2023 Staff Picks for Babies-PreK

By Skokie Staff Youth Services

These are books we think grown-ups will love to share with the littlest readers in their lives. They range from silly to unusual to deeply meaningful and everything in-between.

  • In the Night Garden

    2023 by Berger, Carin

    Calming, rhythmic text takes kids and their caregivers to a garden as it beds down for the night. This soothing, beautifully illustrated picture book is a perfect bedtime choice. Its text and image-rich illustrations give little ones lots of things to say goodnight to as they settle down. I thought it was a delightful read, reminiscent of Good Night Moon. Suggested by Mary.

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  • Woo Hoo! You're Doing Great!

    2023 by Boynton, Sandra

    The big, bold, screaming chicken is so funny! Sandra Boynton doesn't do anything subtle and I love that! Suggested by Shelley.

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  • Who Am I?

    2023 by Buchholtz, Julie

    When a little girl asks her mother, "Who am I?," her mother takes her on a stunning journey of the Indigenous perspective on how our lives are woven in with the earth—past, current, and future. Meaningful and gorgeous! Suggested by Shelley.

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  • Boop!

    2023 by Birdsong, Bea

    I love the interactive silly sounds and sweet illustrations of doggies noses. Just beware that your snoot and the snoots of everyone in your house are about to be booped too! Suggested by Jane.

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  • Night Market Rescue

    2023 by Cheng, Charlotte

    Drawing on the author's memories of Taiwanese night markets, this beautifully illustrated story brings to life these magical markets. I love the sweet story of a dog helping a lost girl reunite with her parents, with a happy ending for the pooch as well! Suggested by Laura P.

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  • Peaceful Me

    2023 by Feder, Sandra V.

    I love this sweet, simple, but effective picture book about the comfortable experience of peacefulness. A nice follow-up to Angry Me, I think it's important for kids to celebrate the quieter emotions, too, and love that it gently discusses how to get back to peace when you're not feeling it. Suggested by Mandy.

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  • Cicada Symphony

    2023 by Fliess, Sue

    I love this gorgeously illustrated narrative nonfiction story. Facts about these fascinating summer choristers are interwoven with rhythmic text. A gem! Suggested by Laura P.

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  • Remembering

    2023 by González, Xelena

    The art feels like it jumps off the pages of this picture book in which a child and family build an ofrenda for their deceased chihuahua on Dia de Muertos. I love how Gomez uses color to capture the vividness of the child's connection to the dog, and the way the framed photos depict how our loved ones are still alive in our memories. Suggested by Amanda.

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  • I Am a Dragon!

    2023 by Hahn, Sabina

    A humorous, silly story with a heartfelt message of believing in who you are and not letting other people (or frogs!) define you. Suggested by Shelley.

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  • Remember

    2023 by Harjo, Joy

    I liked how this classic poem was paired with truly moving art. It not only has the emotional resonance of the poem, but the art is intricate. You can find shapes or forms in the greater illustrations and it can prompt discussions about how living creatures are connected and how we are connected to our families. Suggested by Amanda.

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  • Hello, Baby: Say Hello in 15 Languages


    Babies love looking at other babies! This joyful book features close-ups of babies from many backgrounds playing and enjoying daily routines, and it celebrates how to say hello in 15 languages. Suggested by Shelley.

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  • One Upside-Downy Day

    2023 by Kurilla, Renée

    This book was beloved in our Terrific Twos storytime and reinforces that not all days are good, but they aren't all bad either. The many different toddlers in the story each experience many different feelings, and that's okay! Suggested by Mandy.

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  • A Beautiful House for Birds

    2023 by Lin, Grace

    Part of the Story Telling Math series, this board book teaches the concept of patterns. I love how warm, inviting illustrations are used to explain STEM activities. Suggested by Christine.

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  • Frank and Bert

    2023 by Naylor-Ballesteros, Chris

    When was the last time you counted out loud to 100? I enjoyed the interaction, and the main characters were adorable. Suggested by Meleesa.

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  • Plátanos Go with Everything: Los Pĺátanos Van Con Todo

    2023 by Norman, Lissette

    An ode to family and to the most versatile and delicious treat, platanos! I loved how this book captured all the different ways to cook platanos but also the spirit of the family and the different kinds of joy depicted in the art. Added bonus that the Spanish translation is good! Suggested by Amanda.

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  • Challah Day

    2023 by Offsay, Charlotte

    There's nothing more delicious that a warm piece of homemade baked bread. I love the retro feel of the illustrations, the sing-song chant of the text, and all the bits of humor. It's a book the whole family can enjoy—including the dog! Suggested by Holly.

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  • Let's Go Puddling!

    2023 by Perry, Emma

    An exuberant story with alliterative text and colorful illustrations sure to inspire readers to embrace the rain by going puddling. I love the joyful expressions on the children's faces! Suggested by Laura P.

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  • Mister Kitty Is Lost!

    2023 by Pizzoli, Greg

    I love books that include multiple points for interaction—with counting, colors, sounds, and seek-and-find! A great gift for parents and caregivers, who will enjoy it as well. Suggested by Shelley.

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  • All in a Day

    2023 by Takeuchi, Chihiro

    It's fun to peek into the windows of an apartment building and watch the folks inside as they go about their day. I love a good seek-and-find, and these pictures are so bright and detailed that it's a joy to linger over the details. Suggested by Jane.

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  • Gretel and Hansel

    2023 by Waeland, Bee

    I love fairy tale books and I especially love fairy tale retellings that turn the original on its head! This book is a wordless retelling of the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale, except this time the witch is nice and Gretel and Hansel cause all the trouble! Suggested by Lynnanne.

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  • Is This the Bus for Us?

    2023 by Ziefert, Harriet

    I love how many early literacy skills this deceptively simple, fun, and humorous story fosters—from color and animal identification to prediction. Kids will delight as they join in on the repeated refrain. Get ready for a great ride! Suggested by Laura P.

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