My Favorite Summer Picture Book Releases (2023)

A TON of new picture books were published this summer and I tried to read them all. There were some AMAZING ones that I am going to share here and most of them I am going to read in my fall storytimes.

Favorite Storytime Picks

A Book for Bear is about a bear who lives in the forest and loves books. A little girl goes and reads under a tree and he listens to her read all of them. He asks her if he can pick out his own book and he dresses up in a few silly disguises but ends up not being allowed in any library. The kids will giggle at the costumes he tries to sneak past humans. Eventually, the two decide to make their own book. This is such a sweet story about loving books and is one of my new favorites.

Hidden Gem is about a rock who goes to a museum of rocks and discovers all of the fancy ones on display. He wants to be special like them and goes on a journey to discover that he is special just the way he is and so is everyone else. Fun and bright illustrations accompany the text that shares the message that everyone is special.

This is a silly and interactive storytime book that kids will love to hear. “Will you help me make the duck blink? We could try creeping up to the duck and shouting.” The whole book is an attempt to get this duck to blink and it is super entertaining. This book gives me Mo Willems vibes and I am here for it. Kids will LOVE this one at storytime.

This is not your typical counting book because you only count to 1. The pictures get more and more elaborate and they ask you to find ONE of something that is not the main part of the picture in an I Spy sort of way. It is funny, witty, entertaining, silly, and will be a hit with younger kids.

Kids love when they can interact with the book and come up and touch it…and this is one of those! “Snoots need boops. Can you boop this snoot?” Then they can all come up and boop the dog’s nose. There are more and more dogs on each page that need booping and it is sure to get many giggles. I typically hold these until the end of storytime because inevitably pure chaos ensues. If I have too large of a crowd, I have them take turns so it doesn’t eat up 20 minutes. I am excited for this one!

Bob is a seagull who feels like he is one of many identical seagulls and that nobody truly knows him. When another bird walks by and sees him crying, he offers to give Bob his red jacket. This sets Bob apart and he makes lots of new friends and finds confidence that he had all along. Spoiler: he ends up giving his red jacket to a sad turtle in the end after learning that he had friends and didn’t need it any more. This is such a sweet story of friendship and confidence.

Good New Reads

These are books I wouldn’t choose to read at my storytimes for one reason or another, but loved reading and will happily share with my patrons!

I generally love reading these books at storytime because they are amazing interactive books that teach basic color theory in such a fun way. This one is a little long for me and the movements are too chaotic to let every kid do the actions so I will skip this one for storytime. For personal reading though or for a family, it is really fun as all of Tullet’s books are.

Martina is a quiet girl in a culturally loud family. When the sound becomes too much for her, she slips into a different world and befriends a quiet mouse. After her crazy journey, she wants to tell someone but is all alone in a quiet world and finds herself wanting to be surrounded by her family again. A beautiful retelling of “La Cucaracha Martina” that hits me right in the feels because I was a quiet girl in a loud Mexican family. I love this story. This one is a little long for my younger crowds, but would be cute for a future diverse storytime read.

I generally avoid goodnight books for my storytimes because the majority of mine happen first thing in the morning. This goodnight book follows the caterpillar as he visits all of his friends and says goodnight. This is an adorable book to help children wind down for bedtime, especially lovers of Eric Carle.

What was your favorite summer 2023 picture book release?