Miss Amber’s 2023 Picture Book Gift List

Guest blog from Miss Amber

Unsurprisingly for a Youth Services Librarian, I think good picture books make the best gifts for all ages. They are pieces of art. They take up little room. They store well. And they can usually be enjoyed in a matter of minutes, and thus, rarely result in causing the giftee any readers’ anxiety. Here is a list of the books that I am most excited about giving this year:

The Skull by Jan Klassen

A beautiful retelling of a Tyrolean folktale about a girl who befriends a skull. This picture book will especially appeal to tweens and teens due to the chapter book feel and ghoulish personality.  The Author/Illustrator’s note at the end is a must read! I will actually be gifting this book to my 41 year old brother and giving other Jan Klassen books to my sister-in-law and nephew as a Klassen-themed family gift. The Author/Illustrator’s note at the end is a must read!


Big by Vashti Harrison

If this book doesn’t win the Caldecott Medal this year, I will shatter. Both the story and illustrations by Vashti Harrison are STUNNING. Follow along as a child discovers how to love themselves while living in a world where words have the power to both hurt and heal. Have a tissue box handy.


Moon Pops by Baek Hee-na and translated by Jieun Kiaer

Moon Pops is a fresh, summery retelling of a Korean folktale by internationally acclaimed Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award winner Heena Baek. During a hot evening, the moon begins to melt. Granny decides to collect the moon drops and make popsicles for her neighbors, but what will she do when the moon rabbits come by looking for their home? Every time I read this book, I find something new to delight me in the glowing illustrations.


Simon and the Better Bone by Corey R. Tabor

This is my choice for best-dog-picture-book of the year! (Past winners include Hot Dog, The Longest Letsgoboy, Good Rosie, Best Day EverSnook Alone, and Please, Puppy, Please!)

Simon is happy to have found a great bone, until he walks by a pond and sees another dog with a better bone. Simon is so playful and sweet, that you will want to just scoop him out of the book for a hug.


There was a Party for Langston by Jason Reynolds and Jerome Pumphrey & Jarrett Pumphrey

This is such a lovely, joyful picture book about a real life party at the Schomberg Library that brought together some of history’s greatest authors to celebrate Langston Hughes. It feels exciting to read a picture book that flows and jumps and sings while also managing to introduce young readers to so many important historical figures.