As the end of the year approaches, I wanted to pull together all of the best picture books of 2022! These are my favorite books that were released this year. I had planned to choose 22 books, but it turned out that I had more favorites than that. Check out this list of best picture books of 2022!
I’m sharing all of these books on video as well! Check out the Best Picture Books of 2022 on my Youtube channel.
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Best Picture Books of 2022
Patchwork by Matt De La Pena
Patchwork is a poem that reminds all of us what it is to be human; a reminder that we are more than one thing. We are more than one note – we are the symphony; we are more than one fabric square – we are the whole quilt. We are multi-layered, complex, shifting, and changing. This one is at the top of my best picture books of 2022!
Creepy Crayon by Aaron Reynolds
Jasper Rabbit has a problem: he is NOT doing well in school. His spelling tests? Disasters. His math quizzes? Frightening to behold. But one day, he finds a crayon lying in the gutter. Purple. Pointy. Perfect. Somehow…it looked happy to see him. And it wants to help.
At first, Jasper is excited. Everything is going great. His spelling is fantastic. His math is stupendous. And best of all, he doesn’t have to do ANY work! But then the crayon starts acting weird. It’s everywhere, and it wants to do everything. And Jasper must find a way to get rid of it before it takes over his life. The only problem? The Creepy Crayon will not leave.
Eyes that Speak to the Stars by Joanna Ho
In this follow-up to Eyes that Kiss in the Corners, Joanna Ho brings us Eyes that Speak to the Stars. This story is about a young Asian boy who realizes that his eyes are different than those of his peers. But, after a talk with his father, he realizes that his eyes rise to the skies and speak to the stars. That they are similar to his father’s, his agong’s and his younger brother’s eyes. He becomes inspired by the men in his family and recognizes his own power and the strength that comes from within.
Gibberish by Young Vo
Gibberish tells the story of a young boy named Dat, who is new to the English language. It is his first day of school in a new country. To Dat, everything that everybody says – from the school bus driver to his new classmates – sounds like gibberish. How is he going to make new friends if they can’t understand each other? Luckily there’s a friendly girl in Dat’s girl who knows that there are other ways to communicate besides just talking.
The imagery in Gibberish is brilliant! Vo reveals Dat’s experience by showing the speakers of gibberish as black and white cartoon characters, while he is show more realistically in color. As he starts to understand the language, more color is added to all the page.
Over and Under the Waves by Kate Messner
Follow a family kayaking in the ocean as they paddle and notice what’s in the sky and the ocean’s surface like the whales breaching. Below them, the ocean teams with life — both plants and animals. As always, the evocative writing shares memorable details and vivid verbs. “Under the waves, leopard sharks prowl,” and “Barnacles pull in their feather feet, while treefish and prawns tuck away in the rocks.”
Once again, Messner shares the wonders of the world’s biggest ecosystem with the unique over/under pattern. This is another one of the best picture books of 2022!
Pizza! A Slice of History by Greg Pizzoli
A nonfiction book about the history of pizza! Pizza! A Slice of History takes readers on a tour of the origins of pizza from Ancient Greece and Persia to Italy and New York City. And while many disagree about where pizza was invented or even which city has the best style of pizza, one thing most people agree on is pizza is the world’s BEST food!
Knight Owl by Christopher Denise
A pizza saves a brave Knight Owl from being eaten by a hungry dragon. Christopher Denise has created a feathered, fluffy hero who shows readers sometimes your wits can be your best weapon of defense. And sometimes you can even make a friend of a foe if only you’ll look for common ground.
John’s Turn by Mac Barnett
Everyone has a gift to share. Some kids tell jokes; others perform magic tricks; still more play musical instruments. When it’s John’s Turn to share his gift – the gift of dance – readers can sense his hesitation to share his talent with others. It’s a reminder that when we reveal our authentic self, it will resonate with others. It will reward us with a sense of pride and validation.
Mama & Mommy & Me in the Middle by Nina LaCour
Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle is about a child missing a parent when they are gone. It shares all of the emotions that go along with that. This ability to show emotions, and embrace them instead of feeling bad about them, is an important SEL lesson.
I love that at school she has a diverse group of classmates feeling sad about missing loved ones for various reasons. Kaylani Juanita’s illustrations capture so much love and emotion in Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle.
Happy All-idays by Cindy Jin
All Season’s Greetings and Happy ALL-idays! Learn how different families celebrate the winter season with this holiday card-inspired board book that captures the meaning of Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, and more!
Whether it’s putting up the Christmas tree, lighting the menorah, or getting ready for Kwanzaa, this story proves that the holiday season is a special time for everyone and a great way to learn about different winter holidays and send cheer to everyone you know!
Standing in the Need of Prayer by Carole Boston Weatherford
From slavery to the Black Lives Matter movement, Standing in Need of a Prayer beautifully chronicles some of the major events of the Black experience in America. In a note from the author, she reminds us – religious or not – prayer is accessible to all of us. Prayer – a solemn request for help – is something that we are all in need of these days.
Copycat by Christy Hale
Copycat is another nonfiction favorite of 2022! Kids will find it fascinating how inventors and designers are inspired by nature to create and build. Some of what we think as being the most innovative technology created by humans was copied from Mother Nature. Readers will enjoy perusing the pages of illustrations and photographs showing comparisons of nature’s designs with those that are man made.
Using Japanese Tanka poems, Hale packs in a lots of information about biomimicry in just five lines making the topic informative and accessible to young curious minds.
Bathe the Cat by Alice B. McGinty
When “bathe the cat” is added to the chore chart in preparation for grandma’s visit, the cat decides to mix things up. Mow the vacuum? Mop the baby? Feed the lawnmower? He’ll do anything to avoid getting a bath! The rhyming hidings here are a crowd-pleaser that will have kids laughing throughout.
Bathe the Cat gives LGBTQ+ families visibility without making it central to the story and shows us a true modern American family.
Farmhouse by Sophie Blackall
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.
Join the award-winning, best-selling Sophie Blackall as she takes readers on an enchanting visit to a farmhouse across time, to a place that echoes with stories.
This Story is Not About a Kitten by Randall de Seve
This Story is Not About a Kitten. It is a story about community and connection. It’s a story about what it means to come together for a common purpose and a common good. It’s a story about home. But it does involved a very cute, wide-eyed and frightened kitten that you’ll easily find yourself wanting to rescue.
The World Belonged to Us by Jacqueline Woodson
The World Belonged to Us is a beautiful depiction of the joy and freedom that summer in the city offers. From chasing the ice cream truck to being called home for dinner. This story uses rhythmic text and incredibly capturing art to bring us to a place to experience summer in the city. A nostalgic book for many!
The Sour Grape by Jory John
The Sour Grape holds grudges for every reason under the sun. Lime never returned a scarf they borrowed? Grudge! Orange never called back? Grudge! But when a friend holds a grudge against the Sour Grape without listening to an explanation, the Sour Grape realizes how unfair grudges can be. Could a bunch of forgiveness and compassion be enough to turn a sour grape sweet?
Berry Song by Michaela Goade
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.
Brave Every Day by Trudy Ludwig
Brave Every Day is a story about managing anxiety and finding the courage to stand up for yourself and others. Hiding is what Camila does best when she worries, and she worries a lot. A class trip to the aquarium makes her more worried than ever. But when an anxious classmate asks for help, Camila discovers that her heart is bigger than her fears. Social-emotional learning expert, Trudy Ludwig, (author of The Invisible Boy) brings another powerful book!
Abdul’s Story by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
Abdul loves to tell stories, but writing them down is hard. His letters refuse to stay straight and face the right way. Abdul believes that his stories are not meant for books. But when an author, Mr. Muhammad, visits his class, Abdul is inspired.
Mr. Muhammad encourages readers to get his thoughts out, to not worry about the initial mess of writing, and to create new superheroes in your stories. Abdul’s Story is an empowering book that will inspire the young writers in your class!
This is a School by John Schu
This is a School is a moving celebration of school and all it may signify. A school isn’t just a building; it is all the people who work and learn together. It is a place for discovery and asking questions. A place for sharing, for helping, and for community. This is a School is an ode to all of the people who make up a lively and caring school community. The perfect back to school read aloud!
The This is a School lesson plan is a great way to welcome students to school at the beginning of the school year. It is a fun and engaging way to help them understand your school community. The anchor chart ideas, task cards, and a fun craftivity in this interactive read aloud lesson will have your students engaged right away!
Love in the Library by Maggie Tokuda-Hall
Love in the Library is a love story that unfolds in the library of a Japanese interment camp on the West coast of the United States during World War II. Based on true events, the author shows readers that love can bloom in the most unlikely of places, even in the dark shadows of racist America. A history lesson and a love story that is not to be missed.
We Wait for the Sun by Katie McCabe
In the hour before dawn, Dovey Mae and Grandma Rachel step into the cool, damp night on a secret mission: to find the sweetest, ripest blackberries that grow deep in the woods. With the fierce and fearless Grandma Rachel at her side, the woods turn magical, and berry picking becomes an enchanting adventure that ends with the beauty and power of the sunrise.
With Grandma Rachel’s lessons as her guiding light, Dovey Mae would go on to become a trailblazer of the civil rights movement—fighting for justice and equality in the military, the courtroom, and the church.
Daddy Speaks Love by Leah Henderson
What does a daddy do? From day one, this daddy speaks love to his little one. And along with that love, his words and actions speak many other things, too: like truth, joy, comfort, and pride. Like many dads, he answers a million questions and tries to make sure that days are full of fun adventures, giggles, and hugs.
Dads are good at scaring away imaginary monsters, and honest about how to confront the real ones too. They set an example for the future, speaking out for equality and justice, while sharing lessons from the past. But most of all, daddies encourage their young ones to fight for a better world, with the comfort of knowing their dads are right beside them.
Climb On! By Baptiste Paul
When a young child reminds her dad about the hike they planned, her father is hesitant —To the tippy top? It’s a great day to watch futbol (soccer). But as the two climb on, her enthusiasm is contagious. Filled with setbacks, surprises, and stunning views, this warm and humorous story highlights in vivid colors the bonding power of a shared experience. A list of creatures at the end prompts a second look for keen-eyed readers to make discoveries of their own.
To Change a Planet by Christina Soontornvat
Spare, poetic text and breathtaking pictures bring readers on a journey that explains the causes of climate change as well as how our actions can make the world better.
With calm, truthfulness, and beauty, To Change a Planet shares the importance of caring for our planet. The back-matter also gives answers to climate change questions by a climate expert.
What do you think is the best picture books of 2022? Be sure to check out My Favorite 2021 Books as well!
Free Picture Book List
Looking for more books to read aloud with your students? Grab this FREE list of books to teach Social Emotional Learning skills! SEL skills are more important than ever before. This book list of social emotional learning topics will make it so much easier to teach these skills to your students. The titles are split up by SEL skill and competency. This will make it easy for you to teach just one at a time!
Save this Book List
Be sure to save this pin to your favorite read alouds board on Pinterest! You’ll be able to come back to this best picture books of 2022 book list when you are ready to read them aloud with your students.