15 Best Books For 3-Year-Olds To Get Started With Reading In 2023

The best books for 3-year-olds should include colorful illustrations to engage the young ones while you read to them. Although they might not know how to read and understand all that is in the book, they can imitate you and also learn a few words and sentences. Besides, it’s a great idea to instill a love of books in children from an early age, and these engaging picture books offer a suitable way for it.

Elisabeth Daly, a state-certified high school English teacher and book blogger, says, “Reading to children is fun for everyone. Not only is reading together a special bonding experience, it also helps nurture children’s brains. Remember, the more they read or are read to, the better their chances of becoming an avid book reader later in life.”

If you are looking for some of the best books by renowned children’s authors to keep your little one engaged, choose from this list we have compiled for you.

In This Article

15 Best Books for 3-Year-Olds

1. The Wonderful Things You Will Be


Author: Emily Winfield Martin

The book contains rhyming phrases interspersed with colorful illustrations across the book. The theme of the book is humorous and warm. It is one of the best creative storytelling books that you can read to your three-year-old before bedtime.

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Emily Winfield Martin’s book entails all the bold, creative, and loving things parents wonder about while looking at their children. With beautiful and humorous illustrations, you will love reading over and over to your kids.

Price at the time of publication: $9.4

2. Dragons Love Tacos

Author: Adam Rubin

This is a funny story about dragons who love tacos, and how you can befriend them by throwing a taco party. The dragons in this story love tacos, but they hate spicy salsa so beware! Dragons Love Tacos is a popular read-along book with a humor-filled storyline and sketches.

Price at the time of publication: $10.99

3. Grumpy Monkey


Author: Suzanne Lang

Jim, the chimpanzee, wakes up one morning to find that everything around him is perfect – the sun is shining bright, the sky is blue, and the bananas are just sweet. However, Jim is not happy and is grumpy to the bewilderment of his friends. Each page of the book has colorful illustrations with remarkable detail to keep a child engrossed.

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Considered among the best educational reading materials, this hilarious picture book educates your child on how to deal with unexplained feelings and the danger of suppressing them.

Price at the time of publication: $10.3

4. The Giving Tree

Author: Shel Silverstein

The picture book tells the story of a selfless tree that gives away its fruits, leaves, and wood so that someone can benefit from it. The tale is simple and teaches the child the essence of helping others, making it one of the best books for fostering children’s emotional development. The Giving Tree was published in 1964 and is considered to be one of the best books for toddlers and young children.

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Suitable for readers of all ages, Shel Silverstein has added an emotional allegory to this tender, emotional story. It describes the beautiful interpretation of the gift of giving and to receive love in return.

Price at the time of publication: $10.98

5. Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night?


Author: Brianna Caplan Sayres

Here’s an imaginary tale where the author wonders where diggers, trucks, and other automotive machinery sleep at night. The book has colorful drawings on every page. This book will surely stoke the imagination of a three-year-old while introducing them to a variety of automobiles and heavy-duty vehicles.

Price at the time of publication: $7

6. The Gruffalo


Author: Julia Donaldson

A jungle mouse creates an imaginary monster named Gruffalo to protect himself from predators. Each time the mouse encounters a dangerous animal, he would say to them that he has to meet the Gruffalo. While other animals develop a fear of Gruffalo, the mouse triumphantly roams around the forest without any concern. The story is jovial and full of attractive illustrations of animals. The animal-themed storybook will captivate your animal-loving child’s attention.

Price at the time of publication: $6.7

7. Blue Hat, Green Hat


Author: Sandra Boynton

A group of funny animals wears clothes of different shades to teach the reader about colors. The animals are hilariously portrayed, with a bird who always wears the wrong clothes being the funniest one! The book is entertaining and adorable with all the illustrations. Children can play the game of identifying colors at the turn of each page.

Price at the time of publication: $5.58

8. The Snail and the Whale


Author: Julia Donaldson

A snail and a whale become best friends and set out on a journey of the oceans. The snail, who has never traveled beyond its home, is fascinated by the vast expanse of water. But there is a moment when the whale drifts close to the shore, leaving the snail panicked and in a hurry to save its giant friend. This well-illustrated book tells a sweet tale of friendship between two unlikely friends.

Price at the time of publication: $7.64

9. Press Here

Author: Herve Tullet

Press Here is an interactive book without any screens or lights. Each page has instructions that prompt the toddler to touch a point on the page or blow gently on it. That leads to the next page that has an illustration and text describing the result of the toddler’s action. Press Here is an excellent book for parents and three-year-old children who love to be an active part of the reading sessions. Get your hands on this interactive storybook for preschoolers to make the storytelling sessions more memorable for your child.

Price at the time of publication: $11.77

10. First the Egg

Author: Laura Vaccaro Seeger

The book starts with a solution to the dilemma about what came first, the hen or the egg. Each page has a sketch and a cut-out, which gives a clue of the picture on the next page. It creates a guessing game that also teaches children about the transformation of eggs into birds, caterpillars into butterflies and tadpoles to frogs!

Item Weight: 10.7 ounces
Price at the time of publication: $13.18

11. If Animals Kissed Good Night


Author: Ann Whitford Paul

During a conversation with her mother before bedtime, a young girl wonders if other animal mothers and children wish each other ‘good night’ too. It starts a thread of imagination about how each animal family would wish each other a good night. If you have an imaginative three-year-old who loves animals, then they will enjoy this book.

Price at the time of publication: $4.19

12. The Day the Crayons Quit


Author: Drew Daywalt

A young boy opens his pack of crayons but instead finds a stack of envelopes with letters in them. Each letter is a complaint written by the crayons that have quit their work and are dissatisfied by how they are used. The book is funny and has surprises and an original storyline, making it a must-have on your child’s preschool reading list.

Price at the time of publication: $8.91

13. Room on the Broom

Author: Julia Donaldson

A witch and her pet cat are merrily flying on the magic broom when the wind comes in and blows away the witch’s hat, her bow, and then the wand. Three different animals on the ground pick up the fallen items. But to return the items, the animals want a ride on the broom, which leaves the witch wondering if there is enough space for all of them on the slender broom?

14. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Book

Author: Laura Numeroff

A boy gives a hungry mouse a cookie. After a cookie, the mouse asks for milk. Since the tiny mouse cannot have milk from a glass, he asks for a straw. After drinking milk, the mouse wants to see his milk mustache in the mirror. The series of funny events continue as the mouse keeps asking for more and more things. It is a nice book with a subtle message on the importance of sharing.

Price at the time of publication: $12.99

15. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Author: Eric Carle

It is an illustrated story of a caterpillar and its transformation from an egg to a butterfly. Each page contains drawings that document the life of the caterpillar, its daily adventures, and its eventual metamorphosis into a butterfly. The Very Hungry Caterpillar was released in 1969 and is considered to be one of the best books for children even today. It makes a suitable choice to get your child interested in fantasy adventure tales.

Price at the time of publication: $15.53

How To Choose The Right Books For 3-Year-Olds?

Here are some points to consider while buying a book for a three-year-old.

  1. Interests: If there is a specific concept or theme that your baby is fascinated by, it might be a good idea to buy related books to keep them engaged.
  1. Illustrations: Look for books with bright and creatively designed illustrations that appeal to children and help them remember the stories better.
  1. Age-appropriate content: Ensure the book’s content is appropriate for the age, so your child learns the necessary values and lessons and does not pick up inappropriate words.
  1. Language: Choose early learning resources with words or sentence structures that three-year-olds can easily understand. Even if the child can’t read the book independently, hearing easy words and sentences can help them relate and learn quickly.
  1. Font size and style: Ensure the content is printed in large, easy-to-read fonts and has appropriate spacing for comfortable viewing.

Considering that a three-year-old child cannot yet read, books for them have several interesting illustrations, which will make the little one want to see them for a second time. Buy picture books as well as simple storybooks that can teach the little one easy, everyday words.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What types of books should three-year-olds read?

Books with colorful illustrations, short stories, and easy vocabulary would be an ideal choice for a three-year old.

2. Should a three-year-old be reading?

Three-year-olds have a very fresh and flexible mind, and reading is a great addition for introducing them to new vocabulary, helping in their brain development, and stimulating their imagination.

3. Are three-year-olds too old for board books?

No, three-year-olds are not too old for board books. In fact, board books made of thick and sturdy cardboard are an ideal solution for ensuring that your child does not easily damage the book.

4. How many books should I read to my toddler a day?

Reading once or twice a day is enough. Therefore, you can pick two books per day. However, it also depends on your child’s interest and attention span.

Books with numerous colorful pictures can captivate and intrigue a 3-year-old. Thus, introduce them to one of these books at a young age and instill a love of reading in them. The fun and colorful picture books listed here are interesting and easy to understand and interspersed with lovely illustrations, making them great options for encouraging children to begin their reading journey. So, bring home a few of these classic children’s books and let your child’s imagination soar.

Infographic: What Are The Benefits Of Reading Out To Children?

Every small action goes a long way, even when it comes to parenting. Besides entertaining little ones, reading out to kids has psychological and cognitive benefits. This infographic explains the advantages of reading stories aloud to children and toddlers.

Why You Should Read To Your Toddler (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

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