Short Stories for Kids: 20 Meaningful Books for Baby
Are you searching for the best books for baby or toddler books that’ll check off many must-haves on your list?
If you’re like me, they’ve gotta be worth the money, sport a positive or educational theme, and offer endless entertainment. Right?! If that sounds like you, then this list is sure to help on your journey to finding short stories for kids that your babies will love! I’ve compiled a list of 20 totally-worth-it, meaningful books for baby that will last all through toddlerdom (and beyond).
When I put this list together, I looked through my own baby’s first library on her little bookshelf and listed out all the books we couldn’t have made it this far without.
(My daughter’s almost two, by the way…and her bookshelf is literally sagging from all the weight already!) I only included titles on this list that sport a combination of educational and empowering themes, too. That’s what’s most important to me when it comes to finding short stories for kids that my toddler will love! I’ll bet that’s pretty important to you, too.
I hate ordering books for baby online only to discover they were complete wastes of money. And I’ve done that more times than I can say…so don’t be like me! 😉 Instead, be a bit more selective in what books you use to stock baby’s first library during those first few years.
Without further ado, here are my favorite meaningful books for baby or toddler that you all will adore!
It’s been a common favorite for decades for good reason! I love the gentle illustrations and uniquely loving words. It reassures your babies that no matter how much they might love you, you’ll always love them even more. Seriously the SWEETEST.
Oh, Little Owl! I was wearing Scarlett in Walmart when we passed this little book in the baby aisle. Her chunky baby fingers immediately reached for it, and that was that. For the next year and a half, she obsessed over this book. The words flow gently, and the illustrations are so calming. A quick search online showed other Little Owl books for baby that I bought soon after this one, including Little Owl’s Day, Little Owl’s 1-2-3,and Little Owl’s Colors. We love them all, and I can’t recommend them more!
This book always makes me want to cry a little (in a good way). It was the very first book I ever read to Scarlett, but that’s not the only reason it’s so moving to me. It highlights how important and loved your baby is. The illustrations are stunning, and the rhyming words are so soothing and gentle. The author frames the whole story as if your baby simply captivates the world. The theme of love is strong here, friends! It’s moving for babies and new mommas. It’s definitely a top pick in my list of short stories for kids.
This book in particular has been on Scarlett’s favorites list for as long as we’ve owned it! (It’s only recently stopped being requested 20 times a day. Hallelujah.) The illustrations are unique, and the words are simple but boast touching rhymes. It beautifully details how parents wonder about all the wonderful things their kids might be one day, underscoring how those kids can be anything they want to be – and how the parent will love them, no matter who they choose to be in the end. It’s a must-have on your list of books for baby.
This is another one of those unbearably sweet, tear-jerking-in-a-good-way short stories for kids. (And let’s be honest – it’s just as much for us mommas. 😉 ) You’ve no doubt seen its most famous lines quoted all across Pinterest! “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.” It details the enduring, unconditional love of a mother for her son through all the stages of his life. In the end, the tables turn in the most touching way possible. It will have you sniffling – even if the mom in the story seems to have some boundary issues at times (ha!).
Babies literally crawl for this book, y’all! Each page has so much to look at and so much to learn. We even got the First 100 Numbers Colors Shapes version too. If you’re searching for books for baby that will entertain and teach in big ways…these are it!
This is one of MY favorites in Scarlett’s collection of short stories for kids! I giggled the first few times I read this clever little book. It’s about Gerald, a clumsy giraffe who wants to dance but can’t. The other animals make fun of him – until he finds inspiration to dance to his own tune. It’s about celebrating individuality in a “rollicking, rhyming story” (the back cover pretty much nails that description) that will please everyone!
I wasn’t so sure about getting this one for a little girl since it’s got that signature “yucky” theme we see so often in “boy” books. But…it’s so fun! It highlights a mother’s unconditional love for her baby – even if that baby is a smelly skunk called “Stinky Face.”
The hardback version of this book is part of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. (If you haven’t signed up yet…DO IT!) So, chances are you can get it free. It’s the one book my baby carried around and looked through until the binding literally broke and the pages were wrinkled up! That’s why I listed this one here…the board book version holds up way better.
I can’t say enough about this Bible. It’s a thick book, is simply stunning, and is worth every single penny! The illustrations are downright gorgeous, so baby will adore looking at them. The stories are short and written in such perfectly understandable (yet theologically sound) ways that your toddler will be entranced, too. We read this at almost every meal!
Scarlett is currently obsessed with this one. It’s on my list of books for baby because it details colors, directions, sizes, and more in a fun way that’s practically addictive for kids. Within a few days of reading this, she started acting out “up,” “down,” “stop,” “go,” and on and on. It’s exploded her vocabulary! And speaking of Dr. Seuss books…
For some reason, I never saw the Dr. Seuss Collection as highly educational, but they really are amazing short stories for kids! Younger kids love the colors, and older kids love the nonsensical words and rhymes. I literally cut my teeth on my begginer Dr. Seuss collection, which Scarlett has inherited. (We have a very strict no-chewing-on-books policy in our home, though!)
This is another great hardcover book on Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library lineup that your kids will no doubt adore. (Seriously…sign up for Imagination Library ASAP! I can’t believe these books are free.) It’s a classic! I’m currently planning a Little-Engine-That-Could birthday party for Scarlett’s second birthday, actually. She runs around our house multiple times a day saying “Toot, toot!” with a puckered smile that I can’t resist!
This is one of those books for baby that’s sweet and boasts cuddly illustrations your little one will love. It details how the mother prayed for the baby and continues to do so throughout the kid’s growing-up years. We love this one! It would be an amazing addition for any family, but I could see it being especially sweet for single mommas to read to their babies.
This is a recent favorite of ours! By the same author of On the Night You Were Born, this story boasts similarly entrancing illustrations and touching, rolling rhymes that are irresistible to little ears. The message details how a parent’s love follows his or her children no matter where they go in life.
Scarlett basically keeps this book in her toy bin because it’s SO much fun for her to flip through. Spot’s mom wanders around the house, looking for Spot so he can come eat his dinner. She has to “open” areas by asking if Spot’s in them and then lifting flaps to reveal…other animals who aren’t Spot! Scarlett loves the anticipation of finding him at the end of the book every time.
Because what list of short stories for kids would be complete without an appearance by Eric Carle?! I remember avidly flipping through this one in the school library growing up. I must have checked it out a million times. It’s hard for any kid to resist those vibrant colors! Scarlett actually is obsessed with the little Very Hungry Caterpillar app on her tablet, too.
We love this one for a naptime or bedtime book because it’s just so relaxing. You follow the little bunny’s narrative throughout the book as he tells each thing around his room goodnight, including – you guessed it! – the moon. At the end, he goes to sleep. It’s on my list of books for baby because it’s soothing and interesting, all at the same time!
It’s a touch-and-feel book! The pages are interactive, so baby can open each spread to go from day to night. She can even feel different textures, like fur and even a fuzzy blanket. My baby loves this one!
Every kid I know adores this book. It’s not my top pick of all the many amazing short stories for kids out there, but my daughter loves the bright colors and figures! It’s great for teaching colors and practicing descriptive words.
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Stock up on these gems right away to keep your baby and toddler happy and learning!
I’ve regretted many purchases in my time as a new momma, but these books for baby have never been a regret.
What short stories for kids would you add to this list? Do tell me in the comments below! I’m always on the lookout for a good book for toddlers these days. 🙂
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