  • BFF–Best Friends Forever
  • BG–Be good
  • BGBC–Be glad be cheerful
  • BGF–Best girlfriend
  • BI5–Back in five
  • BIBI–Bye bye
  • BIO–Bring it on
  • BION–Believe it or not
  • BIZ–Business
  • BKA–Better known as
  • BL–Belly laughing
  • BON–Believe it or not
  • BR–Bathroom
  • BRB – Be right back
  • BRO–Be right over
  • BSOD–Blue screen of death
  • BTAIM— Be that as it may
  • BTD–Bored to death
  • BTDT–Been there done that
  • BTFLDY–Beautiful day
  • BTN–Better than nothing
  • BTS–Behind the scenes
  • BTTE–Brothers to the end
  • BTW— By the way
  • BUMP–Bring up my post
  • BW–Best wishes
  • BWL–Bursting with Laughter
  • BWTM–But wait, there’s more
  • BYAM–Between you and me
  • BYOB–Bring your own bottle(or beer)
  • BYOD–Bring your own device
  • BYTME–Better you than me
  • BZ–busy

C

  • CAAC–Cool as a cucumber
  • CAS–Crack a smile
  • CBB–Can’t be bothered
  • CBM–Covered by Medicare
  • CBT–Computer based training or cognitive behavioral therapy
  • CC–Carbon Copy
  • CD–Compact disc
  • CM–Call me
  • CMB–Call me back
  • CMIW–Correct me if I’m wrong
  • CS–Career suicide
  • CSL–Can’t Stop Laughing
  • CMGR–Community Manager
  • CMS–Content Management System
  • CMV–Change My View
  • CPC–Cost Per Click
  • CSL–Can’t stop laughing
  • CT–Can’t talk or text
  • CTA–Call-To-Action
  • CTO–Check this out
  • CU–See you
  • CUL–See you later
  • CUZ–Because
  • CWOT–Complete waste of time
  • CX – Customer experience
  • CY–Calm yourself
  • CYE–Check your email
  • CYT–See you tomorrow

D

  • D8–Date
  • DAE–Does anyone else…?
  • DBMIB–Don’t bother me; I’m busy
  • DDAS–Don’t do anything stupid
  • DDG–Drop dead gorgeous
  • def–Definitely
  • dem–Them
  • DFTBA–Don’t forget to be awesome
  • DHYB–Don’t hold your breath
  • DIET–Do I eat today
  • DIKU–Do I know you?
  • ditto–Same here
  • DIY–Do it yourself
  • DJM–Don’t judge me
  • DK–Don’t know
  • DKDC–Don’t know don’t care
  • DLTM–Don’t lie to me
  • DM–Direct message
  • DNBL8–Do not be late
  • DNF–Did not find
  • DOS–Dad over shoulder
  • DP–Domestic partner
  • DPUP–Don’t poop your pants
  • DQMOT–Don’t quote me on this
  • DTRT–Do the right thing
  • dunno–I don’t know
  • DUR–Do you remember
  • DWH–During work hours
  • DYHAB–Do you have a boyfriend?
  • DYHAG–Do you have a girlfriend?
  • DYK – Did you know…?

E

  • E123–Easy as one, two, three
  • EE–Employee
  • ELI5 – Explain like I’m five
  • EM–Excuse me
  • EMA–Email address
  • EMBM–Early morning business meeting
  • EMI–Excuse my ignorance
  • EML–Email me later
  • ESP-– Email service provider
  • EVRE1–Every one
  • EYD–Enjoy your day
  • EZ–Easy

F

  • F–Friend
  • F/U–Follow up
  • F2F–Face to Face
  • FAQ–Frequently asked questions
  • FAV–Favorite
  • FAWC–For anyone who cares
  • FB –- Facebook
  • FBF  Flashback Friday
  • FBO –Facebook official
  • FCOL–For crying out loud
  • FF –Follow Friday; also frequent flyer
  • FFA–Free for all
  • FIL–Father-in-law
  • FIMH–Forever in My Heart
  • Fit–outfit
  • FITYMI–Fake it til you make it
  • FLOTUS–First Lady of the United States
  • FMOT–Follow me on Twitter
  • FOMO –Fear of missing out
  • FR–For real
  • FS–For sale
  • FSBO–for sale by owner
  • FTBL–Football
  • FTBOMH–From the bottom of my heart
  • FTE–Full time employee
  • FTFY –-Fixed that for you
  • FTTB–For the time being
  • FUTAB–Feet up, take a break
  • FTL–for the loss
  • FTW –-For the win
  • FWD–Forward
  • FWIW–For what it’s worth
  • FYC–For your consideration
  • FYEO–For your eyes only
  • FYI –- For your information

G

  • G2G or GTG –-Got to go
  • G4I–Go for it
  • G8–Great
  • G9–Genius
  • GA –-Google Analytics
  • GAHOY–Get a hold of yourself
  • GF–Girlfriend
  • GFN–Gone for now
  • GG –-Good game
  • GJ–Good job
  • GL–Good luck
  • GMTA–Great minds think alike
  • GN–Good night
  • GOAT–Greatest of all time
  • GOI–Get over it
  • GRAS–Generally recognized as safe
  • GRATZ–Congratulations
  • GRWM–Get ready with me
  • GTG–Got to go
  • GTR –Got to run

H

  • H&K–Hugs and kisses
  • hahaha–Laughing
  • HAND–Have a nice day
  • HBD – Happy birthday
  • Hi 5–High five
  • HIFW – How I feel when…
  • HMB – Hit me back
  • HMU – Hit me up
  • Howru–How are you?
  • HR–Human resources
  • HT or H/T –-Hat tip. Used for acknowledging, appreciating or thanking other users.
  • HTH — Here to help or happy to help
  • HTML–Hyper text markup language

I

  • i h8 it-I hate it
  • IAM–In a meeting
  • IANAD–I am not a doctor
  • IANAL–I am not a lawyer
  • IBTD–I beg to differ
  • ICBW–I could be wrong
  • ICO-911–In case of emergency
  • ICW–I can’t wait
  • ICWUM–I see what you mean
  • ICYMI — In case you missed it
  • IDC — I don’t care
  • IDGI–I don’t get it
  • IDK– I don’t know
  • IDST–I didn’t say that
  • IDTS–I don’t think so
  • IFYP–I feel your pain
  • IG –Instagram
  • IFYP–I feel your pain
  • IHNC–I have no clue
  • IHU–I hear you
  • IIRC–If I remember correctly
  • IJ–Inside joke
  • IKR — I know, right?
  • ILU–I love you
  • ILY –- I love you
  • IM–Instant message
  • IMHO — In my humble opinion
  • IMI–I mean it
  • IMO — In my opinion
  • IMS–I am sorry
  • IMU–I miss you
  • IRL — In real life
  • ISO–In search of
  • ISP–Internet service provider
  • IT–Information technology
  • IYKWIM–If you know what I mean
  • IYKYK–If you know, you know

J

  • J4F–Just for fun
  • JIC–Just in case
  • JK — Just kidding
  • JOMO–Joy of missing out
  • JS–Just saying
  • JTM– Just the messenger
  • JSYK–Just so you know

K

  • KBD–Keyboard
  • KCCO–Keep calm & carry on
  • kewl–cool
  • KIA–Killed in action
  • KISS–Keep it simple, stupid
  • KIT–Keep in touch
  • KITY–Keep it to yourself
  • KK–Okay or kiss kiss
  • KPC–Keeping parents clueless

L

  • L8–Late
  • L@U–Laughing at you
  • LG–Life’s good
  • LGBTQ–Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer+
  • LGGBDTTTIQQAAPP–Lesbian, gay, genderqueer, bisexual, demisexual, transgender, transsexual, twospirit, intersex, queer, questioning, asexual, allies, pansexual, polyamorous
  • LHK–Love hugs kisses
  • LHM–Lord have mercy
  • LI–LinkedIn
  • LIG–Life is good or let it go
  • LMAO — Laughing my a** off
  • LMK— Let me know
  • LMS— Like my status
  • LOK–Lots of kisses
  • LOL— Laughing out loud
  • LOLz–Laughing out loud sarcastically
  • LOML–Love of my life
  • LUMU–Love you miss you
  • LYLAB–Love you like a brother
  • LYLAS–Love you like a sister

M

  • M02–My two cents
  • meh–whatever, who cares
  • MEJR–My eyes just rolled
  • MFC–Meet for coffee
  • MFW– My face when…
  • MIA–Missing in action
  • MIL–Mother-in-law
  • MIRL–Meet in real life
  • MOV–My own views
  • MRW–My reaction when
  • MSG–Message
  • MT–Modified tweet
  • MU–Miss you
  • MTFBWY— May the Force be with you
  • MYOB–Mind your own business

N

  • NAGI–Not a good idea
  • NATO–No action, talk only
  • NAVY–Never gain volunteer yourself
  • NB–Not bad
  • NBD— No big deal
  • ne1–Anyone
  • Ne2H–Need to have
  • NIMBY–Not in my back yard
  • NIMJD–Not in my job description
  • NM— Not much
  • NME–Enemy
  • NMP–Not my problem
  • NMU–Not much, you?
  • NMY–Nice meeting you
  • NP–No problem
  • NSFL–Not safe for life
  • NSFWNot safe for work
  • NTH–Nice to have
  • NVM— Never mind
  • NW–No way
  • NWR–Not work related
  • NWT–New with tags
  • NYT–Name your trade

O

  • OAN–On another note
  • OAO–Over and out
  • OBO–Or best offer
  • Obvs–Obviously
  • OC–Original content
  • OH– Overheard
  • OK–Okay
  • OMDB–Over my dead body
  • OMG–Oh, my God!
  • OMW— On my way
  • ONNA–Oh no, not again
  • ONUD–Oh no you didn’t
  • OOAK–One of a kind
  • OOO–Out of the office
  • OOS–Out of stock
  • OOTD— Outfit of the day
  • OP– Original post
  • OST–On second thought
  • OTC–Over the counter
  • OTL–Out to lunch
  • ORLY–Oh, really?!

P

  • P2P–Person to person, or peer to peer
  • P911–Parent alert
  • PA–Parent alert
  • PAH–Parent at home
  • PAW–parents are watching
  • PC–Personal computer or politically correct
  • PD–Public domain
  • PDQ–Pretty darn quick
  • PBB–Parent behind back
  • PIF–Paid in full
  • PIN–Pinterest
  • PITR–Parent in the room
  • Pls–Please
  • PM–Private message
  • POA–Plan of action
  • POMS–Parent over my shoulder
  • POTD–Photo of the day
  • POV–Point of view
  • POW–Prisoner of war
  • PPC–Pay per click
  • PPL – People
  • PR–Public relations or PageRank
  • PRT–Please retweet
  • PS–Post script
  • PSA–Public service announcement
  • PTB–Please text back
  • PU–That stinks
  • PV— Page views

Q

  • Q&A–Question and answer
  • Q4u–Question for you
  • QOTD–Quote of the day
  • QQ–Crying or quick question
  • QYB–Quit your bitching

R

  • R&R–Rest and relaxation
  • RBTL–Read between the lines
  • RC–Remote control
  • RDV–Reader’s Digest version
  • RIP–Rest in peace
  • RL–Real life
  • RLRT–Real life retweet
  • RN–Right now
  • RNN–Reply not necessary
  • ROFL— Rolling on the floor laughing
  • ROFLMAO— Rolling on the floor laughing my a** off
  • ROI–Return on investment
  • RSS–Really simple syndication or rich site summary
  • RSVP–Respondez S’il Vous Plait
  • RT–Retweet or real time
  • RTD–Real-time data
  • RUOK–Are you OK?
  • RUS–Are you serious?

S

  • S/N–Serial number
  • S2U–Same to you
  • SaaS–software as a service
  • SALT–Same as last time
  • SANM–Starting a new message
  • SB–Stand by
  • SC–Snapchat or stay cool
  • SCOTUS–Supreme court of the United States
  • sec–Wait a second
  • SEM–Search engine marketing
  • SEO–search engine optimization
  • SERP–search engine results page
  • SETE–Smiling ear to ear
  • SFW— Safe for work
  • SGTM–Sounds good to me
  • SH–Sh** happens
  • shhh-Quiet
  • SHID–Slap head in disgust
  • SIL–Sister-in-law
  • SIN–Stop it now
  • SIT–Stay in touch
  • SM–Social media
  • SMART–specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely
  • SMB–Small and medium-sized business
  • SMH— Shaking my head
  • SMM–Social media marketing
  • SMO–Social media optimization
  • SMP–Social media platform
  • SO–Significant other
  • SOB–Son of a b*tch
  • SOH–Sense of humor
  • SOHO–Small office home office
  • SoLoMo–Social, Local, Mobile
  • SOML–Story of my life
  • SOV–Share of voice
  • Squad–group of friends
  • SRSLY–Seriously
  • SSDD–Same stuff, different day
  • SU–Shut up
  • sub–What’s up
  • Sus–Suspicious or sketchy
  • SWAK–Sealed with a kiss

T

  • T&C–Terms and conditions
  • t+–Think positive
  • t2go–Time to go
  • T2UL–Talk to you later
  • T4P–Thanks for posting
  • TA–Thanks again
  • TAM–Thanks a million
  • TBA–To be announced
  • TBC–To be continued
  • TBD–To be decided or determined
  • TBH– To be honest
  • TBBH— To be brutally honest
  • TBT— Throwback Thursday
  • TBYB–Try before you buy
  • TC–Take care
  • TCOB–Taking care of business
  • TCOY–Take care of yourself
  • TEAM–Together everyone achieves more
  • TFTF–Thanks for the follow
  • TFW– That feeling when…
  • TGIF— Thank God it’s Friday
  • Thx–Thanks
  • TIA–Thanks in advance
  • TIL— Today I learned…
  • TIME–Tears in my eyes
  • TL;DR– Too long; didn’t read
  • TMB–Tweet me back
  • TMI— Too much information
  • TNO–Tell no one
  • TOM–Tomorrow
  • TNTL–Trying not to laugh
  • TOON–Cartoon
  • TOY–Thinking of you
  • TOS–Terms of service
  • TT–TikTok
  • TTKU–Try to keep up
  • TTTT–To tell the truth
  • TTUL–Talk to you later
  • TTYL–Talk to you later
  • TTYN–Talk to you never
  • TTYS–Talk to you soon
  • TW–Twitter
  • Txt–Text
  • TY–Thank you
  • TYVM–Thank you very much

U

  • UFN–Until further notice
  • UGC–User generated content
  • UI–user interface
  • UR2K–You are too kind
  • URL–Uniform resource locator
  • UV–Unique visitor
  • UX–User experience

V

  • VBD–Very big deal
  • VFM–Value for money
  • VGN–Vegan or vegetarian
  • VIM–Very important member
  • VIP–Very important person
  • VM–Voice mail
  • VOD–Video on demand
  • VWD–Very well done

W

  • w/–With
  • WAD–Without a doubt
  • WADR–With all due respect
  • WAI–What an idiot
  • WAY–Where are you?
  • WAYD–What are you doing?
  • WBU– What about you?
  • WDYM–What do you mean?
  • WE–Whatever
  • WFH— Working from home
  • WIP–Work in progress
  • WKYP–Will keep you posted
  • WOM–Word of mouth
  • WOTD–Word of the day
  • WTF–What the f—?
  • WTH–What the hay?, What the heck?, or What the h*ll?
  • WTPA–Where’s the party at?
  • WUWH–Wish you were here
  • WUZUP–What’s up?
  • WYA–Where you at?
  • WYP–What’s your problem?
  • WYRN–What your real name?
  • WYWH–Wish you were here

X

  • X–Times
  • X-I-10–Exciting
  • XAXA–Ha Ha
  • XOXO–Hugs and kisses
  • XX–Kiss kiss

Y

  • Y–Why? or yes
  • YA–Yet another
  • Yas or Yaaas–yes; overly excited
  • YATI–You’re a total idiot
  • YB–You b*itch
  • YDKM–You don’t know me
  • YGBK–You gotta be kidding
  • YGM–You got ma
  • YGTBK–You’ve got to be kidding
  • YGTR–You got that right
  • YIU–Yes, I understand
  • YNK–You never know
  • YKWIM–You know what I mean
  • YOLO— You only live once
  • YOYO–You’re on your own
  • YSK–You should know
  • YT–YouTube
  • YW–You’re welcome

Z

  • Z–Said
  • zerg–To gang up on someone
  • ZZZ–sleeping, tired, bored
2023 Children's Books · Children's Book Recommendations

Emotions, High Concepts, or Other Abstract Ideas–Picture Book Recommendations

Emotions, high concepts, or other abstract ideas picture book recommendations are by Angela Ferraris, The Retired School Librarian.* All books were checked out from the public library and not sent to me for a review.

Child express the love emotions by making her hands into a heart shape

All About Nothing (All About Noticing) 

by Elizabeth Rusch (Author), Elizabeth Goss (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Charlesbridge. 2023. PreK-3. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1623543525.

Brief summary: Nothing can be so many things around us. Negative space. Nothing can also be something. Young readers will see that nothing can be where ideas come from or just something relaxing. It is all around us.

Two back sections are About Negative Space and More About Nothing.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Children laying on the grass looking up to the sky wondering what their future could be; happy emotions on their faces

Someday, Maybe 

by Diana Murray (Author), Jessica Gibson (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Henry Holt and Co. 2023. PreK-3. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1250782755.

Brief summary: Children daydream about what future jobs they will have, inventions they will create, and lives they will have when they grow up.

The back pages talk about some future possibilities.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A large bear in a tree looking up to the leaves while exploring his emotions of wanting to be alone

Bear Is Never Alone 

by Marc Veerkamp (Author), Jeska Verstegen (Illustrator), Laura Watkinson (Translator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-0802856036.

Brief summary: Bear plays the piano in the forest and comes to his last song, ready for a break. The animals around him start to shout for him to play more. He just wants to be alone, but the animals chase him, demanding for Bear to play more. Will Bear ever be alone?

Rating 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A snake coming out of a red high top sneaker

Twenty Questions 

by Mac Barnett (Author), Christian Robinson (Illustrator).Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Candlewick. 2023 PreK-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1536215137.

Brief summary: There are many questions with many types of answers. Some questions have a simple solution, while others have a profound explanation. Some questions have no one exact answer or even an answer at all. Some may come with emotions.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Girl in a hospital bed with her brother beside her who  is holding a blue balloon

The Hospital Book 

by Lisa Brown (Author).Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Neal Porter Books. 2023. PreK-3. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1536215137.

Brief summary: A young girl has a terrible stomachache and must go to the hospital. She shares the nine times she cried as young readers go along with her to the emergency room, her diagnosis, surgery, recovery, and back home. This story is in an honest and light tone that young readers will find reassuring.

Each page contains detailed illustrations that had me stop and explore the many two-page spreads. Traditional text and speech bubbles.

A definite read for young readers to understand and be calmly assured what could happen when going to a hospital in an emergency situation and the emotions they could feel.

The back page includes A Note From the Author.

Rating: 5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

I’m so glad to see another picture book from this author that she both wrote and illustrated! The illustrations and storytelling are done in a way relatable to little ones with humor and action. I also recommend another one of the picture books that she wrote and illustrated that features this family–The Airport Book

A boy sitting at his desk at school reading while releasing his emotions by tap dancing under the desk

Stanley’s Secret 

by John Sullivan (Author), Zach Manbeck (Illustrator).Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1534487833.  

Brief summary: Stanley is a shy and quiet boy. He helped the janitor and would tap dance as he swept. One day the principal saw him and encouraged the boy to sign up for the talent show where he could share his gift with others. Will Stanley be able to get over his shyness? 

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Tow girls playing in the rain with their dog with happy emotions

Sometimes: A Day Full of Feelings 

by Stephanie Stansbie (Author), Elisa Paganelli (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Crown Books for Young Readers. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-0593568910.

Brief summary: A brother and sister experience everyday feelings that come and go. They learn to recognize their feelings in different situations, realize that another one will come along, and learn how to move through that one too. Emotions are everyday occurrences.

There is a back page of encouragement to help young readers to get through more difficult feelings.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A boy looking out of a yellow school bus with optimistic emotions

The Bright Side 

by Chad Otis (Author, Illustrator).Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Rocky Pond Books. 2023. Grades 1-3. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-0593530627.

Brief summary: A boy shares that his family lives in an old school bus until they get a house again. It was hard to leave his friends. His parents encourage him to look on the bright side of things. He gets to take showers outside. Have pizza toast with bread and ketchup. He learns to use his imagination to create something he does not have.

He is nervous about attending a school where everyone knows each other and the routine. Will he learn how to fit in with everyone else?

The author shares that he did live on a school bus for four years and did not go to school until he was in third grade. I thank him for sharing his story of houselessness.

This book could be shared to help others understand those in poverty and, hopefully, develop empathy and understanding. Written in a way that a child could understand.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Children at a picnic

The ABCs of Inclusion: A Disability Inclusion Book for Kids 

by Beth Leipholtz (Author), Anastasiya Kanavaliuk (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Wise Ink Creative Publishing. 2023. Grades 2-4. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1634895965.

Brief summary: Young readers will learn about twenty-six children, each with different diagnoses, and a brief explanation to help understand it a bit better.

I would love to see this book read to all of the students at the beginning of the year in a way to show that we all have things similar and different from one another. We can learn about how to interact with one another and even become friends.

Rating: 3.5/4 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A girl playing on the beach by herself making a castle

Sometimes It’s Nice to Be Alone 

by Amy Hest (Author), Philip C. Stead (Illustrator).Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Neal Porter Books. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-0823449477.

Brief summary: A young girl enjoys time being alone but can also enjoy a friend’s company. She can sit in solitude eating a cookie but finds it pleasant when a friend visits and eats a cookie with her.

This comforting book made being alone (not lonely) enjoyable. Having a friend visit was not nerve-racking but a time to share and enjoy the company.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

children wearing the same clothing as the background wall

Wallflowers 

by Mackenzie Joy (Author, Illustrator)

.Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Clarion Books. 2023. PreK -2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-0358726463.

Brief summary: Shy and quiet children who would rather observe and not be in the spotlight are given encouragement to be themselves. They may like to be heard at times, but not in an extroverted way.

This book celebrates introverts and does not try to change them from being wallflowers but instead bloom with their emotions.

The illustrations are drawn with them looking like the background.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

A girl at the beach with her mother and dog

Billie and Bean at the Beach (Billie and Bean, 1) 

by Julia Hansson (Author), B.J. Woodstein (Translator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Orca Book Publishers. 2023. Prek-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1459834415.

Brief summary: Billie and her dog, Bean, go to the beach. Bean enjoys running around and playing in the sand, while Billie just wants to rest in the umbrella’s shade. Her mother encourages Billie to take a swim, and the girl is stung. After her mother comforts and calms Billie’s emotions, the little girl decides to try the water again with the help of a gift Bean has dug up. The girl enjoys the underwater silence and fish. Billie dives towards the bottom and finds something shiny that makes her resilience worth returning to the sea.

Will we find out what it is in a sequel? What an excellent discussion to have with the class.

This is a Swedish translation.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Sad girl out on the lake in a small boat with a face of sad emotions

Mouseboat 

by Larissa Theule (Author), Abigail Halpin (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Viking Books for Young Readers. 2023. PreK-3. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-0593327357.

Brief summary: A girl who has recently lost her mother goes on a trip to their lake house with her father. She misses her mother but can not find a connection until she takes out the mouse boat she and her mother built together. She can face her emotions.

The illustrator caught the facial expressions of a mourning girl and the sad tone in the house of grief with cool and darker colors. Well done.

I could follow the storyline with or without the text, which is an excellent picture book to me. I’d like to see more picture books with this duo. They complement each other well.

Rating: 5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Boys at the beach

The Noise Inside Boys: A Story About Big Feelings 

by Pete Oswald (Author).Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Random House Studio. 2023. PreK -2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-0593483220.

Brief summary: Brothers yell how they feel while playing outside on the beach. One boy is encouraged by his father to take a moment and experience the feeling and name it. Be aware of your emotions and name them to understand them. He is told that a feeling will come and go. 

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

Various families depicted on the cover with many emotions

You Are Loved: A Book About Families 

by Margaret O’Hair (Author), Sofia Sanchez (Author), Sofia Cardoso (Illustrator).Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Scholastic Inc. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover picture book.ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1338850079. Paperback picture book is available too.

Brief summary: Young readers are talked to by Sofia Sanchez, who explains that a child is loved by many people but most of all by one’s family. There are many different types of families. Sometimes a family is not perfect. There are arguments, sadness, anger, and other emotions. But a family makes up and continues loving one another.

This is an optimistic book with brightly colored illustrations of all cultures, ages, races, etc. Readers will be able to see and understand that there are families unlike theirs but still have shared love for one another.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“— 1/2

Continue reading for more details and buying options on this book’s Amazon page.

*(This content contains Amazon affiliate links. When you buy through these links, I may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you).

Children's Book Recommendations

How I Evaluate and Recommend Picture Books

How I Evaluate and Recommend Picture Books is written by Angela Ferraris, The Retired School Librarian.

Picture book recommendations first photo of children reading while sitting on giant books

I have many questions as I evaluate children’s books to make the best picture book recommendations. I’ve read and shared thousands of books as an elementary school librarian. Contrarily though, I may only chose one from a stack of thirty books I can recommend.

Enjoy the Book

I taught my students to read the book, feel the emotion, and hear the words. Above all, get the aesthetic experience. (I still do that when I first pick up a book). Undoubtedly, I never asked questions while reading a picture book aloud for the first time during story time. It was afterward that I examined the book more closely…or not. Sometimes, it’s enough to enjoy a picture book. With this in mind, my main goal was to teach the joy of reading.

Having a mock Caldecott Read-In with my students was one of the best ways I taught how to evaluate books and give picture book recommendations to others. I borrowed about a hundred picture books that were stand-outs. However, I also threw in(without telling them) those that were…(well)…not ones I would recommend.


I allowed the students to grade with a 😁😐☹️ face. They then voted for the one they thought would win the Caldecott Medal Award (a medal given annually to an American illustrator). Next, we had thoughtful conversations about how they evaluated picture books. Lastly, they would use persuasive thinking to get others to vote for the same book they nominated.

An important issue I emphasized was that when the award was announced and their book was not chosen, it did not mean it was unworthy. Subsequently, we would talk about famous books from the past everyone loved that have not won any medals.

The Questions

I still use these questions when I recommend a book, but ONLY AFTER I first read the book on its own. Undoubtedly, I love the beauty of picture books and want to feel their “soul. ” Analyzing them is secondary.

The Words

  • Are these words appropriate for an elementary-aged child? Are they using these words in a child’s everyday life?
  •  Do the words flow in a legato style when they should? Are they short and choppy when they are supposed to be?
  •  How do they sound when read aloud? Does it sound like a tongue twister but not supposed to sound like one?
  •  Are there patterns? Rhyming? Rhythms? How do the words sound to the ears? Do they sound awkward? Are they forced?
  •  Do the words convey the correct emotions and mood of the book? Do the word choices match the emotion? Is it supposed to be funny? Sad? Silly?
  •  Do the page turns of the book interrupt the idea?
  •  Is the story unique, or has it been done several times already?
  •  Is the font a good fit for the book? Is it large enough for a child to read?
  •  Where do the words appear on the page? Are they all over and difficult to follow?
  •  How is the story being told? Are there too many characters? Is it confusing to follow? Predictions? Surprises?
  •  Is the topic of the story something children can relate to currently in their lives? Is it too complicated? Should it be a board book instead? Babyish?
  •  Dialogic reading? Is this story something they talk about with others? Or is it more of a listening book that someone reads aloud? Or is this one better read alone?
  •  What is the perspective of the story? Who’s telling the story?
  •  Are the words talking down to a child? Are they morally heavy?

Illustrations

  • What is the medium(s)? Was it digitally rendered? Was it a hybrid?
  • What is the level of technique? Does it stand out? Is it unique? Is there a style?
  • What are the visual elements? Line, shape, color, value, form, texture, space. How is the white of the page being used?
  • What colors are being used? Are the colors symbolic? Is color therapy being used? Complimentary colors? Bright? Dark? Contrasting?
  • Do the text and illustrations go well with one another?
  • Are there details in the illustrations not told in the text?
  • Would I know the book’s story if I took the text away?

The Cover

  • Is the title prominent? Or is the author’s?
  • Are the colors matching with the tone/mood of the book?
  • Is the font style easy to read?
  • Is there a blurb on the back?
  • Do the front and back covers correlate?
  • Does the cover represent the story inside?
  • Does it grab your attention?

Flaps

  • Does the front flap give a summary of the book?
  • Does the back flap tell about the author/illustrator?

End Pages

  • Are the pasted-down end pages white? Are they illustrated? Does the story begin or end on them?

End of the Book

  • Is there an author’s note? An illustrator’s?
  • If a nonfiction–is there a timeline, biographical notes, bibliography, index, suggestion reading, or photos? More information?

Misc.

  • Who is the author? Is this their first book? If a nonfiction picture book, is this person an expert on the subject? Is this a celebrity? What country are they from? And does that matter?
  • Is this a well-known author? Is it just like the others they have already written? Is there a repeated formula?
  • Is this book being translated? Was something lost in the translation?
  • Who is the illustrator? Is this their first book? Are they an artist well-known in other mediums?
  • Is this book political? Have an agenda? Age appropriate for elementary students? Developmentally appropriate? Is this a topic a child would care about in elementary school?

Star Rating Explained

Another key point of my evaluations is that I do not share picture book recommendations that deserve a half to two and a half stars. I’m not going to be that person. As shown below, the lowest star I give is a three, while the highest is a five.

If I’m on a site that does not allow half stars, I round up.

Picture Book Recommendation star rating of three to five

In Conclusion

 While I read these books, I always remember that the person or persons creating this book in my very hands is someone’s dream, someone’s “baby,” that they worked really hard on and are willing to share with the world. This is why I don’t share bad reviews. I simply put it back in my tote bag to return to the library. In addition, it may be a child’s favorite book, and I don’t want them to read online that I did not recommend that piece of literature and with the reasons why it was not up to par.

Even after retiring, I still read children’s books, especially picture ones. I was lucky to have found my passion and was paid for sharing it. I still enjoy my love and can now share it online with a broader audience of book lovers and book worms. The picture book recommendations are ninety-nine percent ones I check out of the public library. I appreciate the Central Library Consortium and am thankful for being in an area in the USA with such outstanding library systems.