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Great Read Alouds for Babies and Toddlers

It’s never too early to start reading to young children. Young children are building vocabularies long before they can say them or use them in conversation. Try one of these books with your favorite baby or toddler. It doesn’t matter if you don’t read every word, but it is important that you share your enthusiasm. You can even do some of the actions suggested by the words or pictures, or you can make up your own. Maybe you just want to talk about the pictures and point to them as you do. It’s the sharing that’s important!

See also: Great Read Alouds for Kids: Babies to Grade 3.

Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss

All Fall Down

By: Helen Oxenbury
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Young children will appreciate the game played by children (also in Tickle Tickle) in this sturdy book. Rhyming text and uncluttered illustrations are just right to share with the youngest child.

All of Baby, Nose to Toes

By: Victoria Adler
Illustrated by: Hiroe Nakata
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

All of a newborn, from head to toe, is appreciated and loved by various members of an adoring family. Lively language and joyful illustrations are used in this ebullient celebratory book.

Diggers Go

By: Steve Light
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

What sound does an excavator or a forklift make? Each makes its own noise, presented here in bold, dramatic typefaces dynamically shown on sturdy horizontal pages. Children can be encouraged to repeat sounds made by the variety of equipment — likely to delight construction aficionados.

First 100 Words (Bright Baby)

By: Roger Priddy
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Everyday objects drawn from a baby’s world are presented in crisp, brightly colored boxes clearly labeled in black typeface. Photographs and words show feelings, home, mealtime and more for a total of 100 things to point to and talk about with the very young.

I Kissed the Baby!

By: Mary Murphy
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

A new baby creates lots of excitement and all the animals want to kiss the baby duckling! Black pages with bold white lines depict the animals with splashes of color to highlight the joy and a repeating text makes this just right to encourage young children.

Lots of Lambs

By: Laura Numeroff
Illustrated by: Lynn Munsinger
Genre: Fiction, Poetry
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Feel the lamb's wool, then lift the umbrella to find lambs. There are lambs of all types and in many moods doing lots of things. Staccato, rhyming, catchy text is accompanied by expressive images of lively lambs that encourage active engagement with each page.

Lullaby and Kisses Sweet: Poems to Love with Your Baby

By: Lee Bennett Hopkins
Illustrated by: Alyssa Nassner
Genre: Poetry
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Every day, young children and their families can celebrate familiar things and activities in this sturdy, handsome, and appealing collection of 30 poems. Each short piece by a range of poets is about food, family, firsts, play and bedtime, creating a memorable collection just right for the youngest listener.

Maisy's Animals/Los animales de Maisy

By: Lucy Cousins
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Maisy’s favorite animals are introduced in both English and Spanish accompanied by Cousin’s signature illustrations on sturdy pages. Maisy is a familiar character with a simplicity of illustration and text that captivates young children.

Max's First Word

By: Rosemary Wells
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

No matter how hard Ruby tries to get her baby brother to say the names of the objects around him, Max will only say “Bang!” One day, however, Ruby gets a big surprise from Max’s first real word. Understated humor and bright, bold illustrations appeal to children and their adults.

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

By: Jane Cabrera
Genre: Poetry
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

The familiar rhyme continues all the way to 20 as a rabbit helps the farm animals get ready for a party. A small chick on each page encourages young readers to look closely as chicks are hidden on each spread. Bright, boldly lined illustrations are appealing and child-like.

Peek-a Who?

By: Nina Laden
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

What can you “peek-a” through the die-cut window? Does it “moo”, say “boo” or could it be YOU? Turn the page and find out! A predictable format and bold illustrations are sure to engage and delight.

Peekaboo Kisses

By: Barney Saltzberg
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Peekaboo! What do you see? Lift the flap and see the kissable, touchable baby animal — until the final spread. The mirror on the final pages lets young children see themselves in this boldly illustrated, participatory book.

Say Goodnight

By: Helen Oxenbury
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Even the most active baby or toddler must sleep sometime, and in this story the children "say goodnight." Similar to Tickle Tickle and All Fall Down, this is a sure hit to share with babies and toddlers.

Say Hello Like This!

By: Mary Murphy
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

How do animals greet everyone? With woofs and meows for a big hello! Beginning with a dog's "licky and loud … bow-wow-wow-wow!" the split pages hide the sounds until the turn — sure to delight young readers. Bold, colorful illustrations exude joy and spirit.

Tickle Tickle

By: Helen Oxenbury
Genre: Fiction, Poetry
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Chubby cheeked babies of many hues are shown in crisp illustrations doing things that babies do. The simple words are playful and energetic, just like the children in this and others by Oxenbury such as Clap Hands and All Fall Down.

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