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2023 Staff Picks for Kids


Whether they’re just learning to read or diving into to chapter books and novels, this year’s Staff Picks list includes titles for all of your little ones, from infants to tweens!

Be sure to also check out our Staff Picks lists for Adults and Teens to find new reads for the whole family. And if you’re looking for more recommended reads for 2024, try our My Next Read service to receive a custom list of recommendations from one of our librarians!


  • An American Story by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Dare Coulter – recommended by Courtney M. at North Park
  • Big by Vashti Harrison – recommended by Rachel S. at Fairfield
  • Bioblitz: Counting Critters by Susan Edwards Richmond, illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman – recommended by Lisa K. at Glen Allen
  • Christmas Cookies: Bite-Size Holiday Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Jane Dyer – recommended by Inger H. at Twin Hickory
    • I chose this book because it teaches vocabulary in context while discussing the joys of making, eating, and sharing cookies.  I also like the cultural diversity in the illustrations.
  • Dear Treefrog by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Diane Sudyka – recommended by Barbra S. at North Park
    • I love the beautiful message, poetry and illustrations in this book. I love even more that it has special informative sections for kids to learn more about treefrogs and nature. 
  • Enough Is… by Jessica Whipple, illustrated by Nicole Wong – recommended by Alisha H. at Libbie Mill
  • Farmhouse by Sophie Blackall – recommended by Amanda S. at Library Administration
    • I fell in love with Sophie Blackall's books after reading this one! The gorgeous illustrations and Blackall's eye for detail, along with the lovely story of the farmhouse and its inhabitants over the years, made Farmhousemy (picture) book pick of the year. A great read for any age!
  • Like Lava In My Veins by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Shawn Martinbrough – recommended by Alicia A. at Library Administration
  • The Loud Librarian by Jenna Beatrice, illustrated by Erika Lynne Jones - recommended by Beth C. at Fairfield
    • A book that hits home for me as I’ve made the journey of becoming a Children's Librarian. How could such a loud person work in a place that is known for shushing others? 
  • Q is for Duck: An Alphabet Guessing Game by Mary Elting and Michael Folsom, illustrated by Jack Kent – recommended by Tori N. at Tuckahoe
    • Not a new book but new to this librarian this year!  What a fun read aloud especially for elementary aged kids who are ALMOST past wanting to have picture books read to them. It’s hilarious and makes you use your head.
  • Remember by Joy Harjo, illustrated by Michaela Goade – recommended by Fritz D. at Varina
  • The Twelve Hours of Christmas by Jenn Bailey, illustrated by Brittany Jackson – recommended by Naila P. at Tuckahoe
    • A heartwarming snapshot of a beautiful family celebrating the Christmas season together!
  • Twenty Questions by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Christian Robinson – recommended by Aimee H. at Glen Allen
  • Unflappable by Matthew Ward, illustrated by Scott Magoon – recommended by Logan F. at Gayton
  • When Little Owl Met Little Rabbit by Przemyslaw Wechterowicz, illustrated Emilia Dziubak – recommended by Drew C. at Gayton
    • This book tells the story of a rabbit and an owl who live near the same tree but have never met because they are never awake at the same time! The forest and nighttime illustrations in this book are outstanding and make for a perfect cozy read. 


  • Agents of S.U.I.T  by John Patrick Green – recommended by Tori N. at Tuckahoe
    • The first spinoff from the popular Investigators series packed with action, hijinks, and humor!
  • Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume – recommended by Tiffany A. at Libbie Mill
    • I had not read this book since I was a child but have fond memories of it, and it did not disappoint. I love Margaret's search for where she fits into the universe and her conversations with God.
  • A Rover's Story by Jasmine Warga – recommended by Barbra S. at North Park
    • Somehow Jasmine Warga has crafted a tear jerker with heart, science, depth and whimsy that appeals to kids and adults alike.
  • Curlfriends: New in Town by Sharee Miller – recommended by Amanda S. at Library Administration
    • This JUV graphic novel captures how daunting moving to a new school is, especially when you are starting middle school. Charlie thinks she has the perfect plan to win over new friends, but eventually realizes the best way to make new friends and survive middle school is to just be yourself! 
  • Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein - recommended by Beth C. at Fairfield
    • Reminds me of a mix between 39 Clues and National Treasure. An exciting graphic novel adaptation that allows you to immerse yourself in the game!  
  • Full of Beans by Jennifer L. Holm – recommended by Drew C. at Gayton
    • This historical fiction tale packs so many neat historical tidbits into such a quick and economical story. The book, set in Key West during the Great Depression, paints a vivid picture of the era and will definitely teach you something you did not know before reading it.
  • Moth Keeper by Kay O'Neill – recommended by Rachel S. at Fairfield
  • Parachute Kids by Betty C. Tang – recommended by Alicia A. at Library Administration
  • Puppets of Spelhorst by Kate DiCamillo – recommended by Marie R. at Gayton and Julie S. from Glen Allen
    • The newest book by Kate DiCamillo is a journey of epic, sweet proportions! – Marie R.
    • Another wonderful tale by the author about five puppets and stories without end. – Julie S.
  • Small Spaces by Katherine Arden – recommended by Lisa K. at Glen Allen
    • A nail-biting creepy story about a fall field trip to a farm.
  • Squire & Knight by Scott Chantler – recommended by Savannah C. at Library Administration
  • Wingbearer by Marjorie Liu – recommended by Alisha H. at Libbie Mill
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