Finding good books to read aloud with your toddlers can be a challenge - some books are too simple as they transition from baby to toddler and others too much before they approach preschoolers. But you want books that will engage, and support their growing love of books and reading. Over the years here at Rainy Day Mum we have shared our favourite books with you through the activities, crafts and recipes we have created for The Virtual Book Club for Kids - a toddler and preschool weekly book club for kids, our regular book lists on themes, seasons and celebrations throughout the year. These books have been read aloud to my kids and the classes that I have taught in, to make it easy for you to find specific book recommendations we've put them all together in one handy place. So here we go our Recommended Children's Books ideal for Toddlers and Preschoolers.
Recommending Picture and Story Books for Toddlers and Preschoolers
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Choosing just 3 that will transition between baby and preschool was difficult but before moving on to the specific theme I thought I would share these 3 classics that I would recommend every family and setting having.
Our most read book when the children were toddlers was The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. I love this book and was so pleased that both of my children loved it equally as much. It's fantastic for learning about colours, food, days of the week and the life cycle of the butterfly. Plus, the images are bright and vibrant and with very young children they capture their interest and give time to match words to the images on the page.
For our animal, mad family Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell was a firm favourite requested at bedtime and from my toddler when I was nursing my baby often thrust on her head with a "PLEASE READ". Although with less story than the previous recommendation this book is fun to read together, and with young children that is important as one of the best ways to encourage reading is by reading for fun and pleasure.
I don't know whether you can see the theme here for our 3 best read aloud books for toddlers but they all feature animals. Kids in my experience love animals - from the soft toy teddy bears to visits to the zoo, bug catching in the garden and watching nature documentaries. The final book is a classic, one that I loved as a child, my mum before me and my children have adored hearing being read aloud. Although you can purchase just The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter - I personally love all of the different animals that she brings to life from Jemima the Puddleduck to Jeremy the Frog. In Beatrix Potter, The Complete Tales all of the classic stories are contained.
Check out our list of our favourite books to read together between 12 months and 24 months which include tips and advice to read aloud even if your toddler is all over the place.
Seasonal Books to Read Together
As the seasons change you can help your child to understand the seasons and what they bring by reading a selection of different books about the coming season as well as during the season. Connecting what they see with fiction and non-fiction helps them to develop an understanding of the world around them. Check out our seasonal book lists for toddlers and preschoolers for recommendations for each specific season.
Celebrations and Festivals
Much in the same way that you can explore the seasons through the books that you read you can also use books to explore different celebrations and festivals throughout the year. From ones that maybe familiar to your child like Christmas or Halloween to others that are new and give you a chance to explore different cultures around the world.
Fun Themes to Explore with Toddlers
As well as events throughout the year I love adding themed books to our book basket throughout the year. Sometimes we would have a book about the season and then a selection of books on a specific theme. I never put more that 7 books in the basket for the week - that would be a book a day but most of the time we would read 2 - 3 books at a time. These themed book lists are ideal to dig into to find the perfect book for you and your children to read together.
- Frogs and check out our books about the frog life cycle for kids too with fiction and non-fiction that kids will love.
- Gardens and plants
- Best Eric Carle Books for Toddlers
- Going to Bed
- Out of this World Space Books
- Potty Time (books to read together as you go through Potty Training)
- Snow Books
Connecting Books and Learning
If you would like to extend your read aloud time to support your toddler to learn, create, play and cook then come and join in with our Weekly Virtual Book Club for Kids where each week we share a theme with a featured book (that we let you know in advance) and create a fun learning activity, art or craft, suggestions for messy or sensory play and sometimes even a really easy and fun recipe that you can cook together and share check out our activities we have shared over the years based on The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
It's really easy to join in and keep up to date. Sign up for our Toddler and Preschool newsletter and each week you will have the latest activity straight to your inbox - other suggested activities based on the theme plus access to the book and theme lists as soon as they are produced.
Check in with our past book based activities to see what we have been doing.
More Book Recommendations for Different Ages
My children have now grown up and are at school but still love reading as we produce more book recommendations aimed at them keep checking here on Rainy Day Mum but also check out these fantastic book recommendations for all ages over on 3 Boys and a Dog.