CYBILS 2023 Board Books & Fiction Picture Book Finalists


Copy That, Copy Cat!: Inventions Inspired by Animals
Katrina Tangen, illustrated by Giulia Orecchia
Barefoot Books
Nominated by: Abi

Full of rhyming riddles, die-cut cues, and lift-the-flap reveals, this board book introduces kids to biomimicry. They will love guessing which animals inspired inventions we use today like snowshoes or sonar!

Aimee Smith, Keep a Book Out

Mister Kitty Is Lost!
Greg Pizzoli
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Nominated by: Natalie Tate

Greg Pizzoli has created a small, silly book that includes cutouts kids love, colors, counting and the mystery of Mister Kitty! In Mister Kitty is Lost, there are interactive questions to pull kids in, a few friendly animal friends, and goofy surprises. It’s such fun and has a wild ending that offers a big surprise. You just can’t help but laugh at this instant classic for preschool readers.

Brooke Freebairn, The Brooke List

Beatriz Giménez de Ory, Paloma Valdivia
Barefoot Books
Publisher/ Author Submission

Sneak! is the latest book in the Slide-and-See series. A STEM series that uses layered images that slide to reveal a new image as you turn the page. In this book kids are introduced to camouflage and how animals in the wild use it. Your child will be absolutely fascinated by the animals and the incredible interactive illustrations.

Erin Murray, Box Canyon Classroom

Some Dogs
illustrated by Lydia Nichols
Gibbs Smith
Nominated by: ChristaS

In this adorable layered view board book, rhyming text and cute illustrations capture the unique personalities and wagging tails of dogs who are shaggy or sleek, big or small, thin or round. Young readers will love all the playful canines and learn that dogs recognize each other and accept each other no matter their differences. It doesn’t matter if their dog pal is tall or fat, big or small, sleek or shaggy. Dogs all have huge doggy hearts. The board quality is heavier than most board books making this a solid choice for shoppers and little readers’ hands. Each page is cut and layered on top of the next double fold and the book is taller and wider than other board books.

Thompson McLeod, Young Adult Books–What We’re Reading Now

Some of These Are Snails
Carter Higgins
Chronicle Books
Nominated by: TheBrookeList

Even the best board book can get old after reading it to kiddos for the umpteenth time. Luckily for caregivers, Some of These Are Snails never has to be read the same way twice. This clever book is full of opportunities for reader and child to group illustrations in countless ways. You might decide to categorize things by shape or color or size. Maybe you’ll decide to count the number of snails on each page. Maybe you’ll compare the length of worm wiggles. Higgins has crafted a book that stays fresh with each reading, provides caregiver-child interaction, and teaches kiddos to categorize. A brilliant concept executed with finesse.

Natalie Tate, Natalie’s Book Recs

Natasha Wing, illustrated by Grace Habib
Abrams Appleseed
Nominated by: MR Fam

Squeak-a-Boo is a lift-the-flap board book that invites children to play peek-a-boo with different baby animals. The book has catchy rhymes, colorful illustrations, and utilizes a guessing-game format to make reading fun and interactive.

Sam Richardson, Little Cub Literacy

Whose Prints?
Kari Allen, illustrated by Kim Smith
Little Simon
Nominated by: Christopher Helton

Whose Prints? by Kari Allen and Kim Smith is a lovely frolic through wintery snow, guessing and identifying animal tracks. The illustrations are lovely, the cut-outs add fun, and it’s always nice to see a book featuring a girl and her dad outdoors.

Tura Gillespie, Teaching Cultural Compassion


Cori Doerrfeld
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Nominated by: Holland

Beneath by Cori Doerrfeld takes the reader on a journey of grief and loneliness to the result of noticing that others are hurting as well and feeling not so alone. Cori Doerrfeld does not disappoint her fans with the precious illustrations and a wonderful, but vague enough to be general, storyline.

Tura Gillespie, Teaching Cultural Compassion

Vashti Harrison
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Nominated by: TheBrookeList

A growing child, a caring child is told, “What a big girl you are!” and “What a good girl you are!” and it is good…UNTIL…the words are the same but the tone changes. The girl is the tallest and biggest in her class. She feels singled out and wants to fade into the background. “You’re too big,” adults tell the girl. Their words sting like barbs and she begins to disappear within herself. When adults try to “fix” her, it hurts her feelings. The inspirational moment when the girl spreads her wings to make more room for herself in the world is captured beautifully on a double fold out spread that will take your breath away. Illustrations alone tell the story of the girl’s journey to accept herself and insist that others accept her as she is. She will make more room for herself: for her imagination, her caring, her empathy, and her kindness. A wonderful picture book for any child, Big is a must read.

Thompson McLeod, Young Adult Books–What We’re Reading Now

Mr. S: A First Day of School Book
Monica Arnaldo
Katherine Tegen Books
Nominated by: Jenna B

It’s the first day of Kindergarten and the class of 2B can’t wait to meet their new teacher. However, when they enter the classroom there is no teacher to be found, just an impressive sandwich and the name Mr. S written on the board. Could it really be that their new teacher Mr. S is Mr. Sandwich? This book will have you cracking up with its ridiculous stories. It is sure to be your child’s go-to back-to-school read for years to come.

Erin Murray, Box Canyon Classroom

Night in the City
Julie Downing
Neal Porter Books
Nominated by: Maria Marshall

Night in the City is an adventure into a busy world that comes alive when you go to sleep. Julie Downing teaches us empathy in a clever way, unfolding the wonder of night in the city, coupled with beautiful bedtime imagery. It is a soothing story with busy pages of families and workers as they go about their night-time lives: the nurses, the police, the dispatchers, the drivers, the bakers, the film makers.

Brooke Freebairn, The Brooke List

Papá’s Magical Water-Jug Clock
Jesús Trejo, illustrated by Eliza Kinkz
Nominated by: Brighton

Papá’s Magical Water-Jug Clock is a charming and humorous picture book by comedian Jesús Trejo, inspired by his own childhood experiences of helping his landscaper father. The story follows little Jesús as he tries to do a good job managing the water jug (which ‘magically’ signals it’s time to go home when empty), but ends up giving water to various thirsty animals along the way, emptying the jug far too soon. The book celebrates the bond between father and son, the value of hard work and resources, and the joy of finding magic in everyday life.

Sam Richardson, Little Cub Literacy

The Three Billy Goats Gruff
Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen
Orchard Books
Nominated by: Violet

You might think you already know this story, but you don’t! Jon Klassen’s illustrations and Mac Barnett’s text seamlessly work together to add suspense, anticipation, and so many giggles to this fractured fairy tale. It is sure to have readers begging to cross the bridge over and over again.

Aimee Smith, Keep a Book Out

The Yellow Áo Dài
Hanh Bui, illustrated by Minnie Phan
Feiwel & Friends
Nominated by: stacybuckeye

In The Yellow Áo Dài by Hanh Bui and Minnie Phan, readers who are not of Vietnamese descent get to learn a little about Vietnamese culture while also relating to the relationship between mother and child. When Naliah accidentally tears her mother’s dress, she has two options, confess or try to hide it – beautifully, her confession is received with grace and forgiveness.

Tura Gillespie, Teaching Cultural Compassion