A list of 10 books every child should read (ages 0-3). If you are looking to build a home library for your child or grandchild this list is a perfect place to start!
Books are one of the best ways we can engage with and teach our children at any age. But what books are worth reading? Better yet what books are worth owning? Building a home library is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children (or grandchildren)! This blog goes over 10 Books Every Child Should Read (Ages 0-3). I will post more booklists for other ages later! All of the books on this list are beautifully written, lavishly illustrated, and worth their weight in gold.
I fully believe that every children’s book worth reading should engage audiences of all ages. If a book doesn’t impress the parent, it probably won’t impress the child. The greatest children’s authors are those who write to children as though they are the most important audience in the world- because they are! Many of the books on this list were chosen from a collection of books by the Author and Illustrator, and I would highly encourage you to seek out their other works also!
Why read to our littles before they can talk?
Most of you probably read to your child before they could talk without even second guessing it. It tends to just come with the territory, but did you know reading to you child has huge benefits? Yes, even before they can talk. In fact, the very presence of books in the home increases a child’s academic success, vocabulary development, attention, and job attainment. (source: JCFS- Chicago)
Reading to your child for a mere 20 minutes a day means they will hear approximately 1.8 million words more per year. Imagine the impact that will have on their vocabulary? Language development begins before a child can actually speak. Reading to your baby encourages bonding, an early love of books, language and vocabulary development. Jim Trelease has an amazing book, The Read Aloud Handbook, that outlines the benefits of reading to your children from birth. The studies and data shared in this book are amazing and should encourage every Mama to read to their children for life long success!
About the Links in this blog
The Amazon links inside of this blog are Affiliate links. As an Amazon Affiliate, I make a small commission off of every purchase through the links in this site. It doesn’t cost you any extra, but it does help out our family! All that being said, there may be cheaper online options, so unless you are just looking to bless our family- you may want to price compare!
Top 10 Books Every Child Should Read
1. On the Night You Were Born
I love anything by Nancy Tillman, but On the Night You Were Born will always have a special place in my heart. I picked this book up on a whim right before I had my first baby. It is usually the first book I read them- usually over sealed shut eyes and rooting lips. I know they wont remember that moment, but I will!
On the Night You Were Born gives a glimpse into the world and the wonder that filled the air because of their arrival! “Heaven blew every trumpet, and played every horn on the wonderful, marvelous night you were born!”
2. We’re Going on A Bear Hunt
I cannot put into words how much we love this book! This book is written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. If you have a list of authors and illustrators that you tend to watch for, add Helen Oxenbury to this list! She has illustrated books like The Giant Jumperee, Beatrix Potter’s Little Red Riding Hood, Time Now to Dream, and many more!
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is exactly what it sounds like. It is a father and his children embarking on an adventure to find a bear. It is a repetitious book that will leave your children chanting “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt; we’re going to catch a big one! We’re not scared!” over and over. Especially when you go hiking! It’s fun and engaging for the whole family, and full of excitement and suspense for the little ones!
3. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Most of you probably remember this book from when you were a child! This was the first book Isaiah ever memorized. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a classic! Everything by Eric Carle is a classic! In fact, it was hard to choose just one of his books to add to this list.
If you’ve never read The Very Hungry Caterpillar, then you should, even if you don’t have a child to read it to! Its colorful pages detail the life of a caterpillar from a little egg on a leaf all the way to a great big butterfly. All the while munching on everything in between! Eric Carle actually came up with this book idea while playing with a hole punch on some paper. The book is filled with little holes where the caterpillar has munched through, but he is still hungry!
This book is a fun way to introduce the idea of metamorphosis. Your children may also begin to befriend the caterpillars in your own yard- what’s sweeter than that!
4. Frog and Toad: Storybook Favorites
Frog and Toad is another classic! This story revolves around two friends (I’ll let you guess who they are) enjoying life and the changing seasons together. There are small lessons of kindness, friendship, courage, and patience hidden all throughout these simple stories. And you children will find plenty of laughs along the way too! This is a perfect book to curl up and read together on a rainy afternoon!
Frog and Toad stories can often feel long since there are about 5 stories to each ‘book’. These can be read all in one sitting or shortened if the audience is antsy! This makes it perfect for our 0-3 ages since you can get a full story in a couple of pages without actually finishing it in its entirety. As they grow and start to develop longer attention spans, they will sit longer and longer to hear more of the story read at once.
5. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Anything by Dr. Suess is a hit in our house! I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew is our personal favorite but a bit long for this age group! One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish is a simple, fun read. The rhyming and rhythm tend to keep small audiences engaged.
Our first year of homeschooling curriculum had a ton of games and activities designed to teach children to rhyme. I had honestly never thought about teaching children to rhyme; I just assumed they knew how- kind of like a factory setting. (That was a joke, in case you were wondering.) I quizzed my kids to see if they knew how to rhyme, and they did. I credit Dr. Suess with that. We’ve read rhyming books all their lives, especially Dr. Suess books!
6. Read Aloud Bible Stories
Of course, I’m going to add a child’s Bible story to this list! This is an Aiming Arrows blog after all! I first found this book on another booklist and decided to give it a go, and my kids have loved it. This book is written to introduce Bible stories to little ones. They are short, simple, and easy for small one to understand.
There are four volumes of Read Aloud Bible Stories, Vol. 1 includes: The Man Who Was Too Little, The Man Who Couldn’t See, The Boys and Girls and Jesus, The Wind that Obeyed, and The Man Who Said ‘Thank You’.
7. A Child’s Garden of Verses
Robert Louis Stevenson’s collection of poems, “A Child’s Garden of Verses,” is nothing short of profound. Stevenson’s own childhood was marred by sickness and time spent in bed, but his mother and his nurse worked tirelessly to see to it that his imagination flourished. Though he only lived to 44, Stevenson wrote many wondrous works (like Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde) that spark the fantasy and sense of adventure in all of his readers.
A Child’s Garden of Verses is no exception. This book is filled with short poems that transport readers to far off lands and simpler times. It may even spark some memories of your own childhood when your bed was a boat and the streetlights hung their hats like stars just outside your window.
8. The Story of Ferdinand
If you haven’t heard of Ferdinand, the gentle bull, then you need to get your hands on this book! The first time my kids enjoyed this story was with their Dad. I listened to their laughter and boisterous commotion as they read in secret jealousy. The next day when they insisted I read it to them; I didn’t hesitate. We sat on a blanket in the back yard enjoying every single page.
The Story of Ferdinand revolves around- you guessed it- Ferdinand, the peaceful bull. He spends his days sniffing the flowers while the other bulls butt heads and fight. But Ferdinand doesn’t fight; he has no desire to. Until a group of men searching for the fiercest bull in the land spy him slashing about because of a bee. And just like that Ferdinand is off to face the mighty matador in Spain! So, what will happen to our gentle giant? I guess you’ll have to read to fund out!
9. Otis and the Kittens
The Otis books by Loren Long are brilliantly written, and filled with great vocabulary and suspense. Otis the tractor is a kind friend and he loves the work that comes along with busy farm life. When a fire engulfs the barn by night with the barn kittens trapped inside- only Otis can save them!
Every single one of the Otis books is phenomenal! In fact Otis and the Scarecrow is my personal favorite for the sweet lesson hidden underneath the story, but my kids chose Otis and the Kittens as their favorite!
10. Read to Tiger
This was perhaps Isaiah’s first favorite book. Many nights I have went to bed hoarse after yelling, “TIGER, NOOOO”, to the great laughs and applause of sleepy babies. A young boy whose only desire is to read in peace and quiet is constantly interrupted by a playful Tiger. (Mamas, you probably know that feeling!) Read to Tiger is funny, engaging, and encourages everyone to enjoy a good book!
A Read Aloud Family Culture
Creating a home library or inviting wonderful books into your home is a step one, but the real magic comes when you open them up and share them together. Whether you are the type of Mama who reads with full emotion and gives every character an individual voice or the type to simply snuggle up and read softly, just read to them. Create a home culture of read-alouds and swapped stories. Laugh about them around the dinner table, chant repetitive lines together in normal day-to-day life, and create a joy and a love around reading together.
Stories are written to be told and nothing beats sharing them with the ones you love most! So craft a culture of real-alouds and books in your home. If you can’t afford to buy books- I have fantastic news for you- your local library is bursting at the seams with them! Grab our free printable of this list here and take it with you on your next library day or when you shop at your local thrift stores!