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Selecting the right books for your toddlers !

I am often asked that how should I go about selecting books for my toddler? Therefore, I thought of putting some important points to keep in mind while selecting books for this age group. Keeping this post brief by simply focusing on the decisive factors.

At this stage children are able to recognize the names of familiar people, objects, form simple phrases & sentences, follow simple instructions and directions. Thus, reading becomes a crucial tool to help enhance their language and thinking skills. However, toddlers love to move around and not be in one place for long, this fact is of paramount importance and needs to be considered while selecting books. 


Here are some of my suggestions for you to consider while shopping books for your toddler:

This title was mine and Ms. A, all time favourite read.

1. Select books that are relatively short, and tell simple stories.

Since toddlers don't have very long attention span it's recommended to pick books which offers very simple, brief storyline and are easy to comprehend. Too lengthy and complex books won't work at this stage. Child might not pay attention and eventually loose interest in being read to.

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

2. Select books which are creatively illustrated and offers great details. Safe bet would be to go for 'Award Winning Books' or familiar 'Children Authors'.

If you are confused which one is the right book, simply look up for Award Winning Books (like Caldecott Medal, Geisel Award, Batchelder Award etc) in the said age category. Another best option is to search for books by famous or popular children authors (naming a few here Julia Donaldson, Oliver Jeffers, Margret Wise Brown, Eric Carle and the likes). 

Press Here by Herve Tullet

3. Select books about comforting things, routine activities like saying goodbyes, mealtime, potty time, bedtime etc.

At this age it's best to select books which would help your child calm down, feel comfortable or the books which talks about activities, your child engages in on routine basis. Such books are sure to get your child's attention and set the stage for reading in future.

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

4. Select books about familiar activities or interests. Books which impersonate events in your child's life; like first day at school, visit to a dentist / park or zoo etc.

Another category of books which you may consider picking are books encircling topics which interests your child or books which mimics your child's life in general. The books which mimics a child's routine tend to have animal characters and children usually resonate very well with them.

The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School by Deborah Diesen


5. Select books that underline, simple cause and effect relationship. 

At this stage children get very excited with cause and effect toys, same goes for books too. Therefore look for books which highlights reaction for each action. These books work very well and not only help build interest in reading but will help your child develop problem solving skills too. You would also notice, within no time your child would want to read these titles over and over again.

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers



6. Select books with predictable or repeated text, rhyming narrative, and pictures that correspond and compliment the text. 

Reading books with rhyming narrative makes a great reading tool as these book catches children attention very quick and also helps develop their memory skills.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen


7. Select books based on Nursery Rhymes & Songs. 

Books with classic nursery rhymes and songs are also advantageous for this age group. They add fun with familiarity and also offers lots of repetition & reinforcement crucial at this stage.

Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow


8. Select books which promote healthy and appropriate humour for children.

Funny books help children indulge in some fun, appreciate humor and also recognize the fact that reading can also be done for pleasure.

This book just ate my dog! by Richard Byrne


 9. Select books with few or no words; this offers opportunity for children to think, be creative and give wings to their imagination.

Get your hands on some sturdy board books with a few or no words on the page. These books offers children to develop their thinking skills, get creative and allow them to be innovative. All this is possible because they can create and re-create different stories using the unvarying settings.  

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann


10. Select interactive books which present sensory exploration.   

Consider books that have flaps to lift, tabs to pull, variety of textures to touch and feel, reflective surfaces, different sounds to explore, finger or hand puppets and the likes. Interactive books help break the monotony in reading and supports sensory exploration.

The Gruffalo Touch and Feel Book by Julia Donaldson 


11. Select books which are concept based and introduces topics like animals, colours, numbers, shapes and letters. 

You may also go ahead and also include concept based books which introduces children to letters, numbers, shapes, colours, animals, birds or any others topic which interests them.  

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Last but not the least they would need your comforting lap where they can devour book after book, till they grow up to be independent readers.

Before I put a pause to this post, here are some more recommendations which I had compiled into 3 part videos while Ms. A was a toddler herself, in case you would like to browse through 👇

Video Part 1

Video Part 2

Video Part 3

I hope my suggestions will be some help to you and you would find the right book for your child. Wishing you and your child all the very best for a wonderful reading journey ahead.