About Our Age Groups
Sharing books with your child is a key part of growing a successful reader. That’s why we divided the 100 Greatest Books for Kids into four age groups based on the reading experiences children have as they grow—with the sharing of timeless literature between parent and child at the core of each section. Navigate among them:
- Books to Cuddle With: Ages 0–3 (see below)
- Books to Explore Together: Ages 4–7
- Books to Grow On: Ages 8–10
- Books to Discover: Ages 11+
BOOKS TO CUDDLE WITH
Grade level: Birth–Pre-K
It is never too early to begin reading with your child. Language development begins right away. The simple concepts, repetitive phrases, and easy rhyme featured in these beloved board and early picture books are perfect for reading (and snuggling!) with eager infants and toddlers.
Think “cognitive.” Infants respond best to books with bright contrast and photos of faces, while older babies enjoy familiar shapes or objects.
Snuggle up. Reading in a cuddly, comforting posture allows you and your little one to look at and interact with books together as she develops page-turning motor skills.
Express yourself. They may not understand every word, but babies do recognize tone of voice. Reading with expression will engage your child and help her begin to associate books with storytelling and emotion.
Get touchy-feely. Infants enjoy tactile experiences: poking, slapping, even chewing on their books. Don’t be afraid to join in; tracking text and pointing to the pictures as you read will help your baby begin to relate spoken with written language.
Reinforce familiar concepts. Offer your child an array of books about basic concepts (letters, numbers, colors, vehicles, and more) and familiar routines or settings.
Create a cozy corner. To make reading time special and inviting, establish a cuddly place: a comfy chair, a spot on the sofa, or a corner of the room and a bean bag.
Keep it interactive. Toddlers have lots of energy. Capture their attention by offering interactive books (touch-and-feels, finger plays, humor and silly rhyme), asking them questions, inviting them to turn pages, and encouraging comments or additions to the story.
Read now or later. Bedtime is the traditional storytelling hour, but literacy experiences can happen at any time. By talking and reading with your child throughout the day, you’re immersing her in valuable vocabulary that will help her grow into a strong reader.