If there is anything a young kid will like, it's routine and repetition. The same games, the same shows, the same movies, the same books — and it's all an essential part of their development, no matter how crazy it may drive you.
However, if you're looking for some new books to add to your nightly bedtime story lineup, and you just can't read Goodnight, Moon or Dr. Seuss yet another time, try presenting your two-year-old with one of these toddler-approved books.
From classic reads to bestseller favorites, these books are sure to offer an excellent time that will teach the entire family something. Here are 17 of our favorite books for you and your young one to snuggle up with at the end of a long day, all available on Amazon.
Best Classic Books for Two-Year-Olds
You just can't beat a classic when it comes to children's literature. Here are some excellent storybooks to share with your two-year-old toddler — some of which you may remember from your own childhood.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
You can find this book in just about every children's books section of any store, in any children's library and in any preschool or kindergarten classroom.
A great story based on science and nature, with whimsical illustrations and an easy-to-follow plotline, this book will become a quick favorite among your child's top picks.
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
Watch out — this favorite children's book may leave you a little weepy-eyed. The longstanding favorite for both adults and children alike, it features beautiful illustrations of a tiny rabbit and his dad as they talk about just how much they love each other.
You may find that this book is one that your children refer back to time and time again, well into adolescence and even adulthood.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
This classic is both educational and entertaining. If you're currently trying to teach your toddler their ABCs, it can help, as it introduces the individual letters climbing a coconut tree. The fun language and vibrant illustrations are just the icings on top of the cake.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
Two children's author greats come together with this classic book from Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle. Enjoy the bright colors and whimsical illustrations that your child might have enjoyed in The Very Hungry Caterpillar, as well as the fun language and repetitive nature that your child may have liked in Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.
Best New Books for Two-Year-Olds
Looking for something new that you maybe haven't heard of before? Check out one of these more recent books to add to your shelf.
Our World by Sue Lowell Gallion
This fantastic book is incredibly cool, and it has enough features that can remain entertaining for kids well out of their toddler years.
On one side, the toddler-friendly story talks about all things geography. On the other side, an adolescent-friendly text suitable for four-year-olds and up tells interesting facts about the earth and earth science. When you're done with the reading, you can turn the book into a globe.
You're My Little Baby by Eric Carle
Yes, this amazing children's book author and illustrator is still putting out gems: like his new book, You're My Little Baby. However, this book takes things a step further, beyond Carle's classic illustration style, with lots of fun things to touch and explore, like a fuzzy cloud and a mirror heart.
The Box Turtle by Vanessa Roeder
With its adorable illustrations, this unique story focuses on self-confidence and the joy of being different, as it follows a turtle born without a shell and its search for the perfect replacement.
No More Naps! by Chris Grabenstein
If you're looking for a new bedtime book, try this one from Chris Grabenstein. The fun book follows one toddler's refusal to take a nap — until she really, really wants one and then finds that nap time is no longer an option (maybe it's a sentiment you can relate to as a parent?).
Best Educational Books for Two-Year-Olds
All books are educational in some form or fashion, but some are more educational than others. Give your child a scholarly leg up with one of these books intended to teach two-year-olds necessary skills and concepts.
Little Chef by Melissa & Doug
The Melissa & Doug brand creates so many amazing products for children, like Montessori toys that teach real-world skills. When it comes to books, though, this option from Melissa & Doug is a winner in both education and keeping your child entertained when you don't have time to stop and read to them.
The fabric book (let's face it; those board books can be uncomfortable, especially when your little one decides to launch one across the room) features a range of parts and pieces, like zippers and buttons, that teach your child fine motor skills enjoyably. No parental guidance is required.
1, 2, 3 to the Zoo by Eric Carle
Again, Eric Carle wins with this book that — while not as well known as The Very Hungry Caterpillar or Chicka Chicka Boom Boom — is still sure to become a favorite on your child's bookshelf. An excellent tool for teaching numbers, it entirely focuses on counting versus text.
Freight Train by Donald Crews
If it's learning colors that your young reader is currently working on, go with this long-time favorite from the 90s. Perfect for kids who are crazy about trains, it's filled with fun illustrations that teach your child all of their colors. They'll have so much fun they won't even realize they're learning.
What Are Stars? by Katie Daynes
Introduce your toddler to the concept of space without overwhelming them. The book's interactive elements will keep tiny fingers busy, whether or not you have the chance to sit down and read with them right at the moment.
Escargot by Dashka Slater and Sydney Hanson
Sometimes your child's education can be broken down into very, very simple things — like learning that not all vegetables are bad. Let a delightful French snail take them on this particular educational journey.
Hello, Hello by Brendan Wenzel
If your toddler has their farm animals down pat, move on to more exotic animals, from toucans to chameleons, with this book filled with lovely illustrations that accurately portray texture and patterns.
Best Currently Relevant Books for Two-Year-Olds
There are many significant issues in the world right now, and trying to figure out some way to explain those issues to your child can be difficult.
Books can help.
Whether you're trying to raise a child who's appreciative of other cultures, a child who cares about the planet or just a straightforward good person, check out these children's books relevant to today's social and environmental climates.
Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers
This book is lauded as a top favorite for teaching your child about planet Earth and how we should protect it. It touches on far more than just recycling and other basics, though, and takes a broader look at our place in the universe and humanity.
The World Needs More Purple People by Kristen Bell and Benjamin Hart
This book from celeb mom Kristen Bell is a gentle reminder that it's what's inside that counts, not outward appearances or skin color. "Purple People" are the best kind of people in this book, as those are the people who are kind, unique and hardworking.
All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon
This simple, award-winning book emphasizes how important every part of the world is and how to appreciate it — from every person to every bit of nature. On a deeper level beyond the adorable illustrations and easy-to-follow storyline, the book impresses upon your child how to go about forming their values and what we ought to value most.
What to Look for When Shopping for Toddler Books
There are a few things you can look for when shopping for books for your toddler.
Firstly, keep your child's level in mind. Especially at the toddler stage, every child develops differently and on a different schedule. What level is your child? Just because a book is rated as suitable for two-year-olds, that doesn't necessarily mean it's perfect for your two-year-old. You may need something more simple or more complex to keep your child's attention.
Likewise, consider whether you want a book that will entertain your child on its own or one that will require you to sit down and read the book for them. There's nothing wrong with the latter, even if you want to encourage your child to begin learning their letters as soon as possible.
Reading with your child not only encourages literacy later in life but also helps strengthen the parent-child bond — not to mention, it can be a fun time for both of you.
In general, if you're shopping for toddler books, you want to look for something fun, with lots of illustrations (think picture books) and colors, and a simple story and language (rhyming is always a plus). Opt for something shorter, too, to better cater to your child's short attention span.
Tips for Reading with your Child
Want to make the most out of reading with your child? There are a few ways to ensure your child is getting the most out of the experience.
Encourage simple reading skills
While your child probably can't read just yet, and they may still be working on the alphabet, you can increase their likelihood of reading faster. Things like using your finger to point at each word in the book as you say it, sounding out words or pointing out various letters on the page are great ways to get started. There's no perfect book that will put them ahead of the other preschoolers, but starting with simple reading concepts now certainly can't hurt.
Let your child lead… for the most part
The last thing you want your reading with your child to do? Discourage them from reading in the future. That's why you want the experience to be fun and enjoyable.
As such, don't force reading on them and don't force them to read certain books just because you want them to (or rather, because you don't want to read the same book for the hundredth time that month). Let them lead the way and, if you want to ensure that they're getting enough variety in their reading diet, gently suggest another option, maybe as a second book to read after their current favorite.
Remember — every child is different, and every child learns to read at a different pace. Similarly, some children love to read, and others don't care for it quite so much. Some children will want to sit on your lap and read for hours, while others don't have the attention span.
Be patient with your child as they discover the wonderful world of reading — and even if you are reading the same book every day for a month, keep in mind that you're at least still reading, which is, at the end of the day, all that matters.
Need a Little Children's Book Shopping Help?
If you can't find the time for all of this book shopping, you may want to consider a children's book subscription. There are plenty of options available, all of which deliver exceptional children's books straight to your door regularly, so you always have something new and exciting to read.
Reading with Your Child Should Be a Joy, Not a Chore
Reading with your child is one of the great joys of parenting. If it's starting to feel like a chore, step back and find out why. Reading together is essential to developing your child's literacy skills and maintaining your relationship. Reading shouldn't be tossed aside just because you aren't in the mood or you're feeling too busy.
You might also like: The 37 Best Subscription Boxes for Kids (Ages 2-14)
The 17 Best Books For Two-Year-Olds:
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
- Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
- Our World by Sue Lowell Gallion
- You're My Little Baby by Eric Carle
- The Box Turtle by Vanessa Roeder
- No More Naps! by Chris Grabenstein
- Little Chef by Melissa & Doug
- 1, 2, 3 to the Zoo by Eric Carle
- Freight Train by Donald Crews
- What Are Stars? by Katie Daynes
- Escargot by Dashka Slater and Sydney Hanson
- Hello, Hello by Brendan Wenzel
- Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers
- The World Needs More Purple People by Kristen Bell and Benjamin Hart
- All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon