Our must-have alphabet books for toddlers are here! If you are ready to start teaching your little ones the alphabet, here are the best ABC books out there, as well as some awesome activities to supplement your reading!
There is something wondrous about watching your kids learn their ABCs. First, they memorize the song. Next, they learn the sounds, and then, at long last, they learn to match sounds to letters.
Children are ready to learn the ABCs at various ages
Many children memorize the alphabet song around age 2 or 3, with letter recognition coming sometime thereafter. Usually, by about five years old (or when they are in kindergarten), children are able to match each letter to its corresponding sound. Some children, however, may learn much earlier than that.
Make me a promise?
If you have one of those kids who does not know their ABCs and does not begin writing the next great American novel at three years old, PLEASE don’t fret – and please don’t start pushing your child, either!
There is a huge developmentally appropriate range for learning the ABCs, with kids learning their letters at various ages. The most important thing to remember is that your child will learn the alphabet when he or she is ready!
ABC books will help preschoolers connect the dots
Though you should never pressure your toddler to learn his ABCs, I will always recommend sharing great alphabet books with your kids — because what’s better than introducing a new concept through books?!! The best alphabet books help little ones understand that letters represent actual speech sounds. But remember, this is not an easy concept to grasp!
How can you help your toddlers connect the dots as you are reading?
- Point to the letters as you read to reinforce letter-sound connections.
- Because most alphabet books contain pictures of an object beginning with the corresponding letter, emphasize the beginning sound of each object (ie., “buh-buh-ball” and “eh-eh-elephant.”) This is a fabulous tool for introducing phonemic awareness.
- Read alphabet books with pictures of frequently used objects. This helps create and reinforce associations between letters and particular items, and it will also help build vocabulary.
- Emphasize the letters of their name! I always made a big fuss when we got to a page featuring the first letter of my boys’ names. As they began to recognize the first letter of their first name, we moved on to the subsequent letters of their name.
- Keep it fun! The more fun they have while reading alphabet books, the less frustrated they will get.
- The most important thing you should worry about right now is that your toddler begins to develop a positive association with reading and books. It is more important to begin fostering a reading habit in toddlers than it is to teach a two-year-old the alphabet!
Expose your kids to the ABCs with the best alphabet books
We’ve compiled a list of some of the best alphabet books for your learners. We have arranged them into categories, including interactive books, engaging read-alouds, books that feature both uppercase and lowercase letters, alphabet books starring animals, and those ABC books we think are absolutely beautiful.
We hope you love these books as much as we do, and we can’t wait to hear your thoughts!
Frequently Asked Questions
Concept books are picture books, often board books, that introduce basic concepts to our youngest readers. These books contain concrete information on a particular concept, such as the alphabet, numbers, animals, colors, shapes, opposites, and the like.
Concept books help teach young readers about the world around them! They are fabulous for preparing your children for kindergarten, and they are important components in early literacy. Further, concept books help with speech development by encouraging children to put labels on objects and concepts in their everyday world.
In our house, we loved Alphablock, by Christopher Franceschelli and Peskimo, and TouchThinkLearn: ABC, by Xavier Deneux, both of which are featured below. Both of these books are phenomenal for providing tactile input to kids as they learn their letters. The books both encourage you to trace, touch, and feel the letters’ lines and curves, engaging little ones on both visual and sensory levels. Love love love these two!
Tactile & Interactive Alphabet Books
This book rocks, plain and simple! It features thick pages, each cut into a capital letter that children will enjoy tracing with their fingers as they familiarize themselves with the letters’ lines, curves, and holes. Even better, it presents a peek-through guessing game as kids will use the letter and illustrated clues to determine what word beginning with the corresponding letter is presented on the next page. Genius!
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The TouchThinkLearn books are, in my humble opinion, some of the best board books on the market, and I absolutely adore their alphabet book for toddlers. The raised die-cut pieces make this ABC book a tactile experience so different from the other alphabet books out there. The graphics are simple and bright, and this book brilliantly engages children on both visual and sensory levels, creating a much more immersive way to learn the ABCs. Amazing!
What child doesn’t love a game of I Spy? My kids do, and so this book is a no-brainer! We love the way the letters in this book each contain a design of an object beginning with the featured letter, and we also love the other trinkets on the page that reinforce the sound of each letter. Such a fun read!
Van Fleet’s interactive books are just fantastic. In this one, young readers are invited to explore various animals and plants that begin with each featured letter. As they learn the alphabet, they are given an interactive experience, complete with different textures, movable parts, flaps to open, and pages to scratch and sniff. There is no better way to teach the alphabet!
This was one of the best alphabet books in our house, one my boys turned to again and again. This one features simple rhymes and awesome photographs, and it also includes pages that kids can touch and feel for a great sensory experience that immerses them in the alphabet. My children always delighted in touching the bear’s fuzzy nose and smelling the sweet flower!
Oh my goodness, this book is stunning! If you want a beautiful book with flaps, peekaboo holes, and an awesome A to Z guessing game, your kids will be mesmerized by this one. This is one of my favorite new alphabet books, and I can’t rave about it enough. This is definitely great for higher-level thinking, but because of its very interactive and engaging nature, I wanted to include it in this section!
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ABC Books with Uppercase and Lowercase Letters
This was another one of the best alphabet books in our house! It is big, sturdy, and tabbed, making it simple for toddlers to find and flip to their favorite letter, the first of which is typically the first letter of their first name. We love the way it includes both uppercase and lowercase letters in combination with a fun, large illustration. This is by far one of our favorite alphabet books for toddlers!
Alison Jay’s books are just magical to me. Her illustration style is pure whimsy and elegance, making this beautiful ABC book so very special. Each page features one large object that corresponds to the featured letter, but it also includes additional, smaller objects that also begin with that same letter, encouraging the child to look deep into the pictures to find all of the items beginning with the same sound. And, of course, this is a great introduction to both upper and lowercase letters!
“Flora Forager” — botanical artist and Instagram wonder — created this imaginative alphabet book from natural materials gathered from botanical foraging. It is creative, gorgeous, and awe-inspiring, and you will love seeing how she utilizes these natural materials to turn each letter into a little masterpiece.
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Beautifully Illustrated Alphabet Books
Oh man, this book is an absolute beauty! Each page of this one features an oversized capital letter, and when you look closely, you will find that each letter is composed of gorgeous images beginning with that particular letter. “A” includes apples, airplanes, automobiles, and an alarm clock, whereas M includes a manatee, moon, mitten, and monkey. Even better? Each page includes one alliterative line of text corresponding to the featured letter. An exquisitely gorgeous alphabet book for toddlers!
This book of realistic watercolors is remarkable, and it is a Caldecott Honor book for good reason! In this ABC book, you and your children will be amazed at the way Johnson finds ordinary objects from around the city but spies a letter within each of those objects. A sawhorse makes the letter A, a traffic light viewed from the side is the letter E, lampposts along a highway form the letter Y, and a fire escape forms the letter Z. Creative, inspiring, and oh so brilliant, this phenomenal book helps kids view their surroundings through artistic lenses, allowing them to see the world through a different perspective.
We adore this book, and with each read, we marvel at all of the illustrations. When a young patron goes to visit Market Street, he stops at all of the stores and each one brings a letter to life! Each shopkeeper is composed entirely of an object corresponding to the featured letter. The child gets apples, books, clocks, and more, and each page is more beautifully illustrated than the last!
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This is a stunning book that is also a phenomenal learning resource. Inspired to create The Handmade Alphabet because of her deaf stepson, Rankin drew hands signing each letter of the alphabet, thus making it a wonderful introduction to American sign language. Each page also features a beautiful object corresponding to the featured letter. You will be enthralled with the illustrations and the way it so effectively teaches children and adults alike to sign the ABCs!
Fun and Engaging Alphabet Books to Read Aloud!
From artist and acrobat peas to zoologist peas, this fun alphabet book gives a great look at different hobbies, careers, and interests, with each page detailing all of the things we can be in this great world of ours. Its fun rhyme and vibrant pictures make this a great read-aloud for your little ones!
Chicka chicka boom boom, will there be enough room? As the letters from A to Z race up the coconut tree and then fall back down, your children will be enthralled! I dare you to read this and then not have the words stuck in your head for the rest of the day — or week. Kids love this one, and the rhythmic text and lively illustrations make it a classic. This will forever be one of the very best alphabet books for children!
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This alphabet book is creative and so much fun. When dog accidentally rolls his ball into mouse’s house, chaos ensues, from A to Z! It is amazing to see how Twohy tells a full story in one or two-word increments, in alphabetical order, that includes nouns, adjectives, verbs, onomatopoeia, and even some abbreviations. A unique and ingenious twist on the alphabet book!
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Alphabet Books Featuring Animals!
An alligator made of As and a zebra made of Zs? This book is so cool for all of you who love not only animals but art and graphic design, too. It’s the most unique board book — I love the way it uses different typefaces to compose each animal, showing children how letters look a little different depending on the various typesettings utilized. So much fun!
The creator of the LLAMA LLAMA books brings us this totally entertaining — and totally silly – alphabet book featuring an entire array of made-up and imaginative animals. Not only will this one have your kiddos laughing, but you will be teaching them new vocabulary as you giggle at each made-up animal, from the “Anonymouse” who is trying hard to hide to the “Blaboon” who can’t stop talking. We love this one!
This gorgeous book pairs each letter of the alphabet with a wild animal beginning with that letter. It provides real photographs of the animals, each set against a white backdrop. Elegant, fascinating, and a great, close-up perspective of the animal kingdom, this one is sure to enthrall any and every child, especially little animal lovers! We also love that each letter of the alphabet is written in both uppercase and lowercase letters in bold, black font. For our full review of Creature ABC, click the link!
This alphabet book for toddlers is such a delight and so much fun! Little ones will love learning the ABC’s with this clever book that uses animal sounds to emphasize each letter. It rhymes, it’s bright and it’s catchy — and it will have your kids Mooing, Neighing, Oinking, and Peeping along!
RELATED: We’ve got a fabulous list of kindergarten read-alouds for you to make storytime magical and meaningful, so be sure to check them out!
Alphabet Activities for Kids
One of my very favorite bloggers is Beth over at Days with Grey, as her website and activities rock! If you want to engage your kids in some super fun, low-pressure activities, I highly recommend these three. They are easy to set up, engaging, and big hits in our house! Make sure to check out all of Beth’s Breakfast Invitations for no-fuss morning entertainment. They have changed our morning routines tremendously!
Splash the Alphabet! Get your kiddos outside this summer, give them a squirt bottle, and watch the magic happen. This one is a total winner!
Ice Match Fun Alphabet Game! What child doesn’t love playing with ice? And when you can play with ice and learn the alphabet, you’ve got an immersive, sensory experience that your little one won’t soon forget. We love this!
Magnetic Prewriting: Write with Magnets! Teach your kids their letters, and fine-tune their fine motor skills, with this awesome magnetic activity that will have little transportation lovers racing their vehicles over all sorts of roads — made into the shape of letters, of course!
RELATED: Mastered the alphabet? If your kids are ready for early reader books or kindergarten books for new readers, check out these posts!
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