The Best Books for a 2-Year-Old Your Toddler will Love

Best Books for a 2-year-old! 50+ great picks
The Best Books for a 2-Year-Old Your Toddler will Love 50

It is crazy how fast your baby becomes a walking, talking toddler. Their vocabulary explodes as does their need to explore everything. What books are good for a 2-year-old? Storytime needs to be engaging and fun which is why we made a list of the best books for a 2-year-old.

Having raised 5 kids through this particular age, we are well-equipped to give suggestions for children with all kinds of book preferences. We’ve got suggestions for interactive picture books, board books for bedtime, and so many more suggestions to help you raise little readers.

Below, you’ll find lots of great stories divided by category. Many of the books for a 2-year-old have links to book lists with even more recommendations, so be sure to poke around.

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Table of Contents

How do you read with a 2-year-old?

Be patient and be sure to let your child guide you. They can choose the book or “read” the story to you. Allow opportunities for lots of repetitions. This is why we chose these books! With endless re-read of these books, you make like them as much as your child.

Counting Books

Can my 2-year-old count? Children learn by repetition and can definitely learn to count even if they do not understand what it means.

ten little ladybugs

Ten Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth

This interactive book helps kids count from one to ten with little 3D ladybugs that appear on each page as your progress through the story.

ten nine eight

Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang

I love this counting-in-reverse story that starts with 10 toes and ends with a child tucked in for bed. The story features a black father and baby which is sadly a rare site in books for 2-year-olds.

This award winner has been a classic for more than thirty years!

The very hungry catterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

There are so many things about this classic book that I love. Not only can you talk about days of the week, food, and counting, you can follow the caterpillar on his journey to becoming a butterfly. When it comes to books for 3-year-olds, this one is tops.

Good night books for a 2-year-old

Should I read my 2-year-old a story at night? We love creating a bedtime routine that includes storytime. This is a great way to get them into the habit of reading at a young age.

Goodnight Contruction site

Goodnight Construction Site by Sherry Duskey Rinker

Little kids love construction vehicles. Is there a better way to start bedtime than a rhyming contraction book? I think not. This delightful goodnight book for 2-year-olds is the first in a series.

Time for Bed and more books for 2-year-olds

Time for Bed by Mem Fox

Rhyming, animals, and the sweet words in this book make it the perfect companion before bed. I loved setting up a routine that let my kids know that bedtime was coming.

We would take a bath, put on lotion and snuggle up to read a story. I made sure that my voice was quiet and soothing. Even if you have a brand new baby, incorporating a book into your nightly routine is a wonderful way to end the day.

the going to bed book

The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton

Boynton’s books are filled with humor, bright colorful pictures, and wonderful rhymes.  They are completely addictive. We read these books until they fall apart (which for a board book is difficult to do).  The story makes no sense but that is part of the reason that we love it so much.

Alphabet Books

alphablocks

Alphablock by Christopher Franceschelli

Each page in this book is cut into the shape of a letter with chunky pages that are easy to turn.  This huge board book is amazing to hold and a definite favorite.

It’s also the first in a series featuring countablock, dinoblock, and 12 more!

ABC Touch and learn alphabet books

TouchThinkLearn: ABC by Xavier Deneux

I love when books have texture. That added tactile element can make the difference when it comes to engagement for some kids. This book is tactile and a feast for the eyes. 

alphabet

Alphabet by Matthew Van Fleet

This amazing book has everything- plants and animals that begin with each letter, moving parts, and textures.  Each page is totally interactive with flaps and pull tabs. There is even a scratch and sniff.

For more books like these, check out our list of 22 Alphabet Books

Food Books for 2-year-olds

if you give a mouse a cookie

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

If you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to ask for a glass of milk. And so the story continues in a big circle until the mouse is thirsty again. The adorable pictures and silly consequences will help your little one understand sequencing.

Each Peach Pear Plum and 12 other amazing baby books you've never heard of.

Each Peach, Pear, Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

This adorable eye spy book has wonderful pictures, featuring nursery rhymes and fairy tale characters.  The rhyming makes it memorable and easy to recite. It’s a perfect book for a 2-year-old.

I Like Fruit by Lorena Siminovich and 12 other amazing baby books you've never heard of.

I Like Fruit and I Like Vegetables by Lorena Siminovich

Any book that introduces children to healthy foods from an early age is OK in my book. Add in the lessons about colors in I like Fruit and also the lesson of opposites in I Like Vegetables and you have two winners. Oh! And did I mention these are textured and perfect for babies to explore with their fingers too?

Books Set at Daycare for a 2-year-old

spot goes to school

Spot Goes to School by Eric Hill

Spot goes to school in this lift-the-flap book for 2-year-olds. If your child is getting ready for daycare, this is a great story to get them started! Your kiddo can lift the flaps to see what Spot gets up to on his first day of school.

The Kissing Hand and other first day of school books

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

Little Racoon is heading off to school for the first time but is worried that he won’t feel comfortable in his new surroundings.

Mrs. Racoon teaches him about the kissing hand so that he can have a piece of home in his heart wherever he goes. This is a must-read in my opinion.

llama llama misses mama

Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney

It’s Llama Llama’s first day of preschool and he is overwhelmed with feelings. He is trying to get used to the new toys and new surroundings but he just misses his mama.

Soon he learns that it’s OK to love mama and have fun at school too.

Color Books for 2-year-olds

What colors should my 2-year-old know? While kids can recognize colors, don’t be surprised if they cannot name them yet. Practicing colors is a great way to get them started.

how do dinosaurs learn their colors

How Do Dinosaurs Learn Their Colors by Jane Yolen

I love the “How do dinosaurs” series for so many reasons. If your child loves dinosaurs, it will obviously be a hit, but the trouble these dinos get into will have any child giggling.

In this particular story, the dinosaurs learn their colors through routine objects found around their homes. Ask your toddler to find the colors in your home too!

brown bear brown bear

Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See by Bill Martin Jr.

Brown Bear teaches about colors and animals.  The repetitive pattern is addictive.  There are so many activities that can be done with this great book for toddlers. However, the colors and pictures are perfect for even the littlest reader.

Freight Train and other books for a 1-year-old

Freight Train by Donald Crews

This is another classic book that has both trains and colors. What could be better? The simplicity of this book adds to the fun. If you have a child that can only sit for a very limited time, this book is a perfect choice.

For more books like these, check out our list of books about colors for toddlers.

Season and Nature Books for a 2-year-old

Tap the magic tre

Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson

This is the perfect interactive board book for 2-year-olds who love nature. The story will prompt your child to tap, shake, and blow on the pages within as the tree goes through the seasons.

planting a rainbow

Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert

Caldecott Honor-winner, Lois Ehlert, teaches kids about colors in this story about planting a garden and watching it grow.

His artwork reminds me of Eric Carle. It will draw your child into the beautiful garden depicted within.

spring is here

Spring is Here by Taro Gomi

A wonderful tale that introduces the concept of seasons. Watch as the field changes through the year and the cow grows too!

Beautiful illustrations make this a mommy favorite too. It’s a must-have nature book for a 2-year-old.

Rhyming Books for 2-Year-Olds

But Not the Hippo

But not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton

I don’t know what it is about this book that I absolutely loved reading with my kids. It is utterly ridiculous and completely wonderful. One of my oldest son’s first words was armadillo! It really is a perfect book for a 2-year-old.

jamberry

Jamberry by Bruce Degen

This was Kirsten’s favorite book to read to her kids and as soon as you look at the pictures and start reading it, you will understand why.  The rhythm of the story and the non-sensical rhymes make the book completely captivating. 

Marshmallow Cattails? Waffle and butter lily pads? Yes, please! As a bonus, there is counting as well. No list would be complete without this adorable read.

room on the broom

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson

A friendly witch takes to the night on her broomstick, but as the wind blows away her hat, her bow, and her wand, she finds some cute friends to join her on her ride.

Will her friends be able to save her from a hungry dragon?

Animal Books for a 2-year-olds

The rainbow fish

The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

This modern classic kids’ book about fish was one Kirsten learned about in school!

It’s all about a gorgeous fish with shiny scales who is so conceited he doesn’t have any friends. After he decides to share a lovely scale with each fish in his neighborhood, he gains friends in spades! A wonderful lesson for young kids.

Dear Zoo and other books for a 1-year-old

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

This book was an absolute favorite in our house. The descriptions of the animals are so funny, the flaps are fun and the story is so cute. As kids get older, they realize how silly it is to write to the zoo for a pet.

Goodnight Gorilla

Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

This book is hilarious and a favorite in our house to this day.  The sweet animals and the completely clueless zookeeper are laugh-out-loud funny.  One of my oldest son’s first words was “armadillo” which says something about how amusing this book is.

For more books like these, check out our list of Zoo Books, Shark Books, and Octopus Books for kids.

Classic Books for 2-year-olds

Where the Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendek

Maurice Sendek explores the amazing power of imagination in this classic kids’ book about monsters.  When Max gets upset with his parents, he imagines traveling to a world to be the kids of the monsters.

I love this book, the illustrations, and the message within the pages. When Max finally decides to come home, his dinner is waiting for him and it’s still hot.  This act of love always touched me. Really this is a book for 2-year-olds that shows a parent’s unconditional love for their child.

Goodnight Moon and other books for a 2-year-old

 Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

In this classic of modern children’s literature, beloved by generations of readers and listeners, the quiet poetry of the words and the gentle, lulling illustrations combine to make a perfect book for the end of the day.

Owl Babies

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell

This book subtly reinforces the fact that mama (and dada) come back. It also shows that sometimes animals get anxious feelings. For babies, the white owls and dark night forest are mesmerizing before they can see in color.

This is a great one for working parents. I found I started it early with my little one when I went back to work.

Books for a 2-year-old’s Motor Development

barnyard dance

Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boyton

Sandra Boyton is a go-to author and illustrator for a reason. She makes the most fun books for 2-year-olds!

This one is no exception with a group of animals dancing to a rhyme that your own child can dance along to! Your toddler will want to read this on repeat.

seetouchfeel


See, Touch, Feel: A First Sensory Book to Share with Baby by Roger Priddy

Everything is new for your baby.  Colors, sounds, and sense of touch are all brand new.  I love that this book gives your baby a chance to experience all these new things with great pictures. Each picture has a sensory activity that will stimulate your child’s natural sense of curiosity. As you read to your child, you are helping them develop a language of their senses.

clap your hands

Clap Your Hands by Lorinda Bryan Cauley

This book was a favorite in my house and it is now available as a board book. Hooray. I love the illustrations in this book along with the rhymes and silly directions. “Clap your hands, stomp your feet. Shake your arms, then take a seat”. This is the perfect book to get your toddler dancing and moving to a book.

Books About Love for 2-year-olds

Love you forever and more books for 2-year-olds

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

The words of this book run through my head and I cannot read it to my kids without crying at the end.  I adore this book for 2-year-olds about the unconditional love a mother has for her child. “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.”

Guess How Much I Love you and more kids books about love

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

I love that this book is about a father and his son. The baby bunny is talking about how much he loves his dad who tells the baby bunny how much he loves him in return.  “I love you to the moon and back”.  Truer words are hard to find.

I love you Stinky face and other Monster Books for Kids

I Love You, Stink Face by Lisa McCord

This grossly-cute board book is a lovely bedtime story for the little monster in your life. This story is all about a mother’s love.

Whether the baby is an alligator, a swamp creature, a one-eyed monster, or an alien, the mother in this tale shows a way to love her child!

Interactive Books for a 2-year-old

Going on a bear hunt

Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

This book is filled with repetition which is so good for child language development.  It is filled with onomatopoeia- the best words to convey sounds and sensory input that I just love: squelch, squerch; swishy swashy; etc. On rainy days, I would hide a stuffed bear in the house and we would go on a bear hunt!

Pizza Cook in a Book and more books for 2 year olds

Pizza! An Interactive Recipe Book by Lotta Nieminen

This adorable book is the perfect way to keep your little one engaged while reading. They can stir and mix while learning how to follow directions. When you are done, why not make a pizza to eat for dinner? You can have your child help put on all the toppings! Or you can engage in pretend play with this adorable Melissa and Doug set.

I kissed the baby

I Kissed the Baby by Mary Murphy

This black-and-white board book is perfect for newborns since they can only see black and white initially. Make it interactive by following the tasks talked about in the book – tickling, hugging, and kissing!

Family Books for 2-year-olds

Baby, boo and more books for 1-year-olds

Baby, Boo! by Beth Hardwood

My husband loved to read this to our little one over and over again. It’s peekaboo in a board book. There are black and white photos of other babies, then the baby goes missing and a mirror appears for your child to find themselves. The giggles this book produced from kids were the best!

mama mama

Mama Mama by Jean Marzollo

A sweet rhyming book about a mother’s love (or fathers if you get that version too.) Featuring mama and baby pairings from the animal kingdom this book allows you to point out new species to your little one.

and tango makes three

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson

An amazing story about two male penguins adopting a penguin. Adorable text and photos will expose your child to this unique and true story while also teaching a lesson that there are many different kinds of families.

What a cuddly way to teach a child that love is love.

Creativity Books for a 2-year-old

Harold and the Purple Crayon

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

I think this is the original book about the power of the imagination. It’s a classic book for 2-year-olds for a reason. The worlds that Harold creates with one purple crayon can inspire anyone’s imagination.

Mix it up

Mix it up by Herve Tullet

This book is amazing. Although you can use this book with older kids, the fun of this book is not only learning the colors but beginning to learn how to colors mix together to make new colors. Let your baby try some finger painting to try this for themselves.

Mini Masters

Mini Masters by Julie Merberg

With enchanting rhymes pointing out details in the paintings, this board book series is perfect for introducing famous artists to your toddler.

I swear this book series is the reason my kiddos loved going to the art museum at such a young age.

Feelings Books for 2-year-olds

Go Away, Big Green Monster and other Monster Books for Kids

Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberly

What a wonderful way to explore fears.  As children turn the pages of this book, they are in charge.  They can build the big green monster and tell him to go away.  This book is so helpful for kids who may not be able to express their fears but, it can help them conquer them just the same.

The Feelings Book and more books for 1-year-olds

The Feelings Book by Todd Parr

This is a classic feelings book for 2-year-olds for a reason! Todd Parr uses his signature colorful illustrations to showcase the range of emotions we all feel from time to time. Have your little one make the faces in the book for more fun!

In My Heart by Jo Witek and more books for 2-year-olds

In My Heart by Jo Witek

Kids need to learn all about their feelings in a way that is safe and comfortable. The tactile pages in this board book will please little hands as the hearts cut in the center get smaller and smaller.

Children will learn to identify feelings with simple words that explain what each feeling actually feels like in their bodies and minds.

Did you find any books for a 2-year-old to add to your home library? For more options check out our list of books for 1-year-olds or age up with our book suggestions for 3-year-old.

Want to help your 2-year-old with their language development? We created this list to help you make story time a fun learning experience.