Ariel’s Picks: 5 Books My Toddler Loves

We’ve been reading to Ariel since she was in the womb, so it’s no surprise she’s a book-lover like her parents. It’s never too early to start reading to little ones, and here are a few Ariel would recommend.

One Love by Cedella Marley

One Love by Cedella Marley, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton – Gorgeous illustrations, happy faces, and lots to admire about the spirit of this book: Inspired by the timeless lyrics of Bob Marley’s song, this children’s board book is about community and creating the kind of world we want to live in. Ariel fell in love the book, so one day after reading it, I played “One Love” by Bob Marley. Watching her joy and surprise at hearing the song was one of those special moments of parenthood—that and her pronunciation sounding more like “One Luff.” See a trailer of this beautiful book here.

The Colorful Mouse by Julie Durrell

The Colorful Mouse by Julie Durrell – A Little Golden Book from the ’60s. Ariel is really into colors right now, and this book is a great break from the non-narrative children’s books about color. The mouse decides to go outside despite the rain, so the book follow’s the mouse’s preparation: a search for the green umbrella, the purple socks, the brown sweater, etc., culminating in a ridiculously colorful outfit. The twist: when the mouse finally opens the door to go outside, the rain has cleared. (Ariel’s favorite part is when the mouse throws its orange hat into the air.) Naturally, the book ends with a rainbow to reinforce all of the colors just learned.

Never Touch a Dragon by Make Believe Ideas Ltd.

Don’t Ever Touch a Dragon by Make Believe Ideas Ltd. – A touch-and-feel book, the child is directed not to touch the dangerous dragon despite its “weird and wavy wings” or “lumpy, bumpy skin.” The playful rhymes and colorful illustrations work well together, and Ariel has to touch every single page. On those nights when she doesn’t want to get in the bed, we start with this one—she can’t resist!

Dream Big by Joyce Wan

Dream Big by Joyce Wan – The language is simple—“Dream Big,” “Dream High,” “Dream Fast,”—but the message is not: each page features a woman who embodied that trait—from Harriet Tubman (“Dream Bold Dreams”) to Frieda Kahlo (“Dream Vibrant Dreams”). The book takes its title from the illustration for Junko Tabei, the first woman to scale Mount Everest, and who has scaled all the Seven Summits (the highest peak on every continent). I bought the book hoping it would grow with Ariel over time—that she would one day become interested in the stories of these trailblazers. But never underestimate your children: she already knows the name of nearly every woman in the book. Hearing Ariel point to the woman surrounded by books and say “Maya Angelou” made me cry. I’m ready for a sequel! Here’s the trailer.

Baby Beluga by Raffi illustrated by Ashley Wolff

Baby Beluga by Raffi, illustrated by Ashley Wolff – This is Ariel’s final bedtime book each night—a song Daddy must sing as Ariel holds the book and flips through the stunning illustrations. Based on the song by the children’s entertainer Raffi, this captivating book continues to delight a generation after it was originally performed. An animated version with song here.

Hope you’ve enjoyed these. More of Ariel’s Picks coming soon!

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