Written by: Tara Gray, M.A., CCC-SLP
Books are an excellent way to engage with your child, work on emerging or growing language skills, and have fun together! The toddler years are the perfect time to instill a love of books and reading in your child. In my personal opinion, board books are great for toddlers due to their durability in little hands and, oftentimes, mouths! As you may notice in the photos of our personal books below, they have been well-loved, but are still standing strong. The following is a list of some of Small Talk’s favorite books for toddlers, compiled by your friendly neighborhood speech-language pathologists: Chloe Brown, Tara Gray, and Moranda Yaldo. And, yes, all of them are available in board book format!
1. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Written by Bill Martin Jr, Illustrated by Eric Carle
This book is great for working on understanding the exchange of questions and answers, identifying and labeling colors, identifying and naming animals. It also has colorful illustrations great for engaging young eyes.
2. Moo, Baa, La La La!
By Sandra Boynton
With a focus on animal sounds, this interactive book helps kids establish knowledge in this and work on imitating these sounds. It also has a simple and silly story which toddlers tend to find funny and fun!
3. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
By Eric Carle
This hungry insect can help your child work on identifying and naming food items (common objects) and counting! Its colorful, engaging illustrations are great for keeping children focused from the beginning of the story to the end.
4. Hi-Five Animals!
By Ross Burach
This is the perfect book for working on following simple directions (hi-five, stomp feet, hold your nose) and imitating parents or caregivers doing these actions with the book. It’s an interactive book, having kids actually hi-five the pages, which keeps kids engaged. It’s also great for working on animal identification and labeling and some counting tasks.
5. The Wonky Donkey
Written by Craig Smith, Illustrated by Katz Cowley
The repetitive structure of this tale allows for (and encourages) child participation in storytelling. It’s super silly with goofy illustrations to engage kids and allow them to enjoy a fun story.
6. Chicka Chicka ABC
Written by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault, Illustrated by Lois Elhert
This simplified version of the original “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” is just the right length for a toddler’s attention span. It’s great for establishing some alphabet knowledge and awareness. It has colorful illustrations which are great for engagement. The rhyming story structure also helps with establishing phonemic awareness skills.
7. Peek-a Who?
By Nina Laden
This turn-and-reveal style peek-a-boo book is great for working on animal and object identification/labeling skills, answering or understanding the structure of “who” questions. Again, the rhyming structure helps with establishing early phonemic awareness skills.
8. Where Is The Very Hungry Caterpillar?
By Eric Carle
A new adventure with a familiar character. This lift-the-flap book is perfect for working on “where” question awareness and practicing answering them, which also makes it a great book for working on prepositions (e.g., in, under, on, over, etc.). There are also opportunities to target food and animal identification and labeling as well as some action identification and labeling.
9. Who Said Woof?
By Yi-Hsuan Wu
Both a lift-the-flap and a touch and feel book, this book is super engaging for active little hands! It’s great for targeting “who” questions and modeling the appropriate answers as well as matching animals to their appropriate sounds.
10. Little Blue Truck
Written by Alice Schertle, Illustrated by Jill McElmurry
Although this book does have animal sounds throughout like many of our recommendations, what makes this one special is that it also features some environmental sounds (e.g., “beep,” “honk,” etc.). The blue truck and dump truck moving throughout the tale are engaging for our vehicle-obsessed kids!