Best picture books of 2022

Every year our staff vote for their favourite books of the past 12 months. Here are the best picture books of the year, as voted for by Readings’ staff, and displayed in no particular order.

My Strange Shrinking Parents by Zeno Sworder

This is a fairytale-like story of parental love, where the parents of a young boy trade their height as payment for their child’s needs over the years. As the boy grows, the parents shrink until they are small enough to live in a doll’s house and be cared for by him. Stunningly illustrated, this is a book to treasure that celebrates familial bonds, as well as the transformative power of love.

Ages 4 to adult.

What to Say When You Don’t Know What to Say by Davina Bell & Hilary Jean Tapper (illus.)

This gorgeous book helps little children negotiate some of life’s big moments. Each page presents a situation that might be alarming, scary or confusing to a child: a new home, a hospital visit, a dark night or a room full of strangers. Alongside each situation is an accompanying phrase and beautiful illustrations. This is a glorious picture book that will provide much comfort and joy to young children.

Ages 3 and up.

Farmhouse by Sophie Blackall

Inspired by the house that Sophie Blackall bought in New York State, this beautiful picture book hearkens back to an era long gone and recreates the lives of the farming family that lived there. Gorgeous illustrations of people and all the tiny, detailed objects in the farmhouse make this a picture book that young children will love poring over for hours.

Ages 3 and up.

Ceremony by Adam Goodes, Ellie Laing & David Hardy (illus.)

A young family goes back to Country to participate in a traditional smoking ceremony. It’s utterly joyful and full of excitement. Ceremony invites you to celebrate the rich traditions of dance, family, community and caring for Country from the world’s oldest continuous culture.

Ages 2 and up.

Come Over to My House by Eliza Hull, Sally Rippin & Daniel Gray-Barnett (illus.)

A cast of friendly characters invite friends over for a play – there’s fun to be had, food to eat and families to meet. Each house does things a little differently – one household talks with their hands, one household has a perfect-sized treehouse for a perfect-sized dad with dwarfism – and the visitors adapt to suit, whilst having a fabulous time. This is a fun, inclusive story that shows diversity is the norm.

Ages 3 and up.

Where Have You Been, Little Cat? by Richard Jones

What do our cats get up to when they're on their own? Little Cat has come back from her exciting outdoor adventures and is asked by her owner all about her day. Was she happy? Was she kind? This is a delightful story with divine illustrations that will encourage toddlers to talk about the many activities that make up their day, as well as fall in love with this very cute little cat.

Ages 2 and up.

Off to the Market by Alice Oehr

With colours so vibrant, the illustrations by Melbourne author and illustrator Alice Oehr are practically bouncing off the page. This picture book celebrates a trip to the market and all the exciting things you can find there: fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs, bread and much more. This beautiful book turns a grocery shopping trip into a delightful adventure.

Ages 3 and up.

Be Careful, Xiao Xin! by Alice Pung & Sher Rill Ng (Illus.)

Xiao Xin’s family is always telling him to be careful because the world is a dangerous place and he might get hurt. They see Xiao Xin as a little boy, but Xiao Xin knows he is a Red Fire Warrior, brave and strong. However, being brave sometimes means accepting help from those who love you. This book is perfect for tiny warriors who want to take on the world!

Ages 3 and up.

Open Your Heart to Country by Jasmine Seymour

This poetic and lyrical celebration of flowers, birds and native wildlife shares the joy of returning home to Country. The characters swim, dance and enjoy the world around them. Effortlessly interweaving English with Dharug language, this is a magical First Nations picture book that is utterly charming and filled with a joy for nature.

Ages 3 and up.

It’s My Rubber Band by Shinsuke Yoshitake

The hero of this story just wants something of their own, something precious, something that they don’t have to share with anyone else. What they do have (and will not share!) is a rubber band, which has endless possibilities for fun. This simple picture book is utterly hilarious and absolutely brilliant. It will have youngsters looking for imaginative uses of many household objects, especially rubber bands.

Ages 2 and up.

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Cover image for My Strange Shrinking Parents

My Strange Shrinking Parents

Zeno Sworder

In stock at 5 shops, ships in 3-4 daysIn stock at 5 shops