2023 MCPL Children's Staff Favorites

Want to read something new? Here are some of our favorite titles that have been released in 2023!

Compiled by:
MCPL Staff
Picture Books and Younger Elementary
Dim Sum Palace

X. Fang
Ej Fan

Join Liddy on a fantastical adventure as she anticipates going to the great Dim Sum Palace with her family! Recommended for ages 4–7. Staff member Raegan, says, "I love this book for its bold, quirky, and imaginative illustrations and I hope you will, too!"


Matthew Cordell
Ej Cor

Even though Evergreen is a very timid little squirrel, she takes on the task of traveling alone through the woods to deliver some healing soup to her sick Granny Oak. Along the way, she encounters many other animals—some helpful and kind, and some who just want to snatch her soup. Through love and determination, she discovers she can be very frightened and still save the day. Recommended for ages 3–6.

Mister Kitty is Lost!

Greg Pizzoli
Ej Piz

Oh no! Have you seen Mister Kitty? He's gone missing and we need to find him hiding somewhere in this book. Help us find him using the clues and cutouts in the book! Recommended for ages 3–5. Staff member Lindsay says, "This book is so much fun for our youngest cat lovers!"

Night In the City

Julie Downing
Ej Dow

This takes a closer look at the jobs you might not see people doing—because you're asleep! Beautiful art and diverse characters tell untold stories of third-shift workers in a busy city. This is not a wordless picture book, but the detailed illustrations reveal a story not told in words. This is a book that explains overnight work and essential jobs that children might not be aware of. Recommended for ages 4–8.

Something, Someday

Amanda Gorman
Ej Gor

A hopeful and inspiring new picture book from the National Youth Poet Laureate shows a boy who perseveres and leans on community to begin to solve big problems. When trash is piling up around his city, a boy begins to worry how to make an impact on such a large problem. With help from a diverse set of friends, the boy replaces trash with a garden bed. When the seedlings fail, they try again and eventually find success. Recommended for ages 4–8. Staff member Darcy says, "The themes of hope, perseverance, and friendship make this book a relevant and inspiring read for any age." 

Very Good Hats

Emma Straub
Ej Str

Enjoy this whimsical look at what makes a hat, a hat. You'll be encouraged to use your imagination and look at everyday items in a completely different way. Just be careful you don't walk out of the house with a bowl on your head! This book, with its humor and colorful illustrations, would make an excellent read aloud. Recommended for ages 2–5.

Older Elementary
The Mona Lisa Vanishes: A Legendary Painter, a Shocking Heist, and the Birth of a Global Celebrity

Nicholas Day
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 364.1628 Day)

Someone has stolen the Mona Lisa! But why is the Mona Lisa even famous to begin with? Learn about the young artist named Leonardo da Vinci who painted it, the lousy thief who got away with it, and the most brilliant detective in Europe who couldn't find it! Recommended for ages 7–12. Staff member Jon says, "This stranger-than-fiction account of the theft of the most famous painting in the world is both thrilling and hilarious. Nicholas Day juggles different time periods and historical figures in a way that is easy to understand and more fun to read than any history textbook!"

Pebble and Wren

Chris Hallbeck
J-GN Hallbec Pebble And Wren

This is the story of Wren, the human girl, and Pebble, the monster that lives under Wren's bed. Pebble must learn about the human world to unlock new powers before he can return to the monster world. Recommended for ages 7–12.


SJ Sindu
J-GN Sindu Shakti

After moving to a new city, 12-year-old Shakti struggles to deal with bullies and their mysterious powers over her new school, while also learning to manage magic from the Hindu gods, Durga and Kali, passed down in her family. Can Shakti manage this blessing in time to save the world and loved ones, or will her gift for magic become a curse? Recommended for ages 9–12.

A Shell Is Cozy

Dianna Hutts Aston
J 594.1477 Ast

A fascinating look at shells from the creators of A Rock is Lively! From land shells to dwarf shells to giant clams, a poetic adventure into the world of shells around the world. Staff member Kathleen says, "I love the enchanting—but accurate—illustrations and the clear yet warm information about shells." Recommended for ages 9–12.

They Set the Fire

Daniel Kraus
J Kraus
Series: Teddies Saga

From bestselling author Daniel Kraus, They Set the Fire is the thrilling, magical, life-giving conclusion to the fabulous Teddies Saga, a dark existential take on the classic "toys come to life" story. Recommended for ages 7–12.