15 Children’s Books That Should Be On Every Bookshelf

Beyond the specific baby-focused books that I mentioned earlier, there are certain books so classic — so universally loved — that they deserve a spot on every bookshelf in every baby nursery.

Here are 15 of my favorite children’s books that are never too soon to buy:

  • Corduroy by Don Freeman

    Corduroy by Don Freeman

    Sweet, simple, and heart-warming — this story about a stuffed bear’s quest for a family, for a home, for love, is a childhood classic.

    Buy from Amazon.

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar

    The Very Hungry Caterpillar

    While The Very Hungry Caterpillar is our favorite (my son even had a second birthday party with this theme), any Eric Carle book deserves a spot on your baby’s bookshelf.

    More favorites: Brown Bear, Brown Bear,The Very Busy Spider, and From Head to Toe.

  • Pooh's Library by A.A. Milne

    Pooh's Library by A.A. Milne

    A classic collection including A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner, plus two more Milne collections: When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six. And all four books include Ernest H. Shepard’s original illustrations.

    Buy from Amazon.

  • Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth

    Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth

    I never heard about this book before it was given to my son last year, but it quickly became my favorite in our (very extensive) book collection. Zen Shorts weaves three accessible Buddhist tales into its storyline — stories about selflessness, patience, forgiveness — that everyone, old and young, can take something from.

    Buy from Amazon.

  • Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman

    Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman

    This and the other P.D. Eastman classic, Go Dog, Go have been favorite first books for generations of kids. Are You My Mother?, in particular, is a sweet story that young toddlers instinctively gravitate towards.

    Buy from Amazon.

  • Harold and the Purple Crayon

    Harold and the Purple Crayon

    This almost-60-year-old book has proven itself to be timeless tribute to a child’s imagination.

    Buy from Amazon.

  • The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

    The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

    This is my favorite book to ease separation anxiety — whether your child is going to daycare, preschool, or even elementary school. It’s a heart-warming read for both parent and child — because sometimes we need a “kissing hand” even more than our kids do.

    Buy from Amazon.

  • The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

    The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

    In addition to Brown’s other famous book Goodnight Moon (another must-have for every baby), The Runaway Bunny — about a mom-and-child bond — is a lovely story that’s been comforting children since the 1940s.

    Buy from Amazon.

  • Dr. Seuss's ABC Book

    Dr. Seuss's ABC Book

    Dr. Seuss’s ABC Book is one of the many classic Seuss books that kids love. With catchy rhymes, silly illustrations, and a clear educational benefit, it’s the perfect introduction to the ABCs.

    More Dr. Seuss books that we love for early readers: One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Green Eggs and Ham, and Mr. Brown Can MOO! Can You?.

    More ABC books we love: The Sleepy Little Alphabet, and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.

  • Press Here by Hevé Tullet

    Press Here by Hevé Tullet

    Press Here is one of the most interactive, engaging, and imaginative children’s books on the market — with no electronics, pop-ups, or even complex illustrations. It’s genius, I tell you.

    Buy from Amazon.

  • Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker

    Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker

    For little boys who love all things construction, this is a beautifully illustrated book about each construction vehicle ending its work and resting its wheels. It’s guaranteed to become a favorite bedtime story in your house.

    Buy from Amazon.

  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

    The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

    A classic wintery book to pull out once the snow starts falling.

    Buy from Amazon.

  • Gallop! (A Scanimation Picture Book) by Rufus Butler Seder

    Gallop! (A Scanimation Picture Book) by Rufus Butler Seder

    This “scanimation” technique literally brings books to life — animals run, fly, and swim across the pages, mesmerizing readers of all ages.

    Buy from Amazon.

  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

    The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

    Your baby probably won’t get into this book for a few years, but it’s one of those classic children’s stories that any parent would love as a gift.

    Buy from Amazon.

  • Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi

    Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi

    Parents may find it a strange topic to read about, but this book has become a favorite in the toilet-training book genre — normalizing a bodily function that, yes, everyone does, but some children are scared of.

    Buy from Amazon.

What are your favorite children’s books?

Read more of Michelle’s writing at Early Mama, and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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