20 Best Books to Read to 2-Year-Olds

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ANY book you choose to read to your 2-year-old is a good book but some are better suited for them developmentally and are just generally kid-approved book titles.

Of course, our children’s individuality means they’ll pick their own favorites.

I know my kids did.

One daughter loved Byron Barton’s truck books while the other loved anything by Mo Willems.

That being said, these wonderful picture books are a great place to start when reading to your 2-year-olds.

See what they like.

Then find more books.

And keep reading!

You should be proud of yourself.  

Reading aloud to kids is THE BEST way to develop a child’s literacy skills.

Reading to our two-year-olds benefits their toddler’s brain, future literacy skills, and social/emotional growth.

Not to mention, it’s fun!

Will this be a new favorite book for the age 2 readers on your lap?

(ALSO READ: 22 Must-Read Books for 3-Year-Olds and Best Picture Books for 4- and 5- Year-Olds)

20 Best Books to Read to 2-Year-Olds

Best Books to Read to 2-Year-Olds
Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site
by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Do you know any construction vehicle fans? This is the perfect bedtime book for them! As each vehicle at the construction site finishes their job for the day, there is one last thing to do, and then they’ll say goodnight. Gentle rhymes and soft-colored pictures of favorite trucks are the perfect way to lull any child into sweet dreams. Say goodnight to more trucks at the construction site — Crane Truck, Dump Truck, Bulldozer, and Excavator.

Best Books to Read to 2-Year-Olds
The Napping House
by Audrey Wood and Don Wood
One of the most beloved picture books EVER, certainly by my family if not the world, The Napping House is a gentle, rhythmic story about the inhabitants in a sleepy house slowly falling into slumber– then, waking back up again.

“There is a house, a napping house, where everyone is sleeping.”

As the snoring granny, dreaming child, a dozing dog, a snoozing cat, and a slumbering mouse settle in for sleep, they’re unexpectedly awakened in a surprising chain reaction of events. Muted blue-toned illustrations enhance this book’s perfectly sleepy ambiance.

Best Books to Read to 2-Year-Olds
Go Dog Go by P.D. Eastman
Even though I’ve read this book a MILLION times with my kids, my kids still love everything about it — red dogs, blue dogs, big dogs, little dogs—all kinds of wonderful dogs—riding bicycles, scooters, skis, and roller skates and driving all sorts of vehicles on their way to a big dog party held on top of a tree.

Your Nose! A Wild Little Love Song by Sandra Boynton
Perfect for young readers learning body parts, this sweet song in a book celebrates YOUR amazing nose. Sing it your own way or check out Boynton’s version of the song on her Blue Moo album. (We highly recommend it!)

Best Books to Read to 2-Year-Olds
Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora
Play peekaboo with this little girl, her family, her puppy, and more. Don’t you love the playful characters?

Best Books to Read to 2-Year-Olds
Old McDonald Had a Truck
by Steve Goetz, illustrated by Eda Kaban
Calling all truck fans — this is the book for you! Because Old McDonald has a lot of trucks — a bulldozer, front loader, motor grader, dump truck, and more. E-I-E-I-O! This is not just a favorite for age 2 readers but also a family favorite sing-along picture book.

 Best Books to Read to 2-Year-Olds
Guess How Much I Love You Here I Am! A Finger Puppet Book
by Sam McBratey, illustrated by Anita Jeram
Poke your finger through the Little Nutbrown Hare finger puppet to play hide-and-seek! Big Nutbrown Hare searches for Little Nutbrown Hare. “Where are you, Little Nutbrown Hare?” / “Here I am!” Wiggle the Little Hare’s puppet hiding in a tree, under a rock, near white flowers, and other places. Eventually, Big Nutbrown Hare is too exhausted to play any longer and rests. 2-year-olds love this playful, sweet board book showing a loving relationship between caregiver and child.


Best Books to Read to Age 2
Touch the Brightest Star
by Christie Matheson
We love this sweet, interactive picture book. Touch, press, pat, and blow as you say good-night to the deer, the tree, the stars, and the owls. Shhh. Breathe in deeply. It’s time to sleep! Your youngest readers will really enjoy this. 🙂

Is Everyone Ready for Fun?
 by Jan Thomas
We are addicted to Ready for Fun –it’s a great book for reading together and practicing your silly voices.

favorite picture books for age 2
I’m Brave
by Kate & Jim McMullan
Firefighter fans are going to love to read about the life of a brave (and good-looking) fire engine driving through smoke and heat to a blazing fire. Filled with lots of delightful sound effects: CLANG, HONK, WHOOSSSSSH, and EEEEEEOWOOOO for young children. Perfect for age 2 readers.

favorite picture books for two-year-olds
Press Here by Herve Tullet
The most original, interactive, and imaginative interactive picture books of them all! You, the reader, make magic with the dots. Or are the dots magic? If you follow the directions and . .  press, rub, shake, tilt, blow, clap, . . . watch what happens to the dots! Rub the  yellow dot and it turns blueShake the book and the dots spread out over the page. Tilt the book and the dots slide down the page. Clap and the dots grow. Clap twice and the dots grow even bigger. See how fun?

favorite picture books for two-year-olds
Please, Baby, Please
by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee, illustrated by  Kadir Nelson
My kids LOVE this book so much — and repeated readings were no problem because so did I. The parents implore their spunky young child to please behave, PLEASE. Great use of repetition and so relatable to 2 year old children …and their parents.


favorite picture books for two-year-olds
R is for Robot: A Noisy Alphabet by Adam F. Watkins
Bright cartoon-like illustrations show expressive robots doing noisy things. “Ick, Jolt, Kapow, La La La, Meep.” A simple picture book with gorgeous and entertaining illustrations.

Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn, illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw
Here’s yet another favorite book for your growing readers about a little girl and her mom’s library ritual. It’s simple and absolutely wonderful.

good books for age 2
Vegetables in Underwear
by Jared Chapman
I’ve read a lot of books about underwear, but this is my first vegetable underwear book!! It’s totally adorable, too. “I wear underwear, you wear underwear, we all wear underwear,” shout the veggies who also model underwear opposites: dirty/clean, serious/funny, and so forth.

The Underwear Book
 by Todd Parr
As you read these do’s and don’ts, I predict your kids will crack up like my kids always did. For example, do put your clean underwear away. But don’t put it in the freezer! Helpful and silly tips will encourage your kids to embrace their underwear, especially those potty training kiddos.

There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight by Penny Parker Klosterman, illustrated by Ben Mantle
Jaunty rhymes and plenty of silliness make this a read aloud favorite, now in a board book version. This dragon swallowed a knight — and so much more. That’s not polite! Which the dragon realizes when his tummy gets too big. He burps and they all, well, almost all, leave his stomach.


The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Not only was this best picture book a favorite from my own childhood but it still endures today as a must-read classic! It has finally snowed and the little boy can’t wait to go outside to play…


favorite picture books for two-year-olds
We Are the Dinosaurs by Laurie Berkner, illustrated by Ben Clanton
Laurie Berkner’s popular song is now a super cute picture book. As you read the song lyrics, follow along with Dax as he and his friends go exploring, marching, picnicking, napping, and roaring. Clanton’s animated illustrations with cartoon-like dialogue bubbles make these dinosaur friends inviting and friendly. Get ready to sing your way through this delightful book making it one of the best books for 2-year-olds.

A Parade of Elephants
by Kevin Henkes
My kids and I were immediately attracted to the pastel-colored illustrations of elephants who are going through their day until they fall asleep at night. One, two, three, four, five begins the rhythmic text with over, under…in, out, and marching. Gentle. Perfect for reading aloud at bedtime or anytime. It’s sure to be a new two-year-old read-aloud favorite.

Go Sleep In Your Own Bed!
by Candace Fleming and Lori Nichols
Two-year-olds love this funny bedtime story. Here’s why — it’s got hilarity but also includes repetition of text as well as plot drama. Each animal goes to bed and finds another animal sleeping in the wrong bed. “Go sleep in your own bed!” the pig orders the cow, the cow orders the chicken, the chicken tells the horse, well, you get the picture. What will happen with the kitten? She gets to stay and cuddle in the little girl’s bed.

Counting Kisses: A Kiss and Read Book
by Karen Katz
Bedtime snuggles were never so much fun! From ten kisses on ten tiny toes all the way to one kiss on a sleep head, count and kiss baby goodnight.
favorite picture books for two-year-olds
The Wonky Donkey
by Craig Smith, illustrated by Katz Cowley
This wonky donkey is walking down the road, he hasn’t had any coffee and up to mischief.  It’s on this list of the best books for 2-year-olds because it’s a silly (very silly!) cumulative story filled with rhyme and onomatopoeias like “stinky dinky lanky honky tonky winky wonky donkey.”
Books for two year olds
The I Love You Book
by Todd Parr
Read about unconditional love shown in Todd Parr’s characteristic colorful style . . . Your little one’s fingers will want to push and poke the puffy heart cover. It’s a warm-hearted book you are going to read and reread.
Big List of books for 2 year olds
How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten?
by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Mark Teague
Mark Teague’s illustrations wonderfully depict these playful dinosaurs doing fun things that kids do all day long — playing with blocks, balls, toys, and teddy bears! Can you count along?

by Katerina Kerouli
Playful descriptions and lift the flaps show kids the mouthes of different safari animals like a snake, lion, crocodile, monkey, and tiger. “Snap Snap,” it says inside the crocodile. “Such colorful scales, such a flicky tongue, such pointy fangs…Look out, everyone! Hiss Hiss.” A darling, interactive animal book!
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    Hi! I’m Melissa Taylor, mom, writer, & former elementary teacher & literacy trainer. I love sharing good books & fun learning resources.

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