Staff Picks 2022: Picture Books for Grades K-3

By Skokie Staff Youth Services

Most kids in this age group still love to share picture books with their grown-ups, and many are ready for more sophisticated stories and topics, some of which we've included here.

  • Old Friends

    2022 by Aitken, Margaret

    I loved this unique tale of a girl who wants to make friends with folks who have the same interests she shared with her Granny: baking, gardening, and baking. Marjorie decides to go undercover and find some kindred spirits with her local senior citizens group and discovers that age is nothing but a number. A cozy intergenerational read just perfect to read with a grandparent or senior friend. Suggested by Maria.

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  • Brand-New Bubbe

    2022 by Aronson, Sarah

    I loved this sweet tale of blended families highlighting family members that aren't often represented in books: step-grandparents! Jillian is happy with her new stepdad, but has big feelings about adding a new grandparent to her family since she already has a Noni and Gram. Soup brings together all three grandparents in a unique and loving way; recipes included! Suggested by Maria.

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  • What Is Love?

    2021 by Barnett, Mac

    I appreciated how sometimes the words read rhythmically and other times they were delightfully disjointed, but overall the book flows smoothly and gently. The book’s design and art also gave me lots of freedom to expand the narrative, add my own details, and include whoever was listening. Suggested by Grace.

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  • Farmhouse

    2022 by Blackall, Sophie

    Everything about this book is amazing, enthralling, and beautiful. From the words to the artwork and illustrations, Sophie Blackall does not disappoint. I love to share this story with my family. Suggested by Katie.

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  • Calvin

    2021 by Ford, Ronald Martin

    I really liked the way this family handled the coming out of their transgender child. This is a sensitive, positive treatment, from shopping for new clothes to a new haircut. His friends and school rally around him. Inspired by the authors' own transgender child, the message is that all kids should feel safe, respected, and included. Suggested by Shelley.

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  • Pineapple Princess

    2022 by Hahn, Sabina

    It is difficult to live in a world where everyone doesn't understand that you are truly a princess. This little girl's determination is endearing. Suggested by Cathy.

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  • Hey, Bruce! An Interactive Book

    2022 by Higgins, Ryan T.

    We love Bruce and all of his chosen family in our house. This one is particularly silly in the very best way. It had my kiddo rolling. Suggested by Becca.

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  • My Parents Won't Stop Talking!

    2022 by Hunsinger, Emma

    Like me, main character Molly thinks she's extremely patient, saying "No one waits better than me. No one." Also, like Molly, sometimes I get so impatient that it's written all over my face and I come up with wild ideas to cope. This collaboratively illustrated and written book features many fun and funny asides that parents themselves will appreciate! Suggested by Mandy.

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  • Am I Even a Bee?

    2022 by Muth, Felicity

    I love the story, the variety of bees, the gorgeous illustrations, and all the interesting facts about bees. But most of all, I love the unique way the book looks at diversity and inclusion without even mentioning the topic. One of my favorites! Suggested by Shelley.

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  • A Planet Like Ours

    2022 by Murphy, Frank

    I love the simple message of why we need to take care of our planet paired with the gorgeous illustrations. This is a great book to read with little ones about the responsibility we have to respect and protect our planet. Suggested by Shelley.

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  • The Surprise

    2022 by Smith, Zadie

    It's no surprise that a book about a guinea pig makes it on my list, as I'm a proud piggy mama who collects rodent stories. This book offers a nice lesson about self-acceptance and being true to yourself, even when others don’t always get you. I first bought the 2021 British edition, titled Weirdo, and am glad that the American version finally came out this year so more families can embrace this unique little piggy. Suggested by Mandy.

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  • Endlessly Ever After: Choose Your Path to Endless Fairy Tale Endings!

    2022 by Snyder, Laurel

    Everything about this clever choose-your-own-adventure, from the rhyming story to the pictures, is thoroughly engaging. Come for the fairy tale characters, stay for the empowering options! This is a great choice for reading alone, or together. Suggested by Caitlin.

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  • What I Am

    2021 by Srinivasan, Divya

    This terrific book celebrates cultural diversity and differences while showing the complexity of just being human, all starting with a stranger's rude but eye-opening question to a little girl: "What are you?" While it’s a very simple book in format and length, I think the sweet illustrations and basic truths make it the perfect opportunity for grown-ups to start some deep yet fun discussions about identity with the special kids in their lives. Suggested by Mandy.

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  • Little Good Wolf

    2022 by Stevens, Janet

    I love fractured fairy tales. Wolves are supposed to be bad and scary. This little wolf cannot be. It's so fun to see all the other wolves trying to push the good little wolf to be bad and how true to himself he is. Charming! Suggested by Cathy.

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  • Brown Is Warm, Black Is Bright

    2022 by Thomson, Sarah L.

    I think this new picture book is the perfect read-aloud! Gorgeous illustrations featuring a young girl and her dad on a fall day illuminate this lovely poem about the strength and beauty of the colors brown and black. The little girl's face is so expressive that I could feel her joy as she walked through an autumn landscape and returned home. The little dog that accompanies her is just a joy! Suggested by Mary.

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  • Big Truck, Little Island

    2022 by Van Dusen, Chris

    I love this rhyming fictionalization of a real event: an 18-wheeler that ran off the road on a tiny island, blocking all traffic in both directions. The ingenious solution to the problem will delight readers--and it really happened! Suggested by Mary.

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