15 Best Books for 3 Year Olds in 2018

Books are an amazing testament to the imagination of humanity, a portal into the mind of a person who could be thousands of miles, or even years, distant from their reader. They transport us into different realms and into the perspective of colorful characters, giving us a clue as to how we would or should act in various circumstances. Books and stories are a powerful tool for education, and a relatively painless way to explore the various end results of our decisions. This is of obvious use to your child, but you will have to be a storyteller for them until they learn to read themselves.

We’ve selected from the best children’s books available, choosing classic options that will help you to connect with your child and enjoy the process of reading to them. Many of these books are books from the childhoods of our own writers, classic choices that are just as fun today as they were when we were children ourselves. Choose from these options, or try and remember a book from your own childhood that sparked your imagination, and you are starting in the right place.

Last Updated: May 13, 2018
By Hristina:

We recently updatd this page and included more products on our list. We also replaced all products that were out of stock or that did not meet our criteria to be on a list of the best. We updated all information that was out of date and made sure all info on the page is accurate and current.

Our Top 3 Picks

Giraffes Can't Dance Board Book
  • Giraffes Can't Dance Board Book
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Light-Footed Rhymes
  • Price: See Here
Little Kids First Big Book of Why
  • Little Kids First Big Book of Why
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Prepare Kids for School
  • Price: See Here
The Monster at the End of This Book
  • The Monster at the End of This Book
  • 4.3 out of 5
    Our rating
  • A Classic Must-Read
  • Price: See Here

The Story of Ferdinand

The Story of Ferdinand

Check price on Amazon

Read Parent Reviews >>

The story of Ferdinand touches on some of the most important interaction points for small children, giving them the image of a powerful bull who is primarily peaceful and interested in flowers. The social mechanisms in this book are made to help children avoid becoming bullies and to properly sort out their issues among their peers, giving them a better chance at social success. This is a classic children’s book, and one that shouldn’t be undersold on its potential values for young readers.


This book provides an important message for your child as they become more social. This book will help them to understand that good characters don’t exert force because they can, but rather they seek to use love to understand the world around them.


  • Great plot, great message
  • Classic art and children’s literature
  • Simple wording, perfect for reading to young children
  • Includes original texts and illustrations

  • Probably won’t be the first book they can learn to read.

What We Like About It

Criteria Used in Evaluation of The 15 Best Books for 3 Year Olds

Literacy is crucial to the process of cognition for your child: it will be the simplest way for them to obtain their own information and form their own opinions and conclusions in the future. Knowing this, it is of the utmost importance that we do everything we can to train our children into reading at a competent level at the soonest possible date. Children can actually learn to speak and read very quickly in some circumstances, and there are even signal languages that can be used to communicate with infants before they can actually form the necessary muscles and coordination to speak.

We’ve selected from some of the most interesting and engaging children’s books available on the market, choosing for vivid artwork and simplistic story mechanics that are perfect for the attention span and learning capacities of a three-year-old. We’ve selected some classic literature from our own childhoods and added in some more recent pieces as well, selecting for the most engaging children’s literature available for your child.

How We Chose the Books for 3 Year Olds in Our List

Just like our section on the best books for 2 year olds, choosing a book for a child who doesn’t have the faculties for reading yet was especially challenging. For the most part we had to rely on the developmental appropriateness of the book wherein we had to make sure that its content is best suited for the cognitive skills of children of this age. The good thing about children who are already on their third year is that their vocabulary is already rapidly expanding. They already know quite a lot of words and their rudimentary meanings. While they may not yet be able to fully read what is written, we can nonetheless read to them. Because of their more developed cognition compared to a 2 year old, they can now begin to have a clear understanding of the essence of the story.

Additionally, we also had to look at the features of the book. For the most part, illustrations, drawings, images, and other visuals can help convey a particular message. We took these to heart. If the item is able to provide other benefits, then we included this, too.

Bestsellers as well as children’s books that are well-received by parents were included. Of course, the comments and reviews of parents as well as other notable critics were factored into the equation to come up with a more comprehensive evaluation of the titles we have in this list.

The Value of Reading to Our Young Kids

Three year olds cannot be expected to read on their own; not yet anyway. That is why it is imperative that we read to them to help them prepare for this very important developmental task. There are many benefits of reading especially to young toddlers and preschoolers. Chief of these is the bond that is built and nurtured especially when you cuddle your child or even sit beside him or her. This is particularly beneficial for 3 year old kids as they begin to shed their negativistic attitude and begin forming closer and stronger relationships with their parents. Trust is nurtured, if not reestablished, which can become the foundation for your kid’s social development later in his or her life.

Additionally, reading to our young children helps them develop their own language and speech skills. They learn the correct pronunciation of words as well as the meaning of such words in the story that you are reading to them. Three year olds are naturally curious. Whenever they hear a word that is particularly new to them, they will ask you to explain it to them in very simple words that they understand. This is how they grow their vocabulary which ultimately forms the foundation of their language development.

By reading to our young children, we are also introducing to them the different human emotions. Unfortunately, this only works if we are able to deliver the story in such a way that we’re reading it from the heart and not some monotonous babble. This can help build the foundation for emotional wellbeing among our kids.

The Bottom Line

Three year olds may not be able to read yet but this doesn’t mean we cannot read to them. We can use very simple sentences to help them get introduced to the joys of reading. With the help of our 10 best books for 3 year olds, you now can start building your kid’s reading skills.


Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How does reading affect developing kids?

A: Kids who are exposed to reading stimulates their brain activity. When children are being read to, there are areas in the brain that begin to activate. These areas are involved in understanding concepts, memory and discovering the meaning of words.

Q: How soon should parents start reading to their kids?

A: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents should start reading to their kids as soon as they are born. Kids who are exposed to reading at an early age do better in several categories. Children become more attentive in their studies, are better at critical thinking problems and can get through kindergarten easier.

Q: Why is it important to learn to read?

A: Reading is an important part of daily living. Reading is used to fill out job applications, reading road hazard signs, reading medicine bottles, the list goes on. Several adults never grasped the concept of reading. As a result, they struggle living a normal life. Reading also helps develop the mind. Teaching children to read helps them develop their language skills and learn to listen.

Q: Why is it important for young children to read books?

A: Parents who want to give their children’s best chance in life will help them learn valuable skills. One of those priceless skills is reading. Children that read have a much higher success rate in almost all aspects in life such as graduating from school and career success. Reading helps stimulate intellectual development and expand their vocabulary.

Q: What are other benefits to reading aloud to children?

A: When parents read aloud to their kids, it strengthens their bond. Reading aloud also helps encourage kids to learn to love books and reading. Reading aloud to children also helps to minimize the amount of time they spend in front of a computer monitor and other electronic devices as they get older.

Q: Do kids benefit from picture book?

A: Yes, kids benefit from picture books. Picture books engages conversations between the reader and child. Kids will start to ask questions like what is happening in the story and who are the characters in the pages. These types of books stimulate visual thinking skills and become better listeners as they develop.

You May Also Like

Best Books For 2 Year Olds
Books For 7 Year Olds
Best Books For Teenagers


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