The Kids Are All Right

Children’s Book Awards, Picture Book Love, And Tigers, Oh My!

Happy Tuesday kidlit friends! For the second year in a row, I was asked to be a judge in the Bookstagang Best of 2022 awards, and I just posted the winners on my Instagram account! We received over 500 children’s books from publishers to read and rate. I’m so happy with how the final list turned out, and I review four winners farther below! You can see all the winners by flipping through the slides on my post.

Bookish Goods

Sibling Love Print by Momisdrawing

Sibling Love Print by Momisdrawing

I recently reviewed one of Joy Hwang Ruiz’s picture books — Sometimes Love by Katrina Moore — and I was ecstatic to find out she has an Etsy shop full of her incandescent art! This is one of the more bookish prints, but I encourage you to check out Ruiz’s entire store, especially if you’re giving a present to a new mom this holiday season. There are some beautiful mom/infant pieces. $29

New Releases

Cover of Teddy, Let's Go by Nott

Teddy, Let’s Go! by Michelle Nott, Illustrated by Nahid Kazemi (picture book)

A grandmother sews the adorable plush Teddy for her newborn granddaughter, whom Teddy refers to as My, and the two fall instantly in love. My and Teddy have so much fun together, but as My grows older, she includes Teddy in her play less and less. That is until My’s baby brother is born. This is a sweet, softly illustrated picture book for any child with a beloved stuffed animal.

Cover of Bright Winter Night by Brydon

Bright Winter Night by Alli Brydon, illustrated by Ashling Lindsay (picture book)

In this lyrical picture book, a group of forest animals build a sleigh together from materials they find in a snow-laden forest, despite their differences. Afterward, they journey together through the forest, overcoming mishaps, to watch the Northern Lights. This is a magical winter read for kids.

For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

Now it’s time to review a few winners from the Bookstagang Best of 2022! There were eight categories this year: Future Classics, Conversation Starters, Best Illustration, Best Read Aloud, Bookshelf Builders, Best Biography Books, Most Innovative Nonfiction, and Best Board Books. I’ve chosen to review one book from four of these categories, but I love all the winning books! Interestingly, almost all the picture books I’ve chosen made me cry. I am a sap like that!

Cover of Will It Be Okay? by Dragonwagon

Will It Be Okay? by Crescent Dragonwagon, illustrated by Jessica Love

This stunningly illustrated picture book was one of the 10 books that won in the Future Classics category. A young girl asks her mother “Will it be okay?” in a variety of scenarios, from being stung by a bee to wondering what would happen if her mother died. The mother’s reassurance is shown through the lyrical prose and Jessica Love’s (of Julián Is a Mermaid fame) absolutely beautiful, emotion-filled illustrations.

Cover of Making Happy by Sheth

Making Happy by Sheetal Sheth, illustrated by Khoa Le

This picture book speaks to me on so many personal levels: as a mom with a chronic illness, as a daughter who grew up with a father with a chronic illness, and as a daughter now whose father has cancer. It’s so difficult to depict chronic illness, agency, and the nuanced emotions a child will feel when a parent has a chronic illness — in this book’s case, cancer. Sheetal Shesh pulls from her own experiences as a mom with cancer to create one of the truest portrayals of what it’s like to live with a parent who has a chronic illness that I’ve ever seen, and she does so with simplicity and grace. Khoa Le’s tapestry-like illustrations are as lovely as they always are. This book is a winner on the Conversation Starters theme, and needless to say, is one of my favorites.

Cover of The Best Bed for Me by Cornwall

The Best Bed for Me by Gaia Cornwell

This queer-affirming sweet bedtime picture book won in the Best Read Aloud category. It’s time for Sweet Pea to go to bed, but Mama and Mommy have a bit of a problem — Sweet Pea is procrastinating by pretending to be different animals. How would a koala sleep? How about an emperor penguin? My child has forever been difficult at bedtime, and Cornwell perfectly captures that child bedtime mischievousness.


Until Someone Listens by Estela Juarez and Lissette Norman, illustrated by Teresa Martínez

This powerful picture book tells the true story of how Estela Juarez’s mother was deported to Mexico when she was eight years old. Her mother had lived in the United States since she was 18, working and eventually marrying a man in the military with whom she had two children. But that did not prevent her from being deported to Mexico during Trump’s term. Estela wrote a moving letter to Congress asking for her mother’s return, which was eventually granted during Biden’s presidency. It’s a poignant story about a family torn apart and a young girl’s bravery. It won in the Best Biography category.

Marian and tiger, the kids are all right

For my daughter’s fifth birthday yesterday, we took her to a special zoo-at-night light show, where she had a rather intense experience with a tiger. She’s wearing a cat hat with big eyes on it, and I think the eyes unsettled the tiger! Marian loved getting up close; judging by the laid-back ears, I think the tiger was glad to see us go. As a side note, how am I the mother of a five-year-old now!

If you’d like to read more of my kidlit reviews, I’m on Instagram @BabyLibrarians, Twitter @AReaderlyMom, and blog irregularly at Baby Librarians. You can also read my Book Riot posts. If you’d like to drop me a line, my email is

Until next Tuesday!

Margaret Kingsbury