Our Five Ring Circus: Raising Readers: The Best Books for Babies and Toddlers

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Raising Readers: The Best Books for Babies and Toddlers

I can still vividly remember reading a book to my very first child for the very first time. It truly is a moment I will never forget.

Dylan was just a few days old at the time.  He was so tiny and it was still weeks away from his due date. I walked into his nursery, spotted a book that was given to him as a gift, and thought it was a good moment to begin story time. I sat down on the floor with my tiny baby cradled in my arms. I remember how happy, peaceful, and in love I felt as I opened the book and began to read. The book was called Sleepy Jesus, and I read it to him as the snow fell softly outside. That was the start of a tradition that never ended.

For 11 years and 3 months I have been reading to my children.

Over those 11 years and 4 children, we attained an amazing collection of books. Some of our books are SO loved that they are held together with tape. Liam's personal collection rivals the board book section at our local library, thanks to all the hand-me-downs.

Sometimes the amount of books we own overwhelms me, but all those books are worth it. We managed to raise 4 kids who love to read. Dylan and Lexie read way above grade level and Lily and Liam prefer books to anything else.  It makes me so happy when I walk into a room and find one of my kids reading.


Liam will spend hours every week looking through his books, but when it comes to sitting to listen to a book, he's like any other active toddler.  I have to choose wisely to keep his attention!

Over the years, I've found that the best books for babies and toddlers are short books that are repetitive or include catchy rhymes. You know...basically those books that you could recite in your sleep! Interactive books such as touch and feel and lift the flap are great choices, too!

I definitely have a list of favorites after 11+ years of reading to my kids, and all of my favorites are Liam-approved!

Raising Readers - The Best Books for Babies and Toddlers

Books by Sandra Boynton 

These books are short and catchy!  I have read Snuggle Puppy thousands of times, and the giggles at the very end are the best!


1. Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton
2. Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton
3. The Going To Bed Book by Sandra Boynton

Books by Dr. Seuss

Also short and catchy, and they make my kids laugh.  I guarantee you will memorize them in no time!


4. Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss
5. There's a Wocket in my Pocket! by Dr. Seuss
6. Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? by Dr. Seuss

Counting Books

These 3 books were favorites among all 4 of my children. They are very repetitive and always held their interest!


7. Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow
8. Baby Einstein: Baby Galileo Sees the Stars by Julie Aigner-Clark
9. Ten Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth

Book Series

We have multiple DK Touch and Feel, That's Not My ______ Usborne Touchy Feely, and How Do Dinosaurs _____ books!  Liam absolutely loves touch and feel books!


10. DK Touch and Feel Bathtime
11. How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten?  by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague
12. That's Not My Dinosaur (Usborne Touchy Feely) by Fiona Watt

Interactive Books

Books with mirrors, lift the flaps, and lights are big hits with my toddler! The Moon in my Room was Dylan's favorite when he was a toddler/preschooler!


13. Disney: It's a Small World Guess Who!
14. DK Baby Says Peekaboo!
15. Tails by Matthew Van Fleet
16. The Moon in my Room Night Light Book by Annette Norris


These are timeless books that belong in every child's book collection! Goodnight Moon is still Lily's favorite book!


17. Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett
18. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
19. How Do I Love You? by P.K. Hallinan
20. Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman

 Press Here & Mix It Up!

These two deserve their own category!  They are relatively newer bestsellers. These books are so perfect for every child that I often buy them as gifts.  They are also a FANTASTIC occupational therapy tool, so I always recommend them to parents who have kids with special needs. If you buy any book, make it one of these. Seriously. These books are THAT good!


21. Press Here by Herve Tullet
22. Mix It Up! by Herve Tullet

Happy reading, my friends!


Do you have any of these books in your collection?  What are your favorite books for babies and young toddlers?


Linking up with Our Pretty Little Girls for Tuesday Talk. 


  1. So cute! We love books over here too!

    1. Thanks! I am always willing to buy books for our collection because they get read over and over again!

  2. I have neither the knowledge of babies nor baby books. But raising them with books is the best thing I can imagine! Your kid looks really adorable while reading! :)

  3. Such a great resource, Stephanie. My daughter is a voracious reader too and we're amassing such a great collection of books, most of which you've mentioned here. She loves Dr. Seuss and Sandra Boynton books too! I agree with you--kids hold the most attention with short books. Colorful pictures and repetition in words or phrases don't hurt either. Thanks so much for sharing. So glad I found you on Tuesday talk!

  4. This is such a GREAT list! Do you happen to have any ideas on books that feature little ones with Down syndrome? We have a few for the elementary age set, but I'd love to find a couple of board books.

    1. 47 Strings: Tessa's Special Code is a great one! http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0984924566?ref_=cm_sw_r_cp_awd_P4NWwbGEPW32K
      We'll Paint the Octopus Red is another: http://www.amazon.com/Well-Paint-Octopus-Stephanie-Stuve-Bodeen/dp/1890627062/ref=pd_sim_14_1?ie=UTF8&dpID=51npTDqVh1L&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_&refRID=0CGT46MNB93JP0HJE930
      As for board books, I can, can you? is a good choice! http://www.amazon.com/Can-You-Marjorie-W-Pitzer/dp/1890627577/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1455658640&sr=1-1&keywords=i+can+can+you

  5. Those pictures of Liam reading are too precious! Unfortunately, my twins just end up ripping pages when I let them read by themselves, but they actually will sit for a really long time listening to me...sometimes too long. Love all these books!

    1. Thank you so much! That is wonderful that they will sit for so long. That's exactly how Lily is. She requests book after book! Just for the record, I only leave out board books for Liam. I'm certain he would do the same thing!

  6. We have SO many of those. Liam is so cute in his chair with his big ol' pile of books. Great picks!

  7. You picked some classics here. Goodnight Moon has always and still is a favorite in our family and in my classroom. Thanks for sharing this on Tuesday Talk this week. Will be featuring this on next week's Tuesday Talk for my book review theme. Yeah for you. Inviting you to join me on THurdsay for my linkup Party at My Place. Would love to have you.

    1. Thank you so much, Michelle! I will stop by your blog on Thursday!

  8. We have read Hop on Pop every night this week!! Such a cute post.

  9. Robert Munsch books are good as are books with Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems.

    1. We have Love You Forever. It makes me cry every time! I will check out the Elephant and Piggie books. Thank you for the recommendation!

  10. Love these book ideas! I have a lot of them, but also got a lot of good ideas of ones to invest in! Thanks for the great list!

    1. Thank you, Tina! I always love reading book recommendation posts!

  11. We have nearly all the same books! Love Dr. Suess, all of them! And that Tails book (as well as Heads) are big favorites!

    1. I don't think we have Heads. I will have to look for that one!


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