Your Favorite Children's Books

Hi, everyone! DH and I are in the pre-TTC stage and wanted to make a list of everything we plan to buy over the next year or two. We’re done with it, except for books! We’re absolutely stumped and can’t find more than a handful that we really like.

So I was wondering, what books do you enjoy reading to your child(ren) and/or do they enjoy having read to them? If you’re pre-TTC or TTC, do you have any you plan to read in the future? Has anyone else struggled with this?

I’d also love to hear what your favorites were growing up!

Thank you! :heart:


Library worker here! I love this topic! Looking forward to seeing others suggestions.

Anything by [name_u]Mo[/name_u] Willems! They’re fun for adults to read and kids love his humor.

Dr. Seuss
[name_m]Richard[/name_m] Scarry – I Am a [name_f]Bunny[/name_f] was my favorite growing up!
[name_m]Eric[/name_m] [name_f]Carle[/name_f]
I’ll go through the stack in my daughter’s room for more ideas and add to this list! :slight_smile:

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I would approach buying books the same way you would approach buying clothes and toys. Only buy age appropriate essentials to begin with. For the first two years of a child’s life, all you need are board, cloth and crinkle books, which are short, colorful, and hard to destroy. If you see some that catch your fancy, then go ahead and buy them. Otherwise, just request them for your baby shower or if people ask what your kid needs for their birthday/Christmas/etc (I’ve been to more than one first birthday party that was a book party). I love when other people get my kids books as presents because it’s a great way to be introduced to different series and authors. Also, use the library as much as possible. It saves you a lot in both money and space.

As for baby book suggestions, my favorite author for that age is [name_u]Joyce[/name_u] Wan. Her illustrations are super cute with really bright colors. We own all her board books and they’re my go-to gift whenever someone I know is having a baby.


Interesting topic!

[name_f]My[/name_f] bf and i are also TTC, and have a list of everything we’d like to buy when the time comes, however we haven’t covered books yet so i’m excited to see everyone’s suggestions!

I used to be a daycare educator and have now moved on to being a nanny, i’d have to say some of my favourite children’s books/authors would be Usborne, [name_m]Little[/name_m] People Big Dreams and Penguin Books

I suggest looking at they have the best usborne books :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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[name_f]My[/name_f] son loves the “that’s not my…” books. They’re touchy-feely and really colourful!

Lift the flap books are a hit too, especially Dear Zoo.

I have a few paper books and wish I never bothered as he just tears the pages out (he’s 18 months old!) and I’ve had to glue and Sellotape sooo many pages back together! So I’d stick to board books only.


I’m terms of books that you’ll keep and use for years that might end up with special little traditions around them a really nice copy of ‘Twas the [name_u]Night[/name_u] Before [name_u]Christmas[/name_u] is up there for me. I’ve just bought the osbourne pop up version for my daughter and I’m so excited for it to become part of our [name_u]Christmas[/name_u] [name_f]Eve[/name_f] tradition each year.
Other “keeper” books would be ones from the [name_m]Little[/name_m] People Big Dreams collection.
Hairy McLary books (we live in NZ)
Osbournes mini The Children’s Bible if you’re [name_u]Christian[/name_u]
The Gruffalo (love reading this one I’m spring or autumn and making up our own list of creatures/plants etc to hunt for and go for a tramp through a forest)
5 Minutes [name_u]Peace[/name_u] and others in the series
The [name_m]Little[/name_m] Yellow Digger

I definitely wouldn’t go to crazy though- I know it’s tempting!- but it is best to be guided by your child’s developing interests and then building up a collection of books around them to insure that they stay engaged and interested in reading and books.

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What I like reading and what they enjoy most are not necessarily the same, but these are the ones that get pulled out and demanded over and over again in this house…

  • [name_m]Brown[/name_m] [name_m]Bear[/name_m], [name_m]Brown[/name_m] [name_m]Bear[/name_m] — [name_m]Eric[/name_m] [name_f]Carle[/name_f]
  • Mrs Large series — [name_f]Jill[/name_f] [name_u]Murphy[/name_u]
  • [name_f]Peppa[/name_f] Pig books — don’t go there!!!
  • You Choose — [name_u]Nick[/name_u] Sharratt and [name_f]Pippa[/name_f] Goodhart, our copy has actually fallen apart it’s been read so much
  • [name_u]Quentin[/name_u] [name_u]Blake[/name_u] books — I particularly like the Mrs Armitage series but there are loads of good ones
  • [name_f]Morag[/name_f] Hood — recent find, lovely bright books for babies/toddlers, good sense of humour
  • [name_f]Julia[/name_f] Donaldson — lots of good ones besides the Gruffalo
  • [name_m]Jon[/name_m] Klassen / [name_m]Mac[/name_m] [name_m]Barnett[/name_m]
  • Oh No [name_u]George[/name_u]! — [name_u]Chris[/name_u] Haughton
  • [name_f]Shirley[/name_f] [name_m]Hughes[/name_m] — [name_u]Alfie[/name_u] and [name_f]Annie[/name_f] [name_f]Rose[/name_f], Old [name_m]Bear[/name_m] Stories, shorter rhyme books for babies about colours, noises, etc.
  • [name_m]Press[/name_m] Here — [name_m]Hervé[/name_m] Tullet
  • Mr Men / [name_m]Little[/name_m] Miss
  • [name_f]Winnie[/name_f] and [name_m]Wilbur[/name_m] — [name_f]Valerie[/name_f] [name_m]Thomas[/name_m]

I agree about sticking to board books until they’re a bit older. [name_f]My[/name_f] youngest especially has ripped and chewed so many paperbacks. They also love books with just photos of objects or animals in them. We have the First 100 Objects + Animals books by [name_m]Roger[/name_m] Priddy and they’ve all loved those as babies. Plus lift the flap ones like Our Zoo and Spot.

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[name_m]Hi[/name_m]! Seeing the topic I immediately thought of ‘The [name_u]Magic[/name_u] Finger’ by [name_m]Ronald[/name_m] Dahl, it’s the only book I can properly remember being read to me as a child and I loved it- I had a whole box set of Road Dahl books my Grandma would read to me, good luck with your upcoming little one :)))

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I read a lot to my son. I actually don’t always enjoy it because the words get jumbled when I speak them aloud and I get stressed out with doing different voices. Still, it is important and my son enjoys it. He is 19 months and doesn’t always sit still but I figure it still matters :slight_smile: note: they sometimes get attached to one book and, even if it gets annoying, keep reading it to them!

We actually are doing the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program through our local library! We’re around 345 books in and we’ve gotten exposed to SO many great books this way! Don’t necessarily get held up in buying a lot of books…even kid books can be expensive and I swear there are only 3 words on some of those pages, for a like 5 page book… weekly trips to our library, especially in this pandemic, have given us such a breath of fresh air…

Anyhow, some of our/my favorites, though not all are baby books:

Where [name_u]Oliver[/name_u] Fits by [name_m]Cale[/name_m] [name_m]Atkinson[/name_m]
I Like Myself by [name_f]Karen[/name_f] [name_m]Beaumont[/name_m]
[name_m]Five[/name_m] [name_m]Little[/name_m] Monkey series by [name_f]Eileen[/name_f] Cristelow
[name_u]Daniel[/name_u] [name_u]Tiger[/name_u] books
[name_m]Stone[/name_m] Soup
Biscuit books by [name_f]Alyssa[/name_f] [name_f]Satin[/name_f] Capucilli
Seeds and Trees by ?
Ten [name_f]Tiny[/name_f] Toes by [name_f]Caroline[/name_f] [name_f]Jayne[/name_f] Church
Hand to Hold by JJ [name_m]Heller[/name_m] (listen to the song by the same name…oh my goodness, the tears!)
I’ve Loved You Since [name_u]Forever[/name_u] by Hoda Kotb
[name_f]Winnie[/name_f] the Pooh books
[name_m]Little[/name_m] House books…he’s still little for chapter books but I read a chapter or so a day from them. I love them myself and I’ve even gotten to read other related books (Martha Years, [name_f]Caroline[/name_f] Years, etc) that I didn’t get to read as a child, so it is great.

There are tons out there! So many have good messages about life, love, milestones, etc but the most important thing is just you reading to them :heart:

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Lately we’ve been reading a lot of the books I kept from when I was little, which has been so nice to revisit them with my own children. Some other personal favourites are:

Not a Box by [name_f]Antoinette[/name_f] Portis
Not a Stick by [name_f]Antoinette[/name_f] Portis
If You Give a Pig a Pancake by [name_f]Laura[/name_f] Numeroff (and all the others in the series really, they’re so fun)
The [name_u]True[/name_u] [name_u]Story[/name_u] of the 3 [name_m]Little[/name_m] Pigs by [name_m]Jon[/name_m] Scieszka
The [name_m]Franklin[/name_m] books by [name_f]Paulette[/name_f] Bourgeois
The [name_u]Max[/name_u] and [name_u]Ruby[/name_u] books by [name_f]Rosemary[/name_f] [name_m]Wells[/name_m]

And if you can find them, they are loving these oldies from when I was a kid:

[name_u]Henry[/name_u] Babysits by [name_u]Robert[/name_u] Quackenbush
The [name_m]Little[/name_m] Witch Sisters by [name_f]Stephanie[/name_f] Calmenson
[name_f]Tiggy[/name_f] Goes to the Hospital by [name_f]Jane[/name_f] Carruth
[name_f]Tiggy[/name_f] Changes her Mind by [name_f]Jane[/name_f] Carruth
Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss

I tried reading to them when they were younger with not a lot of success. [name_f]My[/name_f] older two are really only finally interested in sitting still now at 6 and 4 1/2 (and the younger of the two interrupts every two minutes with a question, so I don’t even know how much he gets out of it all to be honest). But my oldest now is riveted and I’ve been reading to him and discussing what we read, which is great. So if it takes a bit of time for them to have the attention span or show interest, that’s okay. Keep trying. Eventually they’ll get there.

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I just read “This small blue dot” by [name_m]Zeno[/name_m] Sworder yesterday, and OMG, I am in LOVE :heart_eyes:

Anyway my eldest is heading for 3 and I have a baby too.

Ones that both of us have loved are:

  • Mix it up by Henre Tullet is her all-time fave. He also has others called ‘press here’ and ‘say zoop’ which are also very popular
  • the little yellow digger by betty and alan gilderdale (this was her first super obsession, and ‘digger’ and ‘stuck’ were her first words. Lots of great rhythm and rhyme and vehicles!)
  • Dear Zoo by [name_m]Rod[/name_m] [name_u]Campbell[/name_u]
  • The very hungry caterpillar by [name_m]Eric[/name_m] [name_f]Carle[/name_f]
  • Going on a bear hunt by michael rosen
  • Goodnight [name_f]Moon[/name_f]
  • Inside outside upside down by stan and jan berenstain
  • i love you now and forever by dawn casey and russell julian (great for talking about unconditional love)
  • ‘dragon in a wagon’ and “wake up bear” by Lynley Dodd. Great rhyme.
  • how to catch a star by [name_u]Oliver[/name_u] [name_m]Jeffers[/name_m]
  • catherine foreman books - boats, trains, planes. Kids love vehicles. [name_u]Bright[/name_u] simple pictires, fun rhymes.
  • richard scarry books, our faves are ‘busiest fire fighters ever’ and ‘a day at the station’. Funny, fun to read, SO MUCH happening in pictures.
  • good days bad days by catherine and laurence anholt (great for a calm gentle introduction and acknowledgement of the fact that sometimes life’s gonna be a bit sucky)
  • the paper bag princess
  • noisy nora by rosemary wells

Others she also loves but I don’t so much (in fact the only reason I’m starting to like them a little less is probably from reading them too much!)

  • The ‘Spot’ series by [name_m]Eric[/name_m] [name_m]Hill[/name_m]
  • The [name_f]Meg[/name_f] and Mog series by helen nicoll and jan pienkowski

Some of my faves that I REALLY love and that she enjoys but isn’t obsessed with:

  • no matter what by [name_f]Debbi[/name_f] Gliori
  • [name_m]Marmaduke[/name_m] Duck by [name_f]Juliette[/name_f] MacIver
  • The Lorax by Dr Seuss
  • unos garden by graeme base
  • animalia by graeme base (ABC alliteration book with stunning illustrations and lots to find on each page)
  • The hairy maclary series by lynley dodd, as well as ‘the littlest turtle’
  • more [name_u]Oliver[/name_u] [name_m]Jeffers[/name_m]!
  • Feelings books to help teach and talk about emotions, like “how are you peeling” (yes with a p!), “the way I feel” (great poems describing feelings), and “how do I feel?” Which is more of a dictionary for older children
  • ‘the bay’ by ron bacon and sandra morris (stunning words, rhythm, rhyme… and not yoir typical children’s book at all, just talking aboutbthe beauty of the sea without much story).
  • anything john burningham
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Some of my thoughts:

  1. Go to libraries now and just browse the kids’ section with your partner. Check some books out if they look good to you on the display shelves or anything. I did this with my husband and we wound up loving it. It became a little hobby of ours when we were pre-TTC to check out library books and read them aloud to one another and talk about what we liked or didn’t like about them, what values they seemed to aim to transmit and whether those were our values, etc. It actually got us into a lot deeper conversations about HOW we wanted to raise our kids, not just about content but about how we wanted to make our children feel or how we would choose to interact or discipline or what have you. It was fun. It might sound a bit strange and my husband actually isn’t the type of person that I would have thought to enjoy that type of activity with me but he so did. Sometimes I miss it, even, lol. If you’re out of practice using library resources or you never really used them in the first place, don’t be intimidated! Libraries are made to be used and children’s librarians are super friendly and there to help.

  2. Buy a few titles that truly speak to you, either the ones you already have on your list or something that you get from the library (taking this post list with you to the library would actually be a great place to start) but as others have said, don’t feel like you need a lot of books to start your home library. When your child is here, see what your child likes as they grow and if they gravitate to certain titles over and over or ask you to read them again and again and again, consider adding those books to your home collection over time for holidays or as part of your monthly budget.

  3. The most important point is to only read books that you love reading. Because that will make it happen time and again. It is really hard to fit in a readaloud session when you’re not enthusiastic about the books yourself. Trust me… there will occasionally be a book you dread reading. Nobody else will have your exact taste or criteria. I know some moms absolutely love goofy books like Blue Hat, Green Hat or Sheep in a Jeep and have the most fun reading those. I know some moms who really go for the lovey themes like I’ll Love You Forever or Guess How Much I Love You or We Sang You Home. Each of those titles is a great read, a well loved, timeless readaloud. Those just aren’t the ones I gravitate toward personally. I like books that read like poetry or that have stunning illustrations that capture me. Miss Rumphius, Last Stop on Market Street, You Were the First, Du Iz Tak?, and Snowy Day all come to mind. Even though those aren’t exactly baby books, I read those over and over to the littlest of audiences. But it really doesn’t matter what your criteria for a good book are, just that you look for books you truly like. You don’t even have to know why you like it. Just know that you want to read it again. The suggestions in these posts are a great starting off point but it really is just that.

  4. Yes… board books are great for their relative indestructibility and because little hands can easily turn the pages, but again, if you don’t want to read it, you won’t fit in reading it with your child nearly as often as if it’s a book you really love. So get board books you love, or just go for library books (library books are made to be used… they are used to damage in the kids’ section) or buy paperback or hardback books anyway and know that you’ll be doing some repairs to the books over the early years (we have yet to actually LOSE a book to the wreckage, but my husband tapes something up almost every day). A lot people love the more “point and see” nature of many board books (and non-board books like the Richard Scarry ones mentioned by many here). I personally never get enthusiastic about these but whether or not they spark joy for YOU, keep in mind that ANY book can be a point-and-see book if you just look at the pictures and point to what you see instead of reading the text and there are many benefits to this type of reading (dialogic). Seems simple, but easy to forget.

  5. If you’re a podcast fan, try listening to the Readaloud Revival. It always gets me hyped up to read with my kiddos. If you’re a big reader yourself, try The Enchanted Hour: Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction (a book I have read more than a dozen times since it came out 2 years ago), The Readaloud Family, The Readaloud Handbook (there are many editions and any will be fine, but the most recent is the 8th Edition), or Reading Magic (2nd Edition). All are excellent and super inspiring. The key to enjoying the books you wind up buying is to enjoy them together often. Sometimes that gets hard with everything else life throws in. A little vision and commitment go a long way.

Happy Reading!


No one has mentioned [name_f]Beatrix[/name_f] [name_m]Potter[/name_m]! I got a set of her books for my 6th birthday, and my boys have them now. Dated in some ways, in others timeless. I love knowing that they’re old enough that C.S. [name_m]Lewis[/name_m], another of my favorite authors, had his own childhood favorite: Squirrel Nutkin.
But yes, we have too many to list here. Dr. Seuss, [name_u]Robert[/name_u] McCloskey, the [name_m]Little[/name_m] [name_m]Bear[/name_m] books, alphabet books, anything with vehicles, especially heavy equipment…my mom collects books and is always giving us extras, and thrift stores usually have inexpensive kids’ books. I agree with getting what you like and finding what they like. And you WILL be reading certain books 2,476 times before they move on to a new obsession. I hear it’s good for them.

I’ve had to struggle a bit with repairing books. I don’t remember my siblings and I being very destructive, and my boys have torn quite a few paper pages and lost a few covers. Am I not teaching them to be careful enough? But I would rather have them handling books and loving to be read to, than keeping everything not-yet-age-appropriate on the shelf. I keep the ones I really, really don’t want torn out of reach, I try to model and vocalize “We take care of books, we are gentle with books,” and then keep tape handy and not stress too much. We’ve only really lost one elaborate Usborne flap book about tractors which my oldest adored but just wasn’t old enough to handle without damage. It’s in…quite a few pieces.


With my youngest Ten [name_m]Little[/name_m] Fingers and Ten [name_m]Little[/name_m] Toes has been greatly enjoyed.

Have you ever been to a book shower? Often held for 2nd showers. Fun to receive a collection of books.

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I know you have oodles and bundles of suggestions already, but I can’t help myself.

As a little girl, one of my all-time favorites was a “Little Critter’s” book called “This Is [name_f]My[/name_f] Friend” by [name_u]Mercer[/name_u] [name_m]Mayer[/name_m]. It’s pretty cute. And “The [name_m]Little[/name_m] Mouse, the [name_u]Red[/name_u] Ripe [name_f]Strawberry[/name_f], and the Big Hungry Bear” by [name_m]Don[/name_m] and [name_f]Audrey[/name_f] [name_m]Wood[/name_m].

For babies and toddlers I really like BabyLit board books. They have “primers”, like books about colors, counting, animals and opposites. They’re on Amazon for probably cheaper than their site.

When they’re a little older, some really funny ones:
“The Book With No Pictures” by BJ [name_m]Novak[/name_m] (who played [name_u]Ryan[/name_u] on the US version of The Office).
“I Want [name_f]My[/name_f] [name_f]Hat[/name_f] Back”, “This Is Not [name_f]My[/name_f] Hat”, and “We Found A Hat” by [name_m]Jon[/name_m] Klassen (I can’t say enough about how much I enjoy those ones)

This last one I think is really for adults who need a hug in the form of a book, but it’s a picture book called “The Rabbit Listened” by [name_f]Cori[/name_f] Doerrfeld.

You asked about experience reading with children. For my kids, I sing to them at bedtime every night, and read to them if they’re in bed early enough (good motivation). Other than that, for the most part, I let them enjoy their books on their own.

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