Reading with your child has been shown to heighten parent-child bonds and reinforce skills beyond a love of reading. Children’s books are a great way to begin teaching positive lessons to your child. Especially during the first two years, the behavior of reading together also helps to hone fine motor skill coordination and visual recognition, but paper pages can be a bit delicate. Paperboard books withstand the ungentle touch of tiny fingers and display images that captivate the curious mind of your little learner. To get you started on your next journey of discovery, we’ve compiled a list of our ten favorite board books of 2017.
1. Giraffes Can’t Dance
Guy Parker-Rees’ incredible story of Gerald comes vibrantly alive in this board book version. If you want to instill the ideal that your child should follow their passion and ignore bullies, this is a great way to begin. A tall tale of a giraffe who only wants to dance, the book follows Gerald through his difficulties with knobby knees and having a body no one thinks suitable for such activities. He perseveres, because he knows who he is, and succeeds.
2. First Hundred Words
In their first year, your child’s brain is a place of ferocious building and making. They are hungrily consuming the visual world and learning what language is, how to sit upright, and how to communicate needs. You can reinforce this process by offering them the durable board pages of this vividly memorable book. It gives your child archetypal images to match basic concepts, such as flowers or cars, dogs or toys. By reading this with your child, you provide support for essential language learning and visual recognition skills.
3. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Generations of children have learned both number skills and visual recognition with this now-classic story that follows a voracious caterpillar through an increasing number of different fruits on his way to becoming a butterfly. Not merely vividly illustrated, this excellent book shows the path of our protagonist through his increasingly large snacks with holes in the fruit. This fascinating and novel approach will have your child recognizing and ordering different numbers in no time, which is a foundational reasoning skill we all must acquire.
4. Goodnight Moon
Margaret Wise-Brown’s classic nighttime story, illustrated by Clement Hurd comes to life in this beautiful board book. Send your little one to dreamland with images of familiar and beloved items that will provide their developing minds with concrete examples of words in context. Plus, because it’s crafted for hands-on learning, the sturdy book is sized perfectly for tiny fingers anxious to turn the pages on their own.
5. Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Since its first edition in the late 1960s, this book has become a staple in homes of all sorts, forming an integral part of the young reader’s library. It brings identifying words and images to life in vivid, distinctive illustrations and frames learning as a journey. Children are also included in an essential human activity—empathy or imagining what a character or person will see, think, and experience.
6. Dear Zoo
Rod Campbell books are ideal for young learners. They incorporate tactile, visual, and auditory cues as they guide readers on a journey of discovery. The flip-up book allows little ones to find answers based on clues given by another part of the illustration, which is supplemented by simple, easy-to-remember text. This particular edition is great for small hands and curious, busy little brains. Its paperboard pages are easy to turn, and the vivid images printed upon them can withstand the popularity of the learning story.
7. If Animals Kissed Goodnight
The charming illustrations and gentle rhyme scheme make this classic an essential addition to any children’s library. They introduce your new learner to the narrative arc by beginning with a little girl asking her mother how animals say goodnight to their young. Because reading with young children is a highly interactive activity, with more emphasis placed on speaking and asking questions than upon detailed print narratives, this book allows you to wonder aloud with your baby precisely how animals might say goodnight.
8. Little Blue Truck’s Halloween
Many children love Halloween for the opportunity to dress up. Blue, a fun character, is picking up his friends to go to a costume party. As you and your child flip the sturdy pages, they can also discover what Blue’s friends have decided to wear. Flip-up books are fantastic learning tools because they engage young readers fully, inviting them to make guesses about the likely answer to questions. Enjoy this seasonal favorite all year round with your little learner.
9. The Going to Bed Book
Children learn routines and behaviors from everything they see. This 1982 wonder puts hygiene rituals in a fun context as it follows a group of animals on their way to bed. Sandra Boynton’s whimsical and silly illustrations make the story memorable, but also keep it in constant rotation. First, night falls, and all the animals head up to have a lively bath time. Then, they vigorously brush their teeth. Going to bed is made into a fun and giggly endeavor through Boynton’s brilliant images.
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10. The Pout-Pout Fish
Everyone has rough days where pouting seems to be the way to go. But Diesen’s beautifully illustrated story encourages young readers to find a way beyond their frowns. With a fresh aquatic palette and engaging characters, you and your child can follow Mr. Fish and his friends on their journey to turn his frowns upside down. Their young minds will delight at the simple, memorable rhymes. The vivid characters Mr. Fish encounters will let them know that, while it’s okay to be sad or upset, staying that way isn’t fun for anyone.