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These are the best books of 2023, according to the NYPL

From adult titles to kids' books and more.

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan

Every year, the New York Public Library (NYPL) releases a list of the best books for kids, teens and adults from the past 12 months.

In 2023, the effort amounts to a curated roster of 240 recommended titles compiled by eight committees that reviewed nearly 3,000 books in total across a variety of genres.

"At the heart of The New York Public Library lies an invaluable asset: our dedicated team of librarians and staff, whose expertise and diverse perspectives enrich our collections and our communities," said Emily Pullen, manager of reader services, in an official statement. "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."

Especially since most NYC libraries will now be closed on Sundays as a result of mid-year budget cuts, this list feels more important than ever. 

Every book mentioned can be found on the library's official website and is available to check out at branches all over Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island.

Without further ado, here are the four directories that the NYPL released in 2023:

10 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

10 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

10 best books for children

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

10 best books for children 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

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