Best New Toddler Books and Raising a Reader

Friday , 26, April 2013 2 Comments

I grew up with a tremendous love for books. I was the kid who took a book everywhere I went, read with a flashlight under the covers long past my bedtime, and at multiple points throughout my childhood was banned from pleasure reading until exams were past or when I was grounded. Other kids might have lost television or computer time, but not I. And still to this day, even as an exhausted mama to a 14 month old, I try to read a few chapters at night and keep track of the books I’ve read using Goodreads. I have known since I first found out I was pregnant that I wanted to share my love of reading with my child and started stocking up and creating his library before he was born. I know the number one way to raise a reader is to read to them, but I must confess, my idyllic visions of my child and I cuddling in a chair to read have not yet come to pass. Now that he is so mobile, most reading sessions look like this:


Typical Reading Session with the Goober

I have found though that more and more often the Goober is gravitating to the books in his playroom over his other toys, even if it is only to devour them in a different way than intended. It is encouraging none the least, so hopefully someday my son will love books as much as I and will drool over them in a more metaphoric way. For now both my husband and I dodge flailing arms that attempt to tear the library book limb from limb and often simply recite the book from memory since the child persists in holding the book upside down and turns back four pages for every page turned.

Reading time being so difficult at times means choosing the right books to read is very important. The book has to be both slighting intriguing to the Goober and also something that my husband and I enjoy reading or reciting over and over again. There are already a ton of great lists on the internet of classic kids’ books you should have in your child’s library, but sometimes it can be hard to find new books that are sure to become classics. One of the first things we did when we moved was to get a library card and that has been a great resource to us for discovering new books and authors that we enjoy. I must confess despite the enormous stacks of kids’ books I bring home to read to the Goob, only a few end up in the “Oh, I really liked that one. We should add it to his collection” category. So here’s my list of Top 22 New Toddler Books to Add to Your Child’s Library (all books in this list were written after 2001):

1)    Skippyjon Jones, by Judy Schachner

2)    Bear Snores On, by Karma Wilson

3)    Ladybug Girl, by Jacky Davis and David Soman

4)    That’s Not My Pirate, by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells

5)    Llama Llama Red Pajama, by Anna Dewdney

6)    Fun Dog, Sun Dog, by Deborah Heiligman and Tim Bowers

7)    Pinkalicious, by Elizabeth Kann and Victoria Kann

8)    If I Built A Car, by Chris Van Dusen

9)    Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, by Mo Willems

10) This is Not My Hat, by Jon Klassen

11) Not a Box, by Antoinette Portis

12) Press Here, by Herve Tullet

13) Olivia and the Fairy Princesses, by Ian Falconer

14) The Circus Ship, by Chris Van Dusen

15) Tickle Monster, by Josie Bissett

16) Your Personal Penguin, by Sandra Boynton

17) Otis, by Loren Long

18) Good Night, Good Night, Construction Site, by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld

19) Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon, by Patty Lovell

20) The Quiet Book, by Deborah Underwood and Renata Liwska

21) Knuffle Bunny, by Mo Willems

22) The Pout Pout Fish, by Deborah Diesen


So if you are looking to build your child’s library or simply buy a present for a friend, one of these books (or all of them) would be a great choice! And if you haven’t already, check out Goodreads and WeGiveBooks. WeGivebooks is especially awesome since it allows you to read entire children’s books online and for every book read online, they donate a book to a campaigns like Read for My School, which earns elementary schools free books. Many of the books on my top 22 list are available to read through WeGiveBooks, so you should definitely check it out. You can also check out similar PSMB posts here and here.


P.S. I was not asked to endorse any of the books or websites mentioned in this post. I just really really like these resources and the books I recommended.


What are your favorite children’s books? Are they new releases or are they classics, like Dr. Suess? Do you have any tips for raising a reader? Let me know in the comments!

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  • Jamie says:

    I grew up loving books as you did. Both my children were read to constantly and had tons of books they chose themselves, as well as books I picked. My son and I also enjoyed books on cd together while in the car well up into middle school. We listened to some great literature! My daughter said listening to books in the car made her carsick. Unfortunately, neither of my children turned into readers who love to read. The both have great vocabularies, and are good students, though. All their reading is either for school or on websites, though, not for please….I did my best to instill a love for reading in them….Maybe one day….

  • […] about my desire to instill a love of books and reading in my children (you can check out that post here) and when I saw an infographic on Pinterest from the Heidi Songs blog about how reading just 30 […]

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