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Mother reading to her two children

10 Board Books for Toddlers

Starting to read to your toddler from a young age has so many benefits for the both of you. Reading a book as part of your daily routine either during the day or before bedtime can help foster connection and bonding with your toddler. Other benefits are:

  • Helps them understand emotions and feelings by exposing them to the words
  • Helps them understand the world around them better
  • Promotes early literacy
  • Builds their vocabulary 
Mother reading a children's book to child

At this age, reading might seem tough because they’re always on-the-go and can never sit for more than a few minutes. But don’t be discouraged! Your toddler is always listening even if they don’t seem like it. 

Here are a few tips to encourage reading: 

  • Make the books accessible by having a bookshelf where they can read whenever they want
  • Let them pick the book 
  • Find books that rhyme or have repetitive text to help with language development 
  • Before reading to them, let them look at the pictures and talk about it
  • Read face-to-face
  • Ask them questions or point things out while you’re reading together
  • Create a cozy, reading nook

If you’re looking to add books to your library, we’ve compiled a list of books that are great for toddlers ages 1 to 3. We’ve picked books that promote diversity, social emotional learning, and mindfulness. 

Eyes that Speak to the Stars by Joanna Ho

Following Joanna Ho’s success from the release of her book, Eyes that Kiss in the Corners, this book, Eyes that Speak to the Stars is a beautiful story about a young Asian boy who is hurt by a friend’s drawing of his eyes. He turns to his family for comfort and realizes that his eyes are so much more. Like his dad’s and grandpas’s (agong’s) eyes, they speak to the stars. This book centres around love and four generations of men where the main character gains strength and appreciation for his eyes that look different from his friends. 

Eyes that Speak to the Stars by Joanna Ho

Studio: A Place for Art to Start by Emily Arrow

Emily Arrow, a children’s entertainer, singer, and songwriter wrote this book to inspire young artists. This book follows a bunny that looks around a studio building to find the perfect space to start its art. Emily Arrow introduces children to creating their own studio no matter where it is because your studio, whether you want to be a painter, singer, actor, sculptor, or printmaker can be anywhere! If you love this book, Emily Arrow has also written and sang a song to accompany it! 

Studio: A Place for Art to Start by Emily Arrow

Laxmi’s Mooch by Shelly Anand

Laxmi’s Mooch follows a young Indian American girl's journey to self-love and self-acceptance. Laxmi never thought she was different until one day while playing, her friends point out the tiny hairs above her lips. They refer to them as “whiskers” and say she’d make the perfect cat. She’s hurt and looks to her parents for support. They show her that hair grows on everyone no matter what their gender and can grow anywhere. She learns that her mooch comes from a long line of strong women who also have mooches. This book is absolutely beautiful and uses animals to depict strength. 

Laxmi's Mooch by Shelly Anand

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry

Hair Love is based on Mathew’s beautiful, Oscar nominated short film. The book tells a beautiful, heart-warming story about an African-American father, Stephen and his daughter, Zuri. In the past, his wife always did his daughter’s hair. But now that she isn’t available, Stephen needs to figure it out on his own. To Stephen, Zuri’s hair seems to have a mind of its own - kinking, coiling, and curling in every way possible. But to make his daughter happy, he learns to work with hair and make her beautiful for this special occasion. 

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry

Are You Nuts in There? by Hanna Chung 

Having an allergy at a young age can be a tough concept to understand and that’s why we love Are You Nuts in There?. This book follows a young girl, Logan who has a nut allergy. She comes into different situations and has to avoid eating nuts. This is an amazing book that uses simple language that toddlers can understand and teaches them how to be aware and manage their own allergies. 

Are You Nuts in There? by Hanna Chung

Slow Down . . . on Your Doorstep by Rachel Williams

Slow Down... on Your Doorstep is a beautiful book with six stories that invite little ones to stop and observe the world around them. It introduces the concept of mindfulness through simple, rhyming verses about moments like dew collecting on a leaf. 

Slow Down...On Your Doorstep by Rachel Williams

In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek 

In My Heart: A Book of Feelings is a book that celebrates feelings in a whimsical, fun way for young kids. As part of Jo’s Growing Heart series, this book shows feelings like happiness, sadness, bravery, anger, and shyness and how it can show up in different sizes and shapes. This book will empower your toddler and teach them how to identify their feelings and emotions. 

In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek

What's for Breakfast? by Stephani Stilwell

What’s for Breakfast? is a playful and interactive book filled with flaps, pull tabs, and spinning wheels that explores healthy breakfast foods. Your toddler will love exploring this busy book and using it to decide what they want for breakfast. From peeling a banana to pouring juice, your toddler will love how colourful and busy this book is - and hopefully get excited for breakfast!

What's For Breakfast? by Stephani Stilwell

Thank You, Mama by Linda Meeker

Thank You, Mama is a book written about TikTok’s viral, Grey (@reyandmama). This book follows Grey and his family as they celebrate different healthy foods from vegetables to sushi. It teaches gratitude, manners, and the joy of sharing meals with family. As you probably know, toddlers can be picky. So we especially love how this book follows a young boy as he discovers and tries different foods and finds his favourite. 

Thank you, Mama by Linda Meeker

I Am: Positive Affirmations for Kids by Judy Abbot

I Am is an amazing book to start building your child’s self-love and confidence from a young age. This book is filled with positive affirmations to show kids there are so many things to love about themselves and what they can offer the world around them. 

I Am: Positive Affirmations for Kids by Judy Abbot

What Are Your Book Recommendations?

We hope you find your toddler’s next favourite book from this list of board book recommendations. Do you have any books you’d recommend? Let us know in the comments below.