Though Julie Andrews taught us that the very beginning, is, in fact, a very good place to start, it seems silly to start a required reading list here. So much of our opinions about the best books to read as a baby are steeped (heavily) in nostalgia. And in fact, babies cannot read. Thus, this list is more about the idea that these are the books that will last. Reading titles repeatedly is a habit that small children get into. Parents roll their eyes, but this repetition is essential. It lays the foundation for reading. Believe that of the titles I read repeatedly when I was little, I can still remember certain lines.
Each, peach, pear, plum, I spy Tom Thumb. Tom Thumb gone a-hunting, I spy Baby Bunting.
In an old house in Paris, that was covered with vines, lived twelve little girls, in two straight lines.
I bet half of you knew those too.
Reading at this age is all about establishing habits and concepts of print. That’s a fancy term for things you take for granted that you know–like that you read from left to right, books have covers, and that words have spaces in between them. You want your kid to know these so that when the time comes, he’s ready to hold books the right way on his own. And you want him to understand that reading is something worth making time for, something that can be enjoyable, and something that brings people close together.
Links to my picks for this age group are for board books wherever possible, because though we’re establishing concepts of print, little ones have yet to learn that pages aren’t for tearing.
Each Peach Pear Plum, by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
Moo, Baa, La La La, by Sandra Boynton
It’s a Little Book, by Lane Smith
A Good Day, by Kevin Henkes
Benny Bakes a Cake, by Eve Rice
Little Pea, by Amy Krause Rosenthal