A dear friend asked me a few months back to send her a list of our favorite books for babies and toddlers. Looking over it, I can already see it’s changed some! Still, there are some solid books on this list. Enjoy!
- 10. You are my Sunshine and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star– I was hesitant to put these on the list but my toddler LOVES them. When I sing him either song, he runs to his room and comes back with the book. It’s literally just the lyrics of each song with cute illustrations by Caroline Jayne Church.
- 9. The Mitten by Jan Brett- The story is cute and Brett’s illustrations are always beautiful. I love how many of her pictures give the reader a peek into what will happen next. (Also check out Brett’s The Hat.)
- 8. Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle- Sure, you’re familiar with many of Carle’s books but I feel (maybe) this a lesser known one. It’s special because it describes a father’s role in the early stages of life. Admittedly, I omit and substitute some words.
- 7. Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes- Award-winning for its illustrations (Caldecott) and just a sweet, simple story. (A newer book, Waiting, also by Henkes was released last year. With its wondrous illustrations and sweet as pie story, I found it (perhaps) a little sad for sensitive kids, in my honest opinion. Pre-read and see what you think!)
- 6. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox- Looking for an early lesson on diversity? This is it! My little guy loves all of the kisses at the end.
- 5. The Little Blue Truck and The Little Blue Truck Leads the Way by Alice Schertle- I don’t understand why teaching kids the sounds animals make is relevant unless you actually live on a farm but, nevertheless, I still find many children’s books doing just that. In any case, these two books are well-written and have great messages.
- 4. Owl Babies by Martin Waddell- A sweet story that reassures baby that Mommy always comes back. This was an important book for my older son in his younger days as he really suffered from separation anxiety.
- 3. Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell- Yes, it’s a lift-the-flap book so it’s not as durable as some board books, but it’s a classic and a favorite in our house. Very simply written and fun for babies.
- 2. The Napping House by Audrey Wood- A family favorite for many years. I found with my littlest that I can adapt it easily to be shorter if he’s restless. I also add sound effects that make him giggle. Plus it’s written and illustrated by a husband and wife team. That’s super cool! (Also check out their book The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry and The Big Hungry Bear.)
- 1. Little Gorilla by Ruth Bornstein- Another classic and absolutely my favorite book to read with my toddler. I modify the characters in the beginning to include the people in our life, always including “his big brother, K” and changing the names of the grandparents to the names we use for them. The pictures are adorable and the message is even better!
Other notable books on our shelf that we read over and over:
Goodnight Moon (of course!)
Corduroy (long for babies, but easy to modify)
Time for Bed (gorgeous watercolor illustrations)
Giraffes Can’t Dance
Sandra Boynton books (like a lot of them)
Eric Carle books (also plentiful)