Our Favorite Board Books

When our kids were born, we wanted to promote reading from the very beginning. We started reading board books to them almost before they could hold their own heads up. In our few short years of parenting, we have read hundreds of books to our kids. It seems to have paid off, at least so far. Both of our kids love books. Though they are almost past the target age of board books, they still enjoy reading many of their favorites. In fact, now that our daughter is starting to learn how to read, we find that board books are a great tool to help her with that. Because of their simplicity, she can recognize and read many words in the books she’s loved since infancy.

We have many favorite board books, and I enjoy sharing them with new parents. Because of this, I thought I would share some of our favorites here, in case you or someone you know is looking for a good book to read to your baby or gift to someone else. (And, yes, it’s also a self-serving way to remind you that my board book is now available for pre-order.)

The criteria I used for this list boiled down to two things: the books my kids liked best and the books that I didn’t mind reading 2413 times (seriously, we read some of these so much they completely fell apart). The books pictured below all made the cut, along with a few related suggestions.

Favorite Board Books

Sounding Joy

Sounding Joy
Ellie Holcomb
B&H Kids, 2022

Sounding Joy is by far my favorite in this list. My kids think I'm nuts because I can't get through it without crying. Yes, it's a Christmas book and we don't typically read it year-round. However, the lyrics (it's got a corresponding song) combined with the beautiful illustrations put this one at the top of my list. My kids also loved her other two books, Who Sang the First Song? and Don't Forget to Remember.

Never Touch a Shark

Never Touch a Shark
Rosie Greening
Make Believe Ideas, 2020

Never Touch a Shark is a touch-and-feel book that my daughter enjoyed from a very early age. She loved running her hands over all the textures and I thought the rhymes in this one were adorable. We read this one so much, it completely fell apart! It's part of the Never Touch A series of over thirty books. We read a few in this series, but Never Touch a Shark was our favorite.


Jimmy Fallon
Feiwel & Friends, 2015

The reason my kids know all their animal sounds is almost exclusively because of Dada. Jimmy Fallon has written other renditions of this book, including Mama, Baby, and Nana. All are adorable, but we loved Dada the best. Bonus- there is a puzzle that corresponds with the book. My kids love putting it together and it's easy enough that they can assemble it by themselves.

First 100 Words

First 100 Words
Roger Priddy
Priddy Books US, 2005

This was another well-loved book that fell apart, and still my kids would carry around and look at the individual pages. There are a lot of books in this series, of which we've owned two other versions. My kids liked the bigger board books the best, and would spread out on the floor to look at the pictures. This book also helped my son learn many of his first words.

Brown Bear

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Bill Martin, Jr.
Henry Holt and Co., 2011

My daughter particularly loved the slide-and-find version of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?. There are several board book "classics" that my kids enjoyed. My son's favorite was always Goodnight Moon.

Big Dog, Little Dog

Big Dog, Little Dog
P.D. Eastman
Random House Books for Young Readers, 2006

We're big fans of the Bright & Early Board Books (our Target has a whole shelf of them in the kids' book section), but Big Dog, Little Dog is probably my kids' favorite. I like these books because they're the perfect size for little toddler hands, which makes them really good car books.

Blue Hat, Green Hat

Blue Hat, Green Hat
Sandra Boynton
Boynton Bookworks, 1984

I love so many Sandra Boynton books, possibly even more than my kids. Though The Going to Bed Book is my favorite, my kids much prefer Blue Hat, Green Hat. This is one that they grew to love as they got older and were able to find the humor in the turkey's wardrobe mistakes.

Pout Pout Fish

The Pout-Pout Fish
Deborah Diesen
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013

Our kids were no exception to the beloved Pout-Pout Fish book, particularly when we read it in funny voices. The rhymes are fun and easy to read aloud (I've found this is not always the case with rhyming books). It's the original book in a series of Pout-Pout Fish books, and we have also found a few Pout-Pout-Fish-themed beginning readers at the library.

Psalms of Praise

Psalms of Praise
Danielle Hitchen
Harvest Kids, 2018

When I was pregnant with my firstborn, I was really excited to find the Baby Believer series of board books. This series was the exact thing I wanted to read to my kids to begin introducing them to simple theology. They're also just beautiful books to look at. We have most of the books in this series, but Psalms of Praise was my daughter's favorite.

Photo by Ben Mullins on Unsplash