Bank Street Books Announces Newest Best Children’s Books of the Year

The newly released list from Bank Street College of Education reflects their Children’s Book Committee’s choices from 2023’s publications. Bank Street’s seal of “best” is recognized by librarians, teachers, teacher training programs, and parents as a gold standard guide to children’s books. The selection committee is composed of more than two dozen members who are specialists in the field of children’s literature and publishing, assuring a broad range of perspectives and life experiences as well as critical clarity.

While we want to call attention to three dozen of the books on the 2024 list of 2023 publications, we encourage you to read the full compilation as well as the criteria used to determine those recognized on it.

Albatros Books

Tibbles the Cat by Michal Sanda, illustrated by David Dolenský is noted as an Ecology-themed book  in the ages five to nine category, drawn with “[v]intage-style illustrations.”

Tibbles the Cat

Barefoot Books

Too Green! (Feelings & Firsts series) by Sumana Seeboruth, illustrated by Maribel Castells, featured in the Under Five portion of the list, is a board book available in both English and bilingual Spanish-English editions.

Also in the Under Five category, Ketchup On My Sundae (Mix-and-Match series), written and illustrated by Nelleke, offers an “invitation to explore multiple combinations of kid- friendly foods” in a board book with split-level pages.

“Colorful folk-art-like illustrations” adorn another board book here: Sneak! (Slide-and-See series) by Beatriz Giménez de Ory, illustrated by Paloma Valdivia, translated from the Spanish by Lisa Rosinsky.

In the Five to Nine category, Stranded!: A Mostly True Story from Iceland, by Ævar Þór Benediktsson, illustrated by Anne Wilson, includes the ever-important back matter that provides both context for and expansion on the story of marooned explorers.

Ganesha Goes Green by Lakshmi Thamizhmani, illustrated by Debasmita Dasgupta, is included in the age range’s Contemporary Issues portion of the list, again with back matter to support reader knowledge.

Ganesha Goes Green and Stranded!

The back matter in Twice As Many Friends/¡El doble de amigos! (Barefoot Singalongs series)
by Brian Amador, illustrated by Vanina Starkoff, featured in the Arts portion for the age group, includes the song on which the book is based.

Follow the Flyway: The Marvel of Bird Migration by Sarah Nelson, illustrated by Maya Hanisch, appears on the STEM section of the Five to Nine list and features “lyrical text. Soft mixed-media illustrations. Extensive back matter.”

Blue Dot Kids Press

The Moon Tonight: Our Moon’s Journey around Earth by Jung Chang-hoon, illustrated by Jang Ho, translated from the Korean by Paige Morris received a starred entry for outstanding merit in the STEM category of titles for ages Five to Nine. With full-color illustrations show a parent and child “observ[ing] the waxing and waning of the Moon on its 29-day journey around Earth.”

Cassava Republic

Obioma Plays Football by Chika Unigwe, illustrated by Chinyere Okoroafor is on the Five to Nine list in the Sports category. This one presents a girl in Nigeria who uses a wheelchair and shines at soccer, her move to a big city, and overcoming loneliness.

Cicada Books

The Concept group of titles in the Five to Nine list includes Are We There Yet? written and illustrated by Sven Völker. “Bear learns to appreciate the journey he is taking with Butterfy and all they experience during it, rather than focusing only on getting to their destination.”

Mama Mammals: Reproduction and Birth in Mammals by Cathy Evans, illustrated by Bia Melo, for ages eight to ten on the STEM section of the list, presents “drawings and clear text depict how different mammals create a family, from fertilization to pregnancy to birth.”

Nomads: Life on the Move written and illustrated by Kinchoi Lam receives a starred entry for its outstanding merit in the World portion for the age range, with its “colorful detailed illustrations and informative text depict[ing] how seven tribes in seven different environments create the culture, objects, and shelters needed for nomadic life” specifically praised.

pagespread featuring details of the Sama-Bajau from Nomads: Life on the Move

Floris Books

Mina Belongs Here by Sandra Niebuhr-Siebert, illustrated by Lars Baus, translated from the German by Polly Lawson is featured on the Family/School/Community portion of the Five to Nine recommendations. Its depiction of a girl who “starts kindergarten in a new country and slowly adapts, learning the language, making friends, and helping other children” is furthered by how “[m]onochrome illustrations change to bright colors as the protagonist’s sense of belonging grows.”

Mina Belongs Here and Yellow Butterfly

Gecko Press

Kind Crocodile written and illustrated by Leo Timmers received a starred entry for outstanding merit on the Under Five list. “A mouse, a warthog, an antelope, a rhinoceros, and a crocodile find that, with teamwork, they are invincible.”

Perfect Presents! written and illustrated by Anke Kuhl, translated from the German by Melody Shaw, for the same age range, provides “[h]umorous illustrations with perfectly matched spare text” in a story about the challenges of gift-giving.

The Bear and the Wildcat by Kazumi Yumoto, illustrated by Komako Sakai, translated from the Japanese by Cathy Hirano featured in the Five to Nine portion of the list, also earned a starred entry for outstanding merit with its evocative presentation of grief and recovery.

The Moon Is a Ball: Stories of Panda & Squirrel by Ed Franck, illustrated by Thé Tjong-Khing, translated from the Dutch by David Colmer, for the same age range, offers “interlinked contemplative tales show the multifaceted nature of a deep and lasting friendship.”

The Moon Is a Ball pagespread

Readers eight to eleven can find To the Ice by Thomas Tidholm, illustrated by Anna-Clara Tidholm, translated from the Swedish by Julia Marshall, featured among the Adventure and Mystery titles for the age group. “Striking color illustrations of the children’s adventurous journey” after a trio encounters a crack in the ice.


Smash the Patriarchy by Marta Breen, illustrated by Jenny Jordahl, translated from the Norwegian by Siân Mackie appears in the History section of the list for Fourteen and Older. “Lively cartoon-style drawings” and extended resources are included in this celebration of the women who have fought male chauvinism throughout history.

Smash the Patriarchy!

Among the STEM recommendations for the same age range is Big Bangs and Black Holes: A Graphic Novel Guide to the Universe by Jérémie Francfort and Herji, with Michel Mayor, illustrated by Herji translated from the French by Jeffrey K. Butt which provides a “lively, humorous, accessible explanation of extremely complex ideas about the universe.”

Lantana Publishing

Listening to the Quiet by Cassie Silva, illustrated by Frances Ives is recommended in the Five to Nine list of titles centering Family/School/Community. “Soft colors and slightly blurred artwork echo the loss of a mother’s hearing in this poignant story of a child learning new ways to continue a loving relationship.”

Kube Publishing

Listed for Under Five Hamza Attends a Janaza by Shabana Hussain, illustrated by Atefeh Mohammadzadeh follows a child who “must forgo a fun day with his grandparents to attend an Islamic funeral” and contains extensive back matter.

Little Island Books

The Girl Who Fell to Earth by Patricia Forde has a place on the Twelve to Fourteen list of Science Fiction titles for a story of interplanetary adventure and human identity.

Run for Your Life by Jane Mitchell is featured under Contemporary Issues for ages Fourteen and Older. “Azari and her mother have fed the brutality of their homeland. Landing in Ireland, they struggle to survive among other immigrants in a new society.”

In the category of Folklore and Fairy Tales for the same age range, Savage Her Reply by Deirdre Sullivan, illustrated by Karen Vaughan provides a “[c]hallenging, emotionally raw retelling of a well-known Irish fairy tale.”

Text from Save Her Reply

Nosy Crow

In the Under Five age range of STEM recommendations, Time to Move South for Winter by Clare Helen Welsh, illustrated by Jenny Løvlie receives praise for its “[l]yrical text [and] [e]xquisite blue-toned illustrations.”

A starred entry for outstanding merit has been awarded Grandpa and the Kingfisher by Anna Wilson, illustrated by Sarah Massini in the Five to Nine portion of the list under books centering Family/School/Community and includes a note that the book includes an audio edition as well.

The Nine to Twelve portion of the list features Granny Came Here on the Empire Windrush by Patrice Lawrence, illustrated by Camilla Sucre in the Historical Fiction category. The story features a “Trinidadian grandmother [who] talk[s] about inspirational women in Black history” inspiring a girl to share events for a school project.

The Poetry category for the same age group includes a starred entry for outstanding merit for A Whale of a Time:
A Funny Poem for Each Day of the Year
selected by Lou Peacock, illustrated by Matt Hunt, with its “witty, often hilarious poems for each calendar day” as well as its multiple indexes.

A Whale of a Time pagespread

Pajama Press

Happy written and illustrated by Mies van Hout, translated from the Dutch is listed as a Concept Book for Under Five for its “exuberant parade of two-page spreads: on one side, a one-word emotion, and on the other, a colorful, expressively drawn fish.”


In the Anthologies and Collections category of titles for ages Nine to Twelve We the Sea Turtles: A Collection of Island Stories by Michelle Kadarusman, illustrated by Doug Panton is described as centering how the “lives of young people intersect with the natural world, including the turtles that inhabit it and the effects of climate change.”

The Historical Fiction category for Ages Twelve to Fourteen includes The Umbrella House by Colleen Nelson, map by Peggy Collins, which recounts how a pair of “resourceful 12-year-olds work to prevent developers from destroying their East Village apartment building” and includes archival photos of the Umbrella House.

Red Comet Press

The Nine to Twelve list of books about the World includes Yellow Butterfy: A Story from Ukraine written and illustrated by Oleksandr Shatokhin. “Stark black-and-white illustrations yield to a hopeful resolution in the form of the bright colors of the Ukrainian flag for a girl experiencing the Russia- Ukraine war” in this wordless book.

Tapioca Stories

Disagreement written and illustrated by Nani Brunini is placed in the Under Five category for its wordless presentation of a “dispute between two people build[ing] to a mighty neighborhood quarrel [and how] a lone person shows a way toward possible reconciliation and collaboration.”


Toon Books

Paul Bunyan: The Invention of an American Legend
written and illustrated by Noah Van Sciver, with additional stories and art by Marlena Myles, introduction by Lee Francis IV, postscript by Deondre Smiles has a place on the Nine to Twelve list of Folklore and Fairy Tales in which the “legend of a lumberjack whose enormous strength could alter landscapes is revisited, showing how forests and Indigenous peoples are devastated for profit.”

Among the qualities these titles share, we want to point out how many of them are translated from a variety of languages as well as coming from many countries and cultures beyond the US. Added to these kinds of diversity, the variety of age group interests, topical concerns, and remarks about styles of art work included are important to note in the annotations. In addition to showcasing best children’s books of the publishing year, this compilation provides model and substantive descriptions that make the list as a whole truly first in class among book lists.

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