2023 Children's Books · Children's Book Recommendations

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

Fall Children’s Books: Picture Books and Nonfiction book recommendations–2023 are by Angela Ferraris, The Retired School Librarian.

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

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

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

The cover for It's Fall is a young girl has her hands above her head where there are leaves falling from  a tree. She is smiling as well as her dog and a flying bird

It’s Fall! (Celebrate the Seasons, 1)

by RenΓ©e Kurilla (Author, Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-2
  • Hardcover ‏ picture book: β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0316363995

Brief summary: A young girl shares what the fall season brings with back-to-school, Halloween, and Thanksgiving.

Comments: Illustrations are in yellows, reds, and oranges. The story is in rhyme.

What a fun book to share with young readers that introduces fall vocabulary.

Large single-page, double-page spreads, and vignette illustrations make this a read-aloud recommendation.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

A multigenerational family and their dog are on a fall hike walking over rocks in a stream with trees of orange and yellow behind them

When Fall Comes: Connecting with Nature as the Days Grow Shorter (When Seasons Come) 

by AimΓ©e M. Bissonette (Author), Erin Hourigan (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Little Bigfoot
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-3
  • Hardcover ‏ picture book: β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1632174529

Brief summary: Young readers will read how humans, wildlife, and nature prepare in the fall for the winter months ahead. Some will harvest and stock up on food, others will build places to sleep, while others will migrate to warmer weather.

Comments: This season series would be an excellent choice to have in any library. I’m looking forward to seeing When Spring Comes.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

Nonfiction

Blue tennis shoes are standing on fall colored fallen leaves

On a Gold-Blooming Day: Finding Fall Treasures 

by Buffy Silverman (Author)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Millbrook Press β„’
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: Todders-2
  • Library Binding nonfiction picture book ‏ : β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1728442982

Brief summary: When fall arrives, nature changes in many ways to prepare for winter.

Comments: Large and brilliant illustrations with fun adjectives, adverbs, and verbs to read aloud.

More in-depth explanations of fall changes are at the end of the book.

The back section includes What Treasures Will You Find in Fall?, Further Reading, and Glossary.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

Hanging lit lanterns are handing from the ceiling

Mid-Autumn Festival (Traditions & Celebrations)

by Ailynn Collins (Author)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Pebble Books
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: 1-4
  • Paperback nonfiction picture book‏ : β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0756575680

Brief summary:Β Mid-Autumn Festival, also called the Moon or Mooncake Festival, is globally celebrated by Asian people. Young readers will learn the origins of the holiday, the lunar calendar, and what traditions and foods people have to observe this holiday.

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

I wish we had these Traditions and Celebrations books when I was a child. I’m learning so much from reading them as an adult, which has broadened my understanding of other cultures.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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

A pile of apples on a wodden crate

Orchards (Trip to the Farm) 

by Ursula Pang (Author)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Powerkids Pr
  • Copyright : β€Ž 2023
  • Grades: K-3
  • Paperback nonfiction children’s book‏ : β€Ž 24 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 1725339374

Brief summary: There are many orchards (farms where trees grow)producing fruit, nuts, seeds, syrup, and Christmas trees. Young readers will learn about each type of orchard.

Comments: I placed this book in the fall section as when I think of orchards, I think of apple or fruit orchards because those are the ones in my area that are harvested in the fall. I also had those teachers book requests for fall units before they went and visited a nearby apple orchard.

I enjoyed reading and learning about the different types of orchards and when they were harvested.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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

2023 Children's Books · Children's Book Recommendations

Pumpkin Children’s Books–2023

Pumpkin 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.

See a Pumpkin Grow (See It Grow!) 

by Kirsten Chang (Author)

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

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

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

This book also comes in library binding.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

This is part of the See It Grow! series.

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

Zoo animals sitting on a gigantic pumpkin

Pumpkin Day at the Zoo 

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

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

There Was an Old Lady Who Picked a Pumpkin!

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

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

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

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

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

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

The Pie That Molly Grew 

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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

A red headed girl in pigtails is standing outside a brick house that has a glowing jack o' lantern in the window with leaves and the wind blowing

Lila and the Jack-o’-Lantern: Halloween Comes to America

by Nancy Churnin (Author), Anneli Bray  (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : β€Ž Albert Whitman & Company
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-3
  • Hardcover picture book ‏ : β€Ž 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : β€Ž 0807566632

Brief summary: Lila, an Irish immigrant, is on the ship in 1850 with her mother and two siblings on the way to America, where their father waits for them to join him. They talk about a spirit named Jack that visits homes on Halloween night to play pranks. They would carve a turnip and place a glowing coal inside so Jack sees it and leaves them alone. They wear sheets and knock on doors for sweets. When Lila arrives and sees that there are no turnips, she improvises with the help of her new friend Julia, who learns about the foods and traditions of Halloween in Ireland.

Comments:  This would be a great read- aloud for students to learn the origins of Halloween.

The back pages are Author’s Note and Colcannon and Barmbrack.

Rating: 4/5 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

September Children’s Book Recommendations–2023

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

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

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

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

A young girl waving as she looks out into the sea

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

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

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

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

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

Will these two get a response?

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

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

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

Rating: 4/5πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

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

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

Carina Felina 

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

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

Grandpa and the Kingfisher

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wonderful watercolor illustrations.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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

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

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

Baller Ina 

by Liz Casal (Author, Illustrator)

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

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

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

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

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

The Baddies 

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

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

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

Comments: Young readers will enjoy the humorous story.

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

This was originally printed in the UK in 2022.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“— 1/2

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

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

Together We Swim 

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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

MIa is wearing tute while doing a headstand

Wepa 

by J de laVega (Author, Illustrator)

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

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

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

The author shares that everyone in her family has ADHD.

This is a bilingual English-Spanish picture book.

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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

A young Judit is intentely looking across a chess board

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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

A teacher is on the shore of the rainforest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

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

2023 Children's Books · Children's Book Recommendations

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

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

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

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

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

Children’s Book Titles A to G

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

All By Myself 

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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

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

Ancestory: The Mystery and Majesty of Ancient Cave Art 

by Hannah Salyer (Author, Illustrator)

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

Children's book cover of animals wearing pants

Animals in Pants 

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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

Bee without wings standing on a sunflower

The Bee Without Wings

by Amberlea Williams (Author, Illustrator)

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4/4 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

Children's book cover of a scared boy

Bunso Meets a Mumu

by Rev Valdez (Author, Illustrator)

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

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

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

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

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

Chef Edna with white hair cradling a table of peple eating

Chef Edna: Queen of Southern Cooking, Edna Lewis 

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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

Cicadas in a circle

Cicada Symphony 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

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

Contenders: Two Native Baseball Players, One World Series 

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

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

Dear Earth 

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

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

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

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

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“— 1/2

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

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

Forever Our Home 

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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

There is also a Cree version of this picture book.

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

From Here to There: A First Book of Maps 

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

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

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

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

Rating 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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

Alphabet Children’s Books: The ABCs in Different Ways

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

Alphabet Picture Books

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

A Is for Australian Reefs 

byΒ FranΓ© LessacΒ (Author, Illustrator)

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

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

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

4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

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

A Is for Ambitious (Ambitious Girl, 2) 

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

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

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

Sequel to Ambitious Girl, 2021.

Rating 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“— 1/2

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

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

B Is for Bananas 

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

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

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

Comments:Β Cute, humorous bedtime story.Β 

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

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

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

by Dawn Masi (Author, Illustrator)

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

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

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

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“— 1/2

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

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

Pink pigs playing on large  alphabet letters

Playful Pigs from A to Z 

by Anita Lobel (Author, Illustrator)

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

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

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

Originally printed in 2015.

Rating 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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

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

Alphabuddies: G Is First! 

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

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

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

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

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

Alphabet Board Books

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

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

byΒ Workman PublishingΒ (Author).

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

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

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“— 1/2

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

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

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

P Is for Pirate 

by Greg Paprocki (Author, Illustrator)

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

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

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

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“— 1/2

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bright colors and large graphics. Capital letters.

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

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

Six portraits of female musicians

A is for Aretha 

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

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

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

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

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

Photographs of four baby animals

My First ABC Animal Book (Happy Fox Books)

by Editors of Happy Fox Books (Author)

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

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

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

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

Various cars

C Is for Car: An ABC Car Primer 

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

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

Brief summary: A car for each letter.

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

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

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

2023 Children's Books · Children's Book Recommendations

Back-to-School Picture Books–2023

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

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

Mr. S: A First Day of School Book

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

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

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

Rating: 5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

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

9 Kilometers (Stories from Latin America)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4.5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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

Translated and printed to English in 2023.

Marker 

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

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

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

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“— 1/2

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

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

And Then Comes School 

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

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

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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

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

Shy Robin and the First Day of School 

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

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

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

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

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

We’re Going to School 

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

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

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

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

Giant-Sized Butterflies On My First Day of School 

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

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

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

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

Mina Belongs Here 

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

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

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

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

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

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

Back to School, Backpack! 

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

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

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

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

A Smart, Smart School 

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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

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

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2023 Children's Books · Children's Book Recommendations

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

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

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

All About Nothing (All About Noticing) 

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

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

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

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

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

Someday, Maybe 

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

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

The back pages talk about some future possibilities.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

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

Bear Is Never Alone 

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

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

Rating 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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

A snake coming out of a red high top sneaker

Twenty Questions 

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

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

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

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

The Hospital Book 

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

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

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

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

The back page includes A Note From the Author.

Rating: 5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

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

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

Stanley’s Secret 

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

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

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

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

Sometimes: A Day Full of Feelings 

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

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

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

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

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

The Bright Side 

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

Children at a picnic

The ABCs of Inclusion: A Disability Inclusion Book for Kids 

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

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

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

Rating: 3.5/4 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—1/2

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

A girl playing on the beach by herself making a castle

Sometimes It’s Nice to Be Alone 

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

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

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

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

children wearing the same clothing as the background wall

Wallflowers 

by Mackenzie Joy (Author, Illustrator)

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

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

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

The illustrations are drawn with them looking like the background.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

A girl at the beach with her mother and dog

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

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

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

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

This is a Swedish translation.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

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

Mouseboat 

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

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

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

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

Rating: 5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

Boys at the beach

The Noise Inside Boys: A Story About Big Feelings 

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

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

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

Various families depicted on the cover with many emotions

You Are Loved: A Book About Families 

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

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

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

Rating: 3.5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“— 1/2

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

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

Children's Book Recommendations

How I Evaluate and Recommend Picture Books

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

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

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

Enjoy the Book

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

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


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

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

The Questions

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

The Words

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

Illustrations

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

The Cover

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

Flaps

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

End Pages

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

End of the Book

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

Misc.

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

Star Rating Explained

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

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

Picture Book Recommendation star rating of three to five

In Conclusion

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

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

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).

2023 Children's Books · Children's Book Recommendations

New Picture Books–Earth

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

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

Earth-Themed Picture Books

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

My Baba’s Garden 

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

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


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

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

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

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

Around Antarctica: Exploring the Frozen South 

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

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

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

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

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 5/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

City Beet

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

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

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

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

The World and Everything in It

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

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

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 3/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—

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

You Are My Pride: A Love Letter from Your Motherland 

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

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

Back pages briefly explain the Developments in Early Human Evolution.

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

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating 4/5 πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—πŸ“—