A Guide to Infant-Toddler Children's Books

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Books for Infants and Toddlers

When setting up and outfitting your infant or toddler classroom, did you remember the books? Many teachers tend to overlook this important center, believing that infants and toddlers are too young to appreciate books or not gentle enough to treat the books with care or that infants and toddlers cannot sit still long enough to be read to from a picture book. The key is to provide books that are developmentally appropriate for the age and stage of the children in your care. Provide sturdy infant-toddler children’s books that these young children can explore on their own such as board books or bathtub books. Picture books with very little text are very appropriate for infants and toddlers.

Reading aloud to babies is a shared activity that can teach early communication and builds listening and vocabulary skills. Quiet one-on-one reading time can also be a time for a parent or caregiver and child to unwind from a hectic day. Providing a quiet activity for just one caregiver and child enhances bonding and can instill a lifelong love of reading.

Board Books

The most appropriate books to display in an infant and toddler classroom are board books. Fortunately, many popular picture book titles are now available in board book form for the youngest book fans to enjoy. Children can learn to turn pages without fear of tearing, and board books will stand up to many tiny probing fingers. Board books are also appropriate for transporting, a popular and favorite toddler activity. Be sure to include board books with bright photographs as well as other kinds of illustrations. Infants and toddlers enjoy looking at pictures of other babies and families as well as pictures of familiar household pets and objects. Infants and toddlers prefer bold colors and contrasting patterns, so looking for these things in board book illustrations will ensure that you are providing books that children will enjoy and use. Below is a list of appropriate board books to include in your classroom’s library:

  • My Big Animal Book by Roger Priddy
  • Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes by Annie Kubler
  • Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton
  • The Going To Bed Book by Sandra Boynton
  • Global Babies by the Global Fund for Children
  • Baby Signs by Joy Allen
  • ABC An Amazing Alphabet Book by Dr. Seuss
  • Look Look by Peter Linenthal
  • My Big Truck Book by Roger Priddy
  • Big Dog and Little Dog Going For A Walk by Dav Pilkey


One-on-one reading time is extremely important for infants and toddlers. It gives caregiver and child a chance to bond, and infants and toddlers thrive on one-on-one attention. In a classroom situation, be sure to provide yourself with some space in your lesson plan to give each child a few minutes of one-on-one time each day. While it is true that many toddlers do not have the attention span to sit still through an entire picture book reading, there are several books available with engaging illustrations and spare use of text that toddlers will love. Below is a list of infant toddler children’s books that are appropriate read-aloud material:

  • Kiss Good Night by Amy Hest and Anita Jeram
  • Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
  • Goose on the Loose by Phil Roxbee Cox
  • Doggies by Sandra Boynton
  • Yummy Yucky by Leslie Patricelli
  • But Not The Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton
  • Goodnight, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
  • Ten Little Fingers by Annie Kubler
  • The Very Hungry Catepillar by Eric Carle
  • Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt

Providing high quality infant-toddler children’s books will help instill a lifelong love of learning in even the youngest children. Including board books as well as read alouds with appropriate text length in your infant toddler classroom will enhance your daily plan as well as provide you with important one on one bonding time with each child in your care.


  • “Infants, Toddlers, and Caregivers”; Janet Gonzalez-Mena and Dianne Widmeyer Eyer; 1992