Ready to add to your library hold shelf? Here are some new picture books that I think you’ll love!
See which books made the best book list!
Go to: BEST PICTURE BOOKS OF 2022
Group Hug by Jean Reidy, illustrated by Joey Chou
I LOVE this book — it’s a celebration of kindness, friendship, and (consensual) hugs to help friends feel better. When Snail, Mouse, Skunk, and Squirrel need hugs, Bug gives them all hugs — and they give each other a big group hug. They include other animal friends in their group hug inviting “a groundhog, forgotten. A goose, out of luck. A fox, nicknamed “Sneaky.” A moose, feeling stuck.” In fact, the animals make room for everyone in the hug until Bear scares everyone away. Everyone except Slug. Slug offers Bear a hug because she knows that hugs make the hugger and the hugged happier! Then, all the others come back for another group hug. Joey Chou’s expressive illustrations perfectly match the tone of this sweet rhyming story. (YES, I do like good rhyming books. Jean’s are always perfect!)
Millions of Maxes by Meg Wolitzer, illustrated by Micah Player
NAMES / FRIENDSHIP
What do you do when you find out other kids have YOUR same name? The one and only Max goes to the park where he discovers that he is NOT the only Max in the world. He befriends two other Maxes who, he realizes, are different than him. Together, they search for one of the Max’s pink pinecone and meet yet another Max — a dog Max. Later at bedtime, Max tells his parents his realizations that he’s not the only Max but that they’re all unique so it’s okay with him. Read this with children to introduce the idea of other people having the same name, I predict it will spark important conversations.
The Year We Learned to Fly by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael López
IMAGINATION / RESILIENCY
Use your imagination to dream! Even though the sister and brother must stay inside when it’s raining, their grandma tells them to use their beautiful and brilliant minds to believe and imagine — and they learned to fly — both inside and outdoors and in their minds and hearts. Just like their ancestors who were enslaved dreamed of flying and eventually did. Then when the siblings move to a new place that feels unfamiliar and unwelcoming, they keep flying. And soon, other kids joined them in flight…
Friends are Friends Forever by Dane Liu, illustrated by Lynn Scurfield
LUNAR NEW YEAR
It’s hard to move to a new country! When Dandan moves to America, what helps the most is making a new friend; it makes life and learning a language easier. Dandan invites her new friend to celebrate Lunar New Year at her house, just like she used to in China with her best friend there. The new friends eat special food and make red paper ornaments together in a celebration of friendship. Stunning illustrations.
Bathe the Cat by Alice B. McGinty, illustrated by David Roberts
Laugh with this silly, silly story about two dads and their kids trying to do chores to prepare for Grandma’s visit…but because of a cat, getting all mixed up! The chores are listed with magnetic letters on the fridge but when the cat hears that bathe the cat is on the list of chores, the cat slyly rearranges the letters and words. Now the family feeds the floor, sweeps the dishes, and scrubs the fishes. They do all sorts of weird things until one dad realizes the problem — and captures the cat so they can do the right chores.
Amah Faraway by Margaret Chiu Greanias, illustrated by Tracy Subisak
A visit to a new country feels strange at first… Amah lives in Taipei. Kylie lives in San Francisco. Kylie and Mama fly to visit Amah who shows them around her city. Once there, Kylie feels uncomfortable shopping, eating the different foods, and listening to non-English words but a trip to the hot springs changes everything — and she embraces the parks, the shopping, the Chinese foods, and is having so much fun that she doesn’t want to leave. The book begins and ends in the same way with Kylie and Amah video chatting and a visit on a plane! Love this book ending technique, it feels very satisfying.
Bok’s Giant Leap by Neil Armstrong, illustrated by Grahame Baker Smith
Who is Bok the Moon rock? When a smaller planet crashes into Earth, it makes the Moon. A small Moon chunk breaks off and is called Bok. Bok remembers different events (dinosaurs, Ice Age) but misses some of the famous scientists and the launch of a space shuttle on Earth. Then one day, Bok is scooped up by an astronaut named Neil Armstrong and brought to Earth to share. Stunning illustrations.
Anzu the Great Kaiju by Benson Shum
Kids will love this cute monster story about being yourself with darling illustrations! Anzu is a Kaiju (monster) who isn’t fierce. Instead, he loves to grow flowers and be kind. He tries to be what his parents want him to be but is miserable until he accepts who he is. In a wonderful ending, his parents accept him, also.
Roto and Roy Helicopter Heroes by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illustrated by Don Tate
From the author of Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site! Rhyming text narrates the story of two heroes — Big Ray Thunder and his helicopter Roto–who fly to help put out a fire and rescue a puppy. Readers will learn more about rescue helicopters and their job as well as the life of a brave firefighter pilot.
Out on a Limb by Jordan Morris, illustrated by Charlie Mylie
FEAR, COURAGE, HEALING FROM AN INJURY
Healing a broken leg can require healing your spirit, too. In a cast, Lulu gets attention and enjoys the sympathy of others but then she feels bored and then fearful. When her cast is removed, Lulu feels scared to climb again or do things like she used to do. Arriving just when she’s ready, Lulu sees a letter from her grandpa stuck in a tree. Climbing to get it helps her find her bravery. It’s an emotional journey, realistic and important for readers.
Dodos Are Not Extinct! They’re Just in Disguise by Paddy Donnelly
A playful introduction to extinct animals! Learn all about the dodo and other so-called extinct animals who are simply in disguise. Why are they in disguise? Because they’re so popular, of course! That means that the quagga wears striped pants or a brown sweater to blend in, the Smilodon grows a mustache to hide his tusks, and dinosaurs are everywhere.
Not Enough Lollipops by Megan Maynor, illustrated by Micah Player
A powerful allegory story about sharing and human nature. After Alice wins a huge basket of lollipops, she’s happy to share but the other kids begin to fight over the sweet treats — bribing, begging, pleading, and disparaging — until Alice reassures them that there are (hopefully) enough to share with everyone. The kids line up to each get one lollipop and their previous rude behavior softens to kindness and consideration for each other.
Apple and Magnolia by Laura Gehl, illustrated Patricia Metola
With support from her wise nana, insightful and kind young Britta helps a beloved but dying Magnolia tree by knitting a scarf and connecting Magnolia to her Apple tree friend. Each time the girl checks on the trees, they look closer which eventually gives Magnolia back her healthy pink blooms. Britta and Nana know that “unusual friendships can be the most powerful of all.” Gorgeous illustrations in a feel-good story make this one you’ll want to reread this multiple times.
Powwow Day by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Madelyn Goodnight
LONGTERM ILLNESS, MODERN INDIGENOUS LIFE
Because she’s recovering from an illness, River feels sad that she’s too weak to dance at the powwow. Instead of dancing, she watches, feeling tired and disappointed. But the last dance is the jingle dress and as her relatives and friends dance for ancestors, family, and health, it helps River feel her community’s love and support. River stands to watch as they come closer to where she’s sitting. She knows that she’ll join them at the next powwow. Beautiful artwork captures the tenderness of River’s emotions along with the beautiful celebration around her. Sorell’s writing invites us into this sweet, emotional story of community and healing.
Ear Worm! by Jo Knowles, illustrated by Galia Berstein
PRESCHOOL READ ALOUD
Playful and musical, this is a perfect read-aloud for preschoolers! Little Worm is looking for who put the “shimmy shimmy, no-sashay” song in his ear which he calls an ear worm. He asks his friends if they know but they all have their own songs stuck in their heads. His friends share their own songs with exuberance — which is a blast! Eventually, Little Worm goes home and is surprised to find the answer to his question.
Wolf Girl by Jo Loring-Fisher
MAKING FRIENDS / SHY
Sophy feels most comfortable in her den, wearing her wolf costume. One day when she’s sad after the other kids at school make fun of her, she meets a real wolf and cub who help her learn to be brave like a wolf and kind to a loud bear. Fortified with new friends, Sophy returns to the real world and school where she remembers the feeling of bravery and kindness and makes human friends, too.
Wombat Underground A Wildfire Survival Story by Sarah L. Thomson, illustrated by Charles Santoso
AUSTRALIAN ANIMALS / KINDNESS / WILDFIRES
Brilliantly written with lovely prose, this story begins with the life of a wombat and other Australian creatures. Then, a fire sweeps through the forest. “Skink hides stinging eyes. Echidna limps on blistered feet. Wallaby licks at blackened fur.” As the fire burns, the other animals find safety in the wombat’s underground tunnel.
Once Upon a Forest by Pam Fong
After a wombat notices smoke from a forest fire, the wombat visits the area of devastation and replants the area with seedlings, water, and care. Lovely black and white drawings with a little pop of green show the new growth.
Letters to Live By: An Alphabet Book with Intention by Lisa Frenkel Riddiough, illustrated by Asa Gilland
Lovely illustrations catch your eye as you read through this alphabet book of positive intentions. This book is best suited for elementary-age readers who will understand the abstract concepts and the idea of both goal setting and setting intentions for the day. “Give generously. Have heroes. Invite imagination.”
Piper and Purpa Forever! by Susan Lendroth, illustrated by Olivia Feng
PROBLEM & SOLUTION
Most stories have a problem and a solution but this story is a great example showing a little girl’s ability to creatively problem-solve with a beautiful solution to her problem. Piper loves her beloved purple sweater, Purpa, and is so sad when she grows out of it. Will she be able to keep her sweater somehow?
One, Two, Grandma Loves You by Shelly Becker, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino
Rhyme and count! This is a wonderful read-aloud story about a little girl visiting her grandma. After she leaves, they keep in touch on the phone.
Little Messy Marcy Su by Cherie Fu, illustrated by Julie Kwon
In preparation for Waipo and Waigong’s visit, Marcy Su exuberantly cleans the clean house making it a complete disaster. When her grandparents come to visit, they believe it’s the mother who is a mess and not Marcy Su which kids will love!
The Whole World Inside Nan’s Soup by Hunter Liguore, illustrated by Vikki Zhang
Nanni’s making soup. She tells the little girl about the seeds, sun, rain, and gardeners that all helped make the veggies that are in the soup. The illustrations show details of the growing process, the family’s history, and loving community throughout the generations. Stunning illustrations in two different styles.