The toddler stage is the most demanding stage. Ask any parent. Your tot asks for your attention a million times a day, they fall from the most unexpected places, and sometimes they have meltdowns just because. But all of that doesn’t change the fact that the toddler years are the most endearing years of our children. c”,)
When your baby walks, he or she is officially a toddler up to 3 years old. It’s the stage when their sense of awe and curiosity are at their peak. I remember Timmy being so fascinated with the blue skies at that age. It’s also my favorite age when they start talking with their L’s and R’s sounding like W’s like miwk and twain (i.e. milk and train). Too cute! c”,)
Best of all, it’s the age when they get so fascinated and animated with story time. Choosing age-appropriate books, authors, and stories will keep them engaged and interested in reading. While ABCs, colors, and numbers books are great for teaching I don’t recommend them for bedtime story. Haha!
You want your child to ENJOY books and not look at them like it’s a chore. c”,) In fact, most of our homeschool time (around 80%) during this age is devoted to read-alouds! It’s all about building the habit of reading and taking the books you love wherever you go. To help you get started, here are some of our favorite books and authors that we enjoyed reading during our son’s toddler years (and even up to now!).
Mo Willems is a genius in my book. His Elephant and Piggie books are hilarious! I remember my then 3-year-old Timmy would wake up looking for them! The prints are big, the reactions of Gerald (the elephant) and Piggie are magnified. They are perfect for lively storytelling! He also wrote the Knuffle Bunny series and the super funny Pigeon series. You gotta love that smarty pants pigeon. In Filipino, we would call him pilosoposo so expect lots of laughs from him. Haha!
Eric Carle is one of the authors that has something to offer for every age level. His colorful illustrations will keep your child’s attention. The Three-Bear series is a great one for toddlers. It has fun rhymes and vibrant images.
Of course, there’s the classic, must-have The Very Hungry Caterpillar but the key to buying Eric Carle for toddlers is choosing the format with big illustrations and big, short texts per page. Other awesome titles you can try are Today is Monday (you can sing this together, too!), The Little Cloud, Head to Toe (for fun movements!), Does Kangaroo Have A Mother Too?, and more! You can get the ones with more texts and smaller fonts when your child is older and when he or she has a longer attention span. Spoiler alert: Eric Carle will make an appearance on my next blog on books for preschoolers and early readers. c”,)
Stan and Jan Berenstain The Bear family has been a part of our family for quite a while now! Papa Bear, Mama Bear, Brother Bear, Sister Bear, Honey Bear, along with their pets Goldie and Little Lady, have given us lots of laughter and adventure! The Berenstain bears have different reading levels all the way to chapter books! So you can start with the basics before moving forward to those with more words and longer sentences.
They’re still a staple in our library. Plus, they have a series on YouTube, too! The Berenstain Bears family, like Eric Carle, will be back in our recommended books on my next blog! What I love about the Berenstain Bears is that they’re not only funny but they also have lessons in their stories! Their Living Lights series teaches values and the Christian faith. c”,)
Dr. Seuss is a given but with the many books he has written it’s important to give your child age-appropriate Seussims. c”,) Your toddlers will definitely appreciate the About Me books but you won’t go halfway through Cat in the Hat. Just the sight of too many words can be intimidating to them and their attention span. Haha!
Look for the Bright and Early Books mark for your tots. There’s even a series on Beginning Beginners! They are not all Dr. Seuss but it has his stamp of approval so to speak. c”,)
Go for the simplest Seuss for your toddlers. Upgrade them as they get older. I think Timmy was five years old when he fell in love with The Lorax and Horton Hears a Who. The Cat in the Hat books followed. But I’ve had them years earlier. Haha!
Age-appropriate books get the most return on investment. c”,) I would always tell my husband, “Hon, ROI na yung book” when Timmy would read the same book more than 10 times already. So yes, it’s okay to read the same books over and over again. That only means that your child is enjoying it!
Fantasy author Neil Gaiman has already forayed into children’s books and his series on Chu is our favorite! Chu is an adorable panda bear who sneezes in cataclysmic proportions. You will have lots of laughs with this series! His other children’s books are also good but those are for older children, particularly the illustrations.
THRIFT STORE TREASURES
Aside from going to retail bookstores, I also love going to thrift bookstores like Book Sale, Chapters and Pages, Books for Less, the book nooks you see in department stores, and the bargain bins of retail bookstores. Not to mention the preloved book sellers on IG and Facebook! You will find lots of gems there! Here are of some our favorite books and authors from our thrift store treasures. c”,)
Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees
I fell in love with Giraffes Can’t Dance the moment I saw it’s stunning cover. The story is perfect for teaching our children that there is nothing wrong with being different or doing things differently. c”,) The stunning illustrations captured our little boy’s attention like a fish on a bait! Since then, I scoured books illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees and written by Giles Andreae! And boy, did they take us to colorful places with fascinating stories and made-up chants, too!
Sue Hendra is an incredible writer-illustrator of storybooks. Her vivid illustrations and heart-warming stories make her books a storytime staple! Your toddlers will surely fall in love with her adorable characters. c”,)
Lois Ehlert is another talented writer-illustrator whose vibrant drawings are a great springboard for teaching colors and art to your toddler. c”,) Her use of contrasts and shapes are so striking! Among all her books, we love Planting A Rainbow and Eating the Alphabet the most. Her bold use of colors make her picture books come to life!
I chanced upon Sam Lloyd’s puppet books at Book Sale. I initially got a couple. Weeks later they had stocks of the other puppet books! So yes, it pays to visit regularly. c”,) We had tons of fun reading these books using different voices!
Actually, it was just me changing voices to capture my then toddler’s attention. Haha! At some point, Timmy slept with these puppets all lined up beside him! So adorable! Any form of puppet books are great storytime partners!
Books on love
You can never go wrong with books about love. c”,) The toddler stage is the season of discipline as well and a time for our kids to be affirmed how much we love them all the more. Stories on God’s love, your love for them as parents, and sibling love can help reinforce this during story time! Books on love also help our children become more expressive of their love for us and other people!
Books about characters or things they love
When Timmy became fascinated with trains, particularly Thomas the Tank Engine, my first instinct was to get him the books! Haha! I took advantage of his interest in trains and got him Thomas readers to further ignite his curiosity! c”,) Keep in mind that love for reading is fueled when they find it enjoyable. So leverage their favorite characters and read them together. c”,)
I hope you enjoyed our book recommendations! You can also check my previous blog on books for babies. c”,) Some of my book recommendations there overlap with the toddler age so there’s plenty to choose from! Watch out for my next blog on our favorite Filipino books and our storytime staples for preschoolers and early readers! Bye for now!