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

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

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

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).

2023 Children's Books · Children's Book Recommendations

Father Picture Book Recommendations

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

Picture Books

A boy and his dad lying down in the back of a pickup truck looking up to the stars

A Bed of Stars 

by Jessica Love (Author, Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Candlewick. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1536212396.

Brief summary: A boy with trouble falling asleep goes camping with his father. They pack up the pickup truck, Darlin’, and head for the desert. His father tells him about the plants and animal tracks. They build a fire and watch the sun set while sitting on the hood of the pickup until the stars come out. They get in the sleeping bag in the truck bed, enjoying the stars above them.

His father is able to teach his son how to connect with the universe and not feel so small. They drive home, where Mom has a surprise waiting for their boy.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

Picture book cover of Finding Papa with a little girl on her mother's back as they wade through a river. Mai is thinkin of the crocodiles her father told her about living in the river.

Finding Papa 

by Angela Pham Krans (Author), Thi Bui (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž HarperCollins, 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-0063060968.

Brief summary: Mai and her papa like to play crocodile chomp with their hands. Papa leaves Vietnam to go to America to make a better life for his wife and daughter. Mai does not understand where her father has gone and waits for him to return each day to play. Mama packs and bag and takes her little one on a long journey through the rice paddies, across a river, and onto a boat across the ocean to a refugee camp in Singapore until they are released when Mama travels in the city to find her husband.

This story is based on the author and her mother, who journeyed in 1983 from Vietnam to America. Both author and illustrator share their families’ journey of immigration.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

A young Chris Paul sitting on the shoulder of his granddad, Papa Chilly

Basketball Dreams 

by Chris Paul (Author), Courtney Lovett (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Roaring Brook Press. 2023. Prek-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1250810038.

Brief summary: Chris wants to become a basketball player and looks up to his granddad, Papa Chilly, for guidance as the man’s dreams have come true. He gets up early to practice. He learns how to be a good team player and to help others. Papa Chilly attends Chris’s games and cheers him on.

The back page has Chris Paul’s recollection of his grandfather and a photo of them.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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A father and son holding fishing poles while walking down a path with trees around them

Daddy & Me, Side by Side 

by Pierce Freelon (Author), Nadia Fisher (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. 2023. Prek-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-0316055864.

Brief summary:Β A father and son go camping together. As they hike and fish, the father shares how he did the same with his father, who recently died. It almost feels like Pop-Pop is there with them as they create new and share old memories of being together.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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A proud little girl wearing a baseball hat and jean jacket standing in front of a large and red semi  truck

Trucker Kid 

by Carol Gordon Ekster (Author), Russ Cox (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Capstone Editions. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1684466214.

Brief summary: Athena misses her father when he is trucking and has to leave the family for days. She loves ANYTHING to do with eighteen-wheelers and is proud to be a Trucker Kid. She shares her joy and enthusiasm with the kids at school. Her classmates understand her passion once her father visits the school via his semi to share everything about his job.

The back pages have sectionsΒ Keep on TruckingΒ andΒ Author’s Note.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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Baba sitting on the persian rug with his six daughters

Baba’s Gift: A Persian Father’s Love of Family 

by Ariana Shaheen Amini (Author), Christina Maheen Amini (Author), Elaheh Taherian (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Little Bigfoot. 2023. Grades 2-4. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1632173232.

Brief summary: Baba shares stories with his six daughters while they sit and play on the Persian carpet of his boyhood in Iran and his stories of immigrating to America.

This is based on the true story of Dr. Fariborz Amini. Authors’ Notes in the back have a photo of the lovely family.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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Kate is sitting on her father's shoulders with her backpack on

Hurry, Kate, or You’ll Be Late!

by Janice N. Harrington (Author), Tiffany Rose (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Margaret Ferguson Books. 2023. PreK-1. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-0823445103.

Brief summary: Kate was late to preschool this morning, but why? Was it because of her breakfast? Because she and her dad stopped to wave at friends?

Young readers will follow Kate and her father’s journey to go to preschool and ask to figure out and predict why Kate was late.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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 A girl and her Pop bearing into a box

Pop’s Perfect Present 

by Corey Finkle (Author), Lenny Wen (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Henry Holt and Co. (BYR). 2023. PreK-3. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1250819444.

Brief summary: A young girl tries to think of the best gift to give her father because he is such a wonderful Pop. As they spend the day together, each attempt of creating the present is a failure. Will she be able to give her father the perfect present?

Humorous rhyming with a fun rhythm.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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A boy on the shoulders of his father; both are eating a doughnut

No Fair! 

by Jacob Grant (Author, Illustrator).Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Viking Books for Young Readers. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-0593117699.

Brief summary: Pablo and his father get on their bikes while their dog, Waffles, runs aside them. It’s Market Day, and Pablo wants a donut, but it is allowed once all the shopping is finished. As Pablo tries to help, he finds that everything he picks out is too big. He protests, “Not fair!” Will he realize with the help of his dad that not all things are fair?

This book could be a shared read-aloud with the father’s voice in black ink and the son’s in red.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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A father and his song djing together

My Dad Is a DJ 

by Kathryn Erskine (Author), Keith Henry Brown (Author, Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2023. PreK-3. Hardcover Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-0374307424.

Brief summary: Trevor’s parents separate, and his father moves out. They once shared time listening to music late in the night after his father returned from being DJ. They would shoot baskets after school. He would even hear his father dedicate songs to him over the radio.

Lately, though, they have yet to connect since he moved out. His food preferences are different. He has a new friend his father has yet to meet. The end-of-the-year dance is coming up that his father has DJed. Will combining the latest hip-hop that Trevor likes and the soul his father favors work out? Will DJing together bring them closer?

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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Different family members of various ethinic backgrounds in a selfie pose

Dad and Daddy’s Big Big Family 

by Seamus Kirst (Author), Karen Bunting (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Magination Press. 2023. PreK-3. Hardcover Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1433840388.

Brief summary:Β Harper packs a suitcase and drives to a huge family reunion in a park with her fathers, where she meets family members for the first time, like her cousins, second cousins, and first cousins once removed. She also meets family she already knows. Harper learns that she has some things the same and different from everyone, but they are all connected by their love for one another.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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A father making a pink dress for his daughter who is hugging him from behind

Daddy Dressed Me 

by Michael Gardner (Author), Ava Gardner (Author), Nadia Fisher (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Aladdin. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1665921954.

Brief summary: Ava’s father is good at making things but especially sewing her dresses for special occasions. She will recite a poem onstage during Move Up Day and is worried she will forget the words.

Her father tells the nervous girl that he will help her memorize the lines and would like to sew a unique dress to boost her confidence. Will both of their hard work pay off on the big day?

Based on a true story which can be found in the back–The Story Behind the Story. Loved to see the photos of the real father and daughter duo.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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Maribel touching the koi pond making circular ripples

Maribel’s Year 

by Michelle Sterling (Author), Sarah Gonzales (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Katherine Tegen Books. 2023. PreK-3. Hardcover Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-0063114357.

Brief summary: Maribel must wait an entire year before her father, who is in the Philippines, can rejoin his daughter and wife in America. Each month the young girl tells about the memories of her father and the emotional thoughts she has that he is with them again.

Illustrations change with each month and capture the feelings and thoughts of Maribel.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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Man with a robin sitting in its nest on top of his head

My Dad Is a Tree 

by Jon Agee (Author). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Rocky Pond Books. 2023. Prek-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-0593531372.

Brief summary: A young girl asks her father to stand with his arms outstretched and become a tree.

This whimsical story continues throughout the day, with more creatures visiting the father and making themselves comfortable as though he were a real tree.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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Father Bear holding his song

Papa’s Home 

by David Soman (Author). Publisher ‏ : β€ŽLittle, Brown Books for Young Readers. 2023. PreK-2. Hardback picture book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-0316427838.

Brief summary: Papa is going away for a little while, and Aunt Jessie will come to take care of the little bear. Father and son spend the day doing activities together. At the same time, the child asks questions about what it will be like when the father is away. The father quietly answers his child’s many questions with reassurance that everything will be okay.

Lovely illustrations that capture the emotional expressions of the father and child.

The text in this book allows for a reader’s theater opportunity with the child’s voice in green ink; Papa’s in purple ink.

Rating: 4.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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Board Books

Toddler being held by her father

Daddy’s Hugs and Snuggles 

by Linda Ashman (Author), Jane Massey (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Cartwheel Books. 2023. Baby-3. Board book with thick cardstock(not cardboard). ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1338854046.

Brief summary: A child tells in rhyme what their father does with them in that part of the day while another child continues until young readers have learned the morning, noon, and evening routines.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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Cover of Daddy and Me with children and fathers

Daddy and Me 

by Gary Urda (Author), Rosie Butcher (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž little bee books. 2023. Baby-3. Board book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1499813517.

Brief summary: Each child shares what activity they share with their father.

Diverse with different families, backgrounds, and what the child calls their father. Papa, Dada, Pops, Baba, and so forth.

The illustrations are full pages with happy and bright colors matching the happiness of each child and father relationship.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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