Tips from a Homeschool Mom: Best Books for Babies, Toddlers and Kids

Raising learners with a lifelong love for reading can start as early as the newborn days. Starting with high contrast books with little to no text while your infant's vision is still developing can help both vision and brain development. As your baby gets older, reading books and magazines out loud to them will familiarize them with your voice, develop a sense of comfort, and help to boost their social-emotional, vocabulary, and literacy skills. 

Depending on your family's schedule or preferred routines, you may find you like to read at meals, as a calming mid-day activity, or at bedtime. There is no limit to how often you should read. Even when reading a book within the same room as your child, you are modeling a love for and interest in reading. 

The following are some of our favorite books for babies, toddlers, and young children.  

Books for Babies 3-4 Months Old

By 3-4 months you and your baby can start looking through picture books together. Your baby may have certain books that they like to hear over and over again; the repetition helps your child become familiarized with the story and predict what happens next. 

Options we love for infants:

1. Interactive books
2. Textured or touch and feel books
3. Finger puppet books
4. Books with mirrors
5. Books with bright colors and contrast

Here are some examples of our favorite titles: 

Interactive Books

Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar has sturdy flap pages with open holes on each food illustration, that can be touched while counting.

Eric Carle's "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" has open holes on eacg food item that can be touched while counting.
Follow the Bunny by Roger Priddy, is one in a series of die-cut tactile finger maze-themed books. Little ones can follow the grooved maze trails with their fingertip and answer fun prompts along the way.
"Follow the Bunny", by Roger Priddy is one in a series of tactile finger maze, themed books.
Big Fish, Little Fish by Jonathan Litton is a playful book of opposites. Layered pages with openings for grabbing with fingers and peeking through to the next page lead your little through the story.
"Big Fish, Little Fish", by Jonathan Litton is a playful book of opposites.
A is for Apple is a trace-and-flip book with letter tracks so your child can track with their fingers for letter formation. Flaps lift to reveal another illustration of a first word that begins with the featured letter.
"A is for Apple", is a trace-and-flip book, with letter tracks, your child can track with their fingers for letter formation, and flaps that lift to reveal another illustration of a first word that begins with the featured letter.
1, 2, 3 Count With Me is an interactive numbers book with tracks to trace and flaps to flip.
"1, 2, 3 Count With Me", an interactive numbers 1-20 book, with tracks to trace and flaps to flip.
Littles can track each animal shaped number and move the dots within the grooved tracks for practicing one to one correspondence.
Number Counting Book (confirming title)

Books for Infants 6-12 Months Old

Between about 6-12 months, your baby will start to babble and sound out words.  Hearing stories repeatedly and listening for inflections, helps guide their language development.

Books for Toddlers 12-18 Months Old 

By this age, these boom options are developmentally appropriate:

1. Books that explore words, colors, shapes, and animals
2. Books with a couple of sentences per pages
3. Books that involve rhyming or singing
4. Books that provide prompts and questions about image details 

The following books are great for working on early learning skills such as letters, numbers and colors, while working in some art history, theory and even design:

White Rabbit's Colors by Alan Baker provides a visual introduction to primary colors. 

"White Rabbit's Colors", by Alan BakerWhite Rabbit's Colors"White Rabbit's Colors", by Alan Baker        

Pantone Colors is a great introduction to colors and their variations.

"Pantone Colors"

ABCs of Art and 123s of Art, both by Sabrina Hahn, are early literacy and numeracy books that teach numbers and letters while tying them into art history. "ABCs of Art" and "123s of Art", by Sabrina Hahn are early literacy and numeracy books that teach numbers and letters with an introduction to art history.

Math-terpieces, The Art of Problem-Solving by Greg Tang takes a fun approach to numeracy, by counting related visuals from famous paintings and including a short rhyme about each painting or artist.

 "Math-terpieces, The Art of Problem-Solving", by Greg Tang

Books for Toddlers 18 Months and Up

By this time, your toddler will find comfort in the routine of reading, whether with you or looking through books on their own. Leave out developmentally appropriate books in an accessible, familiar area for your child to create an invitation for them to explore. 

At this stage, we enjoyed books based on these topics:

1. Emotions
2. Food and nutrition
3. Animals and insects

Books for Preschool-Aged Children

Reading the same books of interest to your young child repeatedly, helps them to further develop their language development and gain confidence in being able to predict what happens next. A book series is a great way to change up the same story, but keep in theme with your child's interests. Calming books that have rhyming and nighttime or bedtime visuals and language help lead up to bedtime.

My children enjoyed books based on the following topics, specifically:

1. Books that capped the day and that create a segue to bedtime
2. Books with positive affirmations that helped to start or end our day/
3. Books that highlight child and adult bonding
4. Books with words of love, support, or encouragement

Other favorites:

Bedtime themed books

 Books that instill a sense of confidence, love, support and encoragement.

Food themed books

Nature themed books 

 Nature themed books



Winter-themed books

Spring-themed books

Summer-themed books

Fall-themed books

Emotions books

Confidence/Celebrating Uniqueness Books

Kindness/Friendship Books

Chapter Books

Human Body

Solar System Books

Weather Books

Rhyming and or Poetry Books

Clocks or Telling Time Themed Books

Literacy and Numeracy Books

Reference Books


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