25 Best books for 2 and 3 year olds and preschoolers - These learning books are great for boys and girls at home or in the classroom. Teaching kids life lessons in a fun way, many great ideas for read alouds. Awesome reading list for young children.
Grace loves to read.
Actually, that's not true. Grace hates to read, but she loves to be read to.
Whenever I tell her to read her book, she cries and says, But I don't know the words! and then the whole thing goes south.
It may or may not have started to change, though. We've discovered some "ready to read" books that exchange some of the words for pictures.
Anyway, Grace would be happy to sit on the couch all day long and listen to books, so we spend quite a bit of time there, cuddling and reading. These are her favorites:
25 Favorite Picture Books for 3-Year-Olds
Fancy Nancy by Jane O'Connor
Fancy Nancy is by far my favorite book of the moment. I love that she teaches Grace new words in a cool, fun way. Plus, I'm pretty sure that Fancy Nancy is written about me.
I'm just saying.
Pinkalicious by Elizabeth Kann
"You get what you get and you don't get upset."
Since we've started reading Pinkalicious, Grace says that line from the book a lot. The book is about a little girl who loves pink... a lot like the little girl at my house.
When You Were Inside Mommy by Joanna Cole
We like to call this The Uterus Book. Especially with our impending arrival, we read this one a lot. It's not really about a new baby, though, it's about when your small child was in Momma's tummy. Really well done. I also recommend Joanna Cole's I'm a Big Brother and I'm a Big Sister books. They're quite nice. Grace likes to read them, too.
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
Any book where the girl saves the boy from certain death is always welcome in my house. I love this book. Love it! I also like the reading I saved from Robert Munsch's website. A lot of his books are on there.
I'll Always Be Your Friend by Sam McBratney
This one is, sadly, out of print now, but you can still get a copy second hand. It's about a baby fox who doesn't want to come home with his mother at dusk. That is, of course, until he gets scared by an owl. It's a great story about unconditional love, and it always leads to great talks between Grace and I. Things like "Do you still love me when I throw a fit?" and "Do you love me when I'm mad?"
Priscilla and the Pink Planet by Nathaniel Hobbie
Another book about girlie pink things. In this one, Priscilla is totally sick of the color pink, and she goes looking for some other color.
Bear Snores On and Bear Wants More by Karma Wilson
These are part of a wonderful series of books featuring a bear and his friends. Mostly, though, they talk about feelings and situations like being scared and left out and greedy. They're also written in a wonderful rhyme which makes them a pleasure to read.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr.
This is a classic, right? The whole alphabet climbs up a coconut tree and topples it over. Grace recites lines from this one, too.
This treasury contains four of the "If You Give a..." stories, together with recipes and activities. Grace loves the silly stories. I like them, too, but I never get away with reading just one. If she opens the book, I'm stuck for all four!
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendek
I thought this would scare Grace, so I held off on reading it to her until she found it a month or so ago. In the weeks since, it's become one of her favorites. She likes that the little boy becomes the leader of the gang.
Grace also likes how they gnash their terrible teeth and showed their terrible claws. So much that she gnashes her terrible teeth and shows her terrible claws. For a kid as fearful as Gracie, that makes me happy beyond words.
Dougal, the Garbage Dump Bear by Matt Dray
This is a sweet, sweet story about a shabby old bear who gets thrown in the trash. Joe and I both love to read it. Usually to Grace, but sometimes on our own. This one would be especially interesting to little boys because there are big machines in it, but don't count it out for girls who will love the lovely story of redemption.
Unique Monique by Maria Rousaka
Monique is a little girl who wears a uniform to school. She hates looking like everyone else, but her school won't allow her to wear fancy hats or hair accessories. It's a fun story about being your own person.
The Usborne Book of Fairy Tales by Heather Amery
This is Grace's go-to book for bedtime. She likes Joe to read a story or two from it every night. The stories are short and sparse on details, so it's perfect for nighttime.
I received this book from a Tommy Nelson representative at the Relevant Conference. It was instantly one of Grace's favorites. She loves the sing-songy cadence, and she loves acting out the motions described in the book. We wave our hands, clap our hands, count our fingers, and make reading this book into play time. It's a fun one.
Joe and I both had the Frog and Toad books when we were little, and that makes sharing the stories with Grace even cooler. I remember reading these stories to my little sister when I learned to read. We'll be collecting more Frog and Toad stories as the months go by.
This book is less Bible and more Bible stories, which is perfectly okay with us. The stories are short, and each and every book of the Bible is represented (even if it's just as kid-friendly summary). Grace asks me to read to her from this book often.
This is one of those really inexpensive "I Can Read" books. Grace isn't reading at this level yet, but she really likes me to read it to her. I like the premise of this one, which is that one of Strawberry's friends has trouble learning the dance moves, but she practices and works hard and figures it out. This book takes all of two minutes to read.
Poor Fancy Nancy decides to wear a fancy nightgown on pajama day, and she ends up feeling left out. Grace asks to read this book over and over again, and I think it's because it's the only book we have where the character experiences sadness and frustration. No one is picking on her; she's excluded because of the choices she made. The end is happy, though, and Nancy gets a chance to change her clothes and fit in again.
We borrowed this one from the library, and Grace really liked it. The story is repetitive and sing-songy. Grace liked that the book follows Jesse through each part of his day, from getting dressed in the morning to going to bed at night.
Click, Clack, Moo has long been my favorite children's book. Before Grace was even born, another Mom in the book store told me that I had to read it. I found it, and I fell in love. The farm animals (especially Duck) torments Farmer Brown mercilessly.
Grace likes all of the stories; they're silly enough that she recognizes the kookiness. In one story, Duck runs for farmer. In another, the animals participate in a talent show. In another, Duck outsmarts the substitute farmer while Farmer Brown is on vacation. They're all silly, funny stories.
Click, Clack, Splish, Splash is a counting book where Duck and his animal friends rescue the goldfish from Farmer Brown's fish tank and give them freedom in the farm's pond.
I thought we had all of the books in the series until today, when I discovered A Busy Day at the Farm. It will be under our Christmas tree this year.
Madeline is a little girl in Paris, which makes me like her instantly. She's a little mischievous, too, which totally sweetens the deal for me. In this story, Madeline has to go to the hospital to have her appendix out.
I don't remember reading Madeline when I was little, but I think I must have since it was written in 1940. Like many of the books above, Grace likes the sing-songy cadence in this story. I like reading it, too, and I can't say that for all of the books that she requests.
Grace and Joe read stories every night at bedtime, but they don't like to read single story books. I can't explain it. They prefer anthologies (and they don't like to repeat stories, which has me searching the library's catalog and Amazon just about every other week).
Joe likes this particular collection because most of the stories are classics, but a few are lesser known (but just as timeless). It's perfect for bedtime because none of the stories are scary or violent, even though they are based on fairy tales. They're also all free of commercial characters, so they require Grace to use her imagination as opposed to remembering something she saw in a movie.
This is another of Grace's favorite bedtime story collections. I got this one because it has a story about Angelina and her baby sister. After reading it the first time, I was hesitant; Angelina is very jealous of the new baby. That's probably realistic, though, and she does come around in the end.
Joe told me this morning that Grace has asked for an Angelina story most every night since this book arrived.
You know what happens when Daddy is in charge, right? Everything falls apart. (Not really, of course.) This is a great book about communicating, understanding, and frustration. There are a couple more Knuffle Bunny books; we love them all.
This book has very few words, but it gets the message across that momma loves you no matter how naughty you are. I love it.
If you're looking for more great books for your little one, check out my list of 101 Best Picture Books for Kids. I guarantee you'll find some treasures there!