2023 Children's Books · Children's Book Recommendations

New Children’s Book Recs–Week of November 12, 2023

New Children’s Book Recommendations–Week of November 12, 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.

Cover of the Book: Braeden wearing a green jacket holding a box of small paper bags with a homeless man and his dog in the background

Just One Pebble: One Boy’s Quest to End Hunger 

by Dianna Wilson Sirkovsky (Author), Sara Casilda (Illustrator)

  • Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Clavis
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: 1-4
  • Hardcover picture book โ€ : โ€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 โ€ : โ€Ž 1605377678

Brief summary:  Braeden sees a homeless man on the side of the road as he and his mother drive to the store. Once he gets home, Braeden still thinks about the man and what his life must be like living on the streets. He makes a bag of snacks and things the person may need before asking his mom to take him back to the man.

Braeden puts together more bags and goes to a soup kitchen. When passing them out, he discovers a boy his age is there. Braeden is becoming increasingly aware of those less fortunate than himself, including children his age.

On Monday, his principal allows him to speak to everyone about his Brae’s Brown Bags(3B) to help those who need food, inspiring others to help.

Comments: This book is based on a true story about Braden Mannering, who raises awareness about how others can help those with food insecurity.

The back sections are   About BraedenOne Simple Bag, and A Word From Braeden. 

Teachers could read this book to students during their next food-drive to demonstrate how children can make a difference.

Rating: 4/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

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

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

Braeden Mannering’s website is https://braesbrownbags.org/

A beautiful Nokomis girl with long hair with the forest and river and yellow sun in the background. A bird, fish, butterfly and feather are on the cover of the book.

My Powerful Hair 

by Carole Lindstrom (Author), Steph Littlebird (Illustrator)

  • Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Harry N. Abrams
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: 1-3
  • Hardcover โ€picture book : โ€Ž 48 pages
  • ISBN-10 โ€ : โ€Ž 1419759434

Brief summary: A young girl tells how she can’t wait for her hair to grow long. She explains how her ancestors grew long hair, as hair is their memories and source of strength. The girl shares the milestones of her life and how her hair grows parallel to those special events.

Comments: Readers learn why the young girl’s mother has always had short hair and what it means to have hair cut short in her Indigenous culture.

This book’s back pages explain the belief that hair holds strength and power and includes an Author’s note.

Rating: 4.5/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—1/2

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

A woman with long hair with animals shown within it

The cover of the book is an illustration of each zodiac object around the words Night Lights with a blue starry night background

Night Lights 

by Jeannie K. Johnson (Author)

  • Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Juju Press
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: 3-6
  • Paperback short stories โ€ : โ€Ž 94 pages
  • ISBN-10 โ€ : โ€Ž 1088075509

Brief summary: Young readers will read Zodiac-inspired fables that are new and modern interpretations of twelve constellations, paired together in six short stories: the Ram and the Fish, the Water Bearer and the Goat, the Archer and the Scorpion, the Scales and the Maiden, the Lion and the Crab, and the Twins and the Bull.

Comments: These fables are variants of the Roman/Greek constellation stories. They are original and inspired by the Zodiac.

Each chapter begins with a colorful illustration and ends with the constellation pairing.

This could be a read-aloud to young and older students.

A creative writing idea is reading aloud one of the stories and having students create their own modern fable of one of the constellations.

Rating: 4/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

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

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

Book Cover: Snowing in a hollow with winter trees on either side with Hubert, the little mouse wearing a red jacket and gray scarf holding a book looking up with a scared look.

The Voice in the Hollow 

by Will Hillenbrand (Author)

  • Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Holiday House
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-3
  • Hardcover โ€ picture book: โ€Ž 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 โ€ : โ€Ž 0823436810

Brief summary: A blizzard causes the library to close early. Hubert must walk home in the storm, deciding a shortcut through the Hollow would get him home quicker. Although it looked spooky and the wind picked up, the mouse entered the Hollow. He was met by a fox who took his hand, and they made a dangerous trek across the snow-covered landscape. He safely returns home to his parents and siblings to share his adventure.

Comments: The illustrations expressed and captured the snowfall and coldness of the blizzard with a beautiful double gatefold at the story’s climax.

This would be a perfect fit snow story for young readers on a gray wintery day. 

Teachers teaching winter units should definitely include this picture book.

Rating: 5/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

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

A girl wearing a blue bicycle helmet riding a red bike on the sidewalk with yellow and orange leaves on the ground. The sky and road is gray.

Nothing Ever Happens on a Gray Day 

by Grant Snider (Author

  • Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Chronicle Books
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-3
  • Hardcover โ€ picture book: โ€Ž 44 pages
  • ISBN-10 โ€ : โ€Ž 1797210890

Brief summary: As Fall slowly turns towards Winter, a girl rides her bike through her gray neighborhood, crunching through the fallen leaves to the playground, where she goes on a Nature walk into the woods nearby, seeing more and more colors as she explores.

Comments: This is a quiet story of a girl’s solitude and exploring the world around her area. In its conclusion, we can see how her gray day becomes full of colors.

The front end papers feature gray/blue fallen leaves, and the back end papers feature bright yellow/orange leaves visually representing the picture book’s changing mood and color scheme throughout the story.

This is a perfect read-aloud for young ones.

Rating: 5/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

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

A girl standing at the end of sidewalk with her apartment building in the background with the sky gray and the ground.
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 โ€ : โ€Ž Charlesbridge. 2023. PreK-3. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€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 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

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 โ€ : โ€Ž Henry Holt and Co. 2023. PreK-3. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€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 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

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 โ€ : โ€Ž Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€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 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—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 โ€ : โ€Ž Candlewick. 2023 PreK-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€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 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

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 โ€ : โ€Ž Neal Porter Books. 2023. PreK-3. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€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 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

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 โ€ : โ€Ž Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€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 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

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 โ€ : โ€Ž Crown Books for Young Readers. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€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 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

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 โ€ : โ€Ž Rocky Pond Books. 2023. Grades 1-3. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€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 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

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 โ€ : โ€Ž Wise Ink Creative Publishing. 2023. Grades 2-4. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€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 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—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 โ€ : โ€Ž Neal Porter Books. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€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 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

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 โ€ : โ€Ž Clarion Books. 2023. PreK -2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€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 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

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 โ€ : โ€Ž Orca Book Publishers. 2023. Prek-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€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 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

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 โ€ : โ€Ž Viking Books for Young Readers. 2023. PreK-3. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€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 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

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 โ€ : โ€Ž Random House Studio. 2023. PreK -2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€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 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

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 โ€ : โ€Ž Scholastic Inc. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover picture book.ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€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 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“— 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).