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We start reading young around here! By the time our kids have their first birthday, they are usually happy listening to me read simple picture books. As always, my criteria include an inspiring theme, beautiful illustrations, and that my children approved. These books are great read alouds for a 1 to 2 year old, and preschoolers will also enjoy them.
What Did Baby Jesus Do? is a beautifully illustrated little board book talking about Jesus’ childhood.
Themes: Jesus was God and man
Who is Coming to Our House? is a sweet board book which shows the barn animals preparing for baby Jesus’ arrival.
Themes: Jesus coming, Christmas
The Word of the Lord and Cloud of Witnesses are part of a new series of board books from Katie Warner aimed at exposing the littlest Catholics to religious artwork and Catholic teaching! These are quality books that would make great gifts for a Baptism or baby shower.
Themes: Bible, Jesus, Catholic Faith, Saints
Bear Wants More is a short rhyming board book about a very hungry bear.
Themes: friendship, kindness
The Happy Man and His Dump Truck , always a favorite with my children, is a fanciful story of some animal friends’ trip.
Themes: good manners, a cheerful attitude
Baby Listens (Little Golden Book) helps teach little ones about their senses as baby experiences the sounds around him. Lots of onomatopoeic words keep the youngest readers engaged.
Themes: attentiveness to the world around us
Going to Sleep on the Farm, with its beautiful illustrations of farm life, is a simple story of a father soothing his son to sleep.
Themes: patience (for parents!)
Ask Mr. Bear is a story about a little boy searching for the perfect gift for his mother with some help from his animal friends.
Themes: persistence, a giving spirit
I love Maurice Pledger’s Nature Trails books for their detailed animal illustrations. Some have touch and feed components my babies have all loved.
Biscuit Storybook Collection stories are somewhat repetitive but so loved by my children that I had to include them!
Themes: friendship, gentleness to animals, forgiveness
Jamberry‘s gentle rhymes and clever illustrations make it another much loved and well worn toddler favorite around here. It is a rollicking little tale of a boy and bear searching for berries.
Themes: enjoying nature, a cheerful attitude in adversity
Big Red Barn is a classic Margaret Wise Brown story, less well known than Goodnight Moon but equally enjoyable. Big Red Barn describes barnyard life, while Goodnight, Moon focuses on a room at bedtime.
Themes: attention to the world around us, whether outdoors or just in our own room
Pat the Bunny (Touch and Feel Book) is a great early book because it provides sensory stimulation which can engage a reluctant listener. Siblings Paul and Judy explore their house along with your child.
Themes: sibling love, attentiveness to sensory information
For more of my specifically Catholic book book favorites, check out my list Catholic Board Books for Catholic Toddlers
As your child approaches age 2, definitely move on to the books on my list for 2 to 3 year olds!