You probably already know that it’s never too early to start reading with the young children in your life, but WHAT to read with this wiggly crowd is a whole different story! There are plenty of great reading lists out there for kids of all ages, and I love the fact that most of them contain classics. I’m a huge fan of classic titles such as Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The only problem is that you probably already know about those, and I’d love to introduce you to something new.
After years of implementing storytime sessions for babies and toddlers, I’ve got lots of crowd-favorites to share with you! You’ll also find several of the household staples that are often requested by my own little bookworm. I’ve included a brief description to fill you in on what I love about each one.
Bedtime for Chickies by Janee Trasler – Cheep along with the chickies while they resist bedtime, as little ones are known to do. I’ve had great experiences with this one, in busy childcare centers and during quiet moments at home with my own little chick.
Don’t Push the Button by Bill Cotter – Comical and interactive, this book allows children to be part of the story. It shows that when you don’t follow the rules, things can get a little out of hand.
Hooray for Hat by Brian Won – An early introduction to good and bad moods, and how friends can help brighten your day. It also models good sharing.
Making Faces: A First Book of Emotions from Abrams Appleseed books – Facial expressions and body language are the focal point in this book, which is illustrated with real photos of cute kids. There’s even a mirror on the last page so babies can practice their own facial expressions!
Crash Boom: A Math Tale by Robie H. Harris – This brief story uses building blocks to illustrate basic math concepts such as counting and comparisons. Little ones love it when the tower goes Crash BOOM!
The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin – A sweet story that encourages young children to find their place in the world. I love reading this one to my son because of the reassurance that, no matter who he becomes, he is special and loved.
Breathe by Scott Magoon – The calming effect this book has on young children is astonishing! The illustrations are gorgeous, and the simple text is a great way to teach little ones how to pause for a deep breath.
Did You Eat the Parakeet? by Mark Iacolina – Read this one in a sneaky, suspicious voice for added giggles! Your child will love helping you solve the mystery of where the parakeet might have gone.
That’s Not My Puppy by Fiona Watt – Perfect for curious little hands, this series by Usborne Books is a staple in many households. Each page contains a different texture for baby to explore. We also love That’s Not My Bee, but there are many similar titles to choose from.
Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan – A beautifully worded story featuring a young owl and other forest animals. Read it in a soft voice when your little one is in a snuggly mood.
Time for a Hug By Phillis Gershator – While the concept of time is difficult for this age group, this book breaks it down like a counting game. Make sure to give a good squeeze every time the phrase “Time for a hug!” is repeated.
All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon – This is one of those feel-good books that will appeal to the grown-ups, too. It’s a summary of what life is all about; the good days, the bad days, and the love that ties us all together.
Where’s the Hen by Nosy Crow books – There are tons of great lift-the-flap books on the market, but these include durable felt flaps that won’t get crumpled and torn with use. There are over a dozen books in this series, featuring different animals and themes.
Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills – Turn this book into a guessing game, and you’re almost guaranteed to have an enthralled audience. Be prepared to read it again, and again, and again…
Thank You Bees by Toni Yuly – Teach your child the basics of the natural world, combined with an important lesson in gratitude. This one is great for participation since every other page provides an opportunity to say a heartfelt “Thank You!”
The following authors have done so much fabulous work for this age group, I couldn’t pick just one book to feature! If you want to get hooked on a new favorite, this would be a great place to start.
*Nonfiction, age-appropriate for an early childhood audience.
Contemporary OR classic, I’d love to hear about your favorite books for the littlest of readers. What’s your go-do story when you’re all snuggled up with the young kids in your life?