2023 Children's Books · Children's Book Recommendations

Swimming Children’s Books

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

Kids swimming in a blue pool. Our Pool words are in the middle

Our Pool 

by Lucy Ruth Cummins (Author, Illustrator). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Atheneum Books for Young. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-10 โ€ : โ€Ž 1534499237.

Brief summary: We watch as many wake up and go to the city pool with other families. They change into a bathing suit, get covered with sunblock, and go into the cool blue water. Everyone plays above and below the water until it’s time to eat lunch on spread-out towels on concrete. They do more swimming before heading home with a treat from the ice cream truck.

The bright summer colors illustrations are showcased in many two page spreads with details and descriptive words that had me feeling like I was at the pool smelling the chlorine, hearing the shouting and laughter, and the coolness of the water.

Rating: 5/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

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

A young girl swimming in a pool who stopped and lifted her goggles up to stare at the reader

When You Can Swim 

by Jack Wong (Author, Illustrator). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Orchard Books. 2023. Prek-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-10 โ€ : โ€Ž 1338830961.

Brief summary: A young child encourages those to learn how to swim and shares all the aquatic wonders they could experience while swimming in various types of waters.

The back pages include the author sharing his experience of learning how to swim and going back to some of his favorite swimming spots for inspiration to write and illustrate the book.

Rating: 3.5/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—1/2

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

A girl is on the edge of a diving board looking into the water with plants and marine animals swimming in it

A Dive Into the Blue 

by Ellie Huynh (Author), Bao Luu (Illustrator). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Beaming Books. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-10 โ€ : โ€Ž 1506486347.

Brief summary: A young girl shares her fear of diving into the public pool while standing at the edge of the diving board and letting her imagination almost overcome her from swimming. Will she be able to dive into the blue water?

I would share this book with students to help them learn coping skills to navigate their fears.

Rating: 3.5/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—1/2

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

A girl is ready to go swimming with a large life preserver that has a sleeping sloth on top of it

Waiting on Mr. Sloth 

by Katy Hudson (Author, Illustrator). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Capstone Editions . 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-10 โ€ : โ€Ž 1684464803.

Brief summary: Sasha is excited to go swimming with her best friend, Mr. Sloth, but is losing her patience with his slowness every step of the way. They finally walk to the lake and have lunch before entering the water. Sasha’s friend is taking too long, and she goes into the lake without him, only to realize it’s not as much fun. Sasha returns to their picnic to find Mr. Sloth in a tree enjoying his surroundings. Will Sasha and Mr. Sloth go swimming together in the future? Will Sasha learn to be patience?

In the back of the book, there is a discussion of ways to calm oneself when waiting.

Rating: 3.5/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—1/2

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

Child with nose plugs and goggle on swimming underneath the water

Facing Your Fear of Water (Facing Your Fears) 

by Heather E. Schwartz (Author). Nonfiction Hardcover. Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Pebble Books. 2023. Grades K-3. Hardcover nonfiction. ISBN-10 โ€ : โ€Ž 1666355542.

Brief summary: Young readers get advice on ways to be calm if they are afraid of the water and are encouraged to take small steps to learn to be able to go swimming.

The back sections are Sink or Float, Glossary, Read More, and Internet Sites.

This is one of the Facing Your Fears series.

Rating: 3/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

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

Garden Picture Book Recommendations

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

Children playing in a garden

Garden Walk 

by Virginia Brimhall Snow (Author). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Gibbs Smith. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€Ž 978-1423662525.

Brief summary: Grammy and her four grandchildren walk through the forest and to the garden, learning about plants, animals, and insects. They place a blanket on the ground and picnic while Grammy reads to them. Narrated by one of the children.

Blue ink illustrations with the plants, animals, or insects highlighted with full-colored words that match the subject.

Picnic recipes are in the back.

Rating: 4/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

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

If you enjoy this book, you may be interested in Virginia Brimhall Snow’s Seasonal Walks series. For more details or to buy, click here.

A grandfather giving his granddaughter a pot of peonies

Love Makes a Garden Grow 

by Taeeun Yoo (Author, Illustrator). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books. 2023. Prek-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€Ž 978-1534442863.

Brief summary: A young girl and her grandfather tend a garden together until he moves to an apartment where he brings some of his plants.

She grows up and lives far away, but her grandfather sends her a gift of peonies. When her daughter grows, the granddaughter visits the man showing her little one how to tend the house plants and flowers like he taught her.

An Author’s Note in the back explains how this story is based on her relationship with her grandfather.

Rating: 3.5/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“— 1/2

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

 A girl in a polka dot dress on the rooftop garden gathering fruit and fegetables for her basket while a cat is chasing butterflies

Linh’s Rooftop Garden (Where In the Garden?) 

by JaNay Brown-Wood (Author), Samara Hardy (Illustrator). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Peachtree. 2023. PreK-1. Hardcover picture book.

Brief summary: Lihn needs to find blueberries for their brunch and walk around the rooftop looking at all the fruits and vegetables. The girl describes what a blueberry looks like and compares those characteristics to each plant methodically until she finds them.

There is a blueberry and banana pancake recipe in the back.

Rating: 3.5/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“— 1/2

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

If you enjoy this book, you may be interested in the other three books of the Where in the Garden? series:

A child with flowers all around them wearing a necklace of daisies.

Watch Me Bloom: A Bouquet of Haiku Poems for Budding Naturalists 

by Krina Patel-Sage (Author, Illustrator).Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Lantana Publishing. 2023. PreK-3. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€Ž 978-1913747992

Brief summary: A collection of twenty-four haikus about different flower species, all illustrated with lovely bright colors, including the paste-down end pages.

There are Floral Fun Facts in the back of the book.

Rating: 3.5/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“— 1/2

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

A word on a rock with quilled plants growing beside it

Just a Worm 

by Marie Boyd (Author, Illustrator). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Greenwillow Books. 2023. PreK-3. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€Ž 978-0063212565.

Brief summary: Worm begins its day crawling through the garden when two humans cause it to have self-doubt. The worm crawls through a garden talking with each insect and creature it comes across, asking what it can do. Will the worm realize its importance to a garden and regain self-confidence?

The back pages include Make Your Own Quilled Butterfly, Earthworm Facts, and a Glossary. Illustrated using quilling techniques to make the plants.

I recommend that this picture book be read to supplement a quilling unit.

Rating: 4/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

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

George Washington Carver as a young man with a moustache holding a large pot of white flowers

George Washington Carver: More Than “The Peanut Man” (Bright Minds): More Than “The Peanut Man” 

by Janel Rodriguez (Author), Subi Bosa (Illustrator). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Children’s Press. 2023. Grades 3-6. Hardcover narrative nonfiction hardcover. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€Ž 978-1338864205.

I’ve only known George Washington Carver as the “peanut man” and updated my education when reading this narrative nonfiction about this knowledgeable and talented man nicknamed “Plant Doctor.”

Brief summary: This book begins with his life as a child who studied plants and painted them. It continues with his young adulthood of going to college, learning, and experimenting with plants. The book tells of his adulthood of going around in a Jesup wagon, educating farmers on improving their crops and livestock. Readers will learn about many of his inventions and personal life too. I enjoyed reading about this remarkable man.

This book is full of a variety of nonfiction text features. The back sections include Your Turn!, Glossary, Index, and Further Reading.

Rating: 4/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

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

A child tending a garden with plants and animals. Geese are flying overhead.

Little Land 

by Diana Sudyka (Author, Illustrator). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. 2023.

Brief summary: This is an ecological/environmental story from the beginning of the earth to its present of how the land and its inhabitant have changed and how to live in balance.

I included this book under gardening(although it could be under ecology or environmental) as it highlights how to tend a little bit of land.

Rating: 4/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

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

A little girl in a red hoody looking at a flower with her black and white dog. She has a box of seeds.

Every Little Seed 

by Cynthia Schumerth (Author), Elisa Paganelli (Illustrator).Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Sleeping Bear Press. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€Ž 978-1534112698.

Brief summary: A young girl with her mother and grandfather plant seeds in the spring garden and tend them to grow, observing how the seed changes to develop. Birds and bugs visit the garden. Soon fall comes when the plants begin to produce seeds they gather for the next planting.

A plant’s cycle.

A story in rhyme.

Facts about seeds are in the back of the book, including a seed diagram.

Rating: 4/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

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

A little mouse inside of a red tulip

A Flower is a Friend 

by Frieda Wishinsky (Author), Karen Patkau (Illustrator).Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Pajama Press; 1st edition. 2023. Prek-1. Hardcover nonfiction. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€Ž 978-1772782806.

Brief summary: An animal/creature is paired with a flower in the garden, and readers are asked why they coexist so well. Answers are in the book of how they benefit each other.

Symbiosis.

Rating: 3/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

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

garden and flowers in a circle with a white picket fence with a city scape background

My First Garden: For Little Gardeners Who Want to Grow 

by Livi Gosling (Author). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž DK Children.2023. K-4. Hardcover nonfiction(80pages). ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€Ž 978-0744070866.

Brief summary: This nonfiction book is a beginning guide to gardening with step-by-step instructions. Everything one needs to know is covered with illustrations.

This is for the primary children to learn by looking at the lovely illustrations or for older elementary students who want to start a gardening club.

I usually stick to picture book reviews, but this nonfiction book’s illustrations make a difference with the covered topics by clarifying the lesson.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Ratings:4/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

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

A young girl and her mother with henna on their hands.

A Garden in My Hands 

by Meera Sriram (Author), Sandhya Prabhat (Illustrator). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Knopf Books for Young Readers. 2023. Prek-2. Hardcover picture book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€Ž 978-0593427101.

Brief summary: A little girl has her hands Painted by her mother for a wedding the next day. Her mother tells her memories as she paints a garden of flowers and decorations. She sleeps with gloves on over the henna to wake and brush the flakes off to reveal her red garden of stories and the fragrance of henna.

Facts about henna are in the back of the book.

Rating: 3/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

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

Children planting and tending a garden

G is for Gardening (A Gardening ABC Primer) 

by Ashley Marie Mireles (Author), Volha Kaliaha (Illustrator). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Familius. 2023. Baby-3. Hardcover board book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€Ž 978-1641707503.

Brief summary: Readers will learn their ABCs of gardening, discovering tools, plants, and animals in a garden.

Large and colorful illustrations. A good builder of garden vocabulary.

Rating: 3/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

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

New Poetry Picture Books

Poetry 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).

Cover of a poetry picture book titled How to Write a Poem done with a girl riding a unicycle over a bunch of wheels

How to Write a Poem

by Kwame Alexander (Author), Deanna Nikaido (Author), Melissa Sweet (Illustrator). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Quill Tree Books. 2023. Grades 3-5. Hardcover Picture Book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€Ž 978-0063060906.

Brief summary: Young readers (and future poetry writers) are encouraged to feel and use their imagination as they observe the world around them. They are inspired to write it down as poetry.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 3/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

If you enjoy this book, you may also like How to Read a Book.

Cover of a poetry picture book titled Push-Pull Morning with a child hugging a dog

Push-Pull Morning: Dog-Powered Poems About Matter and Energy 

by Lisa Westberg Peters (Author), Serge Bloch (Illustrator). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Wordsong. 2023. Grades 2-4. Hardcover Nonfiction Picture Book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€Ž 978-1635925272.

Brief summary: A fun introduction to physics in free verse poetry about a child and dog experiencing everyday life.


Each poem’s physics correlation is explained at the back of the book. This book could be shared in science units when each physics aspect is introduced to give students an idea of seeing it in the world around them.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 3/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

Poetry picture book cover of Where I Live with a child playing in a park in a city with stores and apartment buildings in the background.

Where I Live: Poems About My Home, My Street, and My Town 

by Paul B. Janeczko (Author), Hyewon Yum (Illustrator). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Candlewick. 2023. 1-3. Hardcover Picture Book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€Ž 978-1536200942.

Brief summary: This is a collection of twenty-four poems divided into three sections: home, street, and town. The variety of poets and authors is diverse, with examples of several different types of poemsโ€”an excellent poetry addition to any library.

The illustrator captures the mood and characteristics of each poem.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 4/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—

Poetry picture book cover of The Dream Train with a girl holding  a megaphone riding on a train with the background of bright colors all swirled together

The Dream Train: Poems for Bedtime 

by Sean Taylor (Author), Anuska Allepuz (Illustrator). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Candlewick. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover Picture Book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€Ž 978-1536228342.

Brief summary: Thirty poems are divided into three sections: Night Arrives, Shut-Your-Eyes Time, and Dream Wheels Turning. The poems are a variety of different forms and with a variety of settings and characters. 

The illustrations are colorful and completely fill all of the pages. Very well done.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 4.5/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—1/2

Poetry picture book cover of Trees with a child sitting on a branch of a tree looking into a lake

Trees: Haiku from Roots to Leaves 

by Sally M. Walker (Author), Angela Mckay (Illustrator). Publisher โ€ : โ€Ž Candlewick. 2023. Grades 2-5. Hardcover Picture Book. ISBN-13 โ€ : โ€Ž 978-1536215502.

Brief summary: This is a collection of haikus about a tree’s life cycle and the changes of every season. There are many two-paged illustrations.

The back pages have information about a tree’s life, including wild and urban forests. There is also an author’s note and a glossary.

For more details, click here.

Rating: 3.5/5 ๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—๐Ÿ“—1/2