15 Best Books for 2 Year Olds in 2019

Each and every child’s development path is different. It is a truly unique experience for each of them. They all do basically develop in the same predictable steps and milestones, but not always at the same speed or in the same time frames. There are many things that influence their development. The influence comes from their environment, their daily experiences, and the information that is presented to them. Each child is exposed to different experiences and they also process the information in different ways.

The one thing we know about development is the more experience the better. Reading to your 2 year old is a great way to expose them to literacy at a young age and allows them to increase their vocabulary. The books below have been specially designed and written for an audience of their age group.

Last Updated:
By Justina Fuller:

For this update, we focused on rewriting the review content for several of our top choices. This allowed us to correct various spelling and grammatical errors as well as ensure that you have the most recent information regarding each of our Top 10 Best Books for Two-Year-Olds.

Our Top 3 Picks

Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book
  • Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Board Book
  • Price: See Here
Giraffes Can't Dance Board Book
  • Giraffes Can't Dance Board Book
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Light-Footed Rhymes
  • Price: See Here
If Animals Kissed Good Night
  • If Animals Kissed Good Night
  • 4.3 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Bestselling Book
  • Price: See Here

Criteria Used to Evaluate The Best Books for 2-Year-Olds

Developmental skills learned by reading to a 2-year-old

By the time our little one’s reach 2 years old it’s clear that the baby stage has passed. Despite being older and smarter than they were as infants, toddlers have their own set of developmental milestones to reach. Two of the largest milestones occurring within their second year of life are directly influenced by reading. The cognitive milestone that begins to develop around this time involves your child learning new ways of thinking and new techniques for solving problems within their own life.

Reading can introduce new patterns and new ways to look at the world that can help enhance these new thought processes. The development of learning is also beginning to emerge as your little one starts remembering and asking questions about things that have already happened, such as the book that you read the night before. With a helping hand from reading, it is amazing how quickly your child’s mind will begin to blossom throughout this year.

Language development is also cresting towards a peak during the second year. Children suddenly evolve from being passive listeners, where they are simply listening to you speak and looking at the pictures, to being active participants in storytime. They start to understand what the story is about and ask questions. Their natural curiosity is beginning to form and reading inspires the “why’ and ‘what is that’ questions that are so important at this stage. Unlike infant milestones that can seem to come on all at once and bring about a noticeable change in behavior, toddler milestones are more subtle. The developmental skills they are learning every time you sit together at storytime may not be immediately apparent.

At some point during their second year, you will find yourself in awe of how much their minds have grown as they begin to show off their newfound understanding. Regardless of the time needed for your precious flower to bloom, reading is an enjoyable and valuable resource that will help you and your little one to grow.

Books that are included on the 15 best books for 2 year olds

Books that are included in the 15 best book for 2 year olds focus on the interaction between the adult and the child. Because children usually do not read at 2 years old, making sure that the pre-reading skills were there was not a focus. We wanted to make sure that the book focused on the adult-child interaction and was exciting for young readers. This interaction is important and making sure that the books listed were an excellent tool for this was one of our biggest focuses. Once the list was composed of the best interactive books our panel of experts could find, then we looked at the excitement level of the book.

We gauged the excitement level of the book because we want to make sure that it is not only exciting but adds value to reading. When children get excited about a story, it allows them to learn more from the story and also shows that they understand it as well. The panel of experts took all this into consideration and created the list of the best books that displayed both interaction and excitement. We hope that everyone will find a book they love on this list.

Benefits of reading books to 2-year-olds

Reading to 2-year-olds benefits their development. It is very important to read to a child because it helps them prepare to learn to read on their own and it boosts cognitive development. When you read to a 2-year-old, they may not be able to read every word that you are reading, but it helps them start to pick up on rhythm and tones of your voice. The more words that they are exposed to and the more they are read to, the easier reading themselves will be. Preparing them to read on their own is one of the best benefits of reading to them, but boosting their cognitive development is also a great benefit as well.

Studies show that 2-year-old who are ready to have a larger vocabulary, display more advanced math skills, and speak at a younger age than their peers. They can link directly a child’s language skills to the number of words a child is exposed to. So, the more words children hear and see means the more words they are able to say and understand. Preparing children to learn to read and boosting their cognitive development are two of the best benefits of reading to a 2-year-old.

Reading to 2-year-olds encouraged

Reading to a 2-year-old is encouraged because it plays a critical role in their language development and encourages adults to spend time with children. Language development of a 2-year-old is important. Some of the most important milestones at the age of 2 are language development milestones. Reading to a child helps them have larger vocabularies and they typically are able to speak better than their peers. It is also a great way to spend time with a child. Reading is a great adult-child interactive activity. It is never too early to start to read to a child, but when they reach the age of 2, it is encouraged to help them with healthy development. When children spend positive time with an adult reading, it helps them develop the love of reading and learning. This will benefit them throughout their entire lives and is a great way to bond.

What Determined the Top 15 Toddlers’ Books in Our List

It was quite a challenge coming up with a selection of the best children’s books for 2-year-old kids. This is because 2-year-olds are not really known for having the faculty to read. The pre-reading skills typically occur much later at around 4 to 5 years of age. Of course, there are child protégés whereby at a very young age they could easily be reading verses from a Shakespearean play but this is a rarity. As such, we were left with choosing books that were easy to understand when read by mom or dad and of course, full of graphic illustrations to help drive home the point.

If the book offered some learning interaction with kids, then we evaluated just how much of a kid’s development is impacted by these features. For instance, book pages that function like peek-a-boos are generally regarded as excellent tools for stimulating children’s curiosity while also enhancing their intellectual and cognitive abilities. Textured pages can also provide for a more sensory experience. Add to these a variety of colors, forms, and shapes and you have a really superb learning resource for your child. These are the things that we had to carefully examine in coming up with our list.

We also looked at the bestseller status of such children’s books as we believe, if a title fared pretty well in the world market, then it should be an excellent choice for our young readers. We also took into consideration what other parents think about these young children’s books. It is imperative for us to understand just how well these pieces of kiddie literature were received not only by parents but, more importantly, by the very kids that these books were designed for. While we cannot say with absolute certainty that everyone will love the books in our top 15 list, at least a great majority of you will.

It is the combination of developmental appropriateness, sensory functionality, and customer reception that formed the bases of our selection process.

Why Reading to Infants and Toddlers is Encouraged

In a meta-analysis conducted by the Center for Early Literacy Learning, it was found that numerous studies have already shown the many benefits of reading to young children especially infants and toddlers. These studies show that reading to our kids at a young age can help in the development of the expressive and receptive language skills. In other words, by reading to our young kids, they are able to develop their own way of communicating as well as refine their skill of understanding or comprehending what is being communicated to them.

It is in reading to our kids that we are able to provide them with the foundation for their speech, language, and communication skills. When we pronounce a word, they instinctively learn that this is how it’s supposed to be pronounced. That is why when we tell a story to our kids, we always do so at a much slower pace so they will be able to pick up the correct pronunciation. More importantly, the manner in which we tell the stories will somehow create an impression on them as to the different emotions inherent in the story. For instance, if we make our voice gloomier than usual, they will gain an understanding of what sadness sounds like.

Perhaps more than just enhancing their communication skills, reading to our young children further strengthens our bonds with them. As we cuddle up close, they will feel the warmth of our care and affection and this builds the trust that exists between a parent and his or her child.

The Bottom Line

There are many benefits of reading to our young children. While some parents may not agree with what we have in our list solely because of the content of the books, it should be worth remembering that these are for 2-year-old girls or boys.


Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Where can I find the books on this list in a physical store?

A:  You can find the books on this list at a physical store by searching the internet for the title. Using a search engine to type the title of the book in and the results displayed will show you both places online that carry the book and physical stores around you as well. Checking to make sure they have it in stock or giving them a call is best before heading over to the store.

Q: What kind of books are the best for 2-year-olds?

A: The kind of books that are the best for 2-year-olds at short stories with rhymes that include colorful illustrations. Children will often share the pictures as the adult reads so you want to make sure they are able to see the pictures and the pictures tell the story as well. Interactive books with flaps, sounds, and moving parts are always a fun way to get them learning as well.

Q: Are there any safety concerns for books for 2-year-olds?

A: There are only a few safety concerns for books for 2-year-olds. You always want to review the book and make sure there are no loose materials or accessories that have come apart. You want to make sure there are no choking hazards that could come from the book materials. So making sure there are no choking hazards and also make sure the book is constructed of safe materials as well. The dyes and paints used in the book printing could cause health concerns. Always check to make sure the book is constructed of safe materials as well. You never know when they would like to put the book in their mouth.

Q: Why are there so many benefits to reading to children?

A: Reading to children benefits them in so many ways because it is a crucial part of development during their childhood. Reading to children helps them become better readers as they grow up, it helps to increase their vocabulary, teaches them about the world around them, and creates positive child-adult interaction. All these benefits help create children who want to learn and enjoy learning new things.

Q: When should my children be able to start reading?

A: Children should start to read by the age of 6 or 7 years old. Early readers will start reading around 4 or 5 years old. Reading books to children out loud is one of the best ways to help them learn to read. Make sure that the experience is fun and rewarding. This ensures that healthy literacy-development skills are created and that they will enjoy reading themselves.

Q: Does reading to a 2-year-old teach them about the world around them?

A: Yes, reading to a 2-year-old teaches them about the world around them. To make sure they are getting the most out of the experience, make sure to read a large variety of different kinds of books. Picking books to read that include information about different people and cultures, along with places and events outside the home is the best way for them to learn about the world around them.

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