11 Must-Have Books for Your Baby or Toddler

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My oldest son, who is 2 years old, loves to read! I’ve been reading to him since he was a couple of weeks old, and now he loves reading more than just about any other activity. There’s an endless number of books out there to choose from, but I decided to compile a list of books my son frequently chooses to read. Here they are, in no particular order!

The Hungry Caterpillar

I mean, come on. This one is an absolute classic! I remember reading this one when I was a kid. My son’s favorite part is the page where the caterpillar eats through all the junk food. The art in this book is really unique and fun, and one that every child (and parent!) will enjoy.

Check out these additional Very Hungry Caterpillar options available:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Book & Plush Set
The Very Hungry Caterpillar: 50th Anniversary Golden Edition
LOVE from the Very Hungry Caterpillar
The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s ABCs

Goodnight Moon

Another timeless classic. My son is obsessed with the moon, so this book is a go-to for him almost every day. He loves pointing out various objects in the scene, and always finds something new! This is a great bedtime story to add to your bookshelf.

Also check out this companion book My World: A Companion to Goodnight Moon


I’m not gonna lie, I originally bought this book because I love Jimmy Fallon, but this is probably my son’s favorite book to date. I got this as a Christmas present for my husband from my son right before he was born. When it arrived in the mail I remember looking at it and thinking, wow, this is so simple and I really doubted my son would like it. There’s literally one word on each page, but it’s really fun making the animal sounds! Unfortunately for my husband, my son still said mama first despite this being his favorite book (haha!).

Check out these other books by Jimmy Fallon:

Everything is Mama
This is Baby
Mama and Dada Boxed Set


The Poky Little Puppy

This is a Golden Book Classic and was originally published in 1942. This was a favorite of mine when I was little, so I had to get it for my babies. I honestly didn’t think my son would enjoy it until he got older, but this has been a favorite of his since he was about a year old. He loves the colorful illustrations, and we like to count the puppies on each page. My only mistake was buying the hardcover instead of the board book as a couple of the pages have already torn, because you know, toddlers. This is definitely a must for your book collection!

Check out these other Little Golden Book Classics:

Baby Animals
The Little Red Caboose
75 Years of Little Golden Books Box Set
Disney Classics Little Golden Book Box Set

The Loud Book and The Quiet Book

These are really cute books, and the illustrations are really unique with different animal characters featured throughout. The Loud Book goes through different loud noises that are good and some that are bad or accidental. It’s a really fun book, and my son loves pointing out different objects on the pages. And better yet, there’s another book in the series called The Quiet Book! It’s got the same thoughtful details that we love about The Loud Book. I love that it features different types of situations that elicit a quiet moment and the illustrations do a great job of conveying the emotions that go along with them. Overall, both The Loud and Quiet Books are great additions to any library.

Kittens Pounce

This is such a simple book, and my son loves it because of the real kitten photos as opposed to illustrations (although he loves those, too!). The author is Rebecca Glaser and this is one book in a series of several that feature different animals. We don’t own any others yet, but they all look absolutely fun and adorable. These are great for helping your child learn different actions and sounds these animals make, as well as being able to see real life details of these animals. This book is a huge hit at our house, and we think it will be at yours too!

Check out the other books in this series by Rebecca Glaser:

Penguins Waddle
Cows Moo
Elephants Spray
Lions Roar
Monkeys Swing
Giraffes Stretch

Touch and Feel Books

Touch and feel books are always a go-to at our house! I’ve been reading these to our boys since they were just a few days old. Even before they were able to touch the books themselves, I would take their little hands and let them feel the different textures in the books. These are so great for the various stages of development for your little one!

Here’s a few more fun options:

See, Touch, Feel: A First Sensory Book
Bright Baby Touch and Feel Set
At the Zoo
On the Farm
Jungle Counting Silicon Tough and Feel

The Day the Crayons Quit

This is such a fun series of books that will help your little one learn about colors. My son learned many of the basic colors when he was about 18 months old, and this book really helped him with that! He still grabs this book to read on a daily basis. Both you and your child will love this fun and quirky storyline!

Here’s a couple more in the series:
The Day the Crayons Came Home
Love from the Crayons

First 100 Words

Did you know that toddlers are supposed to have around 250 words by the time they’re eighteen months old? The First 100 Words box set is a great tool to help your child with speech development and will teach them basic vocabulary words. Grab this box set and give your little one a fun and colorful way to learn their first words!

Here’s a few more suggestions for speech and vocabulary development:

My First 1,000 Words
My First Words: Let’s Get Talking!
First 100 Words Sticker Book

8 Little Planets

Does your little one love learning about outer space? This is a cute, colorful, and educational book for your little astronaut! The book features facts and illustrations that detail the uniqueness of each planet. My toddler loves the book cut-out and how it leads to the very end with the planets rotating around the sun. This is a great addition to any library!

List your children’s favorite books in the comments! We would love to check them out.

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3 thoughts on “11 Must-Have Books for Your Baby or Toddler

  1. Great list. Some of our favorites! We love the Caterpillar book. We also love Masey books by Lucy Cousins! Mo Williams also has some great stuff, especially his pigeon books. Llama Llama was a huge hit when my kids were little.

  2. This is such a great list. We have the majority of these books and love them. I attributed my first-borns first word with the Dada book so as soon as I saw Jimmy Fallon came out with the Everything is Mama book I purchased it…my 8 month old’s first word last week was Mama!

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