Filled with colorful illustrations and simple stories for parents to read aloud, board books can be incredibly beneficial to a child’s early learning and development. Many board books help children learn vocabulary terms such as colors, animal names and days of the week, along with other important concepts, such as counting. Some board books also offer moral lessons or early teachings on important subjects such as self-esteem.
Because board books feature hardcovers and hard pages, many also have interactivity built into them, giving children the ability to play with them and explore as they read. The books on this list feature art that grabs the attention of little ones and language that helps children get involved in the storytelling process. The captivating stories these board books tell can help children start to develop what hopefully becomes a lifelong love of reading, even if they aren’t quite ready to pick up a book and begin reading on their own just yet.
Blue gets himself caught up in a tricky situation while trying to help a big dump truck, but fortunately, he’s got his buddies to help him out. The lesson contained within this book is simple enough for youngsters to understand and provides a great talking-point for parents who want to encourage their kids to help others. Kids also have plenty of opportunities to engage with fun truck sounds and animal noises.
Repetition and patterning encourage pre-readers to “read” along. Meeting colorful characters like Blue Horse and Purple Cat is a great way for young children to get familiar with colors and animals. For those slightly older readers who are getting a little more imaginative, this book can also be a fountain for creativity. The simple but impactful images make a big impression on children and adults alike and contribute to the overall appeal of this children’s classic.
Kids will feel Gerald’s pain when, after trying to get down at the local Jungle Dance, he ends up embarrassing himself in front of all his animal friends. He runs away, only to find an unlikely teacher in a wise and gentle cricket. Kids will love the menagerie of rocking jungle creatures who appear in this book, including waltzing warthogs, rock-and-rolling rhinos, tangoing lions and more. Though “Giraffes Can’t Dance” is best suited for children ages 5-7 who are reading independently, there’s much to enjoy here for younger children as a read-aloud story as well.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of this board book is the holes cut in its pages, which allow kids to interact freely with it as the caterpillar chows down, providing ample interactivity to keep children engaged. Simple as it may be, important lessons abound. This is a great introduction to science, allowing parents to explain the process of an egg becoming a caterpillar, which in turn wraps itself within a cocoon to eventually become the beautiful butterfly that emerges at the end of this lovely story. Another great aspect of this tale is the repetitive counting as the caterpillar eats his way through the week, helping children learn numbers and the days of the week. This is a book children shouldn’t miss.
Press one dot and turn the page. Now there are two dots. Turn the page again and now there are three! The fun continues as you interact with the book, and as an added bonus the repeating patterns help reinforce children’s counting skills. There are plenty of opportunities for kids to “read along,” and the interactivity will keep children reading this book over and over again.
What Our Expert Says
“Great to stow away in the diaper bag, board books help drive vocabulary and get kids interested in reading,” Jill Goodwin, an environmental scientist and mother of one, says. “Board books are designed to be exceptionally durable and can be hand-me-downs for years to come. Remember, your child will ask for the same books to be re-read over and over. Respond positively to this behavior. This helps reinforce the meaning of words used by the author.”
Our Expert Consultant
Jill Goodwin is an environmental scientist and working mother of one. She and her husband, an archaeologist, reside in Florida and have deep expertise around things outside of the house that you and your child may encounter. From taking their daughter to find reptiles and amphibians in the swamps to testing the chemical impact of the top sunscreens, Jill is here to help you find the best for your child.