Reading with Nikhil: Recommended Books for Kids Aged 1 1/2 – 2 1/2

~post by Meghan G. 

Last year around this time I wrote a post about reading to my son during his first 16 months, discussing what books had served us well and what I had noticed about his reading preferences along the way. Now he’s two and a half, has a brand-new younger brother, and has discovered a whole new crop of books.

As the children’s book buyer for the store, I know and love many children’s books, so it’s always interesting to see which ones actually succeed and enter our routine at home. We still read almost all the books I talked about last year. But here are some of the other books that have entered our lives since then.

Interactive Books Still Going Strong

Looking a tad worse for wear at this point, but holding up pretty well, copies of Matthew Van Fleet’s Tails and Heads, Rod Campbell’s Dear Zoo, and Petr Horacek’s Animal Opposites have served us well over the last year, offering both entertainment and knowledge that literally can’t be contained within the pages. But now that he’s a little bit older, interaction is not limited to tabs and folds and pop-ups that create their own energy. We are starting to find that both concept books and wordless books are wonderful conversation starters.

Great Concepts

This has turned out to be a great age for starting real discussion about the books we read. I had bought Guido Van Genechten’s charming Odd One Out concept series last Christmas and quickly realized they were way over Nikhil’s head. But they are just right for him now, inviting him to puzzle over the images and interpret what he sees.

Our favorite, most-read concept book has to be Have You Seen My Dragon? because it has everything: numbers, colors, and gloriously intricate black & white line drawings hiding a dragon on each page. But here are a few more books that are introducing concepts and starting great dialogue in our house these days:
Odd One Out: Big & Small
Have You See My Dragon?
Fuzzy Yellow Ducklings
Alphablock and Countablock
Orange Pear Apple Bear
Cool book to grow into: Before After

Wordless Books

I know that wordless books can seem challenging to parents. But we have had a lot of fun with wordless books over the last six months. Nikhil really likes the process of poring over the pages as we figure out the story for ourselves. We’ve very much enjoyed several wordless titles that I’ve listed below, but the big hit by far has to be The Farmer and the Clown. In fact, for a solid month, the best way to get him to willingly go to bed was to offer to read “farmer clown.” Here are a few wordless favorites:
The Farmer & the Clown
The Tree House
The Umbrella

Cool book we’re growing into: Journey

Longer Stories

With his ever-increasing attention span, we have worked longer, more complicated stories like the spectacularly fun read-aloud The Seven Silly Eaters into the rotation along with a few other favorites listed below. We also occasionally will give in to demands for entire readings of Mother Goose at one sitting (although that is not my husband’s favorite request).
The Seven Silly Eaters
A House in the Woods
When Dinosaurs Came with Everything
My Mother Goose
Big Bad Bubble

Cool book we’re growing into: Dragons Love Tacos

Soothing Books for Winding Down

Our bedtime routine still concludes with Goodnight Moon every night, but these other quiet tales help us get ready for lights out:
Hush! A Thai Lullabye
Dream Animals
Ten, Nine, Eight
The Napping House

Cool book we’re growing into: Owl Moon

A Few Others That We Really Love These Days

Everywhere Babies, Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes; Please, Baby, Please; and Boss Baby (books about ‘babies’ are popular around our house these days with the arrival of a new brother)
I’m Mighty (gets us yelling aruuuuuga!)
Fox in Socks and Green Eggs & Ham (zany, classic fun)
Whistle for Willie (FYI: toddlers trying to whistle is adorable)
In the Night Kitchen (“milk in batter! milk in batter!”)
Where the Wild Things Are (and we gnash our terrible teeth)
Frog Trouble (be prepared to sing the entire book upon request)
Cool book we’re growing into: If You Want to See a Whale (beautiful and unique)

4 thoughts on “Reading with Nikhil: Recommended Books for Kids Aged 1 1/2 – 2 1/2

  1. Reblogged this on Angie's World and commented:
    It is every teacher’s dream that parents would be seriously reading to their children starting out from when they are very young. There are so many benefits in terms of oral language development and vocabulary development which give the children a head start when they begin preschool and kindergarten.

    So, I am loving this post!

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