2023 Staff Picks: Grades K-2 Picture Books

By Skokie Staff Youth Services

Many kids in grades K-2 love to share picture books with their grown-ups, and these books were specially chosen for this age group. Also check out the 2023 list for readers, chapter books, and nonfiction for grades K-2.

  • One Small Thing

    2023 by Arnold, Marsha Diane

    This simple story about woodland animals helping a friend recover from the loss of his home cuts through the dramatics and illustrates how empathy and sympathy can go hand in hand when dealing with a friend's trauma. I love the message! Suggested by Mandy.

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  • Gato Guapo

    2023 by Denise, Anika

    My son and I read this a million times, and each time was equally fun and funny! This lyrical, bilingual story is full of counting and silly cats—what more could you want? Suggested by Katie.

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  • Night Owl Night

    2023 by Edwards Richmond, Susan

    I love this beautifully illustrated story based on the author's experience banding saw-whet owls at Mass Audubon's Drumlin Farm Wildlife sanctuary. Sure to inspire interest and exploration of the natural world! Suggested by Laura P.

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  • Something, Someday

    2023 by Gorman, Amanda

    Poet Amanda Gorman and illustrator Christian Robinson? Yes, please! I felt like I could really make a difference after reading this beautiful picture book, and I hope it will inspire kids and families as well. Suggested by Mandy.

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  • No Is All I Know!

    2023 by Grabenstein, Chris

    I can relate to Oliver's grumpiness getting the better of him. Sometimes I get stuck in a "no" that I can't get out of, too! It's a great reminder that "yessing" things is a great cure for a bad rut. Suggested by Jane.

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  • Big

    2023 by Harrison, Vashti

    This picture book is visually stunning and exquisitely written, but what I love most is the emotional heart shining through the entire book. My daughter and I read this together and cried big tears (both happy and sad) multiple times throughout. Suggested by Caitlin.

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  • Dear Yesteryear

    2023 by Henderson, Kimberly Annece

    The text is straightforward and easy enough for young kids to follow, but the main reason I loved this book is because the photos of Black people throughout history were so powerful, the representation beautiful! Suggested by Amanda.

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  • 100 Mighty Dragons All Named Broccoli

    2023 by LaRochelle, David

    The exuberant, colorful pictures do as much work as the words in this funny, math-centric book. I had a great time reading it, and puzzling aloud with my eight year old. Suggested by Caitlin.

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  • Real to Me

    2023 by Lê, Minh

    I had and still have lots of imagination and lots of friends, but I was always a little sad I never had an imaginary friend. This book is told from the monster's perspective when his girl disappears. I enjoyed that it deals with the important themes of loss, solitude, and the magic of finding new friends. Suggested by Mandy.

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  • Once upon a Book

    2023 by Lin, Grace

    This amazing book is layered and layered and layered. A gorgeous ode to the delicious feeling of being absorbed into a book, my daughter and I had fun chasing the rabbit (the Jade Rabbit?) throughout. Hints of Maurice Sendak's works and Alice and Wonderland—among others!—made it a special treat for this librarian. Suggested by Caitlin.

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  • I Am Stuck

    2023 by Mills, Julia

    I love turtles. This is a heartwarming and edifying story about friendship, cooperation, and learning that sometimes the best way through a tough situation is to take a step back and laugh it off. Suggested by Adam.

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  • The Fantastic Bureau of Imagination

    2023 by Montague, Brad

    I love this book because it's such a unique story and the illustrations are an absolute feast for the eyes. Suggested by Christine.

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  • The Three Little Guinea Pigs

    2023 by Perl, Erica S.

    As a guinea pig mama who loves to read, I buy at least one piggy book to add to my personal collection each year. In 2023, it's this one, a cute retelling of the classic fairytale with a guinea pig twist, that I'm so glad is also available at the library! Look out for the surprise ending as well as lots of fun and helpful piggy facts. Suggested by Mandy.

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  • All About Nothing

    2023 by Rusch, Elizabeth

    For me, this book is all about the pictures. There is so much to discover in each papercut picture, and it's really interesting to think about what is and isn't in the spaces between. Suggested by Caitlin.

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  • Very Good Hats

    2023 by Straub, Emma

    I love silliness and absurdity and this book has lots of it. What even is a hat? Is this book suggestion a hat? (It could be, if you try hard enough!) Suggested by Jane

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  • Sorry, Snail

    2023 by Subisak, Tracy

    Not only does this book do a great job of exemplifying why it's not enough to simply say "sorry," especially when you don't mean it, it's really weird and funny. A great reminder, and an excellent "read-together" for all ages. Suggested by Caitlin.

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  • Mole Is Not Alone

    2023 by Tatsukawa, Maya

    This book speaks to my anxious, introverted heart. I love everything about this book, from the layered pictures (there are surprises on almost every page!), to Mole's wholly relatable journey to a party outside their comfort zone. The best part is the message that we're all okay, exactly as we are. Suggested by Caitlin.

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  • Wombat, the Reluctant Hero

    2023 by Trimmer, Christian

    I love this picture book because it illustrates how heroes come in all shapes and sizes (and species!). Also, I think it has one of the best covers of this year. Suggested by Christine.

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  • Bitsy Bat, School Star

    2023 by Windness, Kaz

    Doing things differently doesn't mean doing things wrong! Bitsy needs a few modifications to join her classmates, but they all learn how much fun it can be to see things from a new perspective. This is a great choice for kiddos with sensitivities that make it tricky for them to fit in with other people's expectations. Suggested by Jane.

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  • A Flower Is a Friend

    2023 by Wishinsky, Frieda

    This book is a whimsical introduction to garden ecosystems. I especially love the beautiful illustrations and fact-packed backmatter. Suggested by Christine.

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