50+ Best Books for 2 Year Olds
Are you wanting to start reading with your little one but you aren’t quite sure where to start? I’ve got a great list of 50+ best books for 2 year olds to get you started.
Sometimes reading to toddlers is a bit of a juggling act. With their pudgy hands reaching for the pages and their constant wiggles getting the best of the situation. But it’s never too young to start reading. Simply begin.
I love Jim Trelease’s quote, “Readers don’t grow on trees but they grow in places where they are fertilized with lots of print, and above all, read to daily.”
It may be a little messy at first, and you might not finish, but keep at it every day, and you will begin to raise kids who will grow up to really enjoy reading.
How do I get my child to sit long enough for a book?
One of the extra benefits of reading to your child everyday, is that you are building your child’s attention span. This habit of attention is a life-long skill that will benefit them throughout their entire life, but particularly in the area of early education.
With that being said, this habit doesn’t happen overnight, rather, it is cultivated by daily practice. So, just begin. Have them sit for a very short board book and then start building their attention span from there.
Also, we found it very helpful to read at the same time every day. At this age, right after nap time seemed to be the magic time for our kids, because they weren’t back to full energy yet, and loved to cuddle and be read to.
What types of books are best for toddlers?
The best books for 2 year olds are ones that they can hold, engage with, and stay interested in. This will be different for each child because even at this age, children are unique and have interests of their own.
The more you read, the more quickly you’ll learn your kid’s favorites. And don’t be surprised if they ask you to read the same book five hundred times. This is normal.
I’m going to break this best books for 2 year olds list up into six categories, some of them overlap but will hopefully give you general idea of what is available for this age group.
Here are the categories:
- Board books – The pages are thick board paper that can handle the wear and tear of toddlers.
- Rhyming – These books capture kids interest with their rhymes while building phonemic awareness.
- Interactive – Follow the prompts, touch the pages, move pieces, and sing along are all ways kids are encouraged to interact with these books.
- Wordless – Books with little to no words, a child can follow the story line simply by looking at the sequential pictures.
- Counting – These books teach numbers and counting in creative ways.
- Stories – Short and sweet picture books with a fictional story line.
- Bible – Christian based books that teach about God and the Bible.
- Poetry – Poetry anthologies for little ones, and short reads that introduce the beauty of poetry.
- Christmas – Books with a Christmas theme for toddlers.
Now for the list… (printable list option at the end!)
50+ Best Books for 2 Year Olds
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- The Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle- This is a cute book that is filled with fun truck and animals noises. Not only are the pictures bright and inviting it teaches importance of here is a of friendship and the rewards of helping others. (One of our kid’s favorites.)
- The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle – A hard working spider begins to spin her web. Many animals come by and try to distract her but she keeps on working. This is such a fun, colorful book and kids love making all the animal noises and seeing the spider’s web grow. (A family favorite.)
- Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney-This is a sweet tale of a bunny asking his nutbrown, daddy hare how much he really loves him. It promotes love and affection between parents and small children and makes a great bedtime story.
- Brown Bear Brown Bear by Eric Carle – The sing-song format makes for an easy and memorable read. Great for identifying colors as well as, various animals.
- A is for Apple by Tiger Tales – This is a colorful, straight to the point, alphabet book for learning letters and beginner words. This would be great if your child is starting to become interested in the alphabet and/or starting letter recognition.
- The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper – This tale of perseverance and determination has been around since 1930 and is still going strong! “I think I can, I think I can,” is a wonderful life-lesson to start teaching at this age and can be applied to things kids are currently learning (ie, potty training, picking up toys, helping etc.)
- Where’d My Giggle Go? by Max Lucado – This is a great little book to help kids process and name their emotions. “..I felt kind of cranky. I felt kind of sad. I can’t tell you why, but I even felt mad.” Sometimes it’s hard for kids to describe how or why they are feeling certain things, this book is a nice starting point.
- There’s a Wocket in my Pocket by Dr. Suess – A completely non-sensical, fun, Dr. Suess-styled book. With lots of made up words and ridiculous rhymes this book capture kids curiosity while teaching the fun of rhyme.
- Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown – This is a well-loved, simple book about a little bunny in her bed for the night, wishing her room, the moon, and all things around her a “goodnight”.
- Baby Bear, Baby Bear What Do You See by Eric Carle – Similar format to Brown Bear, Brown Bear with rhyme and repetition. Kids latch onto this one and will often memorize the whole thing. (I speak from experience-all three of my kids had this one memorized.)
- Chicka, Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. – A rhyming alphabet book with bright colors and a memorable introduction to letters. This is a great book to share with kids who are showing an interest in recognizing letters and wanting to learn to read.
- You are my Work of Art by Sue DiCicco- Lift the flaps and find classic works of art! Not only is this is a great introduction to famous works of art, it shares the message that your child is loved and special to you (the parent).
- Press Here by Herve Tullet – Interaction at its finest! Push the button and follow instructions to really let your kids have an experience with this book. If you have a really active little one, be sure to give this one a try!
- The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone – Grover doesn’t want you to turn the pages because there is a monster at the end of this book, he begs and begs, until then end when he realizes that HE was the monster at the end of the book and there was nothing to be afraid of. (One of our favorites)
- Hello Honey Bees by Hannah Rogge – the bee characters are attached with a ribbon to this beautiful board book. Kids can move the bees around while they learn about the fascinating life of bees.
- We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury – a suspenseful adventure book for toddlers through kindergarten! Complete with interactive, repetitive sounds that make the hunt even more exciting. (Another family favorite)
- Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell – lift the flaps and discover what animal the zoo has sent as a pet. Cute book for learning about animals written in simple, yet flowing, rhyme.
- Counting Kisses by Karen Katz – count how many kisses the baby needs before it falls asleep. A sweet little kiss-along book for parents and their toddler. Promotes love and affection.
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- A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog by Mercer Mayer – follow the pictures to find out if the boy and his dog can catch the frog. The illustrations are simple yet they do an amazing job of telling this sweet story.
- Pancakes for Breakfast by Tommy DePaola – The old lady wants to make pancakes, will she be able to with all of the distractions and humorous complications? Follow each picture to find out!
- Rain by Peter Spier – this books captures the all fun that can happen on a rainy day. Follow this brother and sister to see their experience for yourself.
- The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney – this book is nearly wordless and retells the famous Aesops fable of the the lion and mouse’s extraordinary friendship.
- Noah’s Ark by Peter Spier – Wonderful, wordless picture book that retells the Bible story of Noah’s ark. (Since this is a wordless book, some explanation of the story line might be helpful if there is no previous knowledge of the tale.)
Best Books for 2 year olds – Counting Books
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle – While this is not technically a counting book, kids can count the how many different kinds of food the caterpillar eats before he forms a cocoon then hatches into a colorful butterfly.
- Anno’s Counting Book by Mitsumasa Anno – this is an awesome counting book that draws kids in with the beautiful watercolor landscape illustrations. The combination of art and math are seamless and makes this book a great addition to your home library.
- My First Counting Book by Lilian Moore – This golden, counting book is just too cute not to share. The beautiful illustrations, rhyming words, and objects to count are perfect for toddlers as they are beginning to recognize numbers and practice counting.
- Counting Creatures by Julia Donaldson – this is a cute counting book of animal mothers and their babies. Great for counting and learning more about animals.
- Over in the Forest by Marianne Berkes – A darling, rhyming, counting book full of beautiful illustrations and woodland animals. (Another one of our family favorites.)
Stories (short and sweet)
- Eloise Wilkin Stories by Eloise Wilkin – There are 13 best books for 2 year olds in this sweet collection! All the pictures and stories are real to life and every engaging with young children. (Family favorite!)
- The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats – this little story has been around since the 1960’s and is still a favorite. Its all about the childhood wonder that comes with a nice big snowfall.
- Corduroy by Don Freeman – A sweet tale of an expected friendship between a young girl and fuzzy department store bear.
- Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina – a delightful story about a peddler out smarting a tree-full of monkeys. This book contains wonderful repetition, patterns, and even colors.
- Quiet Bunny’s Many Colors by Lisa McCue – Looking to introduce colors? This book is it! Huge, full-page, colorful illustrations depicting all colors found in nature. Sweet and engaging! (Family favorite.)
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- Little Poems for Tiny Ears by Lin Oliver – these poems are really sweet and geared towards babies and toddlers. This would be great a great book to add to your bedtime routine.
- Poems to Read to the Very Young by Eloise Wilkin – this is a sweet collection of poems from classic authors paired with Wilkin’s delightful illustrations just for toddlers!
- Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young by Jack Prelutsky – a childhood anthology of poetry you can start when your kids are really young. Lot of amazing rhyme and prose.
- Haiku Baby by Betsy E. Snyder – Enjoy poetry in the traditional Japanese poetic form, the haiku. In just 17 syllables, each poem highlights an interesting feature of nature.
- Here’s a Little Poem by Jane Yolen – 60 poems from wonderful authors including Margaret Wise Brown, A.A. Milne and more.
- Indescribable for Little Ones by Louie Gigleo – This is the ‘little kid’ version of the Indescribable book for kids. It teaches about God’s amazing creations in bite-sized pieces.
- Just in Case You Ever Wonder (Board Book) by Max Lucado – this sweet book reassures kids that God is with them no matter what. Even in the dark or when they feel afraid, they are never alone.
- This I know: Seeing God in the World He Made (Based on the song Jesus Loves Me) by Clay Anderson – A great book, with stunning illustrations that teach children all the ways God shows his love to us.
- I Am: The Names of God for Little Ones by Diane M. Stortz – this is the “little kid” version of the I AM devotional book for kids. This is a sampling that introduces little ones to the many amazing names and attributes of God.
- Zacchaeus, Little Bible Heroes by Victoria Kovacs – This is just one bible story in the Little Bible Heroes series. These are great for introducing bible stories to young kids.
Best books for 2 year olds – Christmas
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- Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown – Written by the same author as Good Night Moon this is a simple and sweet narration of the nativity Christmas story.
- Little Blue Truck’s Christmas by Alice Schertle – Another adorable Little Blue Truck book. This time, the little blue truck is delivering Christmas trees, and spreading Christmas cheer.
- Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson – Bear’s friends try to help keep bear awake for Christmas and learn a few things along the way. The illustrations are beautiful and it has a strong message of friendship and giving.
- Pick a Pine Tree by Patricia Toht – Enjoy with wintery-vibes as you teach your toddler about the fun tradition of picking out a Christmas tree.
- The Grinch’s Great Big Flap Book by Dr. Seuss – Does your child not have enough attention span for the full Grinch book? If that is the case, try this simplified, board flap-book of the original.
- The Mitten by Jan Brett – This not a Christmas story but its a wintery tale that will fit right in. Besides, I had to add a Jan Brett book to this list! Because, when Nikki drops her mitten in the snow your kids will enjoy following all the animals who try to fit inside.
- Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore – No one is too young to enjoy this poem! There are a lot of different illustrated books for this poem, but this is one of my absolute favorites!
Printable list of the best books for 2 year olds
Here is a printable checklist of all the best books for 2 year olds! Download the list and make your next library order today. Mark off the ones you’ve tried and highlight your favorites!
Printable book list Download
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What do you think are the best books for 2 year olds?
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