Toddlers LOVE books. They love them so much they could eat them up. Literally.
This is the age when kids start to be ready to move from board books to paper-paged books, but their books should still be SHORT. Kids love to find things hidden in pictures at this age. Richard Scarry put a little gold bug on nearly every page of his Things That Go books, and I have watched 2 and 3 year-olds self-entertain for many lovely minutes searching for Goldbug. Luckily many other illustrators have adopted this trick as well.
Interactive books work beautifully too. You can make any book interactive through creative reading (let’s count the ducklings! What color is the truck?), but some are done for you, like the Bear Snores On books by Karma Wilson, which have a rhyming chorus kids love to repeat or the Pigeon books by Mo Willems, which encourage kids to SAY NO to a naughty, boundary challenging pigeon.
Don’t be discouraged by short attention spans. This is natural at this age. Expect kids to drag books around with a blanket and a half-eaten apple. The Waldorf school theories of development say that until kid can reach with one arm over the top of their head and touch their opposite ear they are not developmentally ready to sit still for any length of time. Don’t fight it! Let them read on the run.
Toddler Book Ideas:
- Pete the Cat books by Eric Litwin and James Dean
- Lovabye Dragon by Barbara Joose
- Press Here by Herve Tulle
- Blue Chicken by Deborah Freedman
- Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (and other Pigeon titles) by Mo Willems
- I Stink, I’m Dirty, I’m Fast, and others by Kate and Jim McMullen
- Little Owl Lost by Chris Haughton