Award-Winning Gems: Best Children's Books for Ages 3 and Under from the Last 5 Years

In the realm of children's literature, the past five years have seen a surge of creativity and innovation, yielding captivating stories that captivate the youngest of minds. Award-winning books for ages 3 and under have not only engaged toddlers and infants but have also earned recognition for their outstanding storytelling and artistry. In this blog post, we're delighted to present a curated list of the best award-winning children's books that have emerged in the last five years. These books offer delightful adventures, heartwarming messages, and visual enchantment that are perfect for fostering early literacy and a love for reading.

  1. "We Are Water Protectors" by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade This Caldecott Medal-winning picture book introduces young readers to the importance of protecting water and the environment. With lush illustrations by Michaela Goade, the book resonates with themes of courage and environmental stewardship.

  2. "The Proudest Blue" by Ibtihaj Muhammad and S.K. Ali, illustrated by Hatem Aly A touching story about sisterhood and self-confidence, "The Proudest Blue" follows a young girl as she supports her sister on her first day wearing a hijab. The book's themes of resilience and identity earned it numerous accolades, including the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor.

  3. "Antiracist Baby" by Ibram X. Kendi, illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky Aimed at even the youngest of readers, "Antiracist Baby" introduces essential concepts of equity, empathy, and anti-racism. With vibrant illustrations, the book provides caregivers and children with a powerful tool for discussing important social issues.

  4. "The Bear and the Moon" by Matthew Burgess, illustrated by Catia Chien This charming tale follows a bear who, in his quest to return the moon to the night sky, discovers friendship and self-discovery. The lyrical text and evocative illustrations earned the book the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award.

  5. "A Stone Sat Still" by Brendan Wenzel Winner of the Caldecott Honor, "A Stone Sat Still" invites readers to contemplate the many perspectives and stories hidden within a seemingly ordinary stone. The book's intricate illustrations and thought-provoking narrative make it a standout choice.

  6. "Saturday" by Oge Mora Oge Mora's "Saturday" tells the story of a mother-daughter duo whose plans for a perfect day don't go as expected. The book's vibrant collage illustrations and heartwarming depiction of love and resilience earned it the Caldecott Honor.

  7. "The King of Kindergarten" by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton This joyful story captures the excitement and anticipation of a young boy's first day of kindergarten. With Vanessa Brantley-Newton's exuberant illustrations, the book celebrates confidence and new beginnings.

  8. "Hike" by Pete Oswald "Hike" takes readers on an outdoor adventure as a father and his child explore nature's wonders. Through heartwarming illustrations and minimal text, the book conveys the bond between parent and child while celebrating the beauty of the natural world.

  9. "The Rabbit Listened" by Cori Doerrfeld In this touching tale, a young child copes with a difficult situation as various animals try to offer solutions. The book's message of empathy and the importance of being a listening friend earned it multiple awards, including the Charlotte Zolotow Honor.

  10. "Last Stop on Market Street" by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson While slightly beyond the 5-year mark, this award-winning book is worth mentioning. Winner of the Newbery Medal and a Caldecott Honor, "Last Stop on Market Street" follows a young boy and his grandmother as they explore the city and discover its beauty and diversity.


The past five years have ushered in a new era of exceptional children's literature for ages 3 and under. These award-winning books not only captivate young readers with their enchanting tales but also contribute to their early literacy development and understanding of important themes. From celebrating kindness and resilience to addressing social issues and nurturing imagination, these stories are an invaluable addition to any child's bookshelf. As parents, caregivers, and educators, we have the privilege of sharing these award-winning gems with the next generation, fostering a lifelong love for reading and learning.

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