Board books were an essential aspect of my kids’ childhoods. I cherish the moments I sat reading to them in a rocking chair from the time they were infants. I still have many of these books because I cannot let go of them, even though my kids have outgrown them. Whether you have a child ages 0-5 or may need to buy a gift for someone who does, this list can help you brighten a child’s day and foster his love of reading!
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. It is one of my all-time favorite read out loud books. I love the repetition of the text and the onomatopoeia, which will prompt kids to "read" right along with you. Every child needs to experience this book!
The Barnyard Dance. This book reads like a song, making it easy for babies to stay engaged. The sing-song flow invites children to sing along.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? The simple, textured pictures and rhythmic repetition makes this book beneficial for many reasons. It teaches colors and animals. Each page anticipates what is on the next one, so you can invite your child to “guess” what is next. He will learn quickly, and love being right! Another benefit of this book is that a child will be able to “read” it on his own quickly—at least he thinks he is reading it.
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. Who doesn’t love this book? It follows a formula like many of the others, but young children love formulaic books because they can anticipate and participate. You can’t have too many of them. This book also teaches some basic subtraction or counting backwards. My favorite lesson though: Listen to your mom!
But Not the Hippopotamus. This book is written in simple poetic form with rhyming couplets. It is an ideal time to discuss rhyming words and practice identifying them. The phrase “But not the hippopotamus” comes up periodically. A child will learn to identify when and should be encouraged to say the phrase as a way to participate in the reading.
My First Word: Touch and Feel. I love all DK books because of their wonderful, vibrant pictures. This interactive book also incorporates textures, such as fleece, fur, crinkly, and sandpaper for the child to experience and identify. There are pictures of everyday items based on theme. I used to point to the pictures and say the word. Later, I pointed to the picture and asked them to identify it. Finally, I would say a word, and they had to find it on the page.
Count with Tigger! There is a special place in my heart for this book. When my son was an infant, he was fascinated by the numbers. They were small on the page, but it was all he was interested in. He somehow knew they were different than the other items on the page. Similarly, he pointed out page numbers on other books well before he identified pictures or letters. He did not talk until he was 3 years old, BUT he knew how to count. Strange, isn’t it? Now he is exceptional in math. Anyway, this book is conducive to counting together.
Moo, Baa, LA LA LA! I used a couple different books with animal sounds, which I definitely recommend having on hand, especially as the child gets older. Animal sounds are some of the first purposeful sounds my kids made. This particular book though is a good board book because it is just a few basic farm and household animals.
The books above were my personal favorites to read to my kids. There are two others that I did not use, but I see them on just about every favorite list. They are worth mentioning.
Goodnight Moon. This popular book is often used, as its title might suggest, at bedtime.
Pat the Bunny. I wish I had come across this book when my kids were younger. It is a sweet, interactive book with lots of textures to touch.
Many of these titles are also available as regular books. I recommend board books for kids 2-3 years old and under (depending on their maturity). Board books are more durable and easier for small children to use. I could trust them in their beds as toddlers at naptime. Sometimes regular books did not make it through naptime in one piece! Those are my Top 10 Board Books. What are your favorites?