6 Books You’ll Love to Read to Your Toddler

6 Books You’ll Love to Read to Your Toddler

Have you ever read a book to your child and they prompt you to read it again?  And again?  And again?  If you get lucky, your little one picks a book that is enjoyable to read over and over.  But, what happens when the book is not so fun to read?  Do you hide the book?  Do you make up your own words — if you are at the lucky stage where they don’t quite remember every word from each page?  Do you read it against your will, wanting to poke your eyes out each time?

I try to read to Chulengo as much as I can.  It’s an easy way for me to keep sane while being a stay-at-home-mama.  Some days I don’t always have an adult conversation until my husband gets home, so reading is how I cope with talking to a toddler all day long.  Talking to Chulengo isn’t a two-way street just yet, but when I read to him, he can communicate back to me by pointing, saying “dis,” and flipping back and forth through the pages.

books on a shelf

Here is a list of six books that I love to read to Chulengo over and over.  I purposefully place these books in Chulengo’s reach at the front of the bookcase.  I often recommend them for reading time.  I pack them in the diaper bag for our outings.  I don’t get sick of these books.  When Chulengo asks me to read them again and again and again, a little firework in my heart goes off!  Both Chulengo and I find them fun to read.  Each one also comes in a board book style, which is vital if I want the book to last longer than 10 seconds in Chulengo’s hands.  And of course, each of these books can be found on Amazon.

Giraffes Can’t Dance

Okay if you haven’t read Giraffes Can’t Dance, you HAVE to get your hands on this book today.  If I had to read one book every day for the rest of my life, this is it!  A loving, witty friend gave this book to Chulengo.  You know when someone gives you a gift and each time you use it you think of the person that gave it to you?  Well, I think of my sweet friend whenever we read it. Giraffes Can’t Dance is so well written and has a fantastic rhythm.  It incorporates different types of animals and various types of dance.  The book addresses a very heartfelt lesson that I think is important for kids to learn at a young age.  You will be rooting for Gerald each time you read this book.  

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Maybe I selfishly like Chicka Chicka Boom Boom because it was the first book I ever read aloud to the class when I was a kid.  Now when I read this book, I still picture myself sitting on the piano bench, wearing a light blue dress and white tights, in Mrs. Devries’ Kindergarten class, reading each page out loud to my classmates.  Chulengo loves the alphabet, and this is a fun way to incorporate the letters into our day without singing the ABCs for the umpteenth time.  I love to say the words Chicka Chicka Boom Boom in funny voices to make Chulengo laugh.  Seeing the coconut tree also makes me think of vacation, which makes me think of relaxing, which makes me a happy mama.  

Is Your Mama a Llama?

This book was given to us by my sister because the llama reminded her of Chulengo.  I love when books have creative rhyming, and this book hits the nail on the head.  I really love saying Is Your Mama a Llama? out loud.  Try saying “Is Your Mama a Llama?” five times in a row and tell me you don’t smile at least a little bit. Is Your Mama a Llama? incorporates many animals but differently than most books.  It discusses the type of traits and behaviors various animals possess.  The illustrations are great with lots of detail.  I can point out many different colors, shapes, and animals to Chulengo as we read.  

Barnyard Dance!

Okay, how many books have an exclamation point in the title? Barnyard Dance! is amazing.  I actually sing the words in this book, rather than read the words.  I think my shoulders may even shimmy a little and I stomp my foot to the beat.  Whenever Chulengo hears the phrase “clap your hands,” he follows suit and smacks his hands together, making it very easy to get his attention.  Chulengo also rocks back and forth to the rhythm when I read this book to him, which I find very adorable.  Barnyard Dance! has energy and the lines are catchy.  I honestly don’t know if I started singing the book first and then Chulengo started dancing, or if he started dancing, therefore, I started singing.  We both enjoy this book so much! 

On the Night You Were Born 

This book.  Ahhhhhh!  I actually tear up just reading the title.  When Chulengo wants me to read this book, I very happily oblige.  This book doesn’t catch my attention the same way as the other books on this list.  It isn’t about rhyming or colorful pictures.   On the Night You Were Born tugs at my heartstrings.  I don’t think I have read it once without tearing up.  My husband makes fun of me because I love emotional songs, messages, stories, and movies.  So On the Night You Were Born is right up my alley.   When I read this book, I go back to Chulengo’s first night when my husband and I were at the hospital.  Those three days in the hospital were some of the best days of my life.  Our hospital room was like a little cocoon.  We went into the hospital as a family of two and emerged as a family of three.  We cuddled, cried (both happy and frustrated tears), and spent those days staring at Chulengo’s itty bitty features.  Our family was redefined in those 72 hours.  Ok, I could keep going on because that time was so special.  Anyway… this book is great.  I never thought I could have such an emotional reaction to a toddler’s book.  After reading it, you will never look at ladybugs or polar bears the same way again.  

Listen, Listen

My sister got us this book.  It was one of the first books in Chulengo’s library, so I have happily read it many times.  If you are looking for a book that has a diverse vocabulary, Listen, Listen is for you.  This onomatopoeic book livens the senses while going into depth about the four seasons.  I want Chulengo to learn what the four seasons were like for me growing up, even if he doesn’t get to experience them regularly at this stage of his life.  The pictures on each page are very detailed, creating a search-and-find-type game for Chulengo as I read. Listen, Listen introduces descriptive words that I don’t necessarily use on a regular basis.  When I can expose Chulengo to an even greater vocabulary, I am a happy mama.  

Okay, there you have it.  Six books that I hope will keep you as entertained as I am.  I always say if I can get Chulengo to enjoy reading, then no matter what happens I know he will be okay in life.  He will be able to educate himself, search for resources, expand his vocabulary, and be taken away in his mind by the words on a page.  Are there any books that you love to read to your child right now?  Comment below to suggest books to add to Chulengo’s library.

6 Books You Will Want to Read to Your Toddler

14 thoughts on “6 Books You’ll Love to Read to Your Toddler”

  • These are all such great book suggestions! We have all of these books, and although my son is six now, he still loves reading them.

  • What a great list! I can’t read “On The Night You Were Born” without crying – ha! I also love Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, I love to read it in rhythm to my toddler. I will have to check out these others listed. Thank you!

  • I love this list. I am always looking for new books to read to my son. I can’t get enough of them. I can’t wait to check these out! I’ve heard lots of good things about giraffes can’t dance!

  • `I’ll have to look out for these at the library. My two-year-old is a major book lover. I’m talking two dozen books every day. The only one of these we have tried before is “Giraffes Can’t Dance”. Thanks for the new ideas!

    • you’re welcome!! would love to hear your thoughts on Giraffes Can’t Dance when you get a chance to read it

  • Great book list. I will be trying all of these out with my daughter. I honestly had never heard of these books until reading your post. Thank you for the share .

    • Aw yay! I am glad you found this list. Let me know if there are any other books you recommend… I am always looking to expand our library.

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