Notable Children's Books - 2023

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DRAFT FINAL - WORK IN PROGRESS -- In the interest of sharing the 2023 list as quickly as possible, we have posted it here before the final round of vetting. After the final check in complete, the "DRAFT FINAL" designation will be removed.

Each year a committee of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) identifies the best of the best in children's books. According to the Notables Criteria, "notable" is defined as: Worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding. As applied to children's books, notable should be thought to include books of especially commendable quality, books that exhibit venturesome creativity, and books of fiction, information, poetry and pictures for all age levels (birth through age 14) that reflect and encourage children's interests in exemplary ways.


According to ALSC policy, the current year's Newbery, Caldecott,  Belpré, Sibert, Geisel, and Batchelder Award and Honor books automatically are added to the Notable Children's Books list.

According to the ALSC Notable Children’s Books Committee manual, these categories loosely represent the following:  Younger Readers – Preschool-grade 2 (age 7), including easy-to-read books; Middle Readers – Grades 3-5, ages 8-10; Older Readers – Grades 6-8, ages 11-14; All Ages – Has appeal and interest for children in all of the above age ranges


YOUNGER

Also. By E. B. Goodale. Illus. by the author. Clarion, $17.99 (9780358153948).
Soft, beautiful paintings in blueberry ink illuminate the way in which the past and present remain close through the memories of three generations.

Bathe the Cat. By Alice B. McGinty. Illus. by David Roberts. Chronicle, $17.99 (9781452142708).
Dad gives everyone in his diverse family chores to prepare for Grandma’s visit, including bathing the cat. However, the mischievous cat has other plans. 

Berry Song. By Michaela Goade. Illus. by the author. Little, Brown, $18.99 (9780316494175).
Featuring informative back matter, this picture book follows a Tlingit grandmother and granddaughter as they gather berries like their ancestors before them. (A 2023 Caldecott Honor Book)

The Coquíes Still Sing: A Story of Home, Hope, and Rebuilding. By Karina Nicole González. Illus. by Krystal Quiles. Roaring Brook, $18.99 (9781250787187). 
The power of community, hope, and resilience is captured in this story of a family preparing for Hurricane María in Puerto Rico and their subsequent role in rebuilding their home. (A 2023 Pura Belpré Illustrator and Children's Author Honor Book)

Endlessly Ever After: Pick Your Path to Countless Fairy Tale Endings. By Laurel Snyder. Illus. by Dan Santat. Chronicle, $18.99 (9781452144825).
Fun, detailed illustrations will enchant young readers as they decide how a variety of fractured fairy tales will play out.

Every Dog in the Neighborhood. By Philip C. Stead. Illus. by Matthew Cordell. Holiday/Neal Porter, $18.99 (9780823444274).
Following his grandmother’s example of community activism, Louis carries out a census to count every dog in his neighborhood. Along the way, he makes new friends, including furry ones.

Everything in Its Place: A Story of Books and Belonging. By Pauline David-Sax. Illus. by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow. Doubleday, $17.99 (9780593378823).
Dynamic, mixed-media illustrations feature bookworm Nicky, who is inspired to overcome her shyness after meeting a diverse group of motorcycle-riding women at her mom’s cafe.

Farmhouse. By Sophie Blackall. Illus. by the author. Little, Brown, $18.99 (9780316528948).
Using detailed multimedia art—including materials from salvaged artifacts—and one long, rhythmic sentence, Blackall describes the daily lives of the large family that once lived in her old farmhouse.

Finding Fire. By Logan S. Kline. Illus. by the author. Candlewick, $18.99 (9781536213027).
This wordless picture book uses a bright palette to tell the story of a young member of a prehistoric community who volunteers to find fire when their source is doused by rain.

Fire Chief Fran. By Linda Ashman. Illus. by Nancy Carpenter. Astra/Astra Young Readers, $17.99 (9781635924268).
Rhyming sentences showcase the daily activities of Fran’s fire crew, from their varied emergency runs to how they spend their time at the firehouse in between.

Fish and Wave. By Sergio Ruzzier. Illus. by the author. HarperAlley, $16.99 (9780063076679).
This gentle, action-packed comics reader presents a distinctive anthropomorphic pair navigating the early waters of friendship. Flexibility is key as this duo transitions from “me” and “you” to a playful “we.” (A 2023 Geisel Honor Book)

The Flamingo. By Guojing. Art by the author. Random House Studio, $18.99 (9780593127315)
In an exquisitely illustrated, nearly wordless graphic novel, a young girl’s lao lao (grandmother) shares the tale of a flamingo raised from an egg, inspiring the girl to continue the story back home.

Gigi and Ojiji. By Melissa Iwai. Illus. by the author. Harper, $16.99 (9780063208063). 
Gigi’s excitement about meeting Ojiji, her Japanese grandfather, gives way to uncertainty when he arrives. After her mother reassures her, Gigi and Ojiji begin to settle into a new, warm relationship. (A 2023 Geisel Honor Book)

H Is for Harlem. By Dinah Johnson. Illus. by April Harrison. Little, Brown/Christy Ottaviano, $18.99 (9780316322379).
Accompanied by gorgeously detailed illustrations, this alphabetical ode to Harlem's Black history and culture celebrates historical figures, buildings, institutions, works of art, and more. 

Hello, Puddle! By Anita Sanchez. Illus. by Luisa Uribe. Clarion, $17.99 (9780358381440). 
This nonfiction picture book introduces young readers to a puddle and the many animals that use it for shelter and sustenance throughout the seasons.

A History of Me. By Adrea Theodore. Illus. by Erin K. Robinson. Holiday/Neal Porter, $18.99 (9780823442577).
Powerful illustrations illuminate this tale of a Black girl’s journey to finding self-acceptance and pride in her heritage despite the racism she faces as the only Black person in her class.

Honeybee Rescue: A Backyard Drama. By Loree Griffin Burns. Illus. by Ellen Harasimowicz. Charlesbridge, $16.99 (9781623542399).
When part of Mr. Connery’s bee colony moves to his shed, Mr. Nelson uses his expertise and homemade bee vacuum to rehome the bees without causing harm. Engaging photographs capture the process clearly.

Hot Dog. By Doug Salati. Illus. by the author. Knopf, $18.99. (9780593308431).
City sounds and heat, brought to life with searing oranges, give way to cool, tranquil greens and blues, as a dog and its human sojourn to the beach for fun and relaxation. (The 2023 Caldecott Medal winner)

How to Say Hello to a Worm: A First Guide to the Outside. By Kari Percival. Illus. by the author. Penguin Workshop/RISE, $17.99 (9780593226797)
Conversational questions and answers help a group of little ones learn about the process of planting a garden and the wonders of the outdoors.

I Did It! By Michael Emberley. Illus. by the author. Holiday, $14.99 (9780823446513).
With determination and some help from friends, a little creature learns to ride a bike. (The 2023 Geisel Award Book)

João by a Thread. By Roger Mello. Illus. by the author. Trans. By Daniel Hahn. Elsewhere Editions, $18.95 (9781953861344).
João dreams of floating through watery landscapes covered by elaborate embroideries until a hole swallows them. Startled awake, he weaves words together into a comforting lullaby. (A 2023 Batchelder Honor Book)

John’s Turn. By Mac Barnett. Illus. by Kate Berube. Candlewick, $17.99 (9781536203950).
Every Friday during assembly, one student performs a talent. When it's John's turn, everyone can tell he's nervous, but his ability to dance ballet surprises and delights his classmates.

Kitty. By Rebecca Jordan-Glum. Illus. by the author. Roaring Brook, $18.99 (9781250768049).
Granny thinks cat-sitting will be easy until, without her knowledge, a raccoon switches places with the cat and proceeds to cause chaos.

Knight Owl. By Christopher Denise. Illus. by the author. Little, Brown/Christy Ottaviano, $17.99 (9780316310628).
A young owl achieves his dream of becoming a knight, but his bravery and cleverness are quickly put to the test in this charming and humorous picture book. (A 2023 Caldecott Honor Book)

A Land of Books: Dreams of Young Mexihcah Word Painters. By Duncan Tonatiuh. Illus. by the author. Abrams, $19.99 (9781419749421). 
A Mexihcah girl describes the beauty and importance of language, culture, and tradition to her younger brother in this tale about Mesoamerican storytelling and bookmaking. (A 2023 Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Book)

Listen: How Evelyn Glennie, a Deaf Girl, Changed Percussion. By Shannon Stocker. Illus. by Devon Holzwarth. Dial, $17.99 (9780593109694). 
This picture book biography tells the true story of Evelyn Glennie, a deaf girl, who creates incredible music and becomes the world's first full-time solo percussionist.

Lizzy and the Cloud. By Terry Fan and Eric Fan. Illus. by the authors. Simon & Schuster, $18.99 (9781534483170).
Lifelike illustrations capture this whimsical account of Lizzy as she cares for her growing pet cloud and learns tough lessons about knowing when to set something she loves free.

Luli and the Language of Tea. By Andrea Wang. Illus. by Hyewon Yum. Holiday/Neal Porter, $18.99 (9780823446148). 
In her class of English language learners, Luli creates community and breaks the ice by sharing a pot of tea, a ritual common across many cultures.

Magic: Once Upon a Faraway Land. By Mirelle Ortega. Illus. by the author. Cameron Kids, $18.99 (9781951836573). 
From her family’s pineapple farm in Mexico, a young girl relates a story of the beauty and magic of transformation: words to stories, rain and dirt to fruit, and threads to blankets. (A 2023 Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Book)

Me and the Boss: A Story about Mending and Love. By Michelle Edwards. Illus. by April Harrison. Random/Anne Schwartz, $18.99 (9780593310670).
A little boy and his older sister learn to embroider at a library program. Although he struggles at first, he persists in finishing his project and surprises his sister by mending her teddy bear.

The Notebook Keeper: A Story of Kindness from the Border. By Stephen Briseño. Illus. by Magdalena Mora. Random House Studio, $17.99 (9780593307052).
In a heartening story of compassion and generosity, Noemi and her mother, who are denied entry into the U.S. from Mexico, add their names to the notebook, an unofficial list of those waiting to cross the border. (A 2023 Pura Belpré Children's Author Honor Book)

Out of a Jar. By Deborah Marcero. Illus. by the author. Putnam, $17.99 (9780593326374). 
A bunny bottles up his overwhelming emotions and hides them away. When storage becomes a problem, he learns to embrace difficult feelings in order to let them go.

Owl and Penguin. By Vikram Madan. Illus. by the author. Holiday, $14.99 (9780823451500).
In three short chapters, Owl and Penguin support each other and find humor in sharing ice cream, attempting to fly, and enjoying a rainy day. (A 2023 Geisel Honor Book)

Powwow Day. By Traci Sorrell. Illus. by Madelyn Goodnight. Charlesbridge, $17.99 (9781580899482)
Unable to dance at her local powwow due to a recent illness, a young girl finds hope for next year while watching her community dance for her healing. Back matter provides additional information about powwows.

A Seed Grows. By Antoinette Portis. Illus. by the author. Holiday/Neal Porter, $18.99 (9780823448920).
The lifecycle of a sunflower from seed to flower and back to seed is presented in minimalistic, lyrical text accompanied by richly textured images of the plant at each stage of development. (A 2023 Geisel and Sibert Honor Book)

Still Dreaming / Seguimos soñando. By Claudia Guadalupe Martínez. Illus. by Magdalena Mora. Tr. by Luis Humberto Crosthwaite. Lee & Low/Children’s Book, $20.95 (9780892394340).
Fearing separation, a family makes the difficult decision to leave their home in this poignant story, told through the eyes of a child, that recounts the Mexican Repatriation in the U.S. during the 1930s. (A 2023 Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Book)

Sweet Justice: Georgia Gilmore and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. By Mara Rockliff. Illus. by R. Gregory Christie. Random House Studio, $18.99 (9781524720643).
Exceptional writing and rich illustrations shed light on everyday civil rights hero Georgia Gilmore in this thoroughly researched picture book biography. (A 2023 Sibert Honor Book)

The Talk. By Alicia D. Williams. Illus. by Briana Mukodiri Uchendu. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy, $18.99 (9781534495296).
This picture book highlights the sensitive conversation many Black and brown families must have with their children about safety because of their skin color.

The Three Billy Goats Gruff. By Mac Barnett. Illus. by Jon Klassen. Scholastic/Orchard, $18.99 (9781338673845).
Infused with clever language and humor, the classic tale of the “Three Billy Goats Gruff” is retold with delightfully surprising illustrations.

Too Early. By Nora Ericson. Illus. by Elly MacKay. Abrams, $18.99 (9781419742071).
A father and child wake in time to watch the sunrise in this relatable early morning story illustrated with deep blues and beckoning yellow sunlight.

The Tower of Life: How Yaffa Eliach Rebuilt Her Town in Stories and Photographs. By Chana Stiefel. Illus. by Susan Gal. Scholastic, $18.99 (9781338225891).
Years after the Holocaust, Yaffa Eliach traveled the world to collect photographs from former members of her destroyed shtetl, which were used to create the Tower of Life memorial exhibit at the U.S. Holocaust Museum. (A 2023 Sibert Honor Book)

A Walk through the Rain Forest. By Martin Jenkins. Illus. by Vicky White. Candlewick, $18.99 (9781536211207).
Realistically detailed, grayscale illustrations featuring splashes of color adorn this sophisticated seek-and-find, which conversationally describes the plants and animals one may see on a walk through a Malaysian rain forest. 

Where Wonder Grows. By Xelena González. Illus. by Adriana M. Garcia. 2021. Cinco Puntos, $17.95 (9781947627468). 
A grandmother helps her granddaughters discover and appreciate the natural elements of Mother Earth and the healing and strength found in intergenerational communities and families. (The 2023 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award winner)

The World Belonged to Us. By Jacqueline Woodson. Illus. by Leo Espinosa. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen, $18.99 (9780399545498).
A flashback to a childhood "not so long ago" shows a time when a diverse group of kids were free to explore and play on their Brooklyn block during the summer.

Yellow Dog Blues. By Alice Faye Duncan. Illus. by Chris Raschka. Eerdmans, $18.99 (9780802855534).
Embroidered illustrations and lyrical language tell the story of a little boy’s journey along the Mississippi Blues Trail as he chases his runaway dog, who just wants to sing the blues.

Yes We Will: Asian Americans Who Shaped This Country. By Kelly Yang. Dial, $18.99 (9780593463055).
Yang partners with various Asian American and Asian artists to create an ode to Asian American changemakers. Biographical back matter complements the sparse text.

Yoshi and the Ocean: A Sea Turtle’s Incredible Journey Home. By Lindsay Moore. Illus. by the author. Greenwillow, $18.99 (9780063060982).
Following loggerhead sea turtle Yoshi’s 25,000-mile journey home after 20 years of captive rehabilitation, this informational picture book utilizes lyrical text, maps, and infographics.

MIDDLE

Aviva vs. the Dybbuk. By Mari Lowe. Levine Querido, $17.99 (9781646141258).
Haunted by a mischievous dybbuk, Aviva rekindles an old friendship, finds support in her Orthodox Jewish community, and begins to come to terms with a repressed traumatic memory.

Black Bird, Blue Road. By Sofiya Pasternack. HarperCollins/Versify, $16.99 (9780358572039). 
Ziva will do anything, even bargain with the Angel of Death, to cure her twin brother’s leprosy in this spiritual adventure set in the Khazarian Jewish Empire. 

Choosing Brave: How Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till Sparked the Civil Rights Movement. By Angela Joy. Illus. by Janelle Washington. Roaring Brook, $19.99 (9781250220950).
Accompanied by striking cut-paper illustrations, this moving picture book biography illuminates Mamie Till-Mobley’s life and the ways in which the murder of her son affected her activism during the civil rights era. (A 2023 Caldecott and Sibert Honor Book)

Concrete: From the Ground Up. By Larissa Theule. Illus. by Steve Light. Candlewick, $18.99 (9781536212501).
Informative and humorous, this picture book offers a fascinating introduction to the history, characteristics, and uses of a ubiquitous building material: concrete.

Different: A Story of the Spanish Civil War. By Mónica Montañés. Illus. by Eva Sánchez Gómez. Tr. by Lawrence Schimel. Eerdmans, $17.99 (9780802855985).
Told in the alternating voices of two brothers, this picture book reveals the everyday life and deprivation faced by the siblings during the Spanish Civil War. (A 2023 Batchelder Honor Book)

Dragonfly Eyes. By Cao Wenxuan. Tr. by Helen Wang. Candlewick, $19.99 (9781536200188). 
In a story spanning three generations, a family, whose wealth brings them great honor, becomes a target for abuse and persecution during China’s Cultural Revolution due to their mixed heritage and possessions. (A 2023 Batchelder Honor Book)

Freewater. By Amina Luqman-Dawson. Little, Brown, $16.99 (9780316056618).
A lyrical narrative tells the story of several children who escape slavery to discover freedom among a community of formerly enslaved Black people living in the Great Dismal Swamp. (The 2023 Newbery Award winner)

Frizzy. By Claribel A. Ortega. Art by Rose Bousamra. First Second, $21.99 (9781250259622).
Tired of getting her hair straightened at the salon, Dominican American Marlene goes to her aunt for affirmation and hair care tips. This graphic novel challenges societal beauty standards while celebrating naturally curly hair. (The 2023 Pura Belpré Children’s Author Award winner)

Jennifer Chan Is Not Alone. By Tae Keller. Random, $17.99 (9780593310526).
When UFO-obsessed Jennifer Chan disappears after “the Incident,” Mallory feels partly responsible and begins to search for her in this sensitive examination of the complex social dynamics of middle-school bullying. 

Just a Girl: A True Story of World War II. By Lia Levi. Illus. by Jess Mason. Tr. by Sylvia Notini.
Harper, $16.99 (9780063065086).
During Mussolini’s reign, Lia and her family leave their home because of the persecution of Jews. Based on her adult memoir, Levi retells her story through the eyes of a child experiencing racism and hatred of Jews during the period. (The 2023 Batchelder Award Book)

The Last Mapmaker. By Christina Soontornvat. Candlewick, $17.99 (9781536204957).
A mapmaker’s apprentice, Sai joins a group of explorers on a journey to map unexplored territories. Filled with secrets and double-crossing, this seafaring adventure follows Sai as she charts a new path to her destiny. (A 2023 Caldecott Honor Book)

Little Monarchs. By Jonathan Case. Art by the author. Holiday/Margaret Ferguson, $22.99 (9780823442607).
In a postapocalyptic future where sun exposure is deadly to mammals, Elvie and her caretaker follow migrating monarch butterflies as they try to develop a vaccine that will protect humanity for good.

Love in the Library. By Maggie Tokuda-Hall. Illus. by Yas Imamura. Candlewick, $18.99 (9781536204308). 
Tokuda-Hall draws upon her grandparents’ experiences during WWII in this tender picture book, which sees Tama and George fall in love while imprisoned in a Japanese American incarceration camp.

Maizy Chen’s Last Chance. By Lisa Yee. Random, $16.99 (9781984830258). 
As Maizy gets to know her ailing grandfather and helps run the family’s Chinese restaurant during an unplanned summer in Minnesota, she also discovers her family history and fights racial prejudice. (A 2023 Newbery Honor Book)

Odder. By Katherine Applegate. Illus. by Charles Santoso. Feiwel and Friends, $16.99 (9781250147424).
Inspired by true events, this novel in verse tells of a curious sea otter who is rehabilitated after nearly dying. Unfit for life in the wild, she begins to foster orphaned otter pups.

The Ogress and the Orphans. By Kelly Barnhill. Algonquin, $19.95 (9781643750743).
An ogress joins forces with a group of orphans to bring love and compassion back to their town after years of apathy left a devastating mark.

On the Move: Home Is Where You Find It. By Michael Rosen. Illus. by Quentin Blake. Candlewick, $17.99 (9781536218107). 
In this poetic meditation on human migration, Rosen connects his Polish Jewish family's history of loss and escape during the Holocaust with contemporary refugee and migrant experiences.

Out of the Shadows: How Lotte Reiniger Made the First Animated Fairytale Movie. By Fiona Robinson. Illus. by the author. Abrams, $18.99 (9781419740855).
Using cut-paper illustrations, this account covers the early life and career of Lotte Reiniger, who created the first feature-length animated film using a similar art technique.

Phenomenal AOC: The Roots and Rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. By Anika Aldamuy Denise. Illus. by Loris Lora. Harper, $18.99 (9780063113749). 
Tracing her journey from the Bronx to the Capitol Building, this inspiring biography of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the country’s youngest congresswoman, reminds readers of their own ability to make a difference. (A 2023 Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Book)

A River’s Gifts: The Mighty Elwha River Reborn. By Patricia Newman. Illus. by Natasha Donovan.
Lerner/Millbrook, $31.99 (9781541598706). 
A century after the damming of the Elwha River, members of the negatively impacted Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and activists joined forces to remove the dams and restore the local ecosystem.

A Rover’s Story. By Jasmine Warga. HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, $17.99 (9780063113923).
Told through multiple viewpoints, this tale of emotional rover Resilience’s mission to Mars will keep readers with an interest in STEM will be on the edge of their seats.

The Secret Battle of Evan Pao. By Wendy Wan-Long Shang. Scholastic, $17.99 (9781338678857).
When Evan Pao moves to a Virginia town where everyone is obsessed with the Civil War, his research into Chinese American history sparks classroom conversations surrounding systemic racism.

Seeking Freedom: The Untold Story of Fortress Monroe and the Ending of Slavery in America. By Selene Castrovilla. Illus. by E. B. Lewis. Astra/Calkins Creek, $18.99 (9781635925821).
This little-known Civil War story celebrates formerly enslaved fugitive George Scott, whose courageous acts helped the Union army defeat Confederate soldiers at Fortress Monroe.

Seen and Unseen: What Dorothea Lange, Toyo Miyatake, and Ansel Adams’s Photographs Reveal about the Japanese American Incarceration. By Elizabeth Partridge. Illus. by Lauren Tamaki. Chronicle, $21.99 (9781452165103). 
In an account that masterfully combines text and illustration, the works of three different photographers are used to showcase and examine the unjust incarceration of Japanese and Japanese Americans during WWII. (The 2023 Sibert Award winner)

Smaller Sister. By Maggie Edkins Willis. Art by the author. Roaring Brook, $22.99 (9781250767417)
When Lucy’s big sister develops an eating disorder, it has a profound effect on the whole family. This graphic novel explores disordered eating, adolescence, and sisterhood with empathy, honesty, and humor.

Srta. Quinces. By Kat Fajardo. Art. By the author. Scholastic/Graphix, paper, $12.99 (9781338535655).
Fifteen-year-old Suyapa/Sue is not looking forward to summer away from friends in rural Honduras, much less celebrating her quinceañera. This coming-of-age graphic novel is a celebration of self-acceptance and embracing cultural tradition. (A 2023 Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Book)

Swim Team. By Johnnie Christmas. Art by the author. HarperAlley, $21.99 (9780063056770).
Using a blue palette and intergenerational storytelling, this graphic novel follows Bree as she becomes empowered as a swimmer and learns about the racism that historically prevented Black Americans from participating in this sport.

Those Kids from Fawn Creek. By Erin Entrada Kelly. Greenwillow, $17.99 (9780062970350). 
When a new kid comes to the sleepy town of Fawn Creek, the small, close-knit, seventh-grade class discovers what it means to be yourself and how to be a friend.

Tumble. By Celia C. Pérez. Penguin/Kokila, $17.99 (9780593325179).
When 12-year-old Addie’s stepfather asks to adopt her, she sets out to discover the mystery of her father’s famous luchador family and learns more about herself along the way.

The Universe in You. By Jason Chin. Illus. by the author. Holiday/Neal Porter, $18.99 (9780823450701).
Stunning, detailed illustrations matched with fact-filled text transport readers into the microscopic building blocks of life, including cells, nuclei, and elementary particles.

Violet and Jobie in the Wild. By Lynne Rae Perkins. Illus. by the author. Greenwillow, $16.99 (9780062499691).
When indoor mouse siblings are dropped off in a state park to fend for themselves, they learn how to survive and forge important friendships with the other animals.

OLDER

Ain’t Burned All the Bright. By Jason Reynolds. Illus. by Jason Griffin. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy, $19.99 (9781534439467).
An interplay of poetry and art showcases a Black family during the first summer of COVID. In three breaths, the teen narrator describes how his family copes with the challenges of that time. (A 2023 Caldecott Honor Book)

American Murderer: The Parasite That Haunted the South. By Gail Jarrow. Astra/Calkins Creek, $24.99 (9781684378159). 
This thoroughly researched and engaging history details the discovery and treatment of devastating cases of hookworm in the southern U.S. in the early twentieth century.

The Bluest Sky. By Christina Diaz Gonzalez. Knopf, $17.99 (9780593372791).
With his abuela in a high political position, Hector lives comfortably in Cuba and is surprised to learn his mother plans for their family to flee the country when Castro opens the port of Mariel.

Caprice. By Coe Booth. Scholastic, $17.99 (9780545933346). 
When an incident at summer camp triggers repressed traumatic memories, Caprice endeavors to garner support from her community center and family and express her needs through tough conversations and poetry.

The Door of No Return. By Kwame Alexander. Little, Brown, $17.99 (9780316441865).
Kofi, an Asante boy in 1860s Africa, loves to swim and listen to his grandfather's stories. But when his brother accidentally kills a prince, Kofi is kidnapped and his future is forever changed.

How to Build a Human: In Seven Evolutionary Steps. By Pamela S. Turner. Illus. by John Gurche. Charlesbridge, $21.99 (9781623542504).
With a humorous, conversational tone, this informative and accessible account describes the seven evolutionary steps that brought humans to where we are today.

I Must Betray You. By Ruta Sepetys. Philomel, $18.99 (9781984836038). 
In 1989 Communist Romania, 17-year-old Cristian Florescu struggles to live his life and protect his secrets without hurting those he loves most.

In the Key of Us. By Mariama J. Lockington. Farrar, $16.99 (9780374314101). 
Told in alternating perspectives, two Black girls connect at music camp and help each other through parental loss, family pressures, and mental health struggles. 

Iveliz Explains It All. By Andrea Beatriz Arango. Illus. by Alyssa Bermudez. Random, $16.99 (9780593563977).
Iveliz’s thoughts and emotions are revealed in poignant, candid diary entries that chronicle her experiences with grief, relationships, bullying, and family conflict. (A 2023 Newbery Honor Book)

The Patron Thief of Bread. By Lindsay Eagar. Candlewick, $19.99 (9781536204681). 
Part of a roving gang of street urchins, Duck sets out to prove her worth by posing as a baker's apprentice. She soon realizes there is more to life and family than what she’s always known.

The Road to After. By Rebekah Lowell. Illus. by the author. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen, $16.99 (9780593109618).
Told in verse, this moving novel follows Lacey and her family as they figure out what comes next after escaping from domestic abuse. 

Star Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler. By Ibi Zoboi. Dutton, $16.99 (9780399187384). 
In poetry and prose framed around themes of stars and the universe, Zoboi tells the story of the singular and visionary science fiction writer Octavia Estelle Butler.

Victory. Stand! Raising My Fist for Justice. By Tommie Smith and Derrick Barnes. Art by Dawud Anyabwile. Norton/Young Readers, $22.95 (9781324003908).
This boldly illustrated, black-and-white graphic autobiography tells the story of athlete and scholar Dr. Tommie Smith’s journey to Olympic gold and his choice to raise his fist in protest of racial discrimination.

ALL AGES

Blue: A History of the Color as Deep as the Sea and as Wide as the Sky. By Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond. Illus. by Daniel Minter. Knopf, $18.99 (9781984894366). 
The long and complex history of the color blue, once so difficult to acquire, is explored through stunning acrylic illustrations and easy-to-read, descriptive text.

Isla to Island. By Alexis Castellanos. Art by the author. Atheneum, $21.99 (9781534469242).
In this nearly wordless graphic novel, Marisol’s world loses its color when she must emigrate alone to New York City. However, she rediscovers brightness in books, flowers, and food.

Killer Underwear Invasion! How to Spot Fake News, Disinformation & Conspiracy Theories. By Elise Gravel. Art. By the author. Chronicle, $14.99 (9781797214917).
This hilarious and informative graphic nonfiction book breaks down media literacy in an accessible, kid-friendly way.

Marshmallow Clouds: Two Poets at Play among Figures of Speech. By Ted Kooser and Connie Wanek. Illus. by Richard Jones. Candlewick, $19.99 (9781536203035). 
In sections based on the four elements, this poetry collection sees two poets employ figures of speech to playfully explore and reimagine everyday objects and the natural world.

The Real Dada Mother Goose: A Treasury of Complete Nonsense. By Jon Scieszka. Illus. by Julia Rothman. Candlewick, $19.99 (9780763694340). 
Using clever wordplay, Scieszka turns Mother Goose rhymes on their head Dada-style in a humorous work that encourages readers to continue the fun on their own. 

Standing in the Need of Prayer: A Modern Retelling of the Classic Spiritual. By Carole Boston Weatherford. Illus. by Frank Morrison. Crown, $18.99 (9780593306345). 
Taking inspiration from the classic African American spiritual, this picture book rendition highlights moments in Black history and the resilience of the Black community.


2023 Notable Children's Books Committee

Madeline Tyner, Chair, Cooperative Children's Book Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Julie Jesernik, Warrenville Public Library, Illinois
Olivia McElwain, Reading Public Library, Massachusetts
April Roy, Kansas City Public Library, Missouri
Kelly-Ann Smith, New York Public Library, New York
Emily Snodgrass, Rogers Public Library, Arkansas
Melissa Sokol, Dayton Metro Library, Kettering, Ohio
Patrick Tierney, Barrington Public Library, Rhode Island
Kari Wall, Raymond Library, Oakdale, Connecticut
Julie Williams, Sanford Middle School Library, Maine
Julia Wright, Alameda County Library, Fremont, California

Other ALA Awards