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NYPL Announces Best Books of 2022 for Kids and Teens

NYPL Announces Best Books of 2022 for Kids and Teens

The New York Public Library recently announced its picks for the best books for kids and teens that were published in 2022—here's a selection.

Attention junior bookworms! The New York Public Library (NYPL) announced its list of the best kids' and teen books in 2022, and they span multiple genres. The books were published in 2022 and selected by committees of expert librarians from the NYPL system, which serves the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island. There are books about animals, adventure, social justice, culture, family and more designed for young readers of all ages and levels. 

And parents—the library didn't forget about you. There's a list of the best books this year for adults, too.

“One of the biggest strengths of The New York Public Library is the passion, knowledge, and diversity of our librarians and staff. Dozens of our most avid book lovers are enlisted each year to assess and select books that reflect the community and patrons we serve, to entice the most reluctant of readers, and excite the most fervent of bookworms,” Emily Pullen, manager of reader services and engagement, said. “Whether the motivation is to find the perfect gift for a loved one, read while traveling during the holiday season, or tackle your New Year’s resolution to read more, the library’s best books list has something for everyone.”

Lists of NYPL's top 10 books in the children's and teen's categories are below. All of the recommended titles can be viewed on the library’s website.  All can be checked out for free and as of last year, with no late fines from any NYPL branch, or, in many cases through the library's free e-reader app, SimplyE. Or visit your local children’s bookstore to purchase a book as a gift for the holidays. Regardless of how you get a book in your child’s hands, you're sure to find a book for all the young readers in your life. 

Here are the top 10 books for each category—kids and teens:

New York Public Library's Top 10 Children's Books in 2022

The NYPL included 100 titles in its top kids’ books of 2022 list (you can check them all out on the NYPL’s website), but here’s a selection of the top 10 in alphabetical order. 

1. Aviva vs. the Dybbuk

By Mari Lowe
Ages: 8-12

Aviva's father's death left her mother depressed, and Aviva is stuck planning the Best Bas Mitzvah Party Ever with her ex-friend. Anti-Semitic vandalism plagues the community, and a mischievous dybbuk haunts her home. 

2. Beauty Woke

By NoNieqa Ramos; Illustrated by Paola Escobar
Ages: 4-7

This poem is about family and community coming together to help a child celebrate being Boricua.

3. Blue: A History of the Color As Deep As the Sea and As Wide As the Sky

By Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond; Illustrated by Daniel Minter
Ages: 4-8

Younger readers will love the pictures, and older readers will learn something new about the color blue. The historical piece is both poetic and informational. 

4. Maizy Chen's Last Chance 

By Lisa Yee
Ages: 8-12

Maizy is dreading summer, but is soon captivated by the history of her grandparents' restaurant, her family story and how these narratives intertwine with the history of Chinese immigrants in America. 

5. Nothing Special

By Desiree Cooper; Illustrated by Bec Sloane
Ages: 4-7

PopPop and Nana, along with their grandson, go on a timeless summer weekend on the coast of Virginia. 

6. Seen and Unseen: What Dorothea Lange, Toyo Miyatake, and Ansel Adams’s Photographs Reveal about the Japanese American Incarceration

By Elizabeth Partridge; Illustrated by Lauren Tamaki
Ages: 4-8

An insightful look at the internment of Japanese and Japanese Americans during World War II through the lenses of three important photographers. 

7. Sir Ladybug

By Corey R. Tabor
Ages: 6-10

Sir Ladybug is a beetle always looking for his next heroic quest. 

8. Swim Team

By Johnnie Christmas
Ages: 8-12

Bree winds up on the swim team even though she can't swim. It will take determination, a new community of friends and a few history lessons to keep her head above water. 

9. Ten Blocks to the Big Wok: A Chinatown Counting Book

By Ying-Hwa Hu
Ages: 3-5

Told in Mandarin and English with soft watercolor illustrations. Mia and Uncle Eddy walk through Chinatown counting the cultural items in their community that embody a Chinese-American experience. 

10. Wednesday and Woof #1: Catastrophe

By Sherri Winston; Illustrated by Gladys Jose

Wednesday and her support dog, Woof, run a detective agency in their backyard. When Wednesday’s operatic neighbor’s cat disappears, the detectives are on the case.

New York Public Library's Top 10 Books for Teens in 2022

The NYPL included 50 titles in its top books of 2022 for teens list (you can check them all out on the NYPL’s website), but here’s a selection of the top 10 in alphabetical order. 

1. All My Rage: A Novel

By Sabaa Tahir
Ages: 14 and older

Two teens persevere through loss, trauma, and Islamophobia in their California desert town. 

2. Hell Followed with Us

By Andrew Joseph White
Ages: 14-17

Benji is a trans teen on the run from the cult that raised him and caused the apocalypse. After he's saved by teens from a LGBTQ+ youth center, he works with the center's leader Nick, an autistic boy with deadly aim, to fight back. 

3. I Must Betray You

By Ruta Sepetys
Ages: 12 and older

In 1989 Romania, Cristian is forced to become an informer for the tyrannical dictatorship that rules the country with an iron grip.

4. I Rise

By Marie Arnold
Ages: 12 and older

14-year-old Ayo has to decide whether to take on her mom's activist role. Trying to find answers, she looks to the wisdom of her ancestors and her Harlem community for guidance. 

5. Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American

By Laura Gao
Ages: 14-17

Laura Gao paints a visual love letter to her first home—Wuhan, China—as she discovers her own different layers.

6. Queer Ducks (and Other Animals): The Natural World of Animal Sexuality

By Eliot Schrefer; Illustrated by Jules Zuckerberg
Ages: 14 and older

A look into the diverse queer behavior in the animal world. 

7. So This is Ever After

By F.T. Lukens
Ages: 14 and older

Arek has saved the Kingdom of Ere from its evil ruler. Now stuck as king, he discovers that magic requires him to find a bride before his 18th birthday or wither away. None of his female companions are interested, but there's only one person he's attracted to anyway—Matt, an aspiring wizard and his best friend. 

8. The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School

By Sonora Reyes
Ages: 13 and older

Yami is scared to come out after she falls for her ex-best friend. Now she's in Catholic school trying to look out for her little brother. All she can think is, “What would a straight girl do?”

9. The Weight of Blood

By Tiffany D. Jackson
Ages: 13 and older

Maddy is revealed to be biracial. Her school becomes notorious for a string of racist incidents, leading it to host its first, yet ill-fated, integrated prom. What happened that night? All anyone can agree on is that Maddy did it.

10. Zatanna: The Jewel of Gravesend

By Alys Arden; Illustrated by Jacquelin de Leon
Ages: 13-17

Zatanna lives in Coney Island's Luna Park with a giant pet bunny and world-famous magician dad. After a magic show goes wrong, she gets entangled in a dangerous rivalry.


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Barbara Russo

Author: Barbara Russo is a freelance writer who holds a bachelor's degree in communications from the City University of New York. She enjoys playing guitar, following current events, and hanging out with her pet rabbits. See More

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