Best Books of 2023…So Far: Children Books

Welcome to another round of the Best Books of the Year so Far, where halfway through the year, I name the titles I read that I feel are the best of 2023 so far. Just like last year, I will be listing the books by different genre and format. So stay tuned every Thursday throughout the rest of this month, catch my favorite reads of 2023 that you want to keep your eye on!

Keep Dancing Lizzie Chu by Maisie Chan

Twelve-year-old Lizzie Chu has lived with her Wai Gong (grandfather) in Glasgow since her parents died when she was a baby. But Wai Gong has been acting different lately. He spends a lot of time talking to his Guan Yin statue–the Chinese goddess of compassion, kindness, and mercy–at his altar and seems to be becoming more forgetful. Even the shared passion he and Lizzie have for their favorite show, Strictly Come Dancing, seems to be tailing off.

When Lizzie’s friend Chi visits one day dressed as Princess Leia for Comic Con, Wai Gong mistakes her for Guan Yin, and is naturally delighted, and Lizzie seizes the opportunity to use Chi as Guan Yin to help her with her grandad. And then Lizzie gets an idea: she and Chi can take Wai Gong to Blackpool to the Tower Ballroom, where he’d always dreamed of going. If only she can get her grandad there, she thinks, he’ll find some peace, and perhaps things will be OK at home again. After all, one of the myths around Guan Yin is that she brings order and harmony, so it’s got to work out–right? (Credit: Amulet Books)

Whirly Twirly Me by Manjeet Mann and illsutrated by Amanda Quartey

Some days are good days. Some days are bad days. And some days are whirly twirly days, where the strops have you in a flop and everything is TOO MUCH. But what if you weren’t just angry?Written by award-winning author Manjeet Mann, this brilliant picture book helps young readers explore difficult feelings and identify their emotions.

Sensitively written and accompanied by beautiful artwork by Amanda Quartey, this book reassures little readers it’s normal to feel a lot of things at once and helps them to embrace their own whirly twirly days. (Credit: HarperCollins UK)

The Book That No One Wanted To Read by Richard Ayoade and illustrated by Tor Freeman

What happens when a book encounters a someone who actually wants to read it? A magical adventure. Richard Ayoade brings his sense of humor but also brings the heartwarming feeling of what readers get when they open up a book. This may be a children’s book but readers of all ages will definitely appreciate and love the message that this book brings. And also I love books that promote reading and the love for this beloved pastime so that ranks it high in my favor! ⁠

You Need To Chill: A Story of Love and Family by Juno Dawson and illustrated by Laura Hughes

Beautifully illustrated picture book with a powerful message of acceptance and fighting for one’s family. This is a great picture book to read to children to promote inclusiveness and love for all shapes and forms.

And I’ve come up with a new callback for any type of arrogance and judgement…

“You Need To Chill” ❤💜💚💛

This Book Is Banned by Raj Haldar and illustrated by Julia Patton 

Expected Publication Date: September 26

This is a book about dinosaurs. No it’s not. Dinosaurs are not allowed.

Oh. This is now a book about avocados! Sorry. We deleted those too.

FINE. This book is about–nope! Forbidden! BANNED!

Maybe you shouldn’t even try reading this book…But what could possibly be inside?

Discover just what happens when we aren’t allowed to freely share and explore ideas with this funny, self-referential picture book romp that kids (and grown-ups) will want to read over and over again. (Credit: Sourcebooks Explore)

Windrush Child: The Tale of a Caribbean Child Who Faced a New Horizon by John Agard and illustrated by Sophie Bass

With one last hug, Windrush child says goodbye to his grandmother and the shores of his Caribbean home before embarking on an adventure across the ocean–under a sky full of promise–to an unknown horizon. With sensitivity and tender lyricism, world-renowned and multi-award-winning poet John Agard narrates the epic story of a child’s voyage to England aboard Empire Windrush. Joyous illustrations by debut artist Sophie Bass richly evoke the changing landscapes and the uncertainty, courage, and hope of those who step into history–and travel far in search of home. (Credit: Candlewick Press)

One Little Word by Joseph Coelho and illustrated by Allison Colpoys

“The argument came from nowhere.
It sat huge and bloated
in the middle of the playground
between me and my best friend.”

This big hairy monster appears out of the blue one day, splitting up the best friends and growing bigger and bigger, until it starts to ruin all the children in the playground’s fun.Together, they learn how to shrink the monster until it vanishes completely, to the point where they can’t even remember what it looks like!Coelho’s gentle and lyrical verse pair perfectly with Allison Colpoys’ beautiful illustrations to create a book which will be treasured by young readers.This is an ode to the power of an apology, and to treasuring a special bond that runs deeper than even the friends realized. (Credit: Frances Lincoln Ltd)

The Light She Feels Inside by Gwendolyn Wallace and illustrated by Olivia Duchess 

Expected Publication Date: October 3

Maya feels a warm glow when she picks strawberries in the community garden, hears music in her neighborhood, or spends time with the people she loves.She feels a different kind of glow when she gets pushed down on the playground, overhears her family worrying about bills, and sees her favorite cousin stopped by police. Sometimes that glowing seems like too much to carry.

But Maya is learning that others feel the same glowing light. Black women throughout history, like Ida B. Wells, Nina Simone, June Jordan, and Maya’s own ancestors, found ways to honor these glowing feelings. They were guided by their light to make a difference. The light Maya feels inside is an important part of her that she’ll share as she works toward a brighter world. (Credit: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky)

Stay tune for next week where I will give the last category in the best of 2023 so far feature… Audiobooks!

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All these titles can be found at my store on Bookshop.org

Published by karma2015

I was born and raised in New York. I still live in New York but kind of sick of the city and one day I wish to move to the UK.I have a Masters degree in Library Science and I currently work in a special collections library. I loved books ever since I was a little girl. Through the hard times in my life, my love for books has always gotten me through. Just entering another world different from my own intrigues me. As long as I am entering in another universe, I like to create my own as well. I love to write and hopefully I will be able to complete a novel.

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