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Toddler Books the Whole Family Will Enjoy

Sharks. Trucks. Dinosaurs. Dragons. These are just a few of the passions that many toddlers share, and chances are, you've already collected quite the book collection relating to one or more of these topics. Reading with toddlers can be a lot of fun, especially when you find a high-interest book that they're excited about. Cultivating their interests through shared reading experiences is such a worthwhile pastime. The cherry on top is when you enjoy the book as much as they do!

We've found that it can be particularly challenging to find books along these themes that everyone likes to read. Let's face it - there are a lot of books available to toddlers that just aren't very good. This collection of books includes a variety of fiction and nonfiction books that are highly entertaining and fun for kids and adults alike.

We've also been super thoughtful about selecting books with positive messages for growing minds. Its easy to find books where sharks are portrayed as menaces, and every truck is "tough" and male. These books include more examples of prosocial behaviors, and deviations from typical gender stereotypes. A female scientist who loves sharks? You got it. A tenderhearted and nurturing digger truck? We love to see it! A pair of emotionally vulnerable dinosaur friends? Yep, these are the types of books are toddlers need!

Check out some of our most-recommended books below. For our complete list of toddler approved favorites, visit our Bookshop page.

Truck Books for Toddlers

If your toddler loves popular books like, Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night?, the Little Blue Truck Series, and the Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site Series, give these books a try, too.

Go Trucks, Go!

Author: Addie Boswell | Illustrator: Alexander Mostov | Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

This book is part of a favorite board book series reminiscent of Go, Dogs, Go. The other books in the series focus on bikes, boats, and planes. Each book has colorful, inclusive and silly illustrations as well as great vocabulary.

The Digger Series

Author/Illustrator: Joseph Kuefler | Publisher: Balzer + Bray

The Digger Series now has three books and they're all wonderful. The Digger and the Flower, The Digger and Duckling, and The Digger and the Butterfly all showcase big, warmhearted trucks who work together and help take care of each other.

Dump Truck Disco

Author: Skye Silver | Illustrator: Christiane Engel | Publisher: Barefoot Books

This is a bright and lively story about a team of trucks who work together to build an accessible playground for kids. It also includes a link to a singalong version of the song, which is a huge crowd pleaser! We especially love how inclusive the truck names are and how the main truck in charge is female.

Little Excavator

Author/Illustrator: Anna Dewdney | Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

Toddlers who love the Llama, Llama series may recognize this book! Little Excavator is Llama's favorite book (you can see it in many of the books in the series). Its a great story to read aloud - it includes lots of fun sounds and a nice message about being happy just as you are.

Trash Truck

Author/Illustrator: Max Keane| Publisher: HarperCollins

The popular Trash Truck show on Netflix has a book that tells the story of how Hank and Trash Truck became best friends. It also includes a sneak peak of Walter, Donny and Ms. Mona if you look carefully!

More favorites for truck-loving toddlers:

Hush, Little Trucker

Wake Up, Trucks!

Vroom, Vroom, Beep Beep: A Crash Course in Kindness

This Old Van

Mini Mighty Sweeps

Does a Bulldozer Have a Butt?

The Nice Dream Truck

Shark Books for Toddlers

If every week is shark week with your toddler, check out these fantastic books!

I am the Shark

Author: Joan Holub | Illustrator: Laurie Keller | Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers

What makes the great white shark (one of) the greatest fish in the sea? FIN-d out in this hilarious fish-out-of-water story that's perfect for Shark Week and all year-round!

New York Times bestselling author Joan Holub makes a splash with bestselling illustrator Laurie Keller to deliver an entertaining undersea story filled with the greatest shark facts in the ocean!

I am Getting a Shark!

Author/Illustrator: Brady Smith | Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

We love this book! The main character overhears her parents say they're getting her a shark for her birthday. She cannot contain her enthusiasm and starts dreaming about which type she might be getting. Maybe a great white or whale shark? Her loyal dog, Ralphie, is VERY concerned and tries to get her to see reason by sharing all sorts of interesting shark facts. She's ultimately gifted a wild shark adopted in her name, and realizes that it makes her feel super proud to play a role in protecting something she loves.

This book is a perfect balance between silly and educational - it has a wonderful message about activism that will inspire any shark lover to do their best to protect sharks!

Oona and the Shark

Author: Kelly DiPucchio | Illustrator: Raissa Figueroa | Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

The Oona Series is fantastic! Oona loves to share her inventions with her friends. They’re big and bold and LOUD—just like her! But there’s one underwater creature who doesn’t seem to enjoy Oona’s company, or her creations.

Stanley the shark! He doesn’t care for her squeaky unicorn. And he’s far too busy for the Sea Horse Carousel. And oh GOODNESS! Oona’s latest hopping, chopping, and poppinginventions just make him angry.

Oona may not know what Stanley likes, but she does know what he doesn’t. And maybe that’s a good place to start. Because mermaids never stop trying…not when there’s a friend out there to make.

Once your toddler has more stamina to listen and engage with longer stories, we highly recommend both Shark Lady and Mother of Sharks. We love that both books showcase the incredible achievements of female scientists.

More favorites for shark-loving toddlers:

If Sharks Disappeared

Mako and Tiger

A Day in the Life of Sharks


Dinosaur Books for Toddlers

If you know a dinosaur-loving toddler, you also know there's no shortage of books about dinos! Unfortunately, not all books about dinosaurs are created equally. Here are some of our favorites:

Rumble, Rumble Dinosaur

Author: Katrina Charman | Illustrator: Nick Sharratt| Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Book

This board book by Katrina Chapman is SO much fun to read aloud, and it actually includes real dinosaur content. Toddlers love sing-songy books, and in this one, you can sing along to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star "

We also love the other board books in this New Nursery Series titled, Car, Car, Truck, Jeep, Go, Go, Pirate Boat, and The Whales on Bus.

Here We Go Digging for Dinosaur Bones

Author: Susan Lendroth| Illustrator: Bob Kolar | Publisher: Charlesbridge

This STEM-friendly musical fossil dig will have dinosaur lovers singing along as they learn the science behind paleontology.

Set to the tune of "Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush," Here We Go Digging for Dinosaur Bones invites budding paleontologists and dinosaur fans on an exciting fossil dig. Readers will hike the trail, scan the ground, and make a find—then discover how to build a T. Rex from its bones.

Tiny T. Rex Series

Author: Jonathan Stutzman | Illustrator: Jay Fleck | Publisher: Chronicle Books

The Tiny T. Rex series always illicits giggles from toddlers and grown-ups alike. It includes three hardback books titled, Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug (a favorite!), Tiny T. Rex and the Very Dark Dark, and the latest, Tiny T. Rex and the Grand Ta-Da!, as well as several holiday themed board books about Halloween and Valentine's Day.

Its ultimately a series about the friendship between Tiny and Pointy, two lovable and opposites attract type dinosaurs. The dino-obsessed kiddos in your life will love them both!

Santiago's Dinosaurios

Author: Mariana Rios Ramirez | Illustrator: Udayana Lugo | Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company

Santiago is new to the United States, and he doesn't speak English. On his first day of school, how will he connect with his peers? Santiago learns that even when you don't speak the same language, some interests―like dinosaurs―are universal.

The Girl and the Dinosaur

Author: Hollie Hughes | Illustrator: Sarah Massini | Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books

Anything is possible and nothing's as it seems . . .

In a town by the seaside, Marianne is often seen digging for buried treasure on the beach. One day, she finds the most wonderful treasure of all--a dinosaur skeleton!

That night, Marianne makes a wish upon a star that her dinosaur will come to life. She wishes it with all her heart--and it comes true. Together, Marianne's adventures with her new friend are limited only by their imagination.

This enchanting picture book will take you on a magical journey far beyond the page.

More favorites for dinosaur-loving toddlers:

There's a Dinosaur In Your Book

Dinosaur Lady

Ten Minutes to Bed Little Dinosaur


We include more favorites for kids who love dragons, unicorns, and more on our Bookshop list. Let us know if we missed anything!


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