SLJ Reveals 2023 Best Books Cover; Full List Rollout Begins November 20

SLJ kicks off book award season with the unveiling of the December 2023 cover, which celebrates the Best Books of the year.

With the announcement of the National Book Awards Wednesday night, book award season has commenced! That means the reveal of SLJ’s 2023 Best Books is around the corner. 

Best Books logo artThis year, we have honored 169 titles—from picture books to YA novels and across genres and formats.

Today, we’re thrilled to launch our rollout by sharing our Best Books cover. Traditionally, SLJ’s December cover issue is dedicated to the Best Books of the year. The cover is usually created by one of the artists featured on our list. The only direction given to the artist? Somehow, in a small or big way, incorporate stars into the art, in celebration of the many starred books that make up our exemplary list. 

Before we reveal the cover, take note of the schedule for our Best Books announcements, beginning Monday, November 20.

•    11/20 – Top 10 Manga, Poetry, Transitional Books 
•    11/21 – Graphic Novels, YA, Middle Grade
•    11/22 – Nonfiction, Picture Books

And now, please see our gorgeous 2023 Best Books cover by Caldecott Medalist Michaela Goade.


SLJ's December 2023 Best Books cover, illustration by Michaela Goade

“I'm thrilled and honored to have my art included on the cover of SLJ's 2023 Best Books issue and want to thank the SLJ team for the opportunity,” Goade says. “It felt right to highlight art from Remember, my most recent picture book collaboration with Joy Harjo, as that book explores the importance of remembering who and where each of us comes from, and the power that comes from sharing these stories with the world."

Much appreciation to the indomitable Goade for her incredible artistry and breathtaking art. Just, wow. She stands in for all the authors and illustrators represented on this list.

Creative director Mark Tuchman worked with Goade on the cover. "Besides the 'stars' direction, the reviews editors and I also conveyed our desire that the final artwork pay homage to the winning authors and illustrators, as it heralds the arrival of the list. We readily agreed that the themes of Remember soundly resonated with so many Best Books titles," says Tuchman. "Not only did Michaela create the gorgeous cover art depicted here but also another illustration for the Best Books feature article. You need to wait for the list to be published to see it!"

Stay tuned! The lists will become available on our Best Books landing page starting Monday. 

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