Some Favorite Books for Our 2-Year-Old

Phoebe loves to read, and I try to actively curate her book collection. We are always looking for new suggestions and checking stacks of books out from the library. And some books stick with us for several renewals, while others get returned immediately. I try to balance books that are fun and fluffy with ones that are more challenging for her.

For example, Phoebe looooves any Maisy book we bring home (and we have at least half a dozen at any time). I like the Maisy books because they handle all tons of experiences that Phoebe is grappling with: cleaning up, the dentist, parties, etc. Plus Maisy and her friends are the kinds of role models I’d want for Phoebe: they aren’t stereotypical, they don’t whine, and they are kind and imaginative. “A Sick Day For Amos McGee.” I love this book because it is beautiful. The art and story are well crafted and elegant. It is not a “cutesy” book…it is a quality book, and the more quality books that go into Phoebe’s little head, the better she will understand the nuances and joys of literature. Also, this book is right at her attention level (meaning I can typically finish all the words on the page before she gets anxious).

“Extra Yarn” is a favorite of mine that she’s not overly fond of. So, once or twice a day, I ask her if I can read one of her favorites first, and then read my choice. “Extra Yarn” is at the same reading level as “Sick Day…,” and I love it because of the same reasons: gorgeous pictures, beautifully crafted story, and also because it has a good illustration of creativity and generosity. Even though Phoebe doesn’t like this book and I don’t push it on her, I think it’s important to try to entice her with excellent stories. “Bread And Jam For Frances” is one such book. Phoebe didn’t used to like it, but now requests it a lot. It is above her attention span; we typically read it over three sittings (picking up where we left off). I like this book because Frances models a toddler/kid conundrum, but it isn’t preachy or moralistic. It simply tells a story, and does it with lots of descriptive words and exploration of emotion. Also, I like it when books have tidbits of song in them so I can make up tunes willy nilly.

Finally: “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.” This book is wildly beyond Phoebe’s attention span, and I don’t try to read it with her every day. But I have always wanted to read this series with her throughout her childhood. So, when the moment is right, typically after a bath or nap when she’s snuggly and compliant, I’ll crack open a chapter and read to her.

^_^ There are so many more books we love and for so many more reasons. But one thing I think is important: I want to only keep books in our home that *I* find enjoyable, because no matter what we’re reading, Phoebe will pay the most attention to how I feel about the literature. And if I can instill a love and understanding of good literature and art in her from an early age, that is a seed that I would hope to blossom beautifully in years to come. POST SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS!!! I’m always up for more suggestions. Haha! Our library always has a stack of inter-library-loan books waiting for me whenever we come in!!


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4 Responses to Some Favorite Books for Our 2-Year-Old

  1. judy June 20, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

    It’s funny we were talking books the other day and your post reminded me that I did a post about this time too

    Now I can’t even begin to keep track of their favorites. It changes monthly if not more often. Go go power readers!

  2. Sara June 20, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

    So, these are our favorites at 10 months old. 😉

    Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?
    Is Your Mama a Llama?
    You Are My I Love You
    Moo, Baa, La la la
    The Going to Bed Book
    Goodnight Moon
    The Very Busy Spider

    Of course- Lilly would still prefer to eat the books. She is starting to really dig em though.

  3. Beth June 21, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

    I’m curious to know your reasoning behind only having books that you enjoy. Are there books that phoebe likes that you do not? My boys really loved this book about a duck and a kite– I was much less enthusiastic about it. Also, there were quite a few books about vehicles: I’m Dirty and I Stink. I made excuses for not renewing these books, but they always stayed until the last possible day and I dreaded when they found them on the shelves again. My oldest one is now into chapter books: The Magic Tree House series (which I enjoy) and Junie B.Jones (which I don’t particularly enjoy).

    I guess my thought process is that I want him to know, we don’t have to like the same things, but should respect each other’s opinions.

    Please don’t take this as a judgement or anything. I’m just always curious to know and understand differences and have conversations.. Reading is really important to me — so far my kids seem to be enjoying it, too. Dominic’s whole world opened up this year as he learned to read on his own and it was absolutely magical to watch. My hope is to see that continue throughout all of his years!

    • ekwetzel June 21, 2013 at 10:51 pm #

      Beth – Good question about why I said I only keep books around that I like. First let me qualify my original comment: it was more if an off-handed comment and less of an actual Rule of Thumb. My reasoning behind it is that Phoebe still needs me to read with her (she almost never sits and just looks at a book by herself) so if I find a book obnoxious and display any amount of dread when she asks me to read it with her, I would be concerned that my negative emotion would be mimicked by her. There are so many books available around us that we try to find books that we together can enjoy. And as her parent-teacher, I try to challenge her and guide her towards challenging literature. That said…we do have books in our house I’m not crazy about. If I’m TRULY sick of a book I might hide it. But mostly I try positive reinforcement: encouraging books she chooses and loves that I also think are well written or interesting. And the only reason I get sick of some books is because, as I imagine it is with most toddlers, we read a select few over and over and over. 🙂 Also, I am sure that my desire to curate her book selection reveals a bit of a literary snob in me that I don’t readily admit exists. Haha! But there you go! I don’t think all literature is created equally. And that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for fluff. Even I will read fluff. And, especially when she reads more on her own, I hope Phoebe has an insatiable desire for all kinds of literature and finds her own favorites. But, for now, while she mimics my actions and feelings and attitudes so much, I want to foster a reading environment that is as pleasurable for everyone as possible.