On our list, we collect children's books that have won or been shortlisted for prestigious prizes in 2023 — such as American Library Association awards including the Newbery Medal in the US, and the Yoto Carnegie Medals in the UK — as well as our own selection of good books for kids that have come to our attention.
Our recommendations for kids' books of 2022 are also available; those books are still well worth reading!
And if you are interested in popular book series for children of all ages, we help you keep up to date with the latest titles.
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Part of our best books of 2023 series.
The Way of Dog
Zana Fraillon, Sean Buckingham (illustrator)
This is an innovative novel in verse narrated by a scruffy dog who has a lot to teach humans about the important things in life. The energetic and playful text is accompanied by beautiful, classic-style illustrations. We follow our dog protagonist through life’s ups and downs in a moving story of love, separation and reunion. A brilliant book to read aloud to siblings of different ages.
Listen: How Evelyn Glennie, a Deaf Girl, Changed Percussion
Shannon Stocker, Devon Holzwarth (illustrator)
***Winner 2023 Schneider Family Book Award for young children***
This is a picture book story of the inspiring life of Evelyn Glennie, who started to go deaf from the age of 10. Instead of giving up on her love of music, she switched instruments from piano and clarinet to percussion, going on to become the world’s first full-time solo percussionist and winning Grammy Awards for her recordings. Having pushed the boundaries of percussion and access to music education, Dame Evelyn has also established a charitable foundation to Teach the World to Listen. Holzwarth’s pictures are clearly intended to illustrate that we can feel sound, that touch is another way of interpreting vibrating air.
Just a Girl: A True Story of World War II
Lia Levi, Jess Mason (illustrator), translated by Sylvia Notini
***2023 Mildred L. Batchelder Award for outstanding children’s book translated into English***
Six year old Lia has spent the summer of 1938 with her family at the seaside. To her, being Jewish means going to synagogue some Saturdays, lighting candles, getting presents for Hanukkah, and not eating bread at Passover. Why does it suddenly mean she is not allowed to go back to school? The young Lia is a perceptive and resilient narrator of her experiences as she is uprooted by fascism and war from her family life in Turin and sent to hide in a convent. This is an adaptation for children of Levi’s award-winning memoir published in 1994.
by Amina Luqman-Dawson
***2023 Newbery Medal Winner***
Loosely based on maroon communities of escaped slaves and their descendants, this is an exciting novel of courage and resistance. With plantation overseers and their dogs hot on the trail, 12 year old Homer and his younger sister Ada flee into the swamp of the American South where they join a secret community named Freewater. Adventure inspired by history.
by Doug Salati
***2023 Caldecott Medal Winner***
A dog is overwhelmed by the heat and noise of summer in the city. The loving owner understands, and they go to spend a fabulous day on an island beach. When they come back to the city in the evening things have cooled and calmed down. This picture book has sparse text; young readers will notice plenty to talk about in the colourful, detailed illustrations.
Iveliz Explains It All
Andrea Beatriz Arango, Alyssa Bermudez (illustrator)
***2023 Newbery Honor Book***
The verse format brings immediacy to the journal entries of 12 year old Iveliz who is having a hard time explaining her feelings to others. Iveliz struggles with loss and mental health issues, and school life and friendship suffer as she lashes out in rage and turns inwards. She also needs to navigate family and cultural dynamics in her three generation household. Iveliz is a very relatable character who is finding her voice.
The Last Mapmaker
by Christina Soontornvat & Sura Siu (narrator)
***2023 Newbery Honor Book***
“This is one that was a family favourite. It’s a Thai-inspired fantasy world… I think it is an excellent audiobook, and one that stood out for its beautiful narration and also the complex story it’s telling for younger readers.” Read more...
The Best Audiobooks for Kids of 2022
Emily Connelly, Journalist
by Hayao Miyazaki & translated by Alex Dudok de Wit
This graphic novel is an early work by the iconic Hayao Miyazaki, available in English for the first time. With simple language and not much text, children as young as 10 can enjoy it although it is primarily aimed at young adults.