Skip to content

How to Choose Books for Your Child's Home Library

August 20, 2020

Are you wondering how to choose books that your children will enjoy and learn from? We’ve put together suggestions of what to look for in children’s books!

Wordless Books

Wordless books are made of pictures that tell a story without words. These kinds of books are great for all ages. You can make up the story as you read it out loud and make it as long or short as you’d like! Plus, as children get older, these books allow them to tell the story as they see it. 

Some of our favourite wordless books are:  

  • A Ball for Daisy by Chris Rashika  
  • Good Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day 
  • Skunk on a String by Thao Lam 

Books with Repetition

Repetition in books brings a sense of predictability to the story, allowing children to fill in the blanks of the text. Children often feel like they are ‘reading’ because they know what the lines are in the story; this helps to build their literacy skills and confidence.

Some of our favourite books with repetition are:

  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. 
  • The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle 
  • I Went Walking by Sue Williams

Non-Fiction Books

Non-fiction refers to books that aren’t traditional stories but instead filled with facts. They are usually the easiest to find because chances are you have some in your home!

Add an old cookbook you don’t use or a magazine you’ve long since forgotten to your child’s bookshelf. Books with maps or facts about your child’s interests are also great additions.

Some of our favourite non-fiction books are:

  • Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History by Vashti Harrison 
  • National Geographic: Little Kids First Big Book of the World by Elizabeth Carney 
  • Dino Dana: Dino Field Guide by J.J. Johnson

Sensory Books

Books with textures are great for young children because they help connect meaning to different adjectives. For instance, if the book describes the bear as “soft” and a soft texture is given to the bear, children are connecting this feeling with the word they are seeing and hearing.

Some of our favourite sensory books are:

  • That’s Not My Puppy… by Fiona Watt 
  • Fuzzy Fuzzy Fuzzy! by Sandra Boynton 
  • Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt

Books with Rhymes

Rhymes are fun and silly, and add a great rhythm to storytelling. On top of that, rhymes help young children differentiate between words and letters that sound alike! For instance, young children are learning the subtle differences between the similiar words like “cat” and “bat”. Rhyming amplifies these differences, helping children along with this learning.

Some of our favourite rhyming books are:

  • Five Little Honeybees by James Croft 
  • One Gray Mouse by Katherine Burton 
  • Silly Sally by Audrey Wood

Books in your Home Language

Do you speak another language with your family? Books in multiple languages help children to expand their vocabulary and to understand the similarities and differences between languages. Seeing and hearing the language they use at home in the books they read can also give them a sense of belonging!

Many children’s books are sold in multiple languages—here are some of our favourite bilingual books. You can also translate your child’s favourite stories yourself and add the written translation into the books you already have at home.

Books with Diversity

Books that represent and celebrate diversity are perfect for any home; they allow your child to see children who look like them as well as children who don’t look like them being the hero of the story. We’ve collected some lists of books celebrating diversity—find all of them here!

Handmade Books

A selection of handmade books for a child's home library including scrapbooks, artwork, and photo albums

Lastly, handmade books are great for any bookshelf. You don’t have to look for these books—to make them, simply tape together your child’s drawings, photos of loved ones, or words your child dictates to you.

Handmade books allow children to see themselves while reflecting on their experiences through photos and artworks. Seeing their past experiences helps them to improve their memory while practicing their storytelling skills. Plus, they’re a great chance for your child to create something independently or to get creative as a family! 

Reminder: They don’t need to be fancy to be a valuable addition to your child’s bookshelf!

More Resources on How to Choose Books to Read at Home

For tips on how to help your child choose their own books when they are ready, check out these articles:

For more ways to choose books for your child’s age, try these ideas from The Canadian Children’s Book Centre:

Or, check out some of our favourite books to read aloud as a family!

For more resources and ideas, subscribe to our newsletter.

We are also offering online family programs every day of the week via Zoom—find a program that fits your routine! We offer some programs in French, Mandarin, Punjabi and Urdu. Find out more on our Schedules page!