Reading to a toddler can sometimes feel like wrangling a herd of cattle. Attention spans are short, they love to wander, and they love to explore. Finding books for toddlers that keep their attention, are the perfect length, and are full of exploring possibilities is a must.
This ultimate list of toddler books will get you through the toddler years with an increased vocabulary and a love of books.
Little Blue Truck, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Pete the Cat… These are just a few of the books that most toddlers will request every single day.
Keeping up with busy toddlers and their reading likes can be challenging.
Here is your one-stop-shop for all things related to reading books with toddlers. I’ve got the best book lists, reading tips, and book activities that will have your toddlers craving more and more books which is music to a parent or teacher’s ears.
Books for Toddlers
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When choosing books for toddlers, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
- Choose books that are engaging. Great characters, lots of dialogue, and bold pictures draw a toddler right into the story.
- Know your child or group of kids. Attention span will vary from child to child. An 18-month-old and a 28-month-old are quite different when it comes to attention and level of movement. Start with shorter books and build your way up to lengthier stories.
- Match books to a child’s interests. If you have a child who loves construction trucks, then grab a big stack of construction vehicle books. Kids love to engage with books on topics they are passionate about at any given moment.
Young listeners have their own personal reading taste. But, there are some books that can almost be assured to be loved by all young toddlers. The two that I hear teachers and parents say over and over again are…
Little Blue Truck by Alice Shertle is loved by adults and kids. Travel with Little Blue as he rescues another truck from the mud with the help of farm animal friends. “Horn went beep. Engine purred. Sweetest sound you ever did hear.”
The classic We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen is also a hit. This one will have the kids engaged and moving with the repetitive lines.
Board books are lifesavers during that tearing stage. Heavy-duty durable pages can withstand the pulls and tugs of little hands. The popularity of board books has surged over the years.
Check out these other Classic Toddler Books. You might remember some from your own childhood.
And, for more must-reads, check out our most popular post ever- 101 Books Every Child Needs to Hear Before Kindergarten. You can even print it out and keep it handy.
Each year I share a list of books that have been favorites in our house for the past year. They are some of our most popular book lists for kids.
Toddlers love to point. It’s a communication tool and some books lend themselves well to pointing and touching. We call these interactive books.
Books with sounds and lift-the-flaps fall into this category. Check out these favorite interactive books.—>Interactive Books for Toddlers
Holiday Book Lists for Toddlers
Valentine’s Day is full of love and great books with these Valentine’s Day Books for Toddlers.
Pumpkins, costumes, and ghosts galore in these Halloween Books for Toddlers.
Bring the magic of Christmas alive with these Christmas Books for Toddlers.
More Great Book Lists
Just like we need a variety in our diet, we also need to expose young children to a variety in their read-aloud diet too. Having multicultural books on our shelves is a must. Add a few multicultural books for toddlers to your shelf too.
Books are also a great teaching tool. Toddlers acquire new vocabulary so quickly and books are a great way to introduce and reinforce new vocabulary.
Here are some other related toddler book list posts to check out.
Transportation Books for Toddlers (cars, trucks, planes, trains, and more)
There is a big difference between the attention span of a 13-month-old and a 26-month-old. Our older toddlers crave a meatier story. These board books can still hold up to aggressive hands and hold the interest of our growing tykes.
Books for Special Milestones
Toddlers have lots of “first” milestones during these precious years. Here are some book lists to fit those special times.
Hopefully, you won’t need this list, but Death of a Sibling books too.
Toddler Books and Activities
Books and book activities play an important part in a toddler’s day. We thrive on using a book as a springboard into real-life learning and playing.
*Book Activities are a big part of the Growing Book by Book mission. We have loads of hands-on and playful activities to pair with books.
*Another book project near and dear to my heart is helping my preschoolers learn to give to others. We created a monthly project that would help us focus on reading, creating, and then sharing with others. All the books, activities, and service projects were put together to create my first book, Read, Create & Share. It’s a great way to bring books to life with young children especially as they move into the preschool years.
Memorizing nursery rhymes and reciting them on a regular basis is a wonderful way to help your child on their learning to read journey.
This is the nursery rhyme book we wore the cover right off when my boys were little. It’s called Hickory, Dickory, Dock: And Other Favorite Nursery Rhymes.
Here are our all-time favorite rhyming books to build phonological awareness.—>Click to see the Not To Be Missed Rhyming Books.
Circle Time Books
Some books lend themselves better to circle time read-alouds. Here are my top picks of circle time books.—->Circle Time Books
More Tips for Reading Books with Toddlers
Here are some common questions with answers and tips when it comes to reading books with the toddler crowd.
How do I deal with a squirrelly toddler during a read-aloud?
Ummm, they are toddlers. When have you seen a toddler sit very long for anything?
Just because they don’t sit quietly with you from page one to ten doesn’t mean that the experience wasn’t worth the time.
First, even if the kids are rolling or walking around, they are still hearing book language and you are filling their little language tanks.
Second, you are developing a habit. During the day, we read and enjoy books. That’s a big example to set.
So, don’t fret. Keep reading.
Just because kids are moving during a read-aloud doesn’t mean that listening isn’t happening. Many kids need to keep their hands busy to help with concentration. Why Can’t My Child Sit Still When I Read? is a post I wrote with ideas to keep kids focused during a read-aloud.
But know that toddlers will move and that is ok!
How do I keep my toddler from tearing books?
Yes, it will happen. I think our copy of Cars and Trucks and Things That Go by Scarry has more tape than paper at this point.
Here are some tips to help kids learn how to treat books though.
Building a Toddler’s Library
Ok, now you have lots of book recommendations to read with your little ones, but how do you build a personal library for them?
We are huge fans of the library. Though it doesn’t build your personal permanent library, it’s an excellent way to test out books you may want to purchase. If you find that you are checking out the same book over and over again, then it might be one that you want to consider buying.
Speaking of the library… It can be a challenge to take a toddler to the library. Here are some helpful tips.—>Tips for Taking a Toddler to the Library
Here are a few tips for building a library.
- Give a special book on birthdays and holidays. Write a note inside the book telling why you selected the book and date it. I guarantee that these will be treasured books down the road.
- Ask grandparents, parents (if you are a teacher), and guests to parties to bring a book instead of a toy as a present.
- Here are some more ideas for getting books for FREE or almost free.—->8 Ways to GetBooks for Free
Now you have more toddler books to read to your budding readers. Start stocking the shelves because soon that little one will be reading to you.
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