Your Essential Guide to the Best Books for Toddlers!

Inside: Having a new baby in the house is magical. Even more magical? Snuggling up in a rocking chair with that new baby on your lap, sharing phenomenal stories together, with her tiny hands wrapped around your pinkie finger. There’s nothing better, and if you are looking for the best books for toddlers, including the best board books, you are in the right place!

Best Books for Toddlers!

Storytime Becomes Meaningful and Magical When You Choose the Best Books for Toddlers!

Since it’s no secret that stories are a major foundation of my world, the books arrived by the dozen when Pickle was born. Keepsake books, classic picture books, modern picture books and more.

But each night, when I finished our last feeding and picked up a book to read with my new little love as we snuggled together in the glider, it quickly became apparent that some books were just perfect while others were simply... not. At least, not yet. Not for this particular stage.

Board books were undoubtedly my favorites to read with my sweet boy, but even those were sometimes too long and wordy. I thus began to fall in love with very particular types of stories, and those were the ones we read on repeat. At the same time, I found myself keeping a running list of books in my head for when Pickle got just a little bit older: oooh - I can’t wait to teach the alphabet with this one! This will be amazing for when he can really interact with the book! This book is so unique - I need to remember this for a baby shower present!

The best books for toddlers revealed themselves to us pretty quickly.

When Pickle was a toddler, our reading really began to pick up, and I loved picking books to read that were not just fun and captivating, but meaningful, too. I loved watching him interact with stories (I still do!) Sometimes he had no interest, of course. But other times, his delight was readily apparent. When he saw me pick up certain books he would run to me in the glider, climb into my lap and snuggle up against me as if I had just bribed him with a trip to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.

And then it hit me: the right books create magical moments. But how do you pick the right books?

Luckily, you are in the right place, because Happily Ever Elephants has done a lot of the work for you! But before we get to our selection of the best books for toddlers, let’s go over some basics, shall we?

Best Books for Toddlers!

The best books for toddlers stimulate development in remarkable ways.

It’s no secret that reading with your little ones makes for incredible bonding time. It also helps create lasting connections, intimacy between parent and child, and positive associations with books. But reading also impacts your child’s brain in the most phenomenal ways. The benefits of reading with your children from the time they are just infants include:

  • development of language skills and language processing,

  • exposure to nearly 78,000 words annually if read to every day, which boosts vocabulary and gives kids a huge advantage before beginning school,

  • stimulation to the part of the brain that helps with imagery and comprehension, as well as visual stimulation by presenting little ones with images and colors,

  • introduction to sounds and emotion, as well as the idea that particular words have meaning and connotation,

  • preparation for reading independently by learning the rhythm, tone and inflection in your voice, and

  • continuous exposure to your voice, which is both soothing and stress relieving.

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Best Books for Toddlers!

When seeking out the best books to read with your toddlers, consider these tips.

Imagine this: you are in the library and you need to grab some new books for your kiddo when - gasp! - you realize you have no cell service to access Happily Ever Elephants’ amazing resources. Don’t worry. Take a deep breath, and remember these tips:

  • Repetitive books are fabulous for babies and toddlers because they will eventually be able to fill in words on their own.

  • Toddlers typically have short attention spans! Hold their interest by choosing books with small amounts of text on each page.

  • For babies and toddlers under two, make sure to get board books with sturdy pages to prevent tiny fingers from ripping and tiny teeth from chewing their favorite stories!

  • Children love to point out the things they do every day in illustrations and stories, so consider books about mealtime, bath time, bedtime and the like.

  • Introduce new vocabulary with books that teach kids words they will be able to incorporate into their typical conversation. Books that associate words with pictures of commonly seen items around the house, outside, and at daycare or school are awesome.

  • Pay attention to your child’s interests, and get books that complement those interests!

  • Engage wiggly children and busy fingers with lift the flap pages, textured illustrations, die cut pages and deep grooves to work those fine motor skills.

And now, without further ado, check out these amazing lists!

Happily Ever Elephants’ Best Books for Toddlers!

Best Books for Toddlers!

Guide to the Best Board Books

We’ve curated a phenomenal list of the best board books here! This list includes several books under numerous categories including black and white books for babies, interactive books for toddlers, alphabet books for toddlers, the best board books for teaching toddlers colors, numbers, and concept, and so many more! If you want one list with some of our top pics across the board, this one is for you!

Best Books for Toddlers

Diverse Baby Books!

Celebrate the whole world right inside your own home with these beautiful diverse baby books! Sharing diverse books with children helps our kids become more accepting, more compassionate, and less inclined to feel nervous or scared when they encounter children and adults who they perceive as being different from themselves.

For more fabulous lists of diverse books for babies, check out these great posts:

best Books for toddlers

Unique Baby Books

Tired of the classics? These are some fabulously unique books that may be lesser known than Goodnight Moon but are just as deserving (if not more so!) of a spot on your shelves. These stories will delight your children from beginning to end — and they make the best baby shower gifts, too!

best Books for Toddlers

Interactive Books for Babies

Make storytime magical with 20 of the most engaging interactive board books you’ll find! With pull tabs, lift the flaps, hidden elements, textured pages and grooved paths, you will captivate your kiddos, create building blocks for reading and writing development, work their fine motor skills, and boost sensory development. Even better? These books will help them fall in love with reading.

For more terrific posts about interactive board books, check out these great posts:

Best Books for Toddlers

Alphabet Books for Toddlers

ABCs like 123! If you want to start exposing your little one to the alphabet, you are in luck because have compiled a mega-list of alphabet books for toddlers. More than twenty books are organized into categories, including interactive alphabet books, engaging alphabet read-alouds, books that feature both uppercase and lower case letters, alphabet books starring animals, and those ABC books we think are absolutely beautiful.

For more alphabet book lists, check out these great posts:

Best Books for Toddlers

Black and White Books

If you have a newborn in your house, ditch the pastels! High contrast, black and white books are perfect for your littlest babes, not to mention ideal for their developing brains and eyes. Check out our list of favorites!

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Best Books for Toddlers: Single Book Reviews