2023 Children's Books · Children's Book Recommendations

Halloween Children’s Books: Picture Books and Nonfiction–2023

Halloween Children’s Books–2023 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. 

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.

Picture Books

Halloween scene in the apple orchard with scarecrows, jack-o-lanterns, pumpkins, squash, ghosts, apples, a tractor, and a black cat

Halloween in the Orchard (Countryside Holidays, 3) 

by Phyllis Alsdurf (Author), Lisa Hunt (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Beaming Books
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-3
  • Hardcover ‏ picture book: β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1506487688

Brief summary: A young boy and his parents dress up in costumes to visit an orchard on Halloween, where there are many fun activities, including trick-or-treating with scarecrows, a corn maze, and a hayride.

Comments: What child(or adult) wouldn’t like to go to an apple orchard like this on Halloween night!?!

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

This is the third book of the Countryside Holidays series.

Bruce the bear has a grumpy look on his face as he stands on a stage wearing  clothing from the 1800s while his three mice friends are in disguises or inside a pumpkin full of Halloween candy

Bruce and the Legend of Soggy Hollow (Mother Bruce Series) 

by Ryan T. Higgins (Author, Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Disney Hyperion
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-3
  • Hardcover ‏ picture book: β€Ž 48 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1368059589

Brief summary: Although grumpy Bruce does not like holidays, especially Halloween, with all of those visitors appearing at his door, Bruce gets talked into and agrees to role-playing a scary story called “The Legend of Soggy Hollow” with his forest friends…but were they indeed all of his friends?

Comments: A cute and hilarious parody of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, one of my favorite spooky stories.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

Dokkaebi Doki and Kebi are in the countryside with their magical clubs

The Goblin Twins 

by Frances Cha (Author), Jaime Kim (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Crown Books for Young Readers
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-3
  • Hardcover picture book‏ : β€Ž 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 059348021X

Brief summary: Doki and Kebi are dokkaebi, a cross between a spirit and a goblin, who will need to move, as their home was being torn down to build a new one. Although Doki likes to give gifts of gold and silver to people with his magic club while his twin, Kebi, wants to scare people with his, they decide to live together in a haunted house in a strange land called America just in time for Halloween.

Comments: This is based on Korean lore. A more detailed explanation can be found in the back of the book in the Author’s Note.

I love to read monster/mythical creature lore from other countries. This would make an excellent addition to the Halloween or folklore section of a library.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

Nonfiction

There are pumpkins and jack-o- lanterns with lit candles and a fake black spider on the steps of a house for the traditional Halloween house

Halloween (Traditions & Celebrations) 

by Charles C Hofer (Author)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Pebble Books
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: 2-4
  • Paperback ‏nonfiction picture book : β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0756575605

Brief summary: Young readers will learn how Halloween began, how we celebrate it today, and how other countries(Mexico, Germany, France, and Japan) celebrate holidays like it.

Comments: Words in bold are in the glossary. The back sections are Glossary, Read More, Internet Sites, Index, and About the Author.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

Jack-o-lantern with a candle inside, a black cat, spilt candy corn, and bats are spread on the cover of this Halloween book

Halloween (Holiday History)

by Spanier Kristine Mlis (Author)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Pogo Books
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: 2-4
  • Paperback nonfiction paperback–32 pages
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 979-8885241298

Brief summary: Young readers will learn about the origins of Halloween, the traditions, and how South Korea and Ireland celebrate.

Comments: Several “Did You Know?” squares give more information about the page’s topic. The back sections are Quick Facts & Tools: Halloween Place of Origin, Glossary, Index, and To Learn More.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

πŸ‚πŸRelated book recommendations are Fall Children’s Books: Picture Books and Nonfiction–2023 and Pumpkin Children’s Books–2023. πŸ‚πŸ

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

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

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“—

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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“—

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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“—

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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

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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“—

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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“—

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 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

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

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

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

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

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

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“—

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

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“—

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

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

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

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“—

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

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

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

More Biography Picture Book Recommendations

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

Biography picture book cover of Charles Drew with a doctor in a white lab coat and stethoscope around his neck

Charles Drew: The Innovator of the Blood Bank (Bright Minds) 

by Aaron Talley (Author), Subi Bosa (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Children’s Press. 2023. Grades 4-6. Paperback or Hardcover Biography Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1338865356.

Brief summary: Charles Drew created a technique that separates the different parts of blood called centrifuging, which helped the blood stay fresh longer in storage. He is known for improving the blood banks and just in time for World War II when bloodmobiles and the American Red Cross enabled people to give and receive blood wherever they lived.

The back pages have sections such as a glossary, legacy, questions, index, and further reading.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Biography picture book cover of the cover of Eleanor Roosevelt: Her Path to Kindness with a young girl with long blond hair wearing a pink dress sitting on a rock with a book in one hand and violets in the other

Eleanor Roosevelt: Her Path to Kindness

by Helaine Becker (Author), Aura Lewis (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Christy Ottaviano Books. 2023. Grades 1-3. Hardcover Biography Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-0316316415.

Brief summary: Eleanor Roosevelt’s parents and brother died within two years of each other. She lived with her Grandmother. At age fifteen, she was sent to a girls’ boarding school in England, where a teacher helped her realize her potential. Eleanor became a leader of the girls and helped everyone. She left her senior year to return to the USA, where she was expected to debut and find a husband but had other plans.

The Author’s note in the back gives more details about Eleanor Roosevelt’s life. Several of her famous quotes are cited.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

Cover of You Gotta Meet Mr. Pierce with a man sitting on a chair carving a wooden elephant with shelves of paint

You Gotta Meet Mr. Pierce!: The Storied Life of Folk Artist Elijah Pierce

by Chiquita Mullins Lee (Author), Carmella Van Vleet (Author), Jennifer Mack-Watkins (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Kokila. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover Biography Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-0593406502.

Brief summary:  Columbus, Ohio, artist Elijah Pierce shares with a young artist how he was inspired to carve wood. Elijah cuts the boy’s hair and continues how he got ideas for his many art pieces hanging all around the barbershop. The boy leaves with a fresh cut and thoughts of creating with his new box of colored pencils his mother gave him earlier.

The back pages contain Elijah Pierce’s honors, Authors’ Notes, Artist’s Note, and information about Elijah Pierce’s Art used in the book.

I remember going to the Columbus Museum of Art and seeing his art and getting to know who the artist was based on his subject matter in the art.

This book contains quotes from Elijah, but the boy in the story is fictional.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Biography picture book cover of Never Give Up with Dr. Kati Kariko wearing a white lab coat. Microscope and beakers are on a table.

Never Give Up: Dr. Kati KarikΓ³ and the Race for the Future of Vaccines 

by Debbie Dadey (Author), Juliana Oakley (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Millbrook Press β„’ . 2023. Grades 2-5. Hardcover Biography Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-1728456331.

Brief summary: Hungarian-American scientist Dr. Kati Kariko has always wanted to be a scientist. She studied mRNA(messenger ribonucleic acid) in a biology research center, wondering if she could make new mRNA that would send the message to make suitable proteins for people to heal.

She moved to America and failed to get mRNA to work with cells, so she worked at various universities. She met Drew Weissman, another scientist interested in mRNA. After eight years, they wrote a paper about mRNA. She was offered several jobs but chose to work at BioNTech in Germany. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, scientists at BioNTech and Pfizer worked together to design a vaccine using an mRNA vaccine to fight the virus.

The back pages include Timeline, Steps To Making a Vaccine, Author’s Note, Glossary, Source Notes, and Further Study sections.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Cover of Ice Cream Man with Augustus Jackson offering a scoop of ice-cream with a nice smile

Ice Cream Man: How Augustus Jackson Made a Sweet Treat Better 

by Glenda Armand (Author), Kim Freeman (Author), Keith Mallett (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Crown Books for Young Readers . 2023. PreK-3. Hardcover Narrative Nonfiction Biography Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-0593563229.

Brief summary: Augustus Jackson left his home in Philadelphia at twelve to go to Washington, DC, to follow his dream as a cook. He became an expert at making ice cream. He was hired at the White House and stayed for five years.

He returned home and opened his own ice cream parlor. He created a faster way to freeze ice cream, as refrigerators/freezers still needed to be invented. He could come up with making ice cream in half the time and ship his own ice cream by train without it melting.

Nicknamed the “Father of Ice Cream”

The back pages include Make Your Own Ice-Cream, Afterword, and Sources sections.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Cover of The Firs Woman Cherokee Chief with Wilma Pearl Mankiller talking behind a podium that has a microphone

The First Woman Cherokee Chief: Wilma Pearl Mankiller (Step into Reading) 

by Patricia Morris Buckley (Author), Aphelandra Messer (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Random House Books for Young Readers . 2023. Grades 1-2. Paperback or Hardcover Reader Biography Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-0593568507.

Brief summary: Wilma Pearl Mankiller lived in Oklahoma on Cherokee lands until a drought caused her father to move to the city for work. Pearl(the name she preferred) hated the city and stayed at her grandmother’s farm for a year. She moved back to the city and connected with other Native people at the American Indian Center.

In 1969, there was a protest at Alcatraz about the Native lands stolen by the government. Pearl supported and helped Native people many times and later became the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

Cover of Carol Burnett wearing a blue evening dress with dangling earrings. She is tugging on her left ear.

Carol Burnett: A Little Golden Book Biography 

by Andrea Posner-Sanchez (Author), Kelly Kennedy (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Golden Books. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover Biography Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-0593481912.

Brief summary: Carol Burnett was born in Texas and was raised by her grandmother, Nanny. When she was seven, they moved to Hollywood, California, where Nanny would take Carol to see several movies weekly. Carol would reenact them on their apartment’s rooftop and later study theater arts in college. After seeing her perform, a stranger gave her $1,000, urging her to go to New York. She had to promise to pay him back in five years and to never reveal his identity. Carol became famous on the Garry Moore Show and then had her own tv show that aired for eleven seasons.

Carol’s famous left ear tug on TV was her way of saying hello to her grandmother, something she did even after the woman’s passing.

If you are unfamiliar with Little Golden Books, they are smaller than a “regular” picture book–Dimensions ‏ : β€Ž 6.63 x 0.19 x 8 inches.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

If you enjoy A Little Golden Book Biographies like I do , click here for more titles; priced affordably.

Biography picture books of Temple Grandin as a child sitting on grass with dogs and cows in the background

I am Temple Grandin (Ordinary People Change the World)

by Brad Meltzer (Author), Christopher Eliopoulos (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Rocky Pond Books. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover Biography Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : β€Ž 978-0593405970.

Brief summary: Temple Grandin was born with autism and did not act or respond like other babies and toddlers did to things and situations. Her mother found a speech therapist to help Temple speak her first words at age four. Through her sensitivity and empathy towards cattle, she was able to help better design the cattle chute for them to feel calmer and how to build round pens because she noticed they could go around a curve easier. She also discovered how to make cows feel calmer by going down into the water for a bath to get rid of insects on them by changing the steel ramp to a textured concrete one.

Temple was able to go to college and even receive a doctorate degree. She teaches and does research at Colorado State University. The book explains how she thinks and feels in the first-person narrative.

I highly recommend this book for parents, teachers, and librarians to share with those with autism to be inspired by Temple’s life’s accomplishments.

Smaller than an average picture book–Dimensions ‏ : β€Ž 7.94 x 0.33 x 7.88 inches

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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