Choosing Books for Children Under 6

Young girl readingGive babies a book they can sink their teeth into. Board and cloth books are perfect for babies to handle, throw or chew on. They’ll have fun and you can easily clean them. Several Alaska librarians pick their favorite board books to share with babies.

For young toddlers age 12 to 24 months, try sturdy board books they can carry, books with photos of children doing familiar activities, bedtime-themed stories, and books about saying good-bye and hello.  Find books with only a few words on each page, engaging visuals, and simple rhymes or predictable text.

For toddlers age 24 to 36 months, consider books that tell simple stories, rhyming books they can memorize, soothing bedtime books, as well as books about counting, the alphabet, and shapes or sizes.  They’ll love animal books, vehicle books,books about playtime, pop-up books, and pull-the-tab books.  Touch-and-feel books and books with humorous pictures and words will also be a hit.

For preschoolers age three to five, choose books with simple text that they can memorize or read, counting books or other “concept” books about things like size or time, and simple “science” books about things and how they work.  Engage little readers with books about things in which they have a special interest. Stories about children who are like them and who are very different, stories about making friends and dealing with the challenges of friendship, as well as books about going to school will help them to mentally prepare for entering kindergarten.

Enroll your child in Imagination Library, and they will receive free books from birth to age 5. 

Children’s Book Lists

Reading Rockets
Organized by theme, these books were selected by children’s literature expert Maria Salvadore, formerly of the American Library Association’s Notable Children’s Books committee. They’re for kids ages birth to 9, focus on new titles, share a common theme, and emphasize quality.

PBS Parents Bookfinder
The Bookfinder is a customized search tool for selecting children’s books. Enter your child’s age range, choose a theme, and click “go” for a list of books that meet your criteria.

Your local library or bookstore will also be an excellent resource for good children’s books.