My granddaughter LOVES books. It’s great, cuz her grandma does, too. At 16 months, she’s expanded her attention span and her interest to include picture books. We still do a lot of board books and this list of our favorites has some of both.
Books for toddlers have to please two audiences. The child and the adult. It’s a tall order, because the child wants his favorites read over and over and over again. The book has to have enough delight for the adult to repeat it over and over and over again.
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Good Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day
A book with virtually no words, this one is perfect for a toddler to read to themself.
In real life, it’s horrifying to think of a mother going out shopping and leaving the dog to babysit. In spite of the realistic pictures, let’s put this story in the realm of fantasy and leave it there.
Good night Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
Another book with virtually no words, but the progression of the story takes a bit of mental gymnastics.
Perfect for toddlers as well as preschoolers.
The Mitten by Jan Brett
Even before the toddler can follow the storyline, the beautifully drawn animals in the story will entice.
This one was gifted by a dear friend when my kids were little and became a favorite at our house.
First 100 Words by Priddy Baby
One of the best benefits of early reading is vocabulary building.
Toddlers are little sponges soaking up words without trying. This book intentionally focuses on that skill.
Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
One of my personal favorites. Loved reading it to my kids and now my grandkids.
Can you get any more visceral than a search for your own mother? Beautiful rendition of one of our heart’s deepest longings.
Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins
This book is all about auditory delight with rhythm and rhyme, although who can resist millions of monkeys?
Hello, Ninja by N. D. Wilson
A brand new favorite that my grand daughter requests over and over.
Somehow, N. D. Wilson was able to write a simple story without a sing-songy rhymes or moralizing.
Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman
Beautiful illustrations, simple story.
And, of course, who can resist whimsical animals?
The Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood
Repetitive story line. Beautiful illustrations.
A mood building book that leaves you feeling happy.
Noah’s Ark by Peter Spier
The pictures tell the story in this modern classic. The detail in the illustrations are incredible.
Great for all ages. Plus food for thought: what was it really like on that ark?
Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever by Richard Scarry
You would think that a book that’s been around for 50 years would have a lot of obsolete words.
Surprisingly, not that much has changed in the past 5 decades. Scarry’s art work is sure to please.
A Child’s First Bible by Kenneth Taylor
Even though there are more popular Bible Story Books out there, this is my top pick.
I prefer the realistic pictures. But the critical element for me is the faithfulness to the biblical text. Some books take liberties with the stories that don’t remain faithful to the Bible.
If you need recommendations of books for younger babies, check out my post One Book a Month for Baby’s First Year.