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A list of 11 Board Books for kids that babies and toddlers will love! Also included: a summary of why each recommended book is valuable in its own regard.

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While growing up in India, I had never seen a board book for babies, let alone read to kids around. We had bedtime grandma stories, a lot of them, but books for children under three years? Unheard of! 

Today, my son and niece are both less than three years old. And, if I say that more than half of the spending (read splurging) for them, was on books – it wouldn’t be an exaggeration!

Both of them love their books so much that at one point, I indulged in writing one myself! I promise to get back to it and wrap it up someday. Sharing below a couple of rough illustrations with you from my humble book attempt. However, this post is far from plugging my little effort. It is about our favorite Board books for babies and toddlers. So let’s dive right into Board Books!

Affiliate Disclosure: “This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using the links in this post.”


My Humble effort at Writing a Board Book – A Work in Progress

What is a Board Book? 

A board book is made with paperboard instead of pages. They target the age group of 0-3 years old. Therefore, the pages are sturdy, chew-resistant and fall resistant! Also, these pages are convenient for a baby or a toddler to turn while they are still developing fine-motor skills. 

Most of the good board books have excellent, big, and colorful illustrations to engage your little one.

Why Read to our Babies? 

Even though babies might be more interested in chewing the book away, reading to them can be helpful in four ways below:

(a) The illustrations in Board Books can engage your child for a good while.
(b) They are not as expensive as toys, so you can add a variety and buy/rent more of them. 
(c) Books being compact can come handy during travel. For more travel tips, please visit my post on traveling with a toddler.
(d) If you’re tired yourself, reading to the child is a less strenuous activity.

As a bonus, they may also inculcate a habit of reading in a child in the long run.

5 Tips for Reading with your Child


(a) Start Early – For us, when our son turned six months, he started responding well to books. However, we started reading soft books way earlier.


(b) Be Patient – Like everything with a child, patience rewards. Keep reading and one day you may see him choosing what to read (and not to read)!


(c) Be Engaging – This tip is a no-brainer! Who likes monotonous story telling? Kids love weird sounds, rhyming, singing, enacting! I bring those in when I sense I might loose his attention. 


(d) Ask questions – Many Board books have an animal, moon or a person which is small and in the background or moving with every page turn. Look out for those and ask them to spot. Kids usually love being challenged. 


(e) Repeat  – A book might take three to four reads before your child starts liking it. So, please give it a few chances before you discard it!



What is the right age to start reading? 

There is no right or wrong age to read to your child. They say that when the child is in a womb it is a good place to start reading to her! The earlier you start, the more convenient and fun it can be. Our son started enjoying being read to when he was six-months-old. We have books that have been chewed, torn, traveled, and hugged. 

We never read to our son with a goal that he becomes an avid reader. If he does, we will certainly be glad. What I do like about reading to him though, is the engagement, connect, and fun that we have!


For How long should we read to our children? 

Too much of anything can hurt, so we usually don’t keep our reading sessions too long; probably close to 20 minutes is a good enough duration. A few obvious things which I keep in mind are: to have the room well lit and sit upright not to strain the eyes. Although the illustrations are usually large in the board books for kids, it is good to have those little eyes relaxed.  

Is it better to buy or rent/loan books from a library?

To each her own with this one. If you can afford and have space to store them, I would recommend purchasing a few classics to keep, treasure, and possibly travel with you!

1. The Pout-Pout Fish

If your child has been to an aquarium she will love this book. If not, she might love it more; because it is a refreshing change from the zoo or farm animals or dinosaurs! It is about a gloomy fish which journeys from being sad to being happy!

What do we love about the book?

It is one of those books which teaches parents and kids alike! It has a good lesson and you might get a kiss from your child by the end of it. It brightens the mood and can make your child burst into laughter because it has a phrase “Bluuub” repeating over and over! Say it in different ways and enjoy the little one giggle!

2. Giraffes Can’t dance

“Giraffes can’t dance” is our absolute favorite! The book’s title is powerful especially because of the word “can’t”. At some point we all feel that we “can’t” achieve something.  The book is about how a giraffe understands that he can dance provided the music is his! Profound message; we can all dance once we figure out our music. Everytime we read this book it uplifts our mood. 

What do we love about the book?

It addresses the fears which your child might get sooner than later – the fear to fail. The book addresses how to overcome your fear. Moreover, the illustrations are beautiful. Again, lots of animals: small and big ones for your child to spot and remain engaged. Any such book with tiny animals spread out can keep them tuned for longer! 

3. Dear Zoo

“Dear Zoo” is a flap book with one animal on each page and talks about what is particular about that animal and if you can keep them as a pet! All flap books have an edge over others because the kids can participate by lifting the flaps. 

What do we love about the book?

Kids love peak-a-boo, right? They love being challenged a little, right? They love animals, right? This book has all of the above! Ticks all the good boxes. That’s why we love it and your little one might too. 

4. Goodnight Moon

There are certain classics for which I feel humbled to write anything about. “Goodnight Moon” is one of that great books! There are high chances that your little one already has it. The book says Good night to everything in the room as you turn pages. After having said Good night to everything from a brush to socks, the book says “Good night Nobody!” –  A masterpiece of a book! Highly recommended. 

What do we love about the book?

This board book is engaging on many levels – rhymes well, the moon travels through the pages; ask the kid to observe it. On the “observing” note, this small book has so much to offer – from a tiny mouse to bear paintings that you can read it to your child ad infinitum

5. Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes …

This isn’t a book which we read now, but when our son was 6-months old until he turned 18 months, we loved reading it to him. Each page has a large illustration of babies pointing to body parts.  

What do we love about the book?

The book has large illustrations of kids, talking about body parts. While reading this book,  you can enact and sing it too! For babies, this is a great have! Kids that young are already intrigued with their hands and feet, putting them in their mouth that they will love when you read it to them. 

6. The Very Hungry Caterpillar


A classic again where a caterpillar eats different foods and metamorphoses into a beautiful butterfly. Eric Carle’s illustrations are big, very colorful and bright. I think that is one reason his books keep the children engaged. Only small note that I have about this book, is that it had less of a repeat value. It could be just us but we never could read it in a loop in one sitting but we read it often every few days. That is why I had to mention it! 

What do we love about the book? 

If you’ve a picky eater, read and offer food – it worked for us a couple of times! This is one purpose that this book can certainly serve. As I mentioned above, the illustrations are the best – colorful, bright and big! The book has a build up to it in the form of the transformation of the caterpillar; which is again a great thing to have in a book. 


7. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?  

Another Eric Carle Book which had to find a place in our list of favorite Board Books for Kids is “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do you See?”. Although my son’s interest in this book has faded now, he simply loved it until he turned one. The book has large illustrations of animals with great colors on every page.  

What do we love about the book? 

This book is a good way to introduce colors to your child. It has a thread through the book where one can memorize the sequence of animals that one sees. It ends on a beautiful note with many kids’ faces appearing – brought a bright smile on my son’s face every time we read it! 


8.  Little Blue Truck

A truck demonstrates the value of helping others! There are two vehicles in the book and the blue truck models the behavior that we should look upto! Size-wise this is one of the bigger books so I find it a little difficult to carry it in handbags. Keeping that small glitch aside, the illustrations, the rhyming, the message – everything is stellar!

What do we love about the book?

Message – powerful yet simply stated. The farm animals come to the rescue of the kind truck. The truck shows that one must be kind and helpful to all regardless. Also, the book has a lot of animals with small ones hidden behind a tree or in the trunk – your child might love spotting them! So, this one can keep kids engaged for a long time.

9. The Going-to-Bed Book

Not liking Sandra Boynton’s book is not easy! But if I had to, I would choose “The Going-to-Bed Book”. Through the pages, a few animals do their night routine and rock to sleep! It is a perfect bed time book, along with another of Sandra Boynton’s: “Pajama Time.”

What do we love about the book?

Everything! The simple illustrations, the small size to carry in any small bag, the rhyming, serving the purpose of putting the child to sleep! And more. It is a must have!

10. Amazing Airplanes

This book isn’t an obvious choice when short-listing our favorite books. But the number of times we’ve read it makes it essential that I put it on the list! It explains the checking to boarding process to what happens in the flight that for a child, it is more of a primer to airplanes. 

What do we love about the book?

Among all the books on my list, this one has one focused purpose – prepare our son to fly/travel. And it serves that purpose very well! We take this book on any flight with our son and keep reading during checking, take off, landing, transit – and repeat! Again, highly recommended if you’r planning to fly or want to teach the kid about airplanes!

11.  Are You My Mother?

I saved our absolute favorite, “Are you my mother?” for the last. It is hands-down the top on our list of favorite board books for kids! A new-born bird looks for her mother and asks other animals/object if they were his mom! It is a book that guarantees a warm hug from my son in the end!

What do we love about the book?

It has a build-up where the bird is looking for her mom and ends on a high; when she finally meets her.  Try stopping your heart from melting. For this one, your child might ask for multiple reads. The illustrations are very simple and not busy. The book is small enough to fit in the smallest of handbags/diaper bag side pockets!

Other books which we love are “The big red Barn”, all the “Usborne Flap Books”, all of “Sandra Boynton’s books”. What are your child’s favorites? Please share with us!