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Best Books of 2022 for Kids

The Seattle Public Library’s staff picks for their favorite books of the year

Published on: December 19, 2022

A smiling little girl in a striped shirt holds a picture book

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on The Seattle Public Library Shelf Talk Blog and is reprinted here by permission.

As the year draws to a close, staff from across the Seattle Public Library system were asked to share their favorite books of the year for kids. From picture books to chapter books, graphic novels to nonfiction titles, here are just a few of the best kids books published in 2022 that the SPL staff loved. (Annotations were written by enthusiastic staff and/or from Booklist, Kirkus Reviews or publisher blurbs.)

Bathe the Cat” by Alice B. McGinty, illustrated by David Roberts

(Picture book) / Grandma is on her way over, and the house is a mess — but with a sneaky cat and a wildly mixed-up list of chores, will the house (and the cat) ever get cleaned up? “My favorite picture book this year — I can’t wait to read it out loud to kids; the rhymes and story are delightful.” — Jessica

Kapaemahu” by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson, illustrated by Daniel Sousa

(Picture book/folktale) / “A beautiful retelling of an Indigenous Hawaiian legend by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu (of “Kumu Hina” fame), this multilingual picture book celebrates Hawaiian culture, language and māhū (nonbinary) people.” — Bean

The Tide Pool Waits” by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Amy Hevron

(Picture book/nonfiction) / “A delightful look at a unique aquatic environment that will nourish children’s natural sense of wonder.” —Kirkus Reviews “A fun introduction to the world of tide pools!” — Bean

The Aquanaut” by Dan Santat

(Graphic novel) / “A crew of intrepid marine creatures rigs up an antique diving suit to explore space, the final frontier — otherwise known as San Diego.” — Kirkus Reviews

Different Kinds of Fruit” by Kyle Lukoff

(Chapter book) / When Annabelle learns that her father shares something big — and surprising — in common with her new nonbinary friend, she begins to see herself, and her family, in a whole new light. — publisher blurb

The Ogress and the Orphans” by Kelly Regan Barnhill

(Chapter book) / “A really lovely children’s chapter book about a town’s insidious and subtle attack by a dragon, and how community trust can be broken down, and then rebuilt.” — Dawn 

“A genuinely enchanting and entertaining middle-grade book with a clear, relevant moral.” — Orion

Stuntboy, in the Meantime” by Jason Reynolds, drawings by Raúl the Third

(Illustrated chapter book) / Not-so-secret superhero by day and kid from apartment 4D by day as well, Portico “Stuntboy” Reeves will need all of his tricks to withstand the great threat facing his family and the anxiety that comes with it. — Kirkus Reviews

Star Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler” by Ibi Zoboi

(Nonfiction) / “Featuring prose and poetry, this is a compelling and uniquely constructed look at the life and work of science fiction visionary Octavia Butler.” — Lauren

Explore more staff picks from The Seattle Public Library: 

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