2023 Children's Books · Children's Book Recommendations

New Picture Books–Earth

Earth-themed picture book recommendations are by Angela Ferraris, The Retired School Librarian.

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

Earth-Themed Picture Books

The picture book cover of My Baba's Garden with Baba and author, Jordan Scott, as a boy walking through a garden

My Baba’s Garden 

by Jordan Scott (Author), Sydney Smith (Illustrator). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Neal Porter Books. 2023. PreK-3. Hardcover Picture Book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€Ž 978-0823450831.

Brief summary: Author, Jordan Scott, recalls visiting with his Baba at her home. His father would drop Jordan off to have breakfast with his Baba and afterwards, they would walk together to his school. If it was raining, Baba would look for worms and put them in a glass jar to take home for her garden.


His baba would retrieve him after school, and they would spend time in her garden learning about the plants. This is their usual routine until she moves in with the family when a new building is built over her home. Not able to have a full garden any longer, she keeps a little garden in her room.

Told through the first-person point of view by the boy.

Jordan Scott wrote one of the most lovely book dedications I’ve ever read.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 5/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

The picture book cover of Around Antarctica with blues and whites illustrations of people in winter gear, and winter sports, and animals of the Antarctica

Around Antarctica: Exploring the Frozen South 

by Tania Medvedeva (Author), Maria Vyshinskaya (Illustrator). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Thames & Hudson. 2023. Grades 3-6. Hardcover Nonfiction Picture Book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€Ž 978-0500653135.

Brief summary: Wow. Love this book! It is full of everything a young reader needs to know about Antarctica, and all done with regular text, speech bubbles, and nonfiction text features. Children will stop and examine the detailed illustrations before turning to the next page.

The several foldouts make a whole sphere, full of information and fun pictures.
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The book’s format is a fourth of a sphere but can fit appropriately on a shelf.

This is a must for any school or public library and would make a superb book gift for the young reader in the family(as well as adult book lovers). Cleverly done.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 5/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

The picture book cover of City Beet with Mrs. Kosta and Victoria leaning against a giant red beet with neighbors and apartments in the background

City Beet

by Tziporah Cohen (Author), Udayana Lugo (Illustrator). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Sleeping Bear Press. 2023 PreK-2. Hardcover Picture Book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€Ž 978-1534112711.

Brief summary: Mrs. Kosta and Victoria plant and nurture a beet seed until it ripens. The woman begins to harvest the gigantic beet but cannot remove it from the ground, no matter how hard she tugs. Several neighbors stop by the garden to help pull, creating a line out to the sidewalk until the vegetable is uprooted with a big “SPROING!!”

There is an Author’s Note and Raw Beet & Garlic Salad Recipe in the back.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 4/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

The picture book cover of Black Beach with Sam holding a picket sign saying "Save our planet." Marine animal life are with her while the oil rig is spilling oil onto the water

Black Beach: A Community, an Oil Spill, and the Origin of Earth Day 

by Shaunna & John Stith (Author), Maribel Lechuga (Illustrator). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž little bee books . 2023. Grades K-4. Hardcover Picture Book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€Ž 978-1499813043.

 Brief summary: Sam is in class in Santa Barbara when she sees her teacher look outside the window after the principal whispers to her and wonders why. Her parents explain to her about Union Oil causing an oil spill near where they live. The family walks to their favorite beach to find that the beach and ocean are black with oil. The town tries to clean the oil from the beach and help the animals covered with it.

A national day was created from this disaster and organized to celebrate and protest the environment which still exists today called Earth Day, April 22, 1970.

There are several sections in the back of the book: Author’s Note, Selected Bibliography, Timeline, Earth Day Today, Earth Day Every Day, and How to Become an Environmental Activist.

Teachers and homeschooling parents could share this book as a supplement in addition with Earth Day activities.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 4/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

The picture book cover of The World and Everything In It with bits and piece of the illustrations inside all around the title such as a dog, cloud, kitten, and so on

The World and Everything in It

by Kevin Henkes (Author, Illustrator). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Greenwillow Books. 2023. PreK-1. Hardcover Picture Book.ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€Ž 978-0063245648.

Brief summary: This book shares what is around us: big, small, and between. The soft and calming illustrations are done with brown ink and watercolor paint, demonstrating the size differences.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 3/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

The picture book cover of You Are My Pride with a large sailboat on the blue ocean

You Are My Pride: A Love Letter from Your Motherland 

by Carole Boston Weatherford (Author), E. B. Lewis (Illustrator). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Astra Young Readers. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover Picture Book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€Ž 978-1635923872.

Brief summary: This touching poem, illustrated with large two-page illustrations done in watercolors, is a lovely letter from Mother Nature telling her human children how much she has loved them since the beginning of their creation.

Back pages briefly explain the Developments in Early Human Evolution.

Educators–this would be a great supplement to use with the different viewpoints unit of study.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating 4/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

2023 Children's Books · Children's Book Recommendations

Animal Picture Books–Spring 2023

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

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

Animal Picture Books

Too Many Rabbits picture book cover accordingly with a lot of orange rabbits all over the house and grass

Too Many Rabbits 

by Davide Calรฌ (Author), Emanuele Benetti (Illustrator), Angus Yuen-Killick (Translator). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Red Comet Press. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover Picture Book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€Ž 978-1636550541.

 Brief summary: Owen and Zoey convince their father to buy two rabbits for the price of one. The family is suddenly overwhelmed with many new bunnies and decide they need to find homes for them all over town.

I especially enjoyed the sense of humor and orange rabbits in this book especially the counting from 1-20 of rehoming the pets.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating 3.5/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—1/2

The picture book cover of Darwin's Super-Pooping Worm Spectacular done in bright red with a large worm unquestionably sitting on top of its poo and Darwin standing behind it all

Darwin’s Super-Pooping Worm Spectacular 

by Polly Owen (Author), Gwen Millward (Illustrator). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Wide Eyed Editions. 2023. Grades 1-4. Hardcover Picture Book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€Ž 978-0711275973.

Brief summary: Charles Darwin is known for traveling all over the world and studying animals. Worms interest him the most. He studies and observes them through simple experiments and learns that they do not have eyes or ears, but evidently, can sense light and vibrations. He continues to find what other sense they possess. By observing them in their natural habitat, dirt, he discovers how valuable their poo is to the environment.


The text is done in the traditional style and simultaneously, with speech bubbles. This is a light and funny book with Wormy Facts and Worm Futures sections in the back.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 4/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

The picture book cover of Sanctuary with a baby donkey that has a bandaged leg and the little girl in the grass about to nudge heads in a loving way

Sanctuary: A Home for Rescued Farm Animals

by Julia Denos (Author, Illustrator). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Clarion Books. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover Picture Book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€Ž 978-0358205432

Brief summary: A young girl and friends heartfully welcome animals to a sanctuary farm where the creatures are respected for being themselves without expectations. They have a safe home and are undeniably cherished by the children.

Lovely illustrations in mixed mediums. A gentle book that does not go into the abuse the animals had before arriving.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 4/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

One of the pages from Sanctuary of the little read headed girl who narrates the book coaxing a goat to come out of the trailer to the green meadow. Done in water colors
The picture book cover  of This Little Kitty of five cats in various colors sitting or lying around

This Little Kitty 

by Karen Obuhanych (Author and Illustrator). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Knopf Books for Young Readers. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover Picture Book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€Ž 978-0593435144.

Brief summary: Young readers will enjoy a fun-filled feline day, starting with a houseful of kitties waking up. The rhyming and rhythmic words capture the true essence and antics of cats causing me to chuckle several times.


I’m certainly looking forward to reading more from Karen Obuhanych.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 4/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

The picture book cover of The Animal Song with the Crocodile on drums, Bear on the bass, and the weasel on guitar playing in the m middle of the forest with the forest animals cheering them on

The Animal Song

by Jonty Howley (Author and Illustrator). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Random House Studio. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover Picture Book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€Ž 978-0593381465.

Brief summary: Crocodile, Brown Bear, and Weasel play the animal song all summer long to the delight of the forest animals. When winter arrives, they all want to sleep, so the band moves to the city, where they play night after night. The band becomes tired and wants to sleep, so they go back home. The forest animals wake in the spring and want to sing the animal song but find the three asleep.

The Animal Song Sheet Music is also in the back of the book.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 3.5/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—1/2

The Animal Song by Jonty Howley