It’s truly amazing how quickly your baby grows into a curious and talkative toddler. As their vocabulary expands and their curiosity knows no bounds, finding the right books for your 3-year-old becomes a delightful challenge.
Storytime should be engaging and enjoyable, which is why we’ve compiled a list of the best books for 3 year olds. With the experience of raising five kids through this stage, we’re well-equipped to offer suggestions tailored to every child’s preferences. Whether you’re looking for interactive picture books or soothing bedtime board books, we have a wide range of recommendations to help you cultivate little readers.
Explore the categories below and discover a treasure trove of captivating stories.
Why 3 year olds need a book and what are the benefits of that?
Three-year-olds benefit from reading books as it supports their cognitive, language, and social-emotional development. Engaging with the best books for 3-year-olds introduces them to new vocabulary, helps build their comprehension skills, and enhances their storytelling abilities. It promotes creativity and imagination as they explore different characters and worlds. These books also provide opportunities for meaningful interactions with parents or caregivers, fostering bonding and communication. Additionally, the best books for 3-year-olds often incorporate colorful illustrations and interactive elements that captivate their attention and stimulate their curiosity. Reading at this age sets a strong foundation for literacy skills and a lifelong love of reading.
15 Best Books for 3 Year Olds: Top Picks
Here are some top picks of Best Books for 3 Year Olds.
1. Even Superheroes Have Bad Days
“Even Superheroes Have Bad Days” by Shelly Becker and illustrated by Eda Kaban is a book that kids who love superheroes will enjoy. Sometimes it’s hard for children to understand emotions, but this book helps preschoolers learn how to handle tough days in a fun way. It’s one of my favorite books for 3-year-olds because it shows different ways kids can calm themselves down and deal with overwhelming emotions. Kids really like seeing that even superheroes, who have super strength and amazing abilities, can have challenging days and feel grumpy too. It’s always a popular choice!
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2. Oh No, George
“Oh No, George!” by Chris Haughton is a fantastic book if you want to talk to your kids about controlling their impulses, especially if they love dogs! The main character, George, is a dog with really good intentions, but when his owner leaves him alone, he faces some tempting situations. There’s a yummy cake on the table, pretty flowers to pick, and cats to chase. Will George be able to resist these temptations or will his willpower weaken? This book is a favorite among families!
3. To Make
“To Make” by Danielle Davis and illustrated by Mags DeRoma is a book that celebrates the joy of creating things. Whether a child is 2 or 5 years old, they love exploring cabinets, gathering materials, and making things. It can be really exciting and even magical for kids. But grown-ups know that being patient is important when you’re a young maker. This book shows that when we make something, whether it’s big or small, we need to gather our materials, then start creating, and then wait for it to come together. It teaches us that patience is a crucial part of the process. When we understand and practice patience, amazing things can happen. This book is wonderful to have in play areas and spaces where kids can create and explore!
4. Animal Boogie
“Animal Boogie” by Debbie Harter and sung by Fred Penner is a wonderful book that you can read and sing along to! It’s a delightful story from Barefoot Books that comes with a CD. The story is like a guessing game where you can do fun actions, like guessing which animal is shaking in the tree or slithering on the ground. If you want to get the kids moving and have some fun, this book is perfect for you!
5. Mary Had a Little Glam
“Mary Had a Little Glam” by Tammie Sauer and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton is a fun book that puts a twist on the classic Mother Goose poem. In this version, Mary is really stylish and she helps other nursery rhyme characters look glamorous too. But will they be too fancy for recess? It’s a hilarious book, especially if your little ones love fashion!
6. Red House Tree House Little Bitty Brown Mouse
“Red House Tree House Little Bitty Brown Mouse” by Jane Godwin and illustrated by Blanca Gomez is a really fun book to read to preschoolers. It’s not only fun, but it also teaches about colors! The story has perfect rhymes and it’s so cute. As you read, kids can join in and interact with the story as they follow the little brown mouse from house to house, through the garden, and even on a bus with cute rabbits. This book is full of joy and it’s definitely going to be a classic!
7. Animals Go Vroom
“Animals Go Vroom!” by Abi Cushman is a super fun book to read out loud because it does something special with animal sounds! It combines animals and vehicles in a really cool way, and it’s like a guessing game because the sounds are not what you expect. The book has special cut-out pages and it’s full of surprises. Every time you turn the page, you’ll be surprised and giggle with delight. Kids will really enjoy this creative and imaginative book!
8. People Don’t Bite People
“People Don’t Bite People” by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by Molly Idle is a book that my students absolutely love! It’s so funny and the pictures make everyone laugh, no matter their age. The book reminds us that it’s okay to eat carrots and steak, but it’s not okay to bite our siblings because they’re not like a piece of cake. It’s a helpful reminder that we all enjoy. We really enjoy this fun series!
9. Atticus Caticus
“Atticus Caticus” by Sarah Maizes and illustrated by Kara Kramer is a fun book to read out loud. It tells the story of a young boy’s cat and what he does throughout the day. Whether the cat is relaxing, stretching, or scratching his claws on a chair, this book will make kids want to dance along with the rhythmic words. The story is full of energy, and the illustrations are bright and exciting. It’s a perfect book for 3-year-olds to enjoy!
10. This is a Book of Shapes
“This is a Book of Shapes” by Kenneth Kraegel is a book all about shapes! But then something unexpected happens. An emu shows up and starts pushing a wagon full of pancakes down a hill! This book starts off as a shape book, but it gets interrupted by funny animals doing silly things. It’s not just a concept book anymore, it’s full of surprises and laughter. I’m sure it will make your little ones really happy. This book is so much fun for 3-year-olds, and it will definitely make both kids and grown-ups giggle. It’s a delightful read!
11. Big and Small and In Between
“Big and Small and In Between” by Carter Higgins and illustrated by Daniel Miyares is an amazing book. Carter Higgins always creates wonderful books, and when combined with the beautiful illustrations by Miyares, it becomes a perfect masterpiece. This book is all about how children see the world in their own special ways. Kids learn about sizes and grouping things from a young age. But in this book, they don’t just categorize things by physical size. They also categorize special moments, feelings, and experiences. The words in the book are like poetry, making you think and feel. It’s a book that will make you want to talk and share your thoughts with kids of all ages. Every time you read it, you’ll discover new meanings and ideas. It’s definitely one of the best books for 3-year-olds!
12. Home Is…
“Home Is…” by Hannah Barnaby and illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon is a beautiful book! It talks about what makes a house feel like home and how every home is just right for the creatures that live there. Homes can be different in many ways – they can be hard or soft, wet or high up in the sky, noisy or filled with pride. The important thing is that home can be anywhere you love. The book has lovely words that flow like a song and pictures that are colorful and easy to understand. Little kids will love looking at the pages and seeing all the different places where people and animals live. It’s a great book for learning about houses and homes, and it’s also perfect for reading before bedtime. This book is a real treasure for preschoolers!
13. The Watermelon Seed
“The Watermelon Seed” by Greg Pizzoli is a book that will make your little ones burst into laughter. It’s all about funny sounds like “chomp chomp” and the silly idea of a watermelon seed growing inside someone’s tummy, leading to a big burp at the end. Every time we read this book, our kids laugh really hard. The illustrations are bright and colorful, and the story is silly and entertaining. It’s definitely a winner!
14. Everybody in the Red Brick Building
“Everybody in the Red Brick Building” is a wonderful book written by Anne Wynter and illustrated by Oge Mora. It’s a great book to read aloud to young children, and they will love the sounds of words like “waaah!” that are used throughout the story. The book is about Baby Izzie, who wakes up in the middle of the night and makes a loud noise. This noise wakes up everyone in the building, including people and animals. But as the story goes on, everyone gradually settles back to sleep with the help of soothing sounds. It’s a perfect book for 3-year-olds to relax before bedtime, and the beautiful illustrations by Oge Mora perfectly complement the rhythmic text written by Anne Wynter. It’s a masterpiece for bedtime reading!
15. Each Peach Pear Plum
“Each Peach Pear Plum” by Janet and Allan Ahlberg is a wonderful book that preschoolers will love. It’s a classic! On each page, there is a special poem that gives a clue about what to find in the pictures. It’s like a puzzle, a guessing game, and a seek-and-find adventure all in one! This book is so much fun to read and interact with, you’ll want to read it over and over again.
In conclusion, choosing the best books for 3 year olds is a wonderful way to nurture their love for reading and storytelling. As your little one continues to grow and explore, their engagement with books becomes even more important. We have put together a special list of books just for you, based on our experience raising five kids. These books are carefully chosen to match your child’s interests and what they like. Make sure you can find the perfect books that your child will love. Whether it’s interactive picture books, imaginative stories, or soothing bedtime reads, these selections offer a treasure trove of captivating tales. Enjoy the journey of fostering a lifelong love of reading with the best books for 3-year-olds.