Looking for some of the best children’s books published in 2022?
Below I’ve compiled a comprehensive list of children’s books that I consider to be among the “best of the best” that were published in 2022. Rest assured, my children and I have read each of these books several times together throughout the year. I believe these are books children (and adults) will be excited to read again and again. Let me know in the comments which of these you’ve read or are excited to read with the little readers in your life.
Honorable Mentions (not included in this list): You Have a Voice by Vera Ahiyya and Fabiana Faiallo, It’s So Difficult by Raúl Nieto Guridi, illustrated by Lawrence Schimel and Finding My Dance by Ria Thundercloud, illustrated by Kalila J. Fuller.
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A Planet Like Ours
Our planet Earth is as individual and special as each one of us. It's ability to sustain and nurture life is unique in our solar system--and beyond. In this book, celebrate all the wonderful, miraculous, astounding qualities of our Earth while learning how to protect her for future generations. After all, "If not us, then who?"
Be a Good Ancestor
Rooted in Indigenous teachings, this stunning picture book encourages readers of all ages to consider the ways in which they live in connection to the world around them and to think deeply about their behaviors.
The Year We Learned to Fly
Companion to the picture book, The Day You Begin, this story introduces readers to a brother and sister stuck inside the house on a stormy day. Through the power of imagination, they are lifted out of their boredom and out of their apartment flying over the city.
Later in the story, the kids receive sage advice from their grandmother that helps them solve a disagreement. That advice stays with the kids and reminds them to use their wings to help them “fly” whenever they find themselves in a tough situation. In the end, others learn to “fly” too.
I Am Golden
This joyful and lyrical picture book from New York Times bestselling author Eva Chen and illustrator Sophie Diao is a moving ode to the immigrant experience, as well as a manifesto of self-love for Chinese American children.
When a little girl learns about her parents’ divorce on a Thursday, it ruins her favorite day of the week. But her stuffed-unicorn friend steps in to help, taking her on adventures to cheer her up and staying by her side to comfort her when feelings are hard. Then, slowly, the little girl and her unicorn friend awaken to the natural world that surrounds them as life continues to shift and change…until the day that Thursday can become just Thursday again.
Bathe the Cat
It's cleaning day, but the family cat will do anything to avoid getting a bath. So instead of mopping the floor or feeding the fish, the family is soon busy rocking the rug, vacuuming the lawn, and sweeping the dishes. Bouncy rhyme carries the story headlong into the growing hilarity, until finally Dad restores some kind of order—but will the cat avoid getting his whiskers wet? Dad and Papa are the heads of this large and loving biracial family, providing picture book readers with a positive depiction of LGBTQ+ characters in a fun and funny family story.
All Black and Brown kids get The Talk—the talk that could mean the difference between life and death in a racist world. Told in an age-appropriate fashion, with a perfect pause for parents to insert their own discussions with their children to accompany prompting illustrations, The Talk is a gently honest and sensitive starting point for this far-too-necessary conversation, for Black children, Brown children, and for ALL children. Because you can’t make change without knowing what needs changing.
River wants so badly to dance at powwow day as she does every year. In this uplifting and contemporary picture book perfect for beginning readers, follow River's journey from feeling isolated after an illness to learning the healing power of community.
Step inside the dollhouse-like interior of Farmhouse and relish in the daily life of the family that lives there, rendered in impeccable, thrilling detail. Based on a real family and an actual farmhouse where Sophie salvaged facts and artifacts for the making of this spectacular work, page after page bursts with luminous detail and joy.
Love in the Library
Set in an incarceration camp where the United States cruelly detained Japanese Americans during WWII and based on true events, this moving love story finds hope in heartbreak.
A Taste of Honey: Kamala Outsmarts the Seven Thieves; A Circle Round Book
In a village in the countryside lived a woman named Kamala who had the most delicious honey you’ve ever tasted. She collected honey from her hives to sell at the market, but business was slow, and she and her father were struggling to get by. Kamala knew she had to do something, so when she heard that the king’s son was getting married and all the villagers were invited to the party, she got an idea.
That's Not My Name!
Mirha is so excited for her first day of school! She can't wait to learn, play, and make new friends. But when her classmates mispronounce her name, she goes home wondering if she should find a new one. Maybe then she'd be able to find a monogrammed keychain at the gas station or order a hot chocolate at the cafe more easily. Mama helps Mirha to see how special her name is, and she returns to school the next day determined to help her classmates say it correctly--even if it takes a hundred tries.
Good Night, Little Bookstore
Join the Little Bookstore’s friendly staff as they draw the curtain on another busy day of browsing and matchmaking. Choose a bedtime story, say your good nights, and pet the shop’s feline mascot on your way out. Snuggle up to a loved one for a read-aloud, then drift off to sweet dreams of adventure and enchantment to come.
Tisha and the Blossoms
Tisha has spent the entire day rushing. She has to hustle for the bus in the morning, though she wants to stop and listen to the sounds around her. She has to quickly put her crayons away at school, though she’s not finished with her drawing. She even has to speed through recess so she doesn’t miss lunch. So, when Mommy picks her up, Tisha asks if they can please “have a little slowdown.” What if they walked instead of taking the bus? What if they counted cars and seagulls, umbrellas and hats? What if they simply sat on a bench in the sunshine and gave names to the pigeons in the park?
Once, in a tiny village in India, there was a young boy who loved to paint. He lived with his grandfather, who taught him to paint with his fingers, to make paints from marigolds and brushes made from jasmine flowers. Sometimes, the village children would watch them painting together, and the boy's grandfather would invite them to join in.
Nigel and the Moon
When Nigel looks up at the moon, his future is bright. He imagines himself as...an astronaut, a dancer, a superhero, too! Among the stars, he twirls. With pride, his chest swells. And his eyes, they glow. Nigel is the most brilliant body in the sky. But it's Career Week at school, and Nigel can't find the courage to share his dreams. It's easy to whisper them to the moon, but not to his classmates--especially when he already feels out of place.
On an island at the edge of a wide, wild sea, a girl and her grandmother gather gifts from the earth. Salmon from the stream, herring eggs from the ocean, and in the forest, a world of berries. Through the seasons, they sing to the land as the land sings to them. Brimming with joy and gratitude, in every step of their journey, they forge a deeper kinship with both the earth and the generations that came before, joining in the song that connects us all.
Choosing Brave: How Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till Sparked the Civil Rights Movement
In Choosing Brave, Angela Joy and Janelle Washington offer a testament to the power of love, the bond of motherhood, and one woman's unwavering advocacy for justice. It is a poised, moving work about a woman who refocused her unimaginable grief into action for the greater good. Mamie fearlessly refused to allow America to turn away from what happened to her only child. She turned pain into change that ensured her son's life mattered.
Frances in the Country
Frances is a city kid, but it’s hard for her to fit in. City walls aren’t for climbing, city rooms aren’t for running, city shops and city yards are too crowded, and there are so many rules that Frances can’t seem to follow. She takes a trip to visit her cousins in the country, where she finds cats for chasing, roads for racing down, ladders for leaping, and fields full of animals. When it’s time to go home, it’s not easy to leave her cousins, but she invites them to visit and see the sights and sounds, lights, thumps, beeps and shines of the city where she returns to her loving mom and sisters.
Blue: A History as Deep as the Sea and as Wide as the Sky
Discover a world of creativity and tradition in this fascinating picture book that explores the history and cultural significance of the color blue. From a critically acclaimed author and an award-winning illustrator comes a vivid, gorgeous book for readers of all ages.
Yes We Will: Asian Americans Who Shaped This Country
From creating beautiful music like Yo-Yo Ma to flying to outer space like Franklin Chang-Díaz; from standing up to injustice like Fred Korematsu to becoming the first Asian American, Black and female vice president of the United States like Kamala Harris, this book illuminates the power of Asian Americans all over the country, in all sorts of fields.
Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle
For one little girl, there’s no place she’d rather be than sitting between Mama and Mommy. So when Mommy goes away on a work trip, it’s tricky to find a good place at the table. As the days go by, Mama brings her to the library, they watch movies, and all of them talk on the phone, but she still misses Mommy as deep as the ocean and as high as an astronaut up in the stars. As they pass by a beautiful garden, the girl gets an idea . . . but when Mommy finally comes home, it takes a minute to shake off the empty feeling she felt all week before leaning in for a kiss.