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What are Some Good Books for Babies and Toddlers?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 23, 2024
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Good books for babies and toddlers are widely available. You may remember some classics from your own childhood when you’re selecting books for babies and toddlers, and there are many new books written since that time that are excellent. Many of these come in the shape of board books, more durable cardboard books with cardboard pages, that are easier for babies to handle, and can withstand the abuse that toddlers may certainly dish out. Since books of all types have become increasingly high priced, you don’t want to have to replace ones with ripped pages or not allow a baby or toddler access to books they can handle on their own; board books are the clear choice for the youngest set of pre-readers.

There is a set of books for babies and toddlers that you may want to avoid. Any type of pop-out book is likely to break or rip due to frequent use. Unless you’re purchasing a book for the most careful toddler, ripped books are a pretty common affair, and most pop-up books won’t be able to survive multiple uses. There are other books for babies and toddlers that can evoke the senses. One of these is Pat the Bunny written by Dorothy Kunhardt and published in 1940. Children are invited in the book to explore their sense of touch by feeling various textures. This type of participation helps keep young babies and even toddlers on the go involved and learning.

Some other books for babies and toddlers, most of which come in board book form, come from the children’s author Margaret Wise Brown. Of her work, the classic is Goodnight Moon, a wonderful book to read at bedtime. One of her other books, The Runaway Bunny, is also a favorite, but the text is longer and may not keep the attention of more active toddlers. Goodnight Moon works well because the language is short and repetitious. Another author that employs this technique is Eric Carle. Search for his titles like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Busy Spider, and Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? coauthored with Bill Martin.

A book that has been appealing to children because of its subject is the book Babies by Gyo Fujikawa. With pictures of babies pursuing various activities, like eating and sleeping, and with simple text, this board book is often fascinating to children. Similarly Baby Faces by DK Publishing may hold the same appeal with numerous photographs of babies. Fujikawa’s book is more portable and also larger than the standard board book, making it easier to handle. Another larger board book is the story I am a Bunny by Ole Risom, with illustrations by Richard Scary. The book takes a child in simple text through the different seasons.

When you’re searching for good books for babies and toddlers, look for works by Leo Lionni, which again employ very simple language. Swimmy, Inch by Inch and It’s Mine are colorful and fun to read. Maurice Sendak’s works have exceptional appeal as books for babies and toddlers. Especially popular is Where the Wild Things Are, and Chicken Soup with Rice. Rosemary Wells’ series Voyage to the Bunny Planet three book set is another lovely addition.

You’ll find many other books for babies and toddlers that you’ll absolutely love (as will your child). A few more books to try if you’re getting started on a collection are the following:

  • Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram
  • Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? by Dr. Seuss
  • Go, Dog Go by P.D. Eastman
  • The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton
  • No, David by David Shannon
  • Where is Baby’s Belly Button? by Karen Katz
  • The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper, George Hauman and Doris Hauman
  • My Goodnight Book by Eloise Wilkin
  • I’ll Love You Forever by Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw
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Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Language & Humanities contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By turquoise — On Jun 02, 2011

I haven't bought any yet, but I heard that there are baby books for difficult transition times. Like if a baby refuses to sleep by itself, cries a lot at night, is being waned off mother's milk and so forth. These books are supposed help relax them and keep their attention off of the problem.

Has anyone tried them yet? Do you think it works? And can you suggest some night time books?

By discographer — On Jun 01, 2011

Our favorite baby books are Guess How Much I Love You, The Little Mouse, Goodnight Moon, That's Not My Polar Bear, Pat The Bunny, Clown, Rainbow Fish, Little Golden Book and Love You Forever.

Some of these are picture only books. I think it's good to start them off with picture only and then move on to one with words. By the way, it's never early to start reading books with them. You can start anytime you want.

By bear78 — On May 31, 2011

Babies love to touch and feel objects. My niece absolutely loves books with different textures for that reason. It helps her associate a lot more with the book and remember the story. So it definitely promotes her visuals, memory and sensory organ development.

While she gets bored with most of her books after the second or third time, she can never get enough of textured books. I think we have read one about fifty times already. I would definitely recommend these to new parents. It's also a good choice if you're looking for a gift for a baby or toddler. I think most babies will love them!

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Language & Humanities contributor,...
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