It’s about that time — time to share my favorite children’s books of the year!
We did a lot of family reading in 2022:
- My freshman is taking British Literature, so we are devouring a ton of classics together.
- My 6th-grader is doing a literature-based curriculum for U.S. History, so I read aloud with her every morning.
- We’re also doing an online Book-to-Movie Club with some of our homeschooling friends, so I’m re-reading a lot of children’s books to pick our monthly selections.
I read just under 100 titles this year, and this post includes my fifteen favorite 2022 children’s books. Each of the books listed in this post received a 5-star rating from me on Goodreads. I don’t give out five stars easily, so you can trust that every book on this list earned their way onto the list.
(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you. You can see our full disclosure policy here.)
Some of these books came from our local small-town library, but I also request books to review on NetGalley and purchase from ThriftBooks regularly. The description below each book comes directly from my Goodreads review.
15 Favorite Children’s Books in 2022
(listed A-Z by title)
A Place to Hang the Moon
by Kate Albus
Published February 2, 2021
A Place to Hang the Moon is about three orphaned siblings who evacuate to the countryside during World War II, and it’s equally funny, sad, and heartwarming.
I started it last night before I fell asleep, and I finished it first thing this morning before handing it to one of my kids. I don’t give 5-star reviews often, but A Place to Hang the Moon deserves one.
Fossil Hunter: How Mary Anning Changed the Science of Prehistoric Life
by Cheryl Blackford
Published January 25, 2022
Fossil Hunter is a beautiful, detailed non-fiction book about the life of British fossil-finder, Mary Anning. My girls and I read another book about Mary’s life a few years ago, but Cheryl Blackford has done an exceptional job filling in the details of the few facts we already knew.
In a time where women were overlooked for their scientific discoveries, Mary managed to build a career out of fossil-hunting, allowing her to provide for her small family after her father passed away. While few of her fossils remain, she is finally earning the recognition she deserves!
Maddie and Mabel
by Kari Allen
Published March 22, 2022
An adorable book about two sisters that reminds me so much of the two sisters that I get to love each and every day. Maddie is the older sister (tall with blonde hair). Mabel is the younger sister (shorter with brown hair) who brings her lovey everywhere. Maddie and Mabel play together, they put on shows together, they even sleep in the same room — just like Addie and Kate.
My girls will love this book. *I* love this book.
by Tara Lazar
Published February 2, 2022
300 pages of absurd words and their meanings?
My little word-nerd will LOVE this book (and I have a feeling her fact-loving sister will enjoy reading it as well).
We will definitely look into getting a paper version of this title, since the illustrations are adorable. It will make a great reference book for our homeschool library.
Kids Cook Dinner: 23 Healthy, Budget-Friendly Meals
by Deanna F. Cook
Published August 30, 2022
What a fantastic cookbook for beginners! I know that it’s written for kids ages 8-12, but I am a fully-grown adult, and I learned some things, too.
We’ll be adding this one to our bookshelf so the kids can learn kitchen basics and cook dinner once a week.
Maddie and Mabel Take the Lead
by Kari Allen
Published October 4, 2022
Maddie and Mabel are the sweetest sisters — they remind me of a pair of sisters that I know and love.
In this delightful second book, the girls climb a tree, share a cookie, dance, and have their first day of school…all while being sisters and friends.
by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Published August 28, 2018
I am so glad I read this book. It took a while for the characters to find their footing, but about halfway through — both the action and character development took off. As I read the final third of the book, I kept thinking about how *good* the writing is, despite the incredibly difficult content.
On top of the writing, I was glad to learn about something from WW2 that I hadn’t read about before. I knew about the ghettos in Poland, of course, but I did not know about the resistance taking place inside the ghettos or the uprising in Warsaw. Now I want to read more!
by Sashi Kaufman
Published October 18, 2022
I loved Sardines! Five kids with very different personalities become friends through their after-school program, and together they help make each others’ lives better. There are a lot of heavy topics covered in this story (sibling death, depression/bipolar disorder, foster care), but it never felt unbearably heavy. I think both my 6th grader and 9th grader will enjoy this one!
The Garden We Share
by Zoë Tucker
Published March 22, 2022
It’s a wonderful gift when words and illustrations of a picture book come together seamlessly to tell a deeper story. I thought this would be a simple story about a garden, but the metaphor of loving and loss shine through. Definitely a keeper for the bookshelf!
The Swallows’ Flight
by Hilary McKay
Published May 27, 2021
I requested this one from the library based on its cover and description (plus, our children’s librarian has impeccable taste). The Swallows’ Flight covers a part of World War 2 that I haven’t read much about — how do two young German men become pilots in the Luftwaffe? Written for a middle grade audience, the author doesn’t go into too much detail about the atrocities of war, but instead focuses on the lives of 10 (or so) ordinary people thrust into extraordinary times.
Shine On, Luz Véliz!
by Rebecca Balcárcel
Published May 3, 2022
Shine On, Luz Veliz is a beautiful book about a middle-schooler discovering who she is in the aftermath of a sports injury — and with a new family member in the house!
Mr. Mac is a spectacular secondary character, and I love all the STEM talk included in the story. My two kids will love this one!
The Hope of Elephants
by Amanda Rawson Hill
Published September 6, 2022
The Hope of Elephants is an exceptional middle grade novel (written in verse), telling the story of Cass and her family, who are dealing with the return of her dad’s cancer. There are so many beautiful moments captured in the book (based on the real life story of author Amanda Rawson Hill’s brother-in-law). As it was once said in You’ve Got Mail, read this one with a box of tissues. <3
Note: I appreciated the references to the pandemic and the need to be careful of illness when you are ill or immunocompromised. As a family homeschooling with a high-risk child, I saw a lot of our own personal experiences mirrored in The Hope of Elephants.
The Real Deal
by Lindsey Stoddard
Published October 25, 2022
I didn’t expect to love The Real Deal, but it’s the kind of book kids need to have on their shelves these days.
Gabe is a sixth grader learning about true friendship, bullying, and what it means to listen to your gut. Reuben is a new classmate on his third “fresh start,” dealing with post-traumatic stress in a very raw and authentic way. As Reuben and Gabe’s lives start to intertwine, we realize that not everything is how it appears to be on the outside. Powerful story — I want to share this one with every tween I know.
BONUS: 2022 Re-reads
As mentioned earlier, my kids and I are hosting an online Book-to-Movie Club for our friends. Two of the books are still 5-star reads for me, so here they are: