Your little sponge is growing and changing every day, and from 18 to 24 months you can expect more complex emotions and a newfound sense of independence. While the right book will encourage them to sit still for longer stretches of time than they did a few months ago, you’ll still want to make sure that your shelves are stocked with engaging tales.  

At 18 to 24 months old, your baby enjoys more pretend play and is experimenting with household objects—like books, phones, spoons, and more. They enjoy being a part of the selection and process of items like clothing, shoes, and snacks. They’re also picking up and saying new words constantly, so reading is just as important now as it was in the younger months, if not more so.  

Continue to introduce books that help them learn their colors, 123s, and ABCs, as well as books about animals and the environment. Stories that rhyme continue to hold their attention, as do books with photographs or complex illustrations of people and animals. While they continue to learn their routine, reading about everyday skills and routines remains pinnacle.

We love these books for 18- to 24-month-old babies; let them be a jumping-off point as you grow your stacks!

Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle

Flora and the Flamingo book for babies

This Caldecott-winning, wordless book is an absolute treasure. Follow sweet little Flora and her flamingo friend on a dance across the pages, complete with an interactive, fold-out scene toward the end. 

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

Love You Forever book for babies

Get the tissues ready because this beautiful book about a mother’s unending love is going to bring on a tear or two. Your toddler gets a glimpse of themselves in the early pages and an understanding of the unconditional love you feel for them as the story unfolds.

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

The Snowy Day book for babies

A classic enjoyed by generations, featuring captivating artwork and the adventures of a little boy in the snow, it’s clear from the start why this one is critically acclaimed. 

Someday by Alison McGhee

Someday book for babies

This is such a sweet book that takes you and your baby from the days of kissing fingers and toes to watching them grow.  

The Napping House by Audrey Wood

The Napping House book for babies

A hilarious story of a full-family pile-up of snoozers, your kiddo will absolutely love the hijinks that ensue when some pests show up and add themselves to the mix.  

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

Blueberries for Sal book for babies

A book your parents might have read you, and their parents before them, it’s a Caldecott winner that will charm your nearly 2-year-old and keep them hooked years to come. Have fun sounding out the “kaplunk” of the berries into Sal’s pail while you share a glimpse of a time gone by.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

We're Going on a Bear Hunt book for babies

This curious and winding adventure features a father and his three children, making it a favorite for dads (and everyone) everywhere. 

Hands Are Not For Hitting by Martine Agassi

Hands Are Not for Hitting

Your little sweetheart is feeling new emotions and trying out new actions; sometimes that can mean slaps from their tiny hands. Deep breaths, taking a moment to redirect, and using stories like this one can help a lot.  

The Color Monster by Anna Llenas

The Color Monster book for babies

This lovable monster experiences a range of emotions, demonstrating to your child not only what they look and feel like, but also pairing them with colors at a time when color learning is so fun and important. (Check out other books about emotions!)

A Potty for Me by Karen Katz

A Potty for Me book for babies

Whether your toddler is already exploring the potty or has shown absolutely no interest yet, enjoying a lift-the-flap book about it can serve as a no-pressure jumping-off point. Read this one occasionally and leave a potty for them in  the bathrooms, and just see what happens. (See more books about potty training!)

Tickle Time by Sandra Boynton

Tickle Time book for babies

The signature illustration style of Sandra Boynton books charms your babe endlessly; in this giggly story there is a lot of silliness to kick off some tickling at your house.

Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes

Kitten's First Full Moon book for babies

This bestselling children's book features a lovable little kitty on a mission. It’s now available in board book form, purr-fect for your toddler.

Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Each Peach Pear Plum book for babies 

It’s a happy, meandering rhyme and a game of “I Spy” in one. This charming book will go right to the top of your little one’s stack of faves.

I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt

I Love You Stinky Face book for babies

Hilarious, adorable, and just-icky-enough, this unexpected story takes you and your baby on a journey through all the possibilities and farthest reaches of your love. Spoiler alert: there is no limit.

Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert

Eating the Alphabet book for babies

Familiarizing them with their ABC’s and a hearty list of healthy fruits and vegetables to try? Yes, please!  

A World of Opposites by Gray Malin

A World of Opposites book for babies

A majestic book of, well, opposites—photographed by world-renowned Gray Malin. Let’s be clear: when your toddler outgrows this cuteness, it’s heading straight to your coffee table.

That’s Not My Lion

 That's Not My Lion book for babies

Every last book in this series is a sensory journey they’ll love. From fuzzy to shiny, bumpy to squashy, your little learner takes in a ton of textures while flipping the pages to find the animal at hand.  

Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems

Knuffle Bunny book for babies

Daddy’s in charge and the protagonist’s beloved stuffy goes missing in this funny and touching tale that your babe will enjoy now and in the years to come.

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Harold and the Purple Crayon book for babies

This sweet book features a little boy, a purple crayon, and an imagination that flourishes from page to page. It’s a modern classic that you won’t want to miss. 

I Love My Llamacorn by Danielle McClean

I Heart My Llamacorn book for babies

Toddlers at this age are all about new creatures, early whispers of magic, and anything silly. This story about a fictional llama-unicorn combo delivers all three.

Adventures With Barefoot Critters by Teagan White

Adventures With Barefoot Critters

Animal friends gather and play, discover and cuddle in this cozy book that just happens to offer up an introduction to the ABC’s. 

Just For Me by Jennifer Hansen Rolli

Just for Me book for babies

Sharing is tough at this age, and your toddler will get a glimpse of just how easy (and fun) it can actually be through this story about friendship. 

2-Minute Stories for 2-Year-Olds

2-Minute Stories for 2-Year-Olds book for babies

Let’s face it: your 18- to 24-month-old is probably not a huge fan of remaining stationary for long periods of time right now. Two-minute retellings of classic tales earns this sweet book raves from parents everywhere. 

The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin

The Wonderful Things You Will Be book for babies

If you haven’t yet come across this whimsical, beautiful book about the potential that lies within each child – this is your sign to grab a copy and cuddle up to read it with your little one tonight

When I Am Big by Maria Dek

When I Am Big book for babies

Being little is lots of fun, but in this lovely story, animals demonstrate some of the new and interesting things we can do as we grow. 

Today by Julie Morstad

Today by Julie Morstad

An interactive book that draws your child in right away, they can point at their favorite outfits, hairstyles, breakfast foods, and more as you explore each colorful page at their pace. The illustrations and tone of this book make it fun to pick up any time of day, not just when you’re settling in for bed. 

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? book for babies

Your dino-loving darling will devour the pages of this playful night-night book featuring T-rex’s as the kids.

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry & the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear book for babies

Cause-and-effect, humor, and a surprise ending make this lovable children’s story one your little will gain so much from, and the charming illustrations are a total joy. 

Click Clack Moo by Doreen Cronin

Click Clack Moo Cows That Type book for babies

The farmer is in for shenanigans and mayhem when a group of cheeky cows take hold of a typewriter and get to work.

I’ve Loved You Since Forever by Hoda Kotb

I've Loved You Since Forever book for babies

From the lovable Today Show personality comes a sweet and relatable tale of a mother’s love for her little one, perfect for cuddle time—any time.  

More Books for Babies and Toddlers:

About Jenny Studenroth Gerson

Jenny Studenroth Gerson is an Atlanta-based lifestyle journalist and novelist (Let Me Let You Go, 2020). Her work can be seen in publications including HuffPost, Cosmo, and WSJ, among many others. Jenny has researched thousands of baby names, combed through hundreds of nursery designs, and curated dozens of baby shower guides, making her absolutely the mom—and writer—you want to talk to when planning for Baby. When not meeting deadlines, she is chasing toddlers or chugging coffee—or both! Find her on Instagram @ourlifeinrosegold for mom hacks and more.

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.