Favorite Children's Books
“You may have tangible wealth untold; caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be. I had a mother who read to me.” ― Strickland Gillian
As I now read some of the books from my childhood to my children, I can actually hear my mother’s voice in my head, which in turn ignites those same feelings I had reading the book with her when I was a little girl. I can vividly hear her silly voices and knock on my bedroom wall as she rehearsed The Three Little Pigs, and her funny faces and loud slurps as she tells the story of Goldilocks and The Three Bears.
Books not only foster language development, vocabulary, letter recognition, and social skills, but they also help foster emotional and cognitive development. As we read with our children we are creating emotional bonds with them. It allows us to be in a safe place to discuss concepts, questions, and feelings, while creating beautiful memories that last a lifetime. I hope you can enjoy some of our favorite books with your children and create your own memories.
The books are categorized Alphabetically by Author’s last name within each section. (If you’re looking for additional tips and tricks to get your child more interested in books, check out this blogpost).
Colors By Alphaprints Not only are there different colors and textures on every page, but there are also a little trail of ants that we love to count on each page as well!
Colors With Dash By Whitney Ballam We love talking about different colors and “finding dash” hidden on each page! The girls love counting along with this book as well as seeing the different colors! (Look out for her BLACK FRIDAY SALE)
Little Hide and Seek Colors By DK Publishing This is our all time favorite first “hide and seek” book. It’s simple enough for toddlers to begin finding the items hidden on the page, and we love discussing the different colors on each page!
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? By Henry Holt This one is definitely a classic that we will go back to again and again. The repetitive words in this book allows your young toddler or preschooler because to learn the words, and be able to retell the story! My 2 year old loved reading this book all on her own using memorization and sneaking a peek at the next page.
Little Blue and Little Yellow By Leo Leonni This book is such a creative way to display colors mixing and making new colors! It’s such a fun one to pull out and then create an activity associated with the book.
Mouse Paint By Ellen Stoll Walsh Mouse Paint is also one of our favorite books to witness colors mixing and the silly mice dancing in the paint.
Numbers With Dash By Whitney Ballam We are obsessed with our Dash Books! The girls love finding dash on each page. This book not only allows you to count on every page, but it also helps develop number recognition. (Look out for her BLACK FRIDAY SALE)
Ten Tiny Dinosaurs By Susie Brooks My 2 year old is currently carrying this little board book around with her wherever she goes! She loves counting the different dinosaurs and saying “good-bye!” to the dinosaur as we turn the page. This book helps your young one not only count on each page, but also start to grasp counting backwards as one tiny dinosaur leaves the flock on every page.
Other Amazing Books
Hippoposites By Harry N. Abrams This cute little Hippo book is all about opposites! We love the thickness and texture of this book and it’s a great way to introduce the concept of opposites to your child.
Please, Mr. Panda By Steve Antony Mr. Panda may be a little grouchy, but he is trying to teach the important lesson of asking nicely and saying “Please”. The girls love this book and always want to read it again and again! It’s simple enough that they can begin to memorize it and feel like they can read the book all on their own!
Toes, Ears, & Nose! a lift-the-flap book By Marion Dane Bauer Honestly, I feel like I can contribute my children’s first understanding and awareness of their different body parts to this lift the flap book! We touch our toes, ears, nose, eyes etc. as we read along when they’re infants so they can start to associate the words to their body.
From Head to Toe By Eric Carle Oh my goodness, if you’re looking for a ridiculously adorable and funny book this one is it! This movement book is a fun way to act out the different animals while developing those large motor skills!
The Very Busy Spider By Eric Carle We love Eric Carle over here and the very busy spider is so cute! The girls love tracing the little spider web with their fingers as they go from page to page.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar By Eric Carle This book has definitely become a classic. The girl love pretending to eat right along with the caterpillar! We work on counting, and days of the week while discovering the life cycle of caterpillars with this book!
Lift-The-Flap Questions and Answers about Dinosaurs By Katie Daynes If you ask my 3 year old pretty much anything about dinosaurs she’ll probably surprise you with just how smart she is, all thanks to this book. This book is where she first developed her love for dinosaurs and it’s extremely educational and fun for the entire family!
Llama Llama Nighty-night By Anna Dewdney This book is perfect for helping with that bedtime routine. Take it along with you as you go from bath, brushing teeth, reading books, and getting ready for bed with your little one! They can do it just like Llama!
Who Am I? Farm Animals By DK Publishing We love these little “hidden gems” from DK Publishing. I feel like these books aren’t ones a lot of people know about, but we are seeking to collect them all! The girls get to use prediction from the clues given to guess what animal is going to come on the next page, They then get to pretend to be those animals with some simple movements.
Who Am I? Pets By DK Publishing (See above)
Who Am I? Wild Animals By DK Publishing (See above)
Big Girl Panties By Fran Manushkin The girls love reading this book about Big Girl Panties, while they are potty training. They feel like they are big just like their mom, grandma, aunties etc. because they are now wearing big girl panties too! Click here for the Boy version: Big Boy Underpants By Fran Manushkin
Lift-the-Flap Alphabet By Parragon Our girls love this alphabet book! Admittedly my oldest daughter ripped the flaps off when she was around 18 months old, but I simply cut off the rest of the flaps and we now pull them out all the time as Letter cards! We still read this book all the time and talk about the different letters and sounds that they make. At the end of the book we always sing the ABCs and the girls love it!
Cinderella (Fairytale Boards) By Parragon Books This cute little board book has my 3 year old swooning! She loves the fairytale books, and this one is absolutely adorable! It is also the book she happens to be reading in the picture above!
This Is Not A Book By Phaidon Press This little book is so creative and the girls love discovering and exploring on every page!
The Eyes Game By Phaidon Press Here is a little interactive book that your child will definitely love. My little ones think it’s hilarious to see us suddenly become different characters with this little book!
Animal Hide-and-Seek By Jenny Tyler We love this little touch and feel board book! The girls love finding where the animals hiding. We feel the different textures, and talk about the different sounds animals make as we read.
Hooray for Hat By Brian Won This book of spreading positivity and happiness is so sweet and simple. It was the first book that my second daughter wanted me to read again and again.
The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear By Don and Audrey Wood The Little Mouse, and The Red Ripe Strawberry will always hold a special place in my heart. My mother used to always read it to me when I was younger and I was in love with the suspense and details of the pictures.
Dog’s Colorful Day By Emma Dodd We actually first heard this book at story time in our local library not that long ago, and as soon as we heard it my girls and I were all obsessed. I immediately ordered it and we have been loving the different color of Dog’s spots and counting along as we read! (P.S. I have a fun activity planned with this one).
Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin This is probably the first children’s book that I purchased just for me before I even had children of my own. I first read this to a bunch of children I was teaching as a preschool teacher. Soon after I read the book for the first time, one of the little girls was flipping through the pages and “reading” it to her peers. They were all laughing and shouting the colors right along with her! Simple and repetitive books are just what children need at this age to get them excited and passionate about reading!
Lemons Are Not Red By Laura Vaccaro Seeger Oh man I love this book. It’s so fun to see the creativity in the pictures and discuss with your child what color “Lemons” (and other things) really are supposed to be!
Mix It Up! By Herve Tullet An interactive book about colors? ummm, yes please! These types of books are quirky and totally fun! You’ll even catch mom and dad enjoying the interactive activity along with these books!
Bear Sees Colors By Karma Wilson When my oldest was 2 we checked this book out from the library. After checking it out 4 more times, we finally bought it and it was worth every little penny! She was obsessed with finding the different things that are a certain color in this book, and now that she is almost four she still loves it, and so does my 2 year old! It will always be one of the all time favorites in the Matangi household.
123 versus ABC By Mike Boldt Although this book isn’t your typical storyline, it is so fun to discuss the different letters, and numbers within this book as you see the alphabet letters argue with the numbers about whether or not it truly is a book about letters OR numbers, when in fact, it’s about both! My 2 year old loves counting anything and everything right now, and this one goes all the way up to 20! So my 3 year old and 2 year old are always counting right along with them.
Pete The Cat and the Missing Cupcakes By James Dean We love Pete the Cat, and this little story about the missing cupcakes help you with your subtraction and counting as you try to solve the mystery of the missing cupcakes.
Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons By Eric Litwin Here is another one of those books I purchased before I had kids. The girls love singing the song with me and using subtraction to figure out how many buttons Pete has left! (pssss I wont give it away, but they think the end is hilarious!)
Other Amazing Books
Parts By Tedd Arnold This comical book is sure to make you smile and delight in the creative way children’s brains work while discussing different body parts.
Wild About Us By Karen Beaumont This book should seriously be more popular than it is! It emphasizes the importance of being uniquely YOU and is seriously so cute.
Little Big By Jonathan Bentley The illustrations in this book got to me. It’s so cute watching a little boy wish he was just a little bit bigger, only to discover that being little has it’s perks too!
We Are The Dinosaurs By Laurie Berkner You have to read this book while stomping and singing along to Laurie Berkner’s song. It will instantly become a favorite!
I’m a Dirty Dinosaur By Janeen Brian Can you tell we love dinosaurs? This book is so cute and my girls loved looking at the creative and colorful pictures.
The Lion Inside By Rachel Bright I’m obsessed with this book, probably and most definitely more than my children, although they enjoy it too. It’s such a cute book about how we all have feelings regardless of our size.
Fanny’s Dream By Caralyn Buehner If the pictures don’t instantly grab you on this one than I don’t know what will. The illustrations are gorgeous and my girls love the hidden pictures on each page. The story is about this simple farmer’s daughter who dreams of marrying a handsome prince, only to discover that her simple life is pretty darn magical as well.
The Little Girl Who Lost Her Name By David Cadji-Newby My girls love this book! It’s totally customizable, the pictures are beautiful, and the story is incredible! I have seen a lot of customizable books, but the story seems to fall flat. This one will definitely not disappoint! Your child will love that this book is actually about them and how they are searching for the letter of their name! It will help develop letter recognition and name recognition.
Princess Peepers Picks a Pet By Pam Calvert This quirky book is so cute. The cute little princess may seem a bit different than her fellow princess classmates, but she is special and so is her unique pet.
The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse By Eric Carle I love this book! It reminds my of my little 3 year old and how creative she is. This book is definitely going to inspire you to be creative and think outside of the box!
Doodleday By Ross Collins This fun book is about a little boy whose drawings come to life! Hang on tight though because it starts to get a little messy!
The Day the Crayons Quit By Drew Daywalt This book is so funny to read the different crayon’s captions and see their various personalities. You and your preschooler or elementary aged child are sure to love reading about these funny crayons.
The Empty Pot By Demi I love this book! Okay, I love all of these books haha. But this one is another one of those hidden gems, that I think people skip over too much! This book teaches a beautiful lesson about integrity and honesty and the concept is sure to stick with your child as they are faced with decisions about whether they should choose to be honest or not.
The Princess and The Pig By Jonathan Emmett The princess and the pig is completely adorable and hilarious. It’s fun to see how happy a simple commoner is who was actually supposed to be a princess.
Prince Ribbit By Jonathan Emmett My girls love reading about Prince Ribbit and the silly princess who keeps kissing way too many frogs!
Olivia and the Fairy Princesses By Ian Falconer Okay, basically you can’t go wrong with any Olivia book. She is hilarious, sarcastic and totally relatable.
Stick and Stone By Beth Ferry This book is so simple and the cutest little book about how a friendship evolved between a stick and a stone.
Something From Nothing By Phoebe Gilman This is another one of those books I had to share from my childhood. I could not stop staring at the pages in this book! As the Little boy’s precious clothing continues to dwindle, he and his grandpa are constantly creating new things. Keep a close eye on the tiny mice below the floor boards though, they are also making their own creations.
Norman The Slug With The Silly Shell By Sue Hendra This silly slug wants a shell so bad, he even uses a donut! This book is so cute and my girls think that Norman is so silly! It’s creative and funny.
Flora and The Flamingo By Molly Idle Although this book doesn’t have words, the pictures tell the story and capture your complete attention.
Flora and The Peacocks By Molly Idle That Flora is so silly she not only mingles with a Flamingo, but with a pair of peacocks as well! As the story goes through different pictures you can discuss emotions and what your child might think Flora is feeling.
My Lucky Day By Keiko Kasza Oh man, this little pig is definitely clever and witty. You just have to read this one! It’s hilarious and genius.
This Is Not My Hat By Jon Klassen Keep a close watch on the illustrations! Do you think the little fish is going to get away with stealing? The pictures are so engaging and it’s a great book to use prediction!
The Story of Ferdinand By Munro Leaf I love this little story of Ferdinand! Just a little book to remind you that it’s really okay to be different!
You Are Special By Max Lucado If you need a book to remind you just how special you are this one is it. I love the symbolism in this book. It’s a good reminder and visual representation of individual worth. It shares something you may need to hear right now; our own creator doesn’t make mistakes, and he created YOU!
Edward Gets Messy By Rita Meade If you have a child that is a little unsure about getting messy, this book is for you! It shares the story of a little pig named Edward who really doesn’t like to get messy, but when he does a whole new world open ups to him!
The Book With No Pictures By B.J. Novak My girls LOVE this book. They are always giggling and laughing so hard at the ridiculous things mom and dad have to say while reading this book! (disclaimer it says the word “butt”, so if you find that too inappropriate you may want to skip this one)
If You Give A Mouse A Cookie By Laura Numeroff This book is another all time favorite by using “If” “Then” statements in a funny and adorable manner. I think this book depicts “mom life” haha. Our brains can definitely get as chaotic as mouse’s.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt By Helen Oxenbury This is a fun interactive book to read and do little movements along with it! It helps with sequence of events, order and memorization. The children will start to memorize it and be able to do it all on their own!
Tyrannosaurus Rex vs. Edna The Very First Chicken By Douglas Rees WE ARE OBSESSED! The voice in this book is on point! But seriously, it’s so funny and the T-Rex sounds ridiculous! That little Chicken is a spunky one.
Don’t Blink by Amy Krouse Rosenthal Interactive books are so fun! I was getting a kick out of my 3 year old as we read this together for the first time just the other week. It basically forces you to have a staring contest with your child, and do other hilarious things. If your child struggles with going to bed, this is a fun one to pull out.
Duck! Rabbit! By Amy Krouse Rosenthal This creative book emphasizes the difference in perspective and how both people can be “right” even though they are saying two different things! It’s so creative and is sure to be a favorite.
Beautiful Oops By Barney Saltzberg I love this book. When I was little I used to always make little mistakes on my drawings or assignments and think my life was totally ruined. My mom, however had a unique way of turning my mistake into something beautiful, and this book does just that!
Andrew Drew and Drew By Barney Saltzberg This is also a creative book to watch the illustrations change within an instant! It’s one that will definitely have you flipping back and forth.
First The Egg By Larua Vaccaro Seeger This book is creative and so fun! What do you think came first? The Chicken or the Egg?
Green By Laura Vaccaro Seeger Illustrations, illustrations, illustrations! That is all.
A Bad Case of Stripes By David Shannon This book is a little wordy, so it’s more for your older children. Camilla is a girl who is always worrying about what other people think of her, and guess what she starts becoming what everyone else tells her to be! This is perfect book to display how it’s important to be ourselves and not try to be what we think everyone else wants us to be.
The Giving Tree By Shel Silverstein Classic, adorable, and we all need this beautiful book in our lives.
Dinnertime for Chickies By Janee Trasler Need a little help with dinnertime in a cute way? This book totally has your back.
Press Here By Herve Tullet Another interactive book? Why yes, yes it is! It’s so fun to watch the magic from page to page as you press on the dots.
Elephant & Piggie: The Complete Collection By Mo Willems THIS IS ON MY WISHLIST! Oh man, we have checked out ALL of the Elephant & Piggie books from the library time and time again. If you aren’t familiar with Mo Willems, do yourself a favor and basically add all of his books to your list! The relationship between elephant and piggie is so funny and adorable that you won’t be able to get enough of them! These books would also make a great start for your child that’s beginning to read.
Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs As Retold by Mo Willems Umm, have you ever read a more hilarious, clever, and sarcastic children’s book? I submit that you have not! Just get it okay. Trust me.
I’m a Frog! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) By Mo Willems Here is ONE of the elephant and piggie books from Mo Willems, if your budget doesn’t allow for that amazing complete collection. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of them!
That Is Not a Good Idea By Mo Willems There’s a little twist at the end of this one! It’s totally great, and you’re going to love it! My girls love shouting, “That is NOT a good idea!”
Knuffle Bunny By Mo Willems Okay, this one is definitely more for parents. I say that because it teaches an important lesson for parents. Terrible-twos got you down? Most of the time it’s a language barrier thing, not a random tantrum kind of thing. Just read this book and you will know what I’m talking about.
Where Are You? By Sarah Williamson This book is so cute as you watch these two worms basically playing hide and seek. They get a little tricky to find though so keep a close watch!
In My Room By Witek This book is so creative and beautiful you’ll want to add it to your collection right now! Your children will love the pictures and so will you!
Heckedy Peg By Audrey Wood Okay, this one may be a tad bit creepy haha, but it teaches sequence of events, order, memorization and days of the week. My (just barely at the time) 3 year old memorized the entire book! I’m not joking! If you want proof I’ll show you a video.
How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? By Jane Yolen We love all of these dinosaur books by Jane Yolen as she goes through inappropriate behaviors and counters them with appropriate ones. These books teach lessons while using dinosaurs, what’s not to love?!
Well there you have it. Believe it or not, this is a condensed version haha. We go to the library every week so we are constantly reading. Some of my all time favorite memories as a mom, and as a child, have been reading children’s books. I hope you love these ones as much as we do! Also stay tuned on my “Play” section on the blog and on instagram! I’ll most likely be using these books in activities coming up that you can also do with your little ones!