toddler reading - image shows a toddler reading a book at a table

12 Top Book Recommendations For Babies and Toddlers

We love reading books with our babies and toddlers! There’s something magical about introducing our little ones to the joy of stories. From black and white pictures in board books to heart-warming stories, there are books for each stage of your baby’s development.

If you want to introduce your little ones to books in a fun and engaging way, then we really recommend checking out a stories and reading baby class! They’re a really popular category over on Happity.

Here is a list of books that we, Team Happity, love reading with our little ones.

For Baby’s First Library (0-12 months):

This is an exciting stage, even if your baby is too young to seem to respond to the words and pictures, they will benefit from hearing your voice reading the words and rhymes on the page. Looking at pictures, from black and white images in your first book to bright illustrations of books for older babies, this will be a great way to get your babies into a love of reading. We recommend board books at this stage, as these are hardy and can stand up to being grabbed by little eager hands!

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney: A heartwarming tale of expressing love, perfect for those cuddle-filled moments.

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell: Lift-the-flap fun that engages little hands and introduces basic concepts like colours and animals.

My son loves Dear Zoo, we’re taking him to the theatre to see it too!

Kate, Team Happity

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown: A classic bedtime story with soothing rhythms, making it a perfect addition to the bedtime routine.

Toddler Treasures (1-2 years):

Undeniably, It’s great to find recommendations of books when your children are transitioning from babies to toddlers. Now your little one will be interacting with you a lot more, you can ask them about the things they can see in the book, the colours they can see and enjoy repetition and rhythm. Lift the flap books are great fun to share too!  

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Guess What? Fruit by Yusuke Yonezu: Pictures of different fruits transform into animals with lift-the-flaps in this interactive book.

This was one of our faves…it was gifted to us by a friend – my daughter could ‘read’ this book at around 11-12 months old by signing all the animals!

Sara, Team Happity

Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill: Join Spot on a lift-the-flap adventure, encouraging interactive reading and discovery.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle: Explore days of the week and counting with this beautifully illustrated classic.

Terrific Twos (2-3 years):

babies and toddlers books - images shows toddlers reading.

At this age your little one will be able to describe what they can see, and might enjoy joining in repeated rhymes in stories. Maybe you’ll both know some parts of their favourite book off by heart!  They are probably moving on from those initial books for babies and onto toddlers/children’s books.

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson: A whimsical tale of friendship and teamwork with enchanting rhymes.

We love all of the Julia Donaldson books, especially Room on the Broom. My daughter likes to pick up objects that look a bit like brooms so she can fly around like the witch!

Helen, Team Happity

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen: Join the adventure through tall grass and squelchy mud in this fun story with repetitive text.

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson: A clever mouse meets various animals in the deep, dark wood in this charming and clever tale.

Thriving Threes (3-4 years):

At three your little one will be telling you about their favourite characters in a more articulate way. Keeping this in mind, they will enjoy talking about what is happening in the story and how the characters are feeling, as you share stories together.

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell: A gentle story about three owl siblings awaiting their mother’s return, perfect for comforting bedtime reading.

Owl Babies is a big favourite in our house, I think all children can empathise with those feelings of separation anxiety and the relief when mummy finally returns! The drawings are lovely too.

Lisa K, Team Happity

Stick Man by Julia Donaldson: Follow Stick Man on his adventurous journey, encountering various obstacles along the way.

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The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr: Join Sophie and her unexpected guest for a delightful tea-time tale.

Time to get reading!

Following our list, we hope you and your little ones enjoy these stories as much as we did. These titles will make a perfect addition to your little one’s library. Without a doubt, we enjoy rereading classics that we loved as children, as well as discovering new gems together, and seeing our baby or toddler’s enjoyment makes it extra special.

If you’re looking for something free (and you don’t mind exploring the slightly unfamiliar),then try having a quick Google search for free stories for children. There are sites like Storyberries that offer free stories with the hope of encouraging a culture of reading in families

So, grab a cosy blanket, get comfy and get reading!

Want to get out and about, have fun with your baby or toddler, and meet other parents?

Search Happity to find everything that’s happening for the under-5’s in your local area – from music and singing classes, to messy play, arts and crafts, baby massage, gymnastics and more. Simply enter your postcode and child’s age to search, and then book your spot in a few taps. Enjoy dedicated fun time with your little one, watch their skills develop, and make friends at the same time. Mums, dads, grandparents and carers will all find something to love!

Find a class today!

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Helen Holding

Helen Holding

Happity's Growth Marketing Assistant. Helen works hard to get more classes around the UK onto Happity, connecting more parents with activity providers every week. Mum of one beautiful daughter, Lyra. When she's not working she is usually enjoying toddler classes with Lyra. Their current favourites are toddler gymnastics and Forest School!