The 9 Best Children’s Books to Buy in 2018

Perfect picks to read or gift to the child in your life

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

We all know that reading to our children is important for their overall development (not to mention the bonding factor), but finding just the right children’s book can be a tall order. While it’s important to find children’s books that will capture your kid’s imagination and help them learn something all at the same time, most parents know the secret to a really great children’s book is finding one that you like, as well, since a beloved book will be read time and time again.

Between board books and rhyming books, those with flaps and pullouts and other bells and whistles, there are thousands of children’s book options to pick from. Luckily, the options on this list have been vetted by parents who no doubt have read them multiple times. Whether you’re looking for something for a baby or a toddler, for something simply fun and colorful or something substantial and awe-inspiring, one of these options will be sure to please.

Our Top Picks

Best Classic: Goodnight Moon

goodnight-moon
Courtesy of Amazon

Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon has been around for years, but it still shows up on best-seller lists, and for good reason. Kids love hearing all about the great green room and all of the quirky things it contains, and they love to say goodnight to each item, one by one, along with the little bunny who lives in the room. Meanwhile, parents find that reading this book over and over again—with its rhythmic lyrics—isn’t so tedious. Pick up a copy soon to start saying goodnight to each and every object in the room with your own kid.

Best Toddler: Little Blue Truck Leads the Way

As a follow up to the crowd favorite Little Blue Truck, toddlers love following the adventures of Little Blue as he makes his way through the big city. Adventures ensue as everyone’s favorite truck encounters police cars, taxis, vans, and limousines—and learns some big and important lessons along the way.

What’s great about this book, too, is that it’s one in a series, so if your toddler really catches on to this particular one, there’s a high likelihood she’ll fall in love with the other versions, as well, which means it’ll be easy for you to make the swap between books to keep things fresh.

Best Baby: Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

Babies love the rhythmic, rhyming text you’ll find in this beautiful board book by Mem Fox, and parents are sure to love the bigger message it spreads about the beauty of all babies, no matter their race, gender, or where they are born. In all his books, Mem Fox is a master at painting a clear picture of how we are all different and that is what makes us beautiful. The simple watercolor illustrations are easy for babies to follow along, and, as a bonus, your baby is sure to love looking at pictures of other babies, as well.

Best Spanish: Que Cosas Dice Mi Abuela

Spanish-speaking parents will love this fun book—which translates to “the things my Grandmother says”—in which a grandmother teaches manners to her grandchildren and their friends using traditional Spanish-language sayings. Written in the voice of a little boy talking about his regular day—sprinkled in with the advice from his Grandmother on manners—this book will pique the interest of adults and kids alike. Readers called this book excellent and adorable​ and specifically called out the illustrations and bright colors as being appealing to toddlers.

Best New: I’ve Loved You Since Forever

It’s not necessary to have had kids for years and years to understand the bond between a parent and a child. I’ve Loved You Since Forever, which was published in March of 2018, was penned by Hoda Kotb from the Today Show as a love letter between parents and their kids.

Kotb’s inspiration for the book was the adoption of her baby girl, Haley Joy, and the love that exists everywhere between parents and their children. The lyrical text (not to mention the adorable message) will keep adults interested while reading the book over and over, and gorgeous photos will keep the little ones coming back for more.

Best for Confidence: Giraffes Can’t Dance

If you’re trying to teach your kid about the importance of never giving up, this book is for you. Follow along on Gerald the giraffe’s journey as he tries over and over again to learn how to dance. With a touching message about perseverance—and marching to the beat of our own drummers—Gerald finally does succeed in learning how to dance, but only after receiving some encouraging advice from an unlikely friend.

Giraffes Can’t Dance is definitely a crowd-pleaser, with 3,000 reviews, making it an Amazon bestseller. Parents commend this book for teaching confidence and self-esteem, with one parent noting it is a great buy for kids with special needs.

Best Illustrations: The Wonderful Things You Will Be

Every parent sees the infinite potential in his or her child, and Emily Winfield Martin uses rhythmic rhyme in her story to express all the loving things that parents think of when they look at their kids. It also encourages kids to be kind and caring and help others when needed, which is a life lesson we all should be reminded of.

The Wonderful Things You Will Be is another Amazon bestseller. Readers called it sweet and simple, beautifully written and illustrated. Many reviewers note this a great gift for baby showers, birthdays, and any other special occasions.

Best Overall Message: I Like Myself!

Self-esteem is the name of the game with this fun kids’ book. With its bold and colorful illustrations and fun and witty rhymes, I Like Myself is sure to be a regular on your kid’s reading list. Parents won’t mind reading the story over and over to their kids, either, as they pass along the message that their kids are perfect just the way they are—no matter their messy hair, beaver breath, or whether they’re fast, or whether they’re slow.

Best Silly: Dragons Love Tacos

While books with a deep message are great, sometimes you and your child just want to read something silly to get the laughs rolling. The New York Times bestseller, Dragons Love Tacos is a great read for kids and parents as it talks about how much dragons really love tacos, but when they eat something spicy you better watch out!

The book has more words then some of the other picks on our list, so this might be suited for preschoolers and up, plus it doesn't come in a board book version in case your kid would rip the pages. Reviewers remark this made their kids laugh out loud while others say there is no positive message here—so if you are looking for a deep book you might want to pick another selection from our list.

Was this page helpful?