There’s surprisingly little information on the internet, outside of highly focused children’s book blogs/social media or publishing catalogs, about board books. It’s not a huge market, and though some libraries hold them on shelves, not all of them do. It’s not as profitable a format as picture books are, and more, many board books are developed in-house at publishing imprints as a cost-saving measure, rather than are acquired by independent writers and artists. These books are pricey to produce, and the return on them is low, given the price point that makes them attractive to buyers.
All of these things are worth knowing, and explain why a periodic roundup of new titles is beyond warranted. These books appeal to young readers, of course, but because they’re the books most often purchased for those little hands by parents, caretakers, teachers, and librarians. Board books are sturdy and meant to withstand a lot of rereads, a lot of teeth marks, and a lot of being left in places where they could weather the elements.
Because authorship on board books is tricky to track down for above-mentioned reasons, not all of these books have an attributed author beyond the publisher. That makes it nearly impossible to know how inclusive they are when it comes to authorship. What’s great is that this particular roundup of board books hitting shelves in the first half of 2022 appear to include an array of diverse characters in and within their covers (including disability representation, a topic I’m going to circle back to later this spring, as there has been improvement in this arena).
Included here are a range of board books publishing through the end of June. They’re broken up into three broad categories: standalone titles, which may include series books that aren’t connected by a character or theme and instead are called series by the publisher for their own purposes; series books; and finally, picture books that have been brought into board book format. There are going to be franchise books included here, but for the most part, I’ve avoided including books by or featuring licensed characters. I wanted to make this list as broad in interest as possible, and while those books sell especially well, they’re going to get on a purchaser’s radar without much additional help necessary.
This isn’t comprehensive but is a pretty thorough look at early 2022 board books. You’ll note the short descriptions for each title because, well, you don’t need a huge description of what a concept like a book about trees or a counting book might entail.
2022 Board Books for Little Readers, January–June
Anyone Can Be My Friend Illustrated by Jana Curll (March 8)
Being, making, and finding friends is the theme of this sweet book that reminds readers people are all different and that’s what makes them worthy of care.
Bunny Brunch, Illustrated by Allison Black (Jan 4)
Little readers can follow Babs the bunny as she throw a bright and fun Easter party.
Cat’s First Baby by Natalie Nelson (March 1)
How does Cat react when a new member of the family arrives who neither smells, sounds, or acts like a cat?
Counting On The Earth Illustrated by Ekaterina Trukhan (Jan 25)
It’s a bright counting book starring none other than the planet Earth.
Cuddles and Snuggles by Jamie French and Dubravka Kolanovic (May 2)
Snuggle in with this book about animals that cuddle and get cozy all around the world.
The EGGS-traordinary tale of Hattie Peck by Emma Levey (March 1)
Little Hattie loves eggs of all kinds, and the story follows as she wanders from her coop to seek out an egg of her very own.
A Fishy Tale by Joshua George and Puy Pinillos (March 1)
In this funny book about friendship and bravery, a little orange fish feels ignored by his big family, so he goes in search of attention elsewhere.
Forever My Baby by Kate Lockwood and Jacqueline East (March 31)
Animal parents showcase what it means to love and care for a little one in this sweet book.
Good Morning! Goodnight! by Sam Samson and Vicky Lommatzsch (May 2)
This fun, rhyming book follows the animals at a zoo as they tell one another good morning to begin the day and goodnight as the day comes to a close.
Kisses and Wishes by Susie Linn and Gal Weizman (May 2)
Finn gets kisses every night from his dragon mom, but one night, he decides he wants to add to this ritual by adding a wish. Things, though, don’t quite turn out how he imagined.
Rise and Shine: Breakfast Around The World Illustrated by Erika Harrison (January 25)
A colorful look at foods generally eaten at breakfast around the globe.
We Are Little Feminists Board Book Set (March 15)
Grab this collection of three outstanding board books, featuring a look at diverse families, diverse hair, and a wide range of physical abilities. (One of the three is pictured at left.)
Bookscape Board Books: Wild Animals Illustrated by Ingela P. Arrhenius (June 7)
Discover an array of wild animals with this book that features boards shaped like a variety of fun creatures.
First 100 Words From the 70s: Highchair U (April 26)
It’s a first 100 words book, but all of the words are pop culture themed from the 1970s. Groovy.
Little Kids First Board Book: Birds by Ruth Musgrave (March 1)
Board books from National Geographic offer exactly what you’d want from them, and in this case, it’s incredible photos with young reader friendly bird facts.
Moon: A Peek-Through Board Book and Tree: A Peek-Through Board Book by Britta Teckentrup (April 5 and January 11)
Travel through a number of natural landscapes and geographies, all while watching the phases of the moon or the growth of a tree. These books are part of a series where you get to peep one element through each page along the way.
Nature Stories: Little Sunflower Illustrated by Gina Maldonado (January 25)
Watch as a little seed grows into a giant sunflower in this fun nature-themed book.
Ninja Life Hacks: Ninjas Have Feelings by Mary Nhin (April 12)
It’s important for even the youngest readers to start understanding that emotions matter, and this book, featuring ninjas from other books in this social-emotional learning series, offers a look at good, bad, frustrating, and enjoyable moods in a bright and accessible way.
One, Two, Buckle My Shoe with Mother Goose by Kitty Taylor and Paul Nicholls (May 2)
Combine counting and Mother Goose in this delightful and sparkly board book.
Peek-a-You! (A Bright Brown Baby Board Book) by Andrea Pinkney and Brian Pinkney (February 1)
Did you know there is an entire series of board books for Brown and Black babies by two bestselling Black children’s authors? This is another entry into the series, offering a fun game of peek-a-boo.
Splash! by Leslie Patricelli (June 7)
Baby is the lead character in this series which takes place across a wide variety of settings. This forthcoming title brings Baby to the beach, where Baby and a new friend get to explore the water, sand, and more.
What Is It?: Highchair U (February 22)
This lift-the-flap book introduces the littlest readers to technology of the past — think those big box televisions — to modern technology. It’s a fun way to look at how technology has evolved from the past to what young readers may recognize the items as today in their own world.
Who Was Bruce Lee? and Who Was Celia Cruz? by Lisbeth Kaiser and Stanley Chow (May 15 and January 11)
These teeny tiny biographies include adorable illustrations of famous people past and present. The latest entries offer Bruce Lee and Celia Cruz, and frankly…they might be great introductions for adults as well.
New in Board Book Format
Because most of these are beloved characters or well-known stories, there aren’t descriptions. These are previously published books in picture book format, now made available in board books. In some cases, the text has been shortened but in others, the difference is simply in the format. Note that you may need to toggle to the board book when clicking the link to access that format.
The Classic Tale of Peter Rabbit Board Book (The Revised Edition) by Beatrix Potter, illustrated by Charles Santore (January 25)Curious George: My First Kite by HA Rey (April 19)Dear Baby, Board Book: A Love Letter to Little Ones by Paris Rosenthal and Holly Hatam (March 29)The Dinky Donky: A Board Book by Craig Smith and Ms. Katz Cowley (May 3)Good Night Lagoon by Lisa Ann Scott, illustrated by Paco Sordo (May 3)Hush, Little Bunny Board Book by David Ezra Stein (February 8)If You Were a Penguin Board Book by Florence Minor and Wendell Minor (February 22)Louis by Tom Lichtenheld and Julie Rowan-Zoch (March 15)Plant The Tiny Seed by Christie Matheson (March 15)The Poky Little Puppy’s First Easter by Andrea Posner-Sanchez and Sue DiCicco (January 11)Sun Flower Lion Board Book by Kevin Henkes (May 10)Swimmy (Oversized Board Book) by Leo Lionni (February 22)Welcome to the Party Board Book by Gabrielle Union and Ashley Evans (February 22)Yoga Bunny Board Book by Brian Russo (February 15)