One of my favorite things to do with our kids is read books. We started them super little to make sure that they had an appreciation of and love for books and stories. Henry took to it so naturally, and Maggie took a little more time but has now developed a love of being read to. There are some books in our house that we’ve gone back to over and over through the years — our best and favorite children’s books.
I feel like the best children’s books have engaging stories, are beautiful to look at for the kids and the parents, and have lots of teachable opportunities. Whether the text is simple or complex, they have other aspects to them that you can talk about or use to teach things. Things like color, shape, animals, behaviors, people, manners, places — these and so much more! So these are our best and favorite children’s books, and each of them are books that we currently read to both our kids (at ages 3 1/2 and 2 1/2). I hope you find some new favorites for your family! xoxo
Our Best and Favorite Children’s Books
Lately Lily Lily is a travelling girl, who is always on the road with her parents. The book focuses on being open to learning about new cultures and new people, and finding the beautiful things all over the world.
Little Blue Truck Henry’s favorite from day one! Little Blue is a good guy, and teaches lessons like being helpful and kind to people in need. Little Blue Truck Leads the Way is another great one, based in the big city instead of the country.
It’s A Small World Furry Friends This one is worn to pieces in our house. It’s a touch and feel book, so it’s great for teaching texture, color, and more. It explores various cultures and it’s in the illustration style of It’s a Small World, which I love.
My Very First Mother Goose Mother Goose rhymes are hugely important for language development! The rhyming, the language, the cadence — it’s all great for early readers. My kids find these fascinating.
Cars and Trucks and Things That Go Henry got this for his first birthday and would make us read it to him for hours on end. Richard Scarry is one of my favorite kids’ authors, because his books have so much teachable information! They’re silly and fun but also packed full of lessons. This one is all about vehicles. Busy, Busy Town and Busy, Busy World help kids learn about the people in their town and in the world, as they follow people through their daily adventures. And What Do People Do All Day helps normalize and teach everyday stuff like making the bed, writing a letter, or visiting the doctor.
The Jolly Postman This was one of Ryan’s when he was a kid but it’s still fantastic. Each page has a piece of mail tucked into an envelope, addressed to a different fairy tale character. The kids love pulling out the mail and examining it.
The Beginner’s Bible If you’re looking for a children’s bible, this is a great start. It’s broken down in story style, so that it’s easily digestible. We read a few stories before bed at night. I find that it’s also explained in terms that are easy for kids to understand and handle, even during some of the more difficult or emotional stories.
Pixar Little Golden Books Did you know that each Pixar movie has its own Golden Book?! We love these in our house. I think it’s particularly cool, because if your kids are too little for movies or you don’t want them to have too much screen time, you can still teach them all of the Pixar stories. We read these over and over.
Star Wars Little Golden Books Same story for the Star Wars books! Henry (and now Maggie) are super into Star Wars, and before I started reading them these books I could never keep track of the stories. But these help all of us understand the story lines, and they break down the scary parts into terms that little kids can handle.
My No No No Day When the kids are going through tantrum stages, this book helps immensely. It’s about a little girl who has tantrums all day long, and how they never get her what she wants. At the end of the book she apologizes and decided to have a great day the next day. Whenever we read this, we make sure that the kids notice that the tantrums aren’t getting her anything, and that the people around her don’t like the tantrums. It seems to work.
I Am So Brave This is part of the Empowerment Series (also I Know a Lot, Now I Am Big, and I Can Do It Myself), and I love these books. They’re really bold and cool to look at, so they’re perfect for tiny babies. The text is basic but it encourages kids to be autonomous and to try new things. They’re also filled with kids of all colors, which I love.
Dear Zoo This one’s a classic! It’s a lift-the-flap, which my kids have always loved, and helps teach dexterity. It’s also awesome for teaching animals and their sounds. This is the first book that Henry was able to “read” by himself (by memory, but he was very proud).
BabyLit Books I’ve talked about these before, but they’re brilliant! Each book is a classic (think Jane Eyre, Moby Dick, Huckleberry Finn), distilled to teach a very basic concept like colors, shapes, numbers, clothing, places, and so on. I love looking at these, and I find that these are the books the kids grab when they want to sit down by themselves and flip through some pages.
Hello Ninja I picked this up one day on a whim and it turned out to be one of our favorite bedtime books ever. It’s very short and simple, but full of really beautiful images. It encourages imagination, and always sends the kids off to sleep calm.