I’m not going to lie, I have a serious problem buying too many children’s books. Trying to narrow this list down to 10 of the all time best books for toddlers was pretty hard. I had stacks of books before my child was even a thought in my mind. Some of this was due to the fact that I am a preschool teacher and preschool teachers seem predisposed to have a near-like sickness when it comes to possessing too many children’s books.
But I digress.
On my prayer list for my firstborn while he was still growing inside of me was that he would have a thirst and desire for literacy. although he didn't seem to have an interest right away, I'm happy to say that my prayer was answered and he seems to have a thirst for all things 'books'. In fact, I was secretly impressed a couple of weeks ago when he shared all his toys with some visiting friends until they tried pulling his books off the shelf. Although I'm not proud of his attitude I was amused that he was only possessive with his books.
I continue to believe that a love of literacy/reading is the catalyst to a love of learning. A love of literacy is a precursor to learning that is often overlooked in its importance. Often time teachers think of reading as simply the first step of educational learning. Although this is true in a sense, we need to go deeper.
I continue to believe that a love of literacy/reading is the catalyst to a love of learning.
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The Importance of Literacy
Reading is the vehicle to discovering all the things we love. Even sports, hunting, or outdoor activities require some measure of literacy. Mathematics requires a foundation of reading. Science requires a foundation of reading. Music even requires a foundation of reading.
When we don’t teach a LOVE of literacy, we miss the mark with these growing minds.
I was determined to find and purchase all the most alluring children’s books for my son.
And at first, he hated it.
All the way up to about 8 months he would push every single book I tried to bring out away. He would cry, throw them, or eat them. Pretty typical, but not what this momma had hoped for.
But I wasn’t discouraged. I knew when his brain was ready if I kept up the consistency, there eventually would be a connection and his world would explode with the enjoyment of reading.
And at around 8 months it did.
Consistency is key if you want your child to enjoy literacy. Don’t give up! It will come. Be sure to check out this post on the best books for Fall and Autumn!
Even now, at almost 13 months, my son has a stubborn streak about what books pique his interest. Like a typical boy at his age, he needs books he can touch and interact with. Unfortunately, as many parents who have gone before realize, these are the most expensive of children’s books. But let me be clear. Like everything else, we prioritize. If you want your child to enjoy reading you need to prioritize books. That doesn’t mean you purchase all the most expensive books out there. It might mean though that you have to take some extra trips to the library to find books that intrigue your child’s interests and age levels.
10 of the All Time Best Books for Toddlers
If you want your child to enjoy reading you need to prioritize books.
Like I said at the beginning. I have a problem. I have stacks of books that we have tested to see if he will enjoy it. My one-year-old prefers books that have simple words, a touching aspect, or a moving part. I share these now because they are our tested and tried books that a stubborn boy loves more than any of his other toys.
We have 13 of these books because they were the first ones my son actually responded to! They are simple storylines that emphasize descriptive words. They are absolutely marvelous first-time books to bring into your home!
Don’t worry, I promise we will get away from Usborne books shortly, but the fact of the matter is that Usborne has highly researched and quality books that cater to the development of a child. We have two books from this series, and they are simple worded books that have slide aspects to the animals or objects. My son is fascinated by how the books work and are constantly turning the pages trying to decide how the slide works.
This Eric Carle book really blew it out of the water. The noise feature is the easiest press I have ever seen in a noise book. My son barely pushes on the button for it to make noise. He loves pointing at the coinciding picture and then having me help him find the button to push.
This was a book we were given for his one-year-old birthday and I honestly thought at first it would be too developed for him. But currently, he picks it every time we sit down to read. It has large flaps that are easy to lift on every page. It uses rhyming to ask what a specific barn animal says and then there is a large picture of the animal's face on the adjacent side. The flap opens the animal's mouth to reveal the correct way the animal makes noise. For my one year old he thinks the rhyming is worthy of a giggle and finds great delight in opening the flaps.
Note: I am disappointed with the strength of the flaps. They are easily ripped if not being monitored carefully.
This was one of those books I bought well before my firstborn was born. It was one of the first books I read to him. He’s going through some spots where he really does not enjoy listening for very long, so it’s taken us over a year to get through the book. However, what sets this book apart from other bibles for young children is how each story points back to Jesus. The book helps children truly understand how Jesus is the focus of the Bible. It is also the only children’s bible book that I feel is written in a way that children can understand. The pictures are bright, cheery, and intriguing.
The flaps on this book are amazing! So strong I don’t think that if my child used all his prevailing muscles, he could pull them off. I also didn’t realize that this is truly a tested book. It is over thirty years old and still popular.
This book has a special place in my heart. It is such a well-written book. It has an almost poetic structure that makes it very soothing for a nighttime routine. Right before my son goes to bed every night, we read this touching book. Although it does not have a touch or feel aspect to it, the illustrations are active and beautiful. The illustrations have an almost Eric Carl feel but are much more detailed. I love the shimmery aspect of the front cover and I think it is one of the reasons my son was so intrigued with it at first.
Yes, I know, I went back to Usborne books! When I say they are well researched, I truly mean it. They are good because they are researched and put together in a way that is intriguing to children. These noisy books are no expectation. Wyatt loves the Jungle and Farm edition. The buttons are easy to push, but I still usually need to help him a little bit.
This book comes in paperback or board book, so it can truly be used for a variety of ages. I love that it teaches emotions and has a poetic structure. It truly is a classic that belongs on the all time best books for toddlers.
I will cap this list off with one of my favorite Usborne books, that although carries a hefty price tag, is well worth it in my mind. The Usborne Busy books specialize in bringing learning to a new level. Using small cars, planes, bugs, or things that move, the storyline progresses based on a track the small manipulative can move around to. These are fascinating books that intrigue every learner. My son’s initial reaction to them was one of absolute adorable shock. Which then progressed to pure excitement as he watched the manipulative move around the tracks.