Best Books for Small Children

Finding the best books for small children has become a renewed passion in my life as I have a new granddaughter! Therefore, the selection of these books for babies, toddlers on up to two-year olds have been inspired by watching her discover a world of books!

The best books for young children maximize the use of sound and illustrations to increase brain activity and development. These can impact a child now and for years to come.  It's never too early to begin reading to a child.

Reading books with little ones sets a tone for a lifetime of reading, learning and most important - a sense of being wanted and loved.

The closeness of an adult and hearing your voice cannot be replaced by any technological wonder.  It has been shown babies and toddlers respond to and listen longer to a present/in-person  human voice over that of a machine or recording. The vocabulary, sentence structure, sounds and illustrations all play a vital part in their development.

Scientific studies have shown the impact of reading to a child as young as six months of age and their later development in areas of language, communication, and even in brain development and ability to process information at greater speeds.

Five things to consider when looking for the best books for small children:

  1. Book Binding Type
  2. Rhyme & Rhythm
  3. Types of Illustrations
  4. Soothing Books for Bedtime
  5. Enhanced Learning

Book Forms for Little Hands

The binding of a book is not necessarily the most important aspect at this point.  I would suggest having all types of binding while also encouraging a child early to care for a book.

Board books are more durable and smaller for little hands.  They are a bit easier to hold when reading to a baby or toddler sitting in your lap and also great starter books for children to hold themselves.  Be aware that sometimes the story may have been shortened from the full title to fit in a shorter, smaller format.

I would choose hardback books for titles I want to keep for years to come or if reading to a group of children.  Paperbacks are a less expensive option if available and great for children to look at on their own as they grow towards preschool.

Rhythm & Rhyme
Best Books for Small Children

Children's books are rich in sounds and vocabulary which are not naturally used in every day conversation.  

Psychology Today reported - 

"In 1995, a landmark study by researchers Betty Hart and Todd Risley found that, in the first three years of life, some children heard 30 million more words than others, an advantage that translated by third grade into bigger vocabularies, better reading skills, and higher test scores."

Not only that, but science research has also documented the rhythm and rhyme of children's books actually help lay neural pathway foundations needed for learning to read.  Who knew Dr. Seuss was so far ahead of his time?!

Our Favorite Rhyming & Rhythm Books

Eye Catching Illustrations
The Best Books for Small Children

Photo @ Pexels

The illustrations of books for children are just as important as the words!  A baby's ability to focus develops rather rapidly in the first few months.  By month four, babies are beginning to see and distinguish colors.  So while you may want to invest in a black & white illustrated book or two, know your child will not necessarily need these for long.

The best books for small children give them a whole new world beyond their surroundings.  Give them a variety of illustrations from colorful to those using photography as an avenue for illustrations that will challenge their capacity to observe a variety of art and keep them from becoming bored.

Think of providing the best picture books for your child as taking them to an art museum!  

Our Favorite Picture Books

Best Bedtime Books
The Best Books for Small Children

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels

What child doesn't love a story at bedtime?  If for no other reason but to delay sleep, most children love being read a book before bed.  Reading before bed or nap time as part of routine is one way to help a child relax before sleep. 

Reading involves slowing down and being still.  The tone of your voice as you read soothes and therefore it is important to choose calming stories for these times with young children.

Our Favorite Bedtime Books

Learning Milestones
Best Books for Small Children

Photo @ Pexels

Toddlers are growing by leaps and bounds in every way!  Reading to children at this age prepares them in so many ways for preschool and beyond.  Books can help a child pay attention, stay focused, and learn to patiently listen. 

The repetition of reading favorite books over and over can build a child's confidence as they memorize and "read" parts of the books themselves.  Connecting sounds with letters and beginning to recognize sight words lay a foundation for learning to read.

Even at this early age, the best books for small children can help them learn concepts such as kindness is good, behavior and emotions matter, and they are loved through a story.

It is amazing how much knowledge a child is able to learn through a story.  Some books are designed to teach such things as colors, shapes, counting, etc. in a fun way for a child to practice and remember.

Our Choice of Learning Books for Toddlers

Books About Colors

First Words Books

Books help toddlers increase their vocabulary.  Even before a child can pronounce words, they are able to identify objects.  First Words books are some of the best books for small children in that they offer photos or illustrations of items that may not be just around the house.  I love how this First 101 Words by Highlights uses real photos!