If you let them, books can be children’s best friends. As Dr Seuss said, “You can find magic wherever you look, just sit back and relax, all you need is a book”. There are countless engaging books that I’ve seen my children enjoy, some that we’ve read over and over until we learnt every word of it. There’s something so magical and inviting about children’s books that I often am left as much in awe as my kids when we go to a bookstore. The gift of reading is the best gift you can give any child and while I’d say any book is as fine a choice, there are some authors you just MUST include in your collection, almost like a bucket list you need to tick off.

child reading book in book store

If you don’t know where to start building your little one’s book collection, pick any book of these following authors and I promise, you and your toddler are going to have nothing short of a magical time. 

Now I wouldn’t want to rate them in any order, and so here are my top 5 suggestions in no particular order:

Nandini Nayar: Let’s start with one closest to home. Nandini Nayar’s books are a constant favourite with both children and educators. Of the many books she has authored for different ages, her books such as “What could it be? Where shall we go?, What did you see? are particularly aimed at the youngest of audiences. Bright, colourful illustrations are a trademark of her books and what my boys have particularly enjoyed about her writing is the fun and fresh spin she puts on any topic she explores. 

Nandini Nayar booksEric Carle: This author just has a way of connecting with his young readers. When I first read “The Hungry Caterpillar” I was just marvelled by Carle’s subtle strategy of teaching kids, so many things, all through one story – days of the week, counting, metamorphosis and healthy eating too I’d say. That to me is a trait of a genius. Both my boys have enjoyed this book to the point of leaving it in tatters and I bet you, I can narrate this story by heart and with joy. His books are probably the first you’ll pick to start your child’s library. From Head to Toe, The Tiny Seed, The Very Caterpillar, children of almost all ages will enjoy his innovative writing.  

Eric Carle BooksDebi Gliori: Ah Debi, I just absolutely adore her books and my little ones love her just as much, maybe more. Debi Gliori writes about all the important and big feelings that kids feel. She navigates emotions with such ease and comfort, she’s almost magical. In our home, her books “No Matter What, Dragon Loves Penguin, Goodnight World, Little Owl’s Eggs” have a special place. They have helped my toddlers understand big feelings in the warmest and most comforting ways. Her characters are lovable, her stories relatable and the emotions they endure are so genuine. I can’t recommend her enough. 

Debi Gilori BooksRod Campbell: If you’re looking for books that will keep your kids engaged with tiny notes of surprise and wonder, you need to pick up a few of Rod Campbell books. Dear Zoo, Dear Santa, Where’s Spot, Oh Dear are much-loved titles. Most of his books have bright, bold artwork, simple and engaging text, touch and feel surprise elements with a lift the flap format. These are sure to delight young readers. Gently laced with wonder and humour, his books are especially fun for toddlers. 

Rod Campbell booksDr Seuss: I couldn’t complete a list of children’s authors without including Dr Seuss, even at the risk of courting controversy. Although when you pick your first Dr Seuss book, you might find some of his words and illustrations rather odd, his upbeat rhythm and uplifting themes will win you over almost immediately. What is beautiful about his books is that his writing and themes are inspiring to both, kids and adults. His characters have been loved by generations of children and will not cease to create wonder in young minds. It just feels apt that I leave you with a quote of his “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”  I couldn’t agree more. 

So there you have it, my list of top 5 authors for your toddlers. It’s never too early or late to read to your child. I enjoyed reading to my boys from week one of their life and now, a few years later, I can see their deep love for books and read ing (or pretending to; they’re still tots). Start laying the building blocks for reading in your child’s life today. Pick a book, join a library, visit a bookstore. Honestly, there is something truly magical that happens when you open a book.