One of the things I most frequently am asked about is book choices for toddlers. Toddlers are ready to transition from wordless books and books with one or two words per page, to books that contain more story. (What an exciting time!) Your child is becoming a reader before your eyes!
I recently wrote an article for Scholastic Parents, detailing tips and ideas to make the most of story time with your toddler. I invite you to check out that article HERE. In the article, I shared that for most toddlers, you should aim for books with about one sentence per page, and high interest illustrations or photographs. Your child is at an age when he/she WANTS to know more. They are actively seeking to enlarge their world and learn new things.
When you sit down for story time with your toddler, you are helping to develop their vocabulary, build fluency, build their confidence as a reader, and develop a life-long love of literacy, books, and learning! Reading to your child is one of the single-most important things you can do as a parent!
Here are my top ten picks for best board books for young readers. I love the durability of board books, and the freedom of allowing your toddler to handle books on their own. Additionally, each of these titles are high interest with the “just right” amount of text for young readers and learners.
*No one is paying me to promote these titles. These are my personal favorites, and books that have become treasured reads at our house. Purchasing books through my Amazon Affiliate links helps me support my family at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!
1. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
I smile as I think about my son saying goodnight to the mush, trying to blow out the fire, and happily searching for the little mouse on each page. Goodnight Moon is now my daughter’s favorite as well. This simple story has a way of drawing young readers in. Books don’t need to be flashy or action-packed to be captivating. If you’ve never read this classic – pick up a copy and share it with your favorite young reader.
2. Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton
Sandra Boynton is a name to remember if you are a parent looking for quality board books. With bouncy text, lovable animal characters, and new vocabulary, Boynton’s Barnyard Dance is sure to make your toddler smile. (And perhaps promenade…) =)
3. Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle
We LOVE the Little Blue Truck books! While these books have more text per page than I typically recommend for young children, I’ve found that due to high interest, rhyming text (which parents can usually read more quickly), and quality illustrations, even children under two are often able to sit through a complete reading. If you like Little Blue Truck, I also recommend checking out Little Blue Truck Leads the Way.
4. The Toddler Tools Books by Elizabeth Verdick
I was introduced to these books a few years ago, when I was asked to do a review. I fell in love with this series, and have loved sharing them with my kids. These books walk your toddler through certain behaviors and routines. With titles like Calm-Down Time, Listening Time, and Bedtime, these are just the right teaching tools parents need! I can’t say enough good things about these books.
5. Go, Dog. Go! : P.D. Eastman’s Book of Things That Go by P.D. Eastman
This quickly became a favorite of my son. Obsessed with vehicles of all types, he loved seeing the different ways the dogs used to get around. After a few readings, he was able to join in and “read” along with me. And don’t miss the last page…..your child is sure to love it!
6. Pride & Prejudice: A BabyLit® Counting Primer by Jennifer Adams
If you can’t get enough Jane Austen, you definitely MUST get this board book for your child. Words cannot express just how sweet this counting book is. Jennifer Adams has written a series of board books based on classic literature. More of my personal favorites include Sense and Sensibility: A BabyLit® Opposites Primer, and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: A BabyLit® Camping Primer. If you are a big fan of classic literature (as I am), you’ll want to check out ALL of her titles! (Wuthering Heights, Moby Dick, and SO many more!!) If you had to read it in high school, she has probably turned it into an adorable board book!
7. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. (and illustrated by Eric Carle!)
Brown Bear, Brown Bear is a true toddler classic. The repetition in the text allows young readers to join in and “read” along with you. The text introduces children to animals and colors. (And seriously, how can you pass up owning more of Eric Carle’s amazing handiwork?!)
8. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Speaking of the genius of Eric Carle, this is a book that NEEDS to be on every child’s bookshelf. This is the PERFECT transitional book for young readers. The book tells a story, yet doesn’t overwhelm a young listener with lengthy text. It’s a quick but wonderfully engaging read – full of illustrations that captivate nearly every child.
9. Dumpy’s Friends on the Farm by Julie Andrews Edwards
I love everything Julie Andrews has written. Dumpy the Dump Truck is a wonderful series of board books, sure to delight your young reader. Dumpy’s Friends on the Farm is our favorite, as the text is quite a bit shorter than the original Dumpy the Dump Truck, and features the sweetest illustrations. My children have loved pointing out all of the details, making animal noises, and exploring the farm friends with Dumpy. Very cute read.
10. First 100 Words by Roger Priddy
Young readers are still developing their vocabulary, and have a high interest in learning new words. Roger Priddy, (the go-to author for picture word books!), has collected 100 images sure to grab your toddler’s attention. Use this book as an opportunity to build your child’s confidence as a reader. Ask him or her to point out certain pictures. Point at things together. Ask questions and talk about what you see. Allow them to ask “what’s this?” to their heart’s desire. Picture word books are a fabulous teaching tool for your early learner.
Have fun reading and learning with your toddler. Explore new stories and build lasting memories together. Story time is learning time!!
We love so many books on this list, but the one that we like the most is the . Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. It is such a good book!
My daughter and I read many of these books when she was young. Thanks for sharing!