It’s the most wonderful time of the year… It’s time for my favorite picture books of the year. All year long, I read over a thousand picture books sharing my favorites with you. It’s time to bring you my favorites of 2022.
Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
Most Beautiful Illustrations
This category is always so hard for me because there are so many BEAUTIFUL books being published. I could only narrow it down to five so we have four runner-ups for this category.
Goodness gracious…the art in this book! I’ve always been a Sophie Blackall fan, but the art in this book…oh my.
The neatest thing is that Sophie Blackall bought a farm and on that farm partially stood an old farmhouse that needed to come down. Before having it torn down, Sophie salvaged bits and pieces that were used to create the art in the book. She imagined the life that the farmhouse had in its glory days She did her research and interviewed descendants of the family who once lived there to create the book. Farmhouse is simply breathtaking!
After the Moonrise by Rich Lo
Berry Song by Michaela Goade
Mouse’s Wood A Year in Nature by Alice Melvin
Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middleby Nina LaCour
Favorite Book That Will Inspire You
Get the stationery out because you will be inspired to write a letter to someone after reading How to Send a Hug by Hayley Rocco. I also enjoyed the tribute it played to postal workers.
Best Book That Will Spark a Conversation
The Juneteenth Story Celebrating The End of Slavery in the United States by Alliah L. Agostini is a super informative book. Juneteenth marks the day enslaved people in Texas finally learned they were free. This new national holiday is celebrated on June 19th. Learn all about the events that lead to Juneteenth and how just recently it became a national holiday.
In the Neighborhood by Rocio Bonilla
Best Book to Remind You to “Be You”
Old Friends by Margaret Aitken is a delight to read. Sometimes it can be hard to find a friend who enjoys our hobbies and interests. Marjorie is looking for a friend who likes baking, knitting, and gardening. She’s looking for someone like her Granny. Will going undercover at a Senior Citizens Group yield her a friend or two? Love this book about being true to yourself.
Black Boy, Black Boy: Celebrate the Power of Youby Ali Kamanda and Jorge Redmond
Kick Push by Frank Morrison
And here are some more books about being you.—> Celebrating You Books for Kids
Best Silly/Funny Read-Aloud
Bathe the Cat by Alice B. McGinty is a read-aloud hit. The family cat turns household chores into a mixed-up laugh-out-loud potential disaster. Can the family get the house ready before Grandma Marge arrives? And, will the cat actually get a bath? Pull out the magnetic letters and get ready for some playful word fun.
There’s so much to love about this book. First, the text and illustrations play off each other seamlessly. Second, I love the diversity in the family structure. Third, family love exudes off the pages. Fourth, the extension activities to do with this book are endless. Finally, this is a book that begs to be read over and over again.
Two Dogs by Ian Falconer
Here are some more of my laugh out loud favorites.—> Funny Books for Kids
Best Whole Group Engaging Story Time Book
Full of rhythm and rhyme Fire Chief Fran by Linda Ashman will engage a whole group on a topic little ones love. I love that this book looks at lots of different calls firefighters answer and that the chief is a woman!
After the Buzz Comes the Bee: Lift-The-Flap Animal Sounds by Robie Rogge
Best Book You Can Sing or Move To
Have you ever had an ear worm? “Baby shark…do do do do…” Ear Worm! by Jo Knowles is all about animals with ear worms. Worm is trying to figure out who gave him his ear worm and along the way, he gets to hear other animals’ tunes. This makes for a super fun interactive read-aloud because children can join in on each jingle.
And, of course, we learn where he got his ear worm in the end.
Twelve Dinging Doorbells by Tameka Fryer Brown
Twelve Days of Winter: A Wildlife Celebration by Sherri Maret
Best Bedtime Read
The Blanket Where Violet Sits by Allan Wolf is the story of Violet and her family taking a trip to the park for some evening stargazing. They have a space book and telescope ready to explore. A gentle read perfect for bedtime.
All Through the Night: Important Jobs That Get Done at Night by Polly Faber
Knight Owl by Christopher Denise
Also, see my list of other bedtime books.—> Bedtime Reads for Kids
Outstanding Fairy Tale Retelling or Folktale
If you are a fan of podcasts, I’m sure you’ve enjoyed The Circle Round podcast. Now, there are books. Try A Taste of Honey: Kamala Outsmarts the Seven Thieves by Rebecca Sheir and Chaaya Prabhat. The folktale is a delight to read with color-coded text so you know when to use your narrator’s voice and different characters’ voices. So smart and helpful to the reader! The back matter is chockfull of extension ideas too. For example, in the back of A Taste of Honey, there are discussion questions or writing prompts, story prompts inspired by something in the tale, playful games, sound effect ideas to use during the read-aloud, directions for making a puppet theater show, and a gross motor activity. So many bonus resources. PLUS…there is a QR code in the back of the book that you can scan that will allow you to listen to the podcast episode of the story.
Three Billy Goats Gruff by Mac Barnett
Favorite Book With a Recipe
A Sweet New Year for Ren by Michelle Sterling is a beautiful celebration of food, family, and celebration. Ren’s family has gathered to prepare for Lunar New Year. Ren wants to help make her favorite pineapple cakes. Recipe included for pineapple cakes. And, I’m totally smitten with the illustrations by Dung Ho. They are fabulous.
See my list of even more multicultural food books.—> Multicultural Books Featuring Food
I’m always fascinated that we seem to explore and know more about space than we do the ocean on our own planet. A Journey Under the Sea by Craig Foster has breathtaking photos of the deep sea and the creatures that live there.
Wild Horses by Melissa Marr
Best Book That Transports You Straight to Summer
Jacqueline Woodson has a way of making you feel wherever you are right down to your core. Her words are poetic, precise, and able to tug you right in. I bring you her latest picture book The World Belonged to Us. Get ready to be transported to a hot summer in Brooklyn, NY where kids play in fire hydrants, build box forts, and more from sunup to sundown. It’s all about freedom and fun. And Leo Espinosa’s illustrations will make you reminisce about your own childhood with their nostalgic feel. Two big thumbs up for this read-aloud.
Uncle John’s City Garden by Bernette G. Ford
Informational Science Book Pick
Lion Lights: My Invention That Made Peace with Lions by Richard Turere is the true story of a boy growing up in Kenya that figures out a way to protect his family’s cattle from predators. His invention not only helped his family but others too.
Dodos Are Not Extinct! by Paddy Donnelly (fun whole group read-aloud)
Tiny Dino by Deborah Freedman (fun whole group read-aloud)
Best Book for a Math Lesson
Ostriches are such interesting creatures. And, I can only recall a few books that have featured ostriches for kids so this is quite the treat. I bring you Five Hiding Ostriches by Barbra Barbieri McGrath. Imagine playing hide-and-seek with a lion. Well, that’s what these five ostriches are doing in this playful, counting, rhythmic book.
Blocks to the Big Wok: A Chinatown Counting Book by Ying-Hwa Hu
Too Many Pigs and One Big Bad Wolf: A Counting Story by Davide Cali
See even more math books.—> Math Books for Kids
SEL Book Winner
Tisha and the Blossom by Wendy Meddour is great for kids to adults. Tisha is overwhelmed by the number of times she is told to hurry up throughout the day. She just needs to slow down and is able to express this to her mother who in turn listens. Together, they immediately slow down and give Tisha what she needs. A beautiful and wonderful reminder to us all to check in with our kiddos and take time to slow down. I love this book so much!
I Feel!: A Book of Emotions by Juana Medina
For more SEL favorites, see this list.—> SEL Books for Kids
Favorite Wordless Book
Finding Fire by Logan S. Kline is one of very few new wordless books I’ve seen this year. Wordless books often don’t get the recognition they deserve as powerful tools for non-readers and readers alike. They are a true spark for individual storytelling. In this book, a caveboy seeks an adventure to find fire for his community. Along the way, he meets a friend.
The Depth of the Lake and the Height of the Sky by Jihyun Kim
For more wordless book gems, see my big list.—> Wordless Books for Kids
Poetry Book Pick
Check out Counting in Dog Years and Other Sassy Math Poems by Betsy Franco. I do love it when books work in multiple subject areas. Get ready for some catchy, fun, and learning-packed math poems. The illustrations are equally playful. Read all of the poems in one sitting or share one a day.
The Book That Makes You Want to Own a Bookstore
For many years I have wanted to open my very own bookstore and literacy studio. That dream now burns even brighter each time I read Good Night Little Bookstore by Amy Cherri.
Talk about the power of books to transport you places. This one has me dreaming and yearning for the Growing Book by Book bookstore! “Good night, picture books, comics and more. Good night, good night, little bookstore.”
It’s time to put the bookstore to bed for the night in this lovely and beautifully illustrated story that celebrates bookstores.
Favorite Beginning Reader/Easy Reader Book
Easy readers that are interesting and easy to read is a challenge. But, James Yang does it with Go, Sled! Go! There is a sled flying down the snow and it picks up passengers with every swoop. Then the sled comes to the brink of more chaos when a lone snowflake sends everyone into a spinning adventure. Fun for new readers to enjoy on their own and equally as good as a read-aloud. Yang has already won a Theodor Suess Geisel Award, but I could see this book being a top competitor for the award too.
Printable Book List
Grab a printable list of the books I shared above.
Favorite Board Books
There were some outstanding board books published in 2022. In fact, I had so many favorites I decided I could create a whole post just on my favorite board books of the year. So, that’s what I did.—> See Favorite Board Books for Babies and Toddlers of 2022.
Other Best Books of the Year Lists to Check Out
I always love to check out the books that other organizations or individuals share. Here are a few more to enjoy.
Want to see the books I loved in 2021?—>49 Favorite Books for Kids of 2021
So, what were your favorite books of 2022? Leave a comment below and let me know.
Which books will be favorites of 2023? I’ve already started my looking-forward-to list.—>Check it Out Here