The idea of the “terrible twos” is an outdated concept. Two-year-olds are wonderful, exploring, vivacious beings that love repetition as much as they love new things. The good news is, toddler books offer both of those things at once: constant reinvention and rediscovery within the exact same pages. 

At age two, they love repetition, so your library of best baby books is probably full of well-loved, possibly drool covered pages. If you’re looking to diversify their bookshelf even more, adding a new book every couple of months is an excellent way to stimulate those budding brains.

Related: 16 Books for three-year-olds to add to your toddler’s bookshelf

How to choose the best books for toddlers

Yes, while toddlers are curious, imaginative little beings, they’re also notoriously sticky. And they don’t always know how to carefully turn pages. In short, anything 2-year-old touches might possibly deconstruct into a messy pile of milk-soaked scraps, so the best books for toddlers definitely need to be sturdy (and preferably be able to wipe clean or sanitize!)

Also, although two-year-olds do love repetition, what they don’t love is sitting still for long periods of time, so good toddler books are usually on the shorter side and move through the story quickly with only a couple words per page. Oh, and bright, fun, attention-grabbing pictures they can connect with—that’s another key element for toddler books!

The following best books for 2 year olds make excellent additions to any two-year-old’s bookshelf, are full of bright imagery, positive messages and are perfect for the chubby hands of curious toddlers.

Related: 25 fantastic holiday gifts for 2-year-olds

The best books for 2 year olds

Youre Two book

You're Two! by Shelly Unwin, illustrated by Katherine Battersby

Two really is magical age, so celebrate it with your toddler. Your little reader will feel so special reading all about how many “twos” there are in the world (like how you hug with two arms!)

press here book

Press Here by Hervé Tullet

A thoroughly interactive book, it’s one of the more creative books published for kids in the last twenty years. Get your two-year-old readers the board-book version of this bestseller, and they’ll be handling it with glee. Flip it upside down, poke at the pages, and giggle right along with your little ones as you watch one little yellow dot become a messy, beautiful experiment in color. Got an older sibling in the household? This makes a great book for them to read together! 

nana loves you more book

Nana Loves You More by Jimmy Fallon, illustrated by Miguel Ordóñez

Jimmy Fallon’s latest board book captures the heartwarming sweetness of a grandmother’s enduring love for her grandchild. Keep this one on hand for visiting grandparents to read to your toddler or use it as a gentle reminder that “nana” loves them no matter what. 

our skin book

Our Skin: A First Conversation About Race by Megan Madison and Jessica Ralli, illustrated by Isabel Roxas

Two is definitely not too young to have open, age-appropriate conversations about racism. This children’s book, written by early childhood experts and activists against injustice, opens a discussion up in a positive, beautiful book that you’ll wish you had when you were a kid.

counting with wayne thiebaud book

Counting with Wayne Thiebaud by Susan Goldman Rubin

Introduce your kids to the beautiful world of Wayne Thiebaud’s art through this board book which uses pictures from some of his best works, including cakes, gumballs and ice cream cone clowns. Kids will adore the sing-song words and delicious pastel pages so much they won’t even realize they’ve been learning to count.

kahlos koalas book

Kahlo’s Koalas 1, 2, 3, Count Art with Me by Grace Helmer

What’s more fun than counting with Wayne Thiebaud? Counting with Frida Kahlo’s koalas! This little counting book merges the worlds of art and animals using imagery from some of the world’s most iconic artists, including Frida Kahlo and Pablo Picasso. 

love makes a family book

Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer

This sweet book shows brightly illustrated page after page of families demonstrating ways they show love, from simple things like baking a special cake to waking up early even when you are tired. It does this while brilliantly normalizing all family structures, including families with same-sex couples. It’s full of positive and uplifting messages and really enjoyable to read with a young toddler as they can point to all kinds of details in the book.

potty book

Potty by Leslie Patricelli

Around age two, many children begin to explore the world of using the potty, and this hilarious simple book from Leslie Patricelli celebrates the milestone in the cutest way possible. Get it for them to read as they practice and keep it on hand for years as a fond, silly memory book. 


eating the alphabet book

Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert

Foster delicious eating habits and learn the alphabet simultaneously with this colorful classic book from Caldecott Honor-winning author-illustrator Lois Ehlert. The book also includes a pronunciation guide, plant lore and history and other unique botanical information.

i am bunny book

I Am a Bunny by Ole Risom, illustrated by Richard Scarry

For more than 50 years, little Nicholas the bunny has delighted kids with this very woodsy tale, and when you see his sweet face taking shelter from the rain under a mushroom umbrella, you’ll understand why. The format of this book, taller than it is wide, also makes for fun tactile reading with kids as they hold the book and turn the pages themselves.

abcs of kindness book

ABCs of Kindness by Samantha Berger, illustrated by Ekaterina Trukhan

From the publisher who brings you Highlights magazine, this book depicts a diverse group of children demonstrating simple acts of kindness in their daily lives using the alphabet as its template. O is for offering to help, S is for standing up for someone when no one else will…

yes no book

Yes! No!: A First Conversation About Consent by Megan Madison and Jessica Ralli, illustrated by Isabel Roxas

From the same authors and illustrator who created  “Our Skin” comes one of the only toddler-focused books about consent. Using positive, plain language and easy-to-understand text, consent is explained, body parts are described, and children are empowered to know that their bodies are their own. Giving kids early groundwork for consent can help prevent abuse and this book allows us as parents a jumping-off point for ongoing talks about the topic. 

the mitten book

The Mitten by Jan Brett

Pretty much all of Jan Brett’s works are a feast for children’s eyes, but board-book version of “The Mitten,” with its wintry woodland setting and the many little images in each picture’s frame will give you a story to tell outside of the main plot as you read and re-read this beloved classic. In fact, don’t be surprised if your little one picks this book up on their own and starts to “read” it themselves. 

A version of this article was published May 5, 2022. It has been updated.