Looking for children’s books for 3 year olds? This comprehensive list includes a list of 52 books to read with your child, perfect for the whole year!
Your 3 year old likely enjoys reading—no surprise there. In fact, a kindergartener’s interest in reading a book outside of school is 100%. But by fourth grade, that interest drops to 54%. That’s almost half. What changes in fourth grade?
Parents stopped reading to their kids.
At some point, our kids won’t “need” us to read to them. When they can read every word in a book, we assume the next logical step is to leave reading to them. Almost like it’s potty training—once they master it, they no longer need our help.
But that’s not the case with reading aloud. The more we read to them, especially at a young age, the longer their interest in reading will hold. They’ll associate reading with something special and positive.
So here’s a challenge I’d like to extend to you: Read aloud to your kids. Even when they get to the age where they can read every word in the book, keep reading to them. They love the bonding experience of sitting next to you, hearing your voice
52 children’s books for 3 year olds
My 3 year old twins are in that neat stage of reading where they’re able to comprehend story lines. We’ve moved from simple baby books to those with more complex words and clear stories to remember.
I compiled 52 books a 3 year old would love to read. It’s surprisingly tricky to find books that fit this age. You want them hard enough to challenge but not too difficult they lose interest.
These 52 books fit that criteria. And they’re also books my kids loved. We read more books than these, but I’m only listing the ones we all enjoyed.
In fact, check out what fellow mom Lexi had to say about the list:
“Hi Nina! I loved this list. My child is heading into 3 and loves reading. This was super helpful because it gives me an idea as to what he might like! Thank you!” -Lexi
And why 52? I like preparing for the new year with 52 books I recommend, one for each week. Think of it as your weekly guide to fantastic books your 3 year old would love to read.
So take a look at these amazing reads for a year’s worth of reading material for your little one.
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links, which means I will earn a commission—at no extra cost to you—if you make a purchase.
- There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight by Penny Parker Klostermann (thanks Random House Kids for my copy!)
- The Bear Report by Thyra Heder
- Because Your Daddy Loves You by Andrew Clements
- The Biggest Smallest Christmas Present by Harriet Muncaster
- The Big Ideas of Buster Bickles by Dave Wasson
- Bill in a China Shop by Katie Weaver
- Bunnies on the Go: Getting from Place to Place by Rick Walton
- Cityblock by Christopher Franceschelli
- Down by the Bay by Raffi
- The Eye of the Whale by Jennifer O’Connell
- The Great Spruce by John Duvall
- Harold Finds a Voice by Courtney Dicmas
- Henry Wants More! by Linda Ashman
- How to Read a Story by Kate Messner
- Hush Little Baby by Marla Frazee
- I’m My Own Dog by David Ezra Stein
- Julia’s House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke
- “Let’s Get a Pup!” said Kate by Bob Graham
- The Letters Are Lost! by Lisa Campbell Ernst
- Little Big Girl by Claire Keane
- Max the Brave by Ed Vere
- Me and My Dragon by David Biedrzycki
- Monsters Go Night-Night by Aaron Zenz
- Monster Trucks by Mark Todd
- Night Animals by Gianna Marino
- No Sleep for the Sheep! by Karen Beaumont
- Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-el
- The Obstinate Pen by Frank W. Dormer
- Sleepy, the Goodnight Buddy by Drew Daywalt
- The OK Book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
- One Frog Sang by Shirley Parenteau
- One of Those Days by Am Krouse Rosenthal
- A Perfectly Messed-Up Story by Patrick McDonnell
- Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas
- Rock-a-Bye Romp by Linda Ashman
- Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett
- The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman
- Sharing the Bread by Pat Zietlow Miller
- Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton
- Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller
- “Stand Back,” Said the Elephant, “I’m Going to Sneeze!” by Patricia Thomas
- Stars by Mary Lyn Ray
- Superhero Instruction Manual by Kristy Dempsey
- Tree by Britta Teckentrup
- That Is Not a Good Idea! by Mo Willems
- Thank You and Good Night by Patrick McDonnell
- Thank You Bear by Greg Foley
- Unlovable by Dan Yaccarino
- Up and Down on the Merry-Go-Round by Bill Martin
- A Walk in Paris by Salvatore Rubbino
- What the Dinosaurs Did Last Night by Refe Tuma
- Yard Sale by Eve Bunting
Get more tips:
- 20 Easy Activities for 3 Year Olds You Can Do Any Day
- 25 Outdoor Activities for 3 Year Olds
- 10 Awesome Physical Activities for 3 Year Olds
- 5 Unusual Ways to Deal with a Defiant 3 Year Old
- How to Respond when Your 3 Year Old Won’t Go to Sleep
Source: The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
Want even more book selections? Join my newsletter and download my Read Aloud Book List! You’ll get hundreds of favorite selections to read aloud with your kids. Get it below—at no cost to you: