Are you wondering how to start a toddler’s library for your home or daycare? Read on for tips about creating a home library for your child as well as a list of the popular toddler books and authors to include in a toddler library.
Giving children a firm foundation in reading is essential for their success in school.
When you start your toddler off with engaging books that capture his interest and teach him about the world around him, you help to foster an interest and appreciation in books and set your child on track for a life-long love of reading.
But, how do you go about creating a home library, filled with books that your child loves, without breaking the bank?
How to Start a Toddler’s Library
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I asked the HH Facebook community that question, and as always, they came through with lots of great advice for starting a home library for a toddler. They suggested book titles that young children love, ways to save money as you build your home library, and tips for making sure your books last.
So, before you spend a dime, you’ll want to read these tips from parents who have been there.
What kind of books are best for a toddler’s home library?
Durability is key when it comes to building a library for toddlers, so it’s no surprise that so many of our readers agreed.
“Get Cardboard books,” said Kelly B. “They are the most durable when it comes to toddlers!
Touch and Feel books that offer a sensory experience are wonderful. Check out the “That’s Not My…” collection by Fiona Watts. These books are terrific textures for little hands to explore.
Repetitive text and colourful illustrations will intrigue young children.
Make sure your library includes books that are sized for little hands. That way your child will be able to explore them independently.
Allow your child to turn the pages, carry the books around, and engage with them. Uno D. said,
You’ll find that you have far more engaged readers if you let them handle the books.
Appeal to Your Toddler’s Interests
There are countless classic books for toddlers and plenty of new treasures to add to your toddler’s library, but the key is to include books that appeal to your child’s personal interests.
With so many toddler board books being published each year, the possibilities are endless. Here are some of our readers’ favourite titles and must-haves to include in your toddler library.
Must-Have Titles for a Toddler’s Home Library
The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
This classic will delight children as the main character, a Very Hungry Caterpillar “literally eats his way through the pages of the book”.
The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson
In this beloved tale, a fearful mouse invents a monster to fend off animals who want to eat him as he wanders through the forest.
Pete the Cat – Eric Litwin and James Dean
He’s the coolest cat around, groovin’ and movin’ and singing silly songs. His upbeat nature teaches kids to go with the flow and adapt to whatever challenges life throws at them. There are over 60 stories in the Pete the Cat series.
Pat the Bunny – Dorothy Kunhardt
Pat the Bunny isn’t a traditional story-book, but a wonderful touch and feel book with pull-tabs and textured pages for little hands to explore. A classic for decades, this book is a must-have for every toddler library.
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie – Laura Numeroff
What happens when you give a mouse a cookie? A whirl-wind of activity ensues! No child’s library is complete without at least one of Laura Numeroff’s classics in it.
If You Give a Moose a Muffin – Laura Numeroff
This sequel to “When you Give a Mouse a Cookie” is just as entertaining as its prequel.
If You Give a Pig a Pancake – Laura Numeroff
Like the previous two titles, this third by Numeroff will delight both children and adults alike.
You Are Special – Max Lucado
A heartwarming tale that teaches children that they are unique and created exactly as they are for a reason. Touching and beautifully illustrated, you’ll cherish this story for years.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom – Bill Martin Jr.
Vibrant colours, a lively rhyme, and some adventurous lowercase letters captivate and educate in this timeless classic.
Go, Dog, Go! – P.D. Eastman
It’s fast-paced, action-packed and downright silly. This condensed board-book version of Go, Dog, Go! is perfect for babies and toddlers.
Bear Feels Scared – Karma Wilson
The Bear Books are sweet stories about friendship. Beautifully illustrated, they are just the perfect length to hold a young child’s attention.
The Snowy Day – Ezra Keats
Read and loved by millions for decades, The Snowy Day perfectly captures the magic of a little boy’s first snowfall. This ground-breaking award winner deserves a special spot on every toddler’s bookshelf.
Over in the Meadow – Olive Wadsworth
“Over in the meadow in the sand in the sun, lived an old mother turtle and her little turtle one.” For generations, children have learned to count with this classic rhyme. Animal families, numbers and beautiful illustrations make this timeless favourite a must for every child’s home library.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt – Helen Oxenbury & Michael Rosen
Commonly sung as a summer camp chant, this adventurous tale is easy for kids learn and recite due to the repetition of the text. Add in some hand actions for some extra fun!
No bookshelf is complete without a few from the Golden Books collection. Since 1942, Golden Books has published countless classics such as The Poky Little Puppy, Tawny Scrawny Lion, The Little Red Caboose, Saggy Baggy Elephant, I’m a Truck, I Am a Bunny, The Whispering Rabbit, and Katie the Kitten, to name just a few.
Short and sweet, this adorable rhyming board book series is perfect for toddlers. Longer versions of the stories are available in hardcover for older toddlers and preschoolers.
And last but not least, no toddler library is complete without some classics from Robert Munsch. Silly adventures, colourful illustrations and giggles galore are guaranteed. Kids AND Adults will want to read these hilarious tales over and over again.
Best Authors for Toddlers
INEXPENSIVE WAYS TO BUILD YOUR CHILD’S LIBRARY:
While building a toddler library is wonderful, it can be an expensive endeavor. Instead of purchasing your books all at once, space out your purchases, and look for creative ways to acquire new books.
“Ask that your child receives books for their birthday, instead of toys,” suggested reader Barb K.
Others agreed and suggested adding books to Christmas or holiday wish lists, too.
Getting books from secondhand shops, thrift stores, yard sales, and flea markets is also a great option for saving money. Just be sure, when buying used books, that they can be wiped down first if your child is likely to put them in his mouth!
Remember that no matter how many books your toddler’s library has, nothing can replace the joy he’ll get from snuggling and bonding with you as you read together.
Make book exploration and reading the most exciting part of the day! Let him see you reading your favorite books and be the example that your child needs. Show him that reading is a fun experience and you will both love it and continue to read together for years.
More Book Recommendations for Your Family:
23 Great Books For Moms to Read This Summer (printable list)
Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.