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. 

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

Brief summary: 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 📗📗📗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 ‏ : ‎ Clarion Books
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: 2-6
  • Hardcover ‏narrative nonfiction picture book : ‎ 48 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 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 📗📗📗📗

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 ‏ : ‎ Harry N. Abrams
  • Year: 2023
  • Ages: PreK-3
  • Hardcover nonfiction picture book ‏ : ‎ 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 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 📗📗📗📗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 ‏ : ‎ Princeton Architectural Press
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-2
  • Hardcover picture book ‏ : ‎ 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 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 📗📗📗📗

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

Brief summary: 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 📗📗📗

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

Brief summary: 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 📗📗📗📗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 ‏ : ‎ Albert Whitman & Company
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-5
  • Hardcover ‏ nonfiction picture book : ‎ 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 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 📗📗📗📗

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 ‏ : ‎ Kokila
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: 1-4
  • Hardcover narrative nonfiction biography picture book ‏ : ‎ 48 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 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 📗📗📗📗

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 ‏ : ‎ Tiger Tales
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-2
  • Hardcover picture book ‏ : ‎ 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 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 📗📗📗

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

Brief summary: 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 📗📗📗📗 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 ‏ : ‎ Orca Book Publishers
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: Prek-2
  • Hardcover picture book‏ : ‎ 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 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: Illustrations are with acrylics and truly capture the Ingenious children enjoying the nature around them.

Rating: 4.5/5 📗📗📗📗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 ‏ : ‎ Candlewick
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-2
  • Hardcover narrative nonfiction picture book ‏ : ‎ 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1536225118

Brief summary: 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. 

Rating 3.5/5 📗📗📗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 Miguéns (Illustrator)

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Sourcebooks Explore
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: 1-5
  • Hardcover narrative nonfiction picture book‏ : ‎ 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 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: 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 📗📗📗📗

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 📗📗📗📗

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 ‏ : ‎ IVP Kids (June 20, 2023)
  • Year: 2023
  • Grades: PreK-2
  • Hardcover picture book ‏ : ‎ 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1514006596

Brief summary:  Young readers will learn how God is in Nature all around us through all four seasons.

Comments: 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 📗📗📗📗📗

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