35 Board Books To Charm the Very Young Into 'Reading' Not 'Screening' |Board Book Roundup

Incorporating interactive features, engaging text, and delightful rhymes, these board books encourage the magic of a shared reading experience that no screen, app, or video can replicate.

These days, young children engage with so many different types of devices and e-toys that it can be hard for books to compete for their attention, but this collection of board books rises to the challenge by doing what books do best! Incorporating interactive features, engaging text, and delightful rhymes, these titles encourage the magic of a shared reading experience that no app or video can replicate.

For this roundup, we selected board books with sophisticated language and illustrations that reflect and celebrate the beautiful diversity in classrooms and schools everywhere. These titles invite children to see themselves as necessary, active members of our society—wholly unique yet part of a whole.



Acosta, Alicia. When the Sun Goes Down. illus. by Mar Ferrero. 20p. (Egalitè). NubeOcho. May 2024. Board $11.99. ISBN 9788419607805.
PreS-K–Returning from a day out, young animals encourage their caretakers to get home before the sunset. The families portrayed offer a sampling of the diverse family structures that are part of children’s lives, from a daddy and dad, a mommy and mom, a single father, a grandmother monkey handling it all, and more. VERDICT Reflecting some of the variety in the world makes this a title worthy of recommendation for all libraries.

Animal Exercises. illus. by Brian Fitzgerald. 24p. (Jungle Gym). Flowerpot Pr. Mar. 2024. Board $8.99. ISBN 9781486729715.
Toddler-PreS–Get your workout gear on! Each spread features a different exercise led by appealing animal trainers. With plenty of directions to be safe and stay hydrated, the focus is clearly on making exercise and movement fun.VERDICT It is never too early to encourage a healthy lifestyle; normalizing movement in an era of sitting still with screens is a terrific message—even in, or especially in, a book!

Cousins, Lucy. Maisy Loves Trees. illus. by author. 12p. (A Maisy's Planet Book). Candlewick. Mar. 2024. Board $9.99. ISBN 9781536228595.
PreS-K– Maisy is a trusted and effective guide into the natural world, and along with her friends, she learns about trees and the vital part they play in our world. Illustrations feature details about trees, leaves, and other important information. VERDICT This title will help young nature enthusiasts learn more about these vital plants.

Drescher, Daniela. What’s Hiding Under There?: A Magical Lift-the-Flap Book. tr. from German. illus. by author. 16p. Floris. Apr. 2024. Board $19.95. ISBN 9781782508571.
PreS-K–This lift-the-flap title features detailed watercolor-and-ink illustrations with hidden, interactive flaps to intrigue readers. Each page features animals and often fairy folk seeking another creature. The illustrations are soft and inviting. VERDICT Sophisticated art with a fantastical element will make this an ideal sharing title.

Elys, Dori. Hey Now, Little Man. illus. by Chris Park. 22p. S. & S./Little Simon. Apr. 2024. Board $7.99. ISBN 9781665948746.
Toddler-PreS–An affirming ode to boyhood. A range of father figures encourage a group of young boys to enjoy all the ways there are to be a boy. Celebrating the uniqueness of each boy and the “thousands of ways to be,” this colorful title breaks conventions and presents all kinds of possibilities. VERDICT Highly recommended.

Fry, Sonali. Meet the Mushrooms! illus. by Melanie Demmer. 12p. Tiger Tales. Jan. 2024. Board $9.99. ISBN 9781664351066.
Baby-Toddler–A group of mushrooms enjoy playing together. Layered, shaped pages transform the setting as the mushrooms move from one part of the book to the other. VERDICT The design and the charming faces on the mushrooms will draw children into the pages.

Hodgson, Rob. Knock Knock: Who’s There? illus. by author. 16p. (A Googly-Eyed Joke Book). Magic Cat. Apr. 2024. Board $12.99. ISBN 9781419771330.
Toddler-PreS–The creator of When Moon Became the Moon shows off his funny bones in smart illustrations with bold colors, a laugh-out-loud text, and a climatic resolution. This is an entertaining book to enjoy with any child who enjoys knock-knock jokes. VERDICT Heavy use of googly eyes complete the package of this winning title that will enjoy multiple readings. Great fun!

Kelley, Ceece. My Body and Me: My First Body Positivity Book. illus. by Betania Zacarias. 22p. (My First Board Books). Soaring Kite. Mar. 2024. Board $11.99. ISBN 9781958372210.
PreS-K–Body positivity is presented for young children by a range of people who all celebrate their wonderful bodies. The children include a young girl with a prosthetic who loves her legs because “they help me move.” VERDICT Highly recommended for all types of children.

Light, Steve. Gus and Sully Watch the Weather. illus. by Steve Light. 16p. (Gus and Sully). Candlewick. Mar. 2024. Board $7.99. ISBN 9781536230048.
PreS-K–Two friends, a rhino named Gus and a mouse named Sully, explore the weather in this enchanting board book. Minimal text takes a backseat to illustrations that are humorous and capture the weather accurately. VERDICT A fun read that will charm young and old alike. Highly recommended.

Osakwe, Leah. Let’s Be Brave. illus. by Becky Paige. 22p. (Little Voices). Tiger Tales. Feb. 2024. Board $8.99. ISBN 9781664351035.
PreS-K–A stellar introduction to bravery. This page-turner is full of illustrations of diverse children demonstrating moments of courage, such as a young girl in a hijab chasing after a ball, and a young Sikh boy wearing a patka and performing at a talent show. VERDICT In a world where being brave is equated with much larger concepts, this child-size view is full of encouragement, and the illustrations are welcoming and inclusive.

Patricelli, Leslie. Snow! illus. by author. 26p. (Leslie Patricelli Board Books). Candlewick. Sept. 2023. Board $8.99. ISBN 9781536219845.
Toddler-PreS–An homage to the pleasures of a snowy day. Two children, one with light skin and the other with dark skin, get dressed and then thoroughly enjoy a day out in the snow with their female caretakers. VERDICT Perfect for collections where snow falls or even where children just dream about it.

Prasadam-Halls, Smriti. Name Your Numbers. illus. by Edward Underwood. 26p. Candlewick. Jul. 2023. Board $9.99. ISBN 9781536228458.
Toddler-PreS–Rhyming text and funny illustrations draw readers into an animal adventure that will have them counting to 10 and beyond. Each spread features an animal and a counting challenge. “Let’s count your arms, Octopus Cate.” “Tickly-tickle, I’ve got eight!” VERDICT A winning combination of attractive illustration and counting.

Redmond, Lea. Our Friend Earth. illus. by Regina Shklovsky. 20p. (Full Circle Books). Collective Book Studio. Apr. 2024. Board $19.95. ISBN 9781685552213.
PreS-K–Brilliantly designed, this circular title provides children with a chance to appreciate our home planet. As pages turn, day becomes night and the continents of North and South America, with a glimpse of Europe and Africa, are seen throughout the course of a time period. VERDICT Visually arresting and informative.

Selena, Elena. Peekaboo Who? illus. by author. 18p. Twirl Bks. Feb. 2024. Board $14.99. ISBN 9791027612192.
Toddler-PreS–Marvelous paper engineering and creative flaps reveal a collection of colorful animals playing peekaboo with readers. Each page has a clue encouraging readers to guess who is hiding. Young children will delight in uncovering the creatures and enjoying the pages that will be flipped enthusiastically. VERDICT Highly recommended.

Smallman, Steve. Who Pooped That Poo in the Zoo? illus. by Ada Grey. 12p. Tiger Tales. May 2024. Board $9.99. ISBN 9781664351127.
PreS-K–Zookeeper McGrew has found a mysterious, sparkly poo (which is squishy for little fingers to enjoy!) that appeared at the zoo. As he questions zoo animals, readers will learn about animal feces. VERDICT Readers and their adults who are not put off by scatological humor will enjoy this one.

Sooful, Prasha. Counting to Calm: My First Self-Regulation Book. illus. by Betania Zacarias. 22p. (My First Board Books). Soaring Kite. Mar. 2024. Board $11.99. ISBN 9781958372319.
PreS-K–This practical, poetic, sensible, and soothing title offers a poem that could be very helpful for teaching children about self-regulation. A young boy is very angry but is encouraged to try “something new.” The options provided include deep breathing, stretching, and wiggling. VERDICT By featuring practical steps to help a child find calm and focus, this is a much-needed addition to preschool classrooms.

Tullet, Hervé. Let’s Play! illus. by author. 46p. Chronicle. Mar. 2024. Board $9.99. ISBN 9781797227733.
PreS-K–A sure hit to be shared in laps one-on-one or during story times. This board book version will stand up to the demands of playing along with the yellow dot, pressing and “za-zooming” and all the interactivity one would expect from Tullet. VERDICT Visually appealing and great fun.

Van Genechten, Guido. How Tito Loses His Nose. illus. by author. 24p. (Tito the Clown). Clavis. Apr. 2024. Board $13.95. ISBN 9798890630179.
PreS-K–Tito the clown loses his nose. At the nose shop, he is introduced to a variety of fashionable, differently shaped options. Underlying his search for a new nose is a message of self-acceptance. VERDICT A charming character learns a preschooler-friendly lesson that being loved goes beyond what is found on the surface.

Wheeler, Lisa. My First Dino-Boarding. tr. from Dutch. illus. by Barry Gott. 12p. (Dino Board Bks). Carolrhoda. Feb. 2024. Board $7.99. ISBN 9798765623084.
PreS-K–Get stoked and hang ten for dinosaurs on boards! Whether on surfboards or skateboards, the dinosaurs featured in this colorful and energetic book certainly know how to show off and do some tricks. Rhyming text takes readers from catching some waves on the beach to the skate park for “gnarly tricks, stunts and flips.” Perfect for children who love dinosaurs as well as those who are just getting acquainted with any kind of board, this title is, just as the text concludes, a “dino-win!” VERDICT Lots of fun and energy here, in a triumphant title featuring some radical dinosaurs.

White, Dianne. It’s Your Time to Shine. illus. by Nanette Regan. 26p. S. & S./Little Simon. Mar. 2024. Board $8.99. ISBN 9781665932035.
Toddler-PreS–A celebration of life for a baby or a graduate. The phrase, “There’s a time,” opens each page as an infant with freckled brown skin and curly hair faces what’s ahead. The girl grows up having taken on the challenges and joys of being alive. VERDICT Affirming and encouraging with wide appeal; though this is ready to use at infant story hours, it also works on the graduation shelves come spring.

Wynter, Anne. No More Sleeping In. illus. by Letícia Moreno. 20p. little bee. Mar. 2024. Board $8.99. ISBN 9781499814491.
Toddler-PreS–Who wants to sleep in when there’s fun to be had? A little boy wants his family to wake up and play, and he energetically rouses them from their sleep. VERDICT Dynamic illustrations will connect with young children who wake up ready to go! Highly recommended.

Zanotto, Lucas. Where Is My Nose? illus. by author. 32p. Tra Publishing. Mar. 2024. Board $19.99. ISBN 9780966438888.
Toddler-PreS–Poor dog has lost his nose. As he journeys to find it, he encounters many wonderful things. Flaps hide and then reveal possible nose replacements, and youngsters will enjoy guessing at what is hiding. VERDICT The journey is sometimes the best part, and this book exemplifies that message. Pure peekaboo exuberance for toddlers.


Beautiful Butterflies. illus. by Margarida Esteves. 12p. Gibbs Smith. Apr. 2024. Board $16.99 ISBN 9781423665182.
Toddler-PreS–Sumptuous illustrations with cut pages bring readers into the colorful and lush world of butterflies. Brief factual information follows the life cycle of a butterfly with the final spread celebrating these winged creatures in their breathtaking diversity. VERDICT A treat for the eyes and perfect for young naturalists. Highly recommended.

Crisp, Lauren. Noisy Construction: My First Touch and Feel Sound Book.12p. (My First). Tiger Tales. Feb. 2024. Board $14.99. ISBN 9781664351073.
Toddler-PreS–Chock full of vocabulary, photographs, and sounds, this title is not only fun to read but it’s also informative. The buttons are placed on different pieces of equipment in varied spots. This will reinforce vocabulary, particularly for kinesthetic and auditory learners. VERDICT Interactive text will have young vehicle enthusiasts coming back for repeated readings.

Evans, Harriet. Big and Little: A Book of Animal Opposites. illus. by Linda Tordoff. 10p. Tiger Tales. Jun. 2024. Board $9.99. ISBN 9781664350953.
Toddler-PreS–Opposites come to life with flaps for young hands to engage with on every page. “Slim and Plump” feature a pufferfish unexpanded and then all puffed out. Illustrative details make the meanings clear; the well-designed flaps reinforce the concepts. VERDICT Perfect engineering meets engaging content—this is highly recommended.

Gehl, Laura. Who Laid These Eggs? illus. by Loris Lora. 16p. (An Animal Traces Book). Abrams/Appleseed. Jan. 2024. Board $9.99. ISBN 9781419756627.
Toddler-PreS–Bold colors capture the variety of animals that lay eggs. Readers are presented with a nest or group of eggs and are challenged to guess the answer to the titular question. Flaps reveal the creature and additional information is provided. VERDICT Visually appealing with cool facts to extend the learning.

Littleboy, Molly. What Can You See? Under the Sea. illus. by Maria Perera. 12p. (What Can You See?). Tiger Tales. May 2024. Board $9.99. ISBN 9781664351110.
PreS-K–An introduction to the ocean and its creatures. Die-cuts display and cover different elements as readers dip just below the surface of the water to the very deepest parts of the ocean. VERDICT Children will thoroughly enjoy diving in and learning all about the diversity of our largest body of water.

Osakwe, Leah. Let’s Be Friends. illus. by Becky Paige. 22p. (Little Voices). Tiger Tales. Feb. 2024. Board $8.99. ISBN 9781664351042.
Toddler-PreS–Colorful pages show the many ways that friendships make our lives richer. A cast of children who have various body shapes, an array of skin colors, differing abilities, and outwardly present as being from different backgrounds will help children see and accept others, opening opportunities for new friendships. VERDICT Highly recommended.

Otter, Isabel. Color Gallery: Introducing First Colors Through Art. illus. by Sophie Ledesma. 14p. Tiger Tales. Apr. 2024. Board $9.99. ISBN 9781664350977.
Toddler-PreS–A delightful trip through an art museum teaches color, artistic styles, and encourages engagement with fine art. Gatefolds open up to draw readers further into the exploration. Probing and concrete questions will engage readers at a range of development levels. VERDICT A well-presented introduction to color and art.

Saks, Dan. We Share This Earth. illus. by Brooke Smart. 26p. (Community Books). Penguin Workshop/Rise X. Feb. 2024. Board $8.99. ISBN 9780593658291.
PreS-K–A tribute to our connectedness informs the youngest generation of our need to take care of the earth. The poetic text relates the ways we are a human family and how “we depend upon our planet and upon each other.” VERDICT A lovely introduction to the concept of community.

Silberberg, Alan. P Is for Pastrami: The ABCs of Jewish Food. illus. by Alan Silberberg. 20p. Viking. Feb. 2024. Board $7.99. ISBN 9780593623190.
PreS-K–A comical pastrami sandwich greets readers from the cover, and then an alphabet of Jewish foods is presented with great humor and lively illustrations. Crooning macaroons and stuffed Yaprah (grape leaves) will entertain, inform, and build an appetite in this enjoyable title. VERDICT Jewish or not, toddlers will appreciate this array of delicious items ready for their snacking pleasure. Recommended.

Symons, Ruth. Bedtime Book for Bump. illus. by Anneli Bray. 48p. Mayo Clinic Pr. Mar. 2024. Board $14.99. ISBN 9798887701851.
Baby-Toddler–A note at the beginning of this book explains the importance of reading to babies in utero as newborns have been shown to connect with voices heard prior to birth. The text and illustrations are comforting and full of love. VERDICT A wonderfully encouraging book for parents-to-be to begin the child/adult bond as early as possible. Tender but informative for pregnant people and those sharing the journey.

Urban, Chiêu Anh. Illusions in Art: Food. illus. by Chiêu Anh Urban. 28p. (Illusions in Art). Candlewick. Oct. 2023. Board $12.99. ISBN 9781536223712.
Baby-Toddler–An elegant guessing game with appeal for a wide audience beyond babies, preschoolers, and their adults. Food rhyming clues will have listeners leaning in as they search for the hidden items within the negative spaces. A lesson in positive and negative space is provided at the conclusion. VERDICT Smart rhyming clues and visually arresting illustrations set this apart from many art-inspired board books.

Wenzel, Brendan. Hello Hello Colors. illus. by Brendan Wenzel. 32p. (Brendan Wenzel). Chronicle. Jun. 2024. Board $9.99. ISBN 9781797219950.
Toddler-PreS–A plethora of amazing animals grace the pages of Wenzel’s exploration of color and animals in trouble. Pages are full of different animals that share a color with information at the end naming all of the creatures and their threatened status. VERDICT A visual treat. Recommended.

Wenzel, Brendan. Hello Hello Shapes. illus. by Brendan Wenzel. 26p. (Brendan Wenzel). Chronicle. Jun. 2024. Board $9.99. ISBN 9781797219967.
PreS-K–Wenzel presents a fascinating collection of animals using a provocative shape-shifting format. From “tree frogs in a triangle” to “herons in a heart,” his vivid design and beautiful illustrations will delight all readers. VERDICT Fascinating and beautiful with a call to help save threatened species. Highly recommended.

John Scott is the library media specialist at Powhatan Elementary School in Baltimore County, MD. He is celebrating his 30th year as a library educator. When not reading, he enjoys running and traveling.

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