Saturday, January 10, 2015

Ten on the 10th: Top 10 Children's Books for The Earliest Readers

Today's list is inspired by our squealing, wiggling, and book-loving 5 month old. Yes, it sounds crazy to say that he loves books already, but as you can see in the videos and pictures in this post, he really does seem to love looking at the pages and hearing our voices read to him. 

And as I mentioned in Thursday's #nelsendays post, the voting of these books was in fact determined by the amount of squeals and wiggles that occurred for each book with the exception of a few that I love and listed at the bottom of the post.

When Ryan was younger, we would prop him up on the center of the couch and watch his eyes move side to side like he was actually tracking what we read to him- ha!

But now that he's older, he loves to wiggle when I read, so I usually lay him down in his crib or on his changing table and let him wiggle and squeal while I read his seemingly favorite books.

Who knows if this apparent love of books will keep up or not, but this teacher-mama would be super happy if it did. :)

So without further adieu, here is our list of :

Hop On Pop-Up! by Dr. Seuss

I don't know if it's the pop-up pages or the sing-songy words, but this book is a for sure hit!

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
This book has a pull down flap on each page that shows the next surprise animal. It also rhymes and has good contrasting colors with a white background on each page. It's also the #1 Bestseller on Amazon in the "Children's Zoo Books" category- and there are a LOT! (And side-note, #3 on that list is one of the BEST books I ever aloud read to my classroom kids. Such a great story!)

LMNO Peas by Keith Baker
This book is so cute and fun to read! It goes through the alphabet and names the "peas" multiple professions for each letter. The illustrations are also really fun. This one gets lots of wiggles. :)
(I also found a companion book 1-2-3 Peas that I ordered... looks just as great!)

Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton
I love Sandra Boynton. Her books have a great sing-songy rhythm which make them fun to read and listen to. This one is a hit!

Dinosaur Shapes by Paul & Henrietta Stickland
This book is awesome. I'm really excited about reading it as Ryan gets older because there are so many math-related lessons in the pages. Each page asks a different thinking question, like the page that shows three different sized dinosaurs on three different sized squares and asks, "Who is on the biggest square?" It's also predominately primary colors on a white glossy background, so the illustrations really pop. I will definitely be checking out the other books by these authors!

On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman
Nancy Tillman's books are some of my all-time favorites. I love the message of this book that speaks truth about each baby being uniquely created for a purpose. And the way she writes the story in second person makes that message seem stronger and specific to your baby. And because the illustrations are so captivating, the story is a hit long before the words can make sense to a little one.

Amazon has a category called "Children's Bear Books" with hundreds on titles, and this sweet little book is the #1 bestseller at the very top of that list. It follows a simple pattern and has a song-like rhyme to the pages (I can't read it without making it sound like a song). We love this one!

Buzz, Buzz, Baby! by Karen Katz
My friend Andrea introduced me to Karen Katz's books and I haven't read one I didn't love! The colorful illustrations and lift-flap pages make the book extra fun to read and listen to. She also has books for various holidays (the Christmas one, a gift to Ryan from his Aunt Dre, is one of our favorites!)

My Little Picture Bible
Okay this book might be the best children's Bible I've ever seen. I don't think you can read it without being impressed by how simple and clear each Bible story is retold in kid-like language. Plus the illustrations are really impressive, so even though the pages are wordier than some of the other books we read, Ryan loves following along. In fact, you can see how much he loves it in the video below :)

I'd Know You Anywhere, MY LOVE by Nancy Tillman
Another Nancy Tillman book, but I had to include it. She is a seriously amazing writer. And those illustrations?! Turning the pages of this book is like walking through an art gallery. The message of this book is so sweet, detailing the way a parent knows her baby's every last feature. We have the board book version of On the Night You Were Born but I think I prefer the larger, hardback version of her books because the illustrations are that much prettier when they're larger.

Bonus Books:

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
This book makes me cry every time I read it. It's a little wordier and the illustrations aren't as vibrant as some of the other books I've mentioned, but the story itself is so sweet. My sister gave me this book before Ryan was born and it is one of my all-time favorites.

Baby Faces by DK Publishing
I've mentioned this book before, but this was (and still is) one of Ryan's first favorite books. Early on, it was the only book that he would consistently "talk" to when we read.

Black on White by Tana Hoban
This is a great first book as well. There are no words on the pages, but the contrast of the black images on the white pages is perfect for even the first couple of weeks when dark contrasts are the only things that babies seem to really focus on. For a list of other great contrast books, click here.

Guess How Much I love You (crinkle version)
Okay this is less about the story and more about how much fun crinkle books are. These are great for the car! I think every baby should have one- Ryan can be entertained for a long time shoving this book in his mouth over and over again. See for yourself:

Jesus Loves Me by Tim Warnes
I love the illustrations and gold-rimmed pages of this book. We sing Jesus Loves Me before nap time each day, but I only ever knew the first verse before this book (apparently there are three verses). So this book helps me practice the rest of the verses ;) and has served as a good transition to naps for us. The illustrations are really sweet too!

So there you have it. Hopefully you found a new book to check out for your little one or purchase for your next shower! Oh, and on that note, one of my favorite parts of one of my baby showers was having all of the guests write a note to Ryan in a baby book instead of purchasing a card. It was a great way to build his little library and a lot of times, buying a little board board costs even less than a card! Now I always pick up a book as my "card" for a baby shower. Just a idea!

I'd love to hear what YOUR favorite children's books are! Leave me a comment below or email me at Thanks friends!

You can check out previous Ten on the 10th posts here.



  1. Good Night Gorilla (Peggy Rathmann) - to the point of falling apart! All 4 loved this one. Boys loved Freight Trail (Donald Crews) - again, to the point of falling apart. Various Eric Carle books, We're Going On A Bear Hunt, Runaway Bunny, 5 Little Monkeys, Harold and the Purple Crayon, Owl Babies - to the point of falling apart, Hand Hand Fingers Thumb (Suess), There's a Wocket in my Pocket (Suess), Mr. Brown Can Moo (Suess), and so many more! What great memories and my kids still love to read, especially Jackson.

  2. Oh and that video is about the cutest thing I have seen! Love it!

  3. My girls loved The Going to Bed Book, Runaway Bunny and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane! Lynn

  4. Aw heather you are just so so sweet! Does your library have a "1000 before Kindergarten" program? You just log what you read, trying to hit 1000 books before K. Anyway, love that you're already reading to him!!

  5. (And, it's been awhile for me since baby books 😉. I have good toddler / preschooler recs 😉)

  6. These are some of our favorites too! And you had a few I hadn't heard of... I will have to check them out! :)

  7. Great list! Some of these titles I've never heard of! I'll have to check them out.

  8. This is a great list. I have a 5 month old too, and a lot of these are our favorites. We had a book shower, and we asked that everyone brought a book instead of a card, and it was the best thing ever!