The best books of 2023, according to the NYPL

November 22, 2023

Image courtesy of the NYPL

The New York Public Library on Tuesday released its annual list of the best books of the year. The recommendations were curated by eight NYPL committees that reviewed nearly 3,000 books and selected 240 of the best titles for children, teens, and adults in 2023. You can use the NYPL’s Best Books of 2023 list as a tool to help you find a new book for yourself or as a holiday gift for a loved one.

For almost a century, NYPL’s expert librarians have provided New Yorkers with their yearly list to nurture a love for reading among New Yorkers and introduce them to a diverse selection of authors and genres.

“Each year, our most passionate book enthusiasts discuss and handpick titles that mirror the essence of our diverse neighborhoods and our patrons’ varied tastes and needs. Our goal is to captivate even the most hesitant readers, to offer a starting point into new worlds and genres, and to surprise even the most avid of book lovers,” Emily Pullen, manager of Reader Services and Engagement, said.

“Whether seeking a meaningful gift, something that will make your 6-year-old snicker, a dystopian fantasy to escape to, or simply wanting to become a more well-rounded reader, our Library’s selection of Best Books caters to all preferences.”

A full list of 2023’s best books can be found here.

Below, read the top 10 best books in four categories:

Best books for kids:

  • Ancestory: The Mystery and Majesty of Ancient Cave Art by Hannah Salyer
  • Cape by Kevin Johnson, illustrated by Kitt Thomas
  • Doodles from the Boogie Down by Stephanie Rodriguez
  • I’m From by Gary R. Gray, Jr., illustrated by Oge Mora
  • Parachute Kids by Betty C. Tang
  • Ruby Lost and Found by Christina Li
  • Search for a Giant Squid: Pick Your Path by Amy Seto Forrestor, illustrated by Andy Chou Musser
  • The Skull: A Tyrolean Folktale by Jon Klassen
  • The Swifts: A Dictionary of Scoundrels by Beth Lincoln, illustrated by Claire Powell
  • Window Fishing by DK Dyson, illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez

Mejores libros para pequeños (Best books for kids in Spanish):

  • Benita y las criaturas nocturnas by Mariana Llanos, illustrated by Cocoretto
  • Con la cabeza en alto: cómo una comunidad amazónica protegió la selva by Patricia Gualinga y Laura Resau, illustrated by Vanessa Jaramillo
  • Juego de libertad: Mestre Bimba y el arte de la capoeira by Duncan Tonatiuh
  • Magia by Mirelle Ortega
  • ¿Me ayudas a dibujar un pato? by Jose Carlos Andrés, illustrated by Pupé
  • Mil mariposas blancas by Jessica Betancourt-Perez y Karen Lynn Williams, illustrated by Gina Maldonado
  • Nena, y Roberta ¿dónde está? by Marie Biskai
  • Nuestro techo es azul by Sara E. Echenique, illustrated by Ashley Vargas
  • El rebaño by Margarita del Mazo, illustrated by Guridi
  • Wepa by J de la Vega

Best books for teens:

  • America Redux: Visual Stories from Our Dynamic History by Ariel Aberg-Riger
  • Chloe and the Kaishao Boys by Mae Coyiuto
  • Dear Medusa by Olivia A. Cole
  • The Fall of Whit Rivera by Crystal Maldonado
  • Gorgeous Gruesome Faces by Linda Cheng
  • In Limbo by Deb JJ Lee
  • The Making of Yolanda La Bruja by Lorraine Avila
  • Monstrous: A Transracial Adoption Story by Sarah Myer
  • Only This Beautiful Moment by Abdi Nazemian
  • Saints of the Household by Ari Tison

Best books for adults

  • The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi by S.A. Chakraborty
  • Bad Kids by Zijin Chen
  • The Bee Sting by Paul Murray
  • Knockout by Sarah Maclean 
  • Land of Milk and Honey by C Pam Zhang 
  • Last On His Feet: Jack Johnson and the Battle of the Century by Adrian Matejka, art by Youssef Daoudi 
  • The New Guy by Sarina Bowen 
  • Short Film Starring My Beloved’s Red Bronco by K. Iver
  • Shubeik Lubeik by Deena Mohamed
  • When Crack Was King by Donovan X. Ramsey


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