One of the first steps children make toward becoming readers is learning the alphabet. Identifying their ABCs, understanding letter sounds, and learning the relationship between the two can get the alphabet train going! Here we have chosen the best alphabet books for early readers (toddlers, preschoolers, and young children) to help you fill your home library!
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Why use alphabet books with young children?
Countless studies have shown that children who are immersed in books from an early age become fluent readers faster. Children benefit from being read to, and should also have access to books they can look at on their own as early as possible.
Alphabet books are a great way to introduce children to the world of reading by helping them to associate letters with objects and sounds. Colorful and exciting books expose children to letters in a fun way without making learning seem boring.
These alphabet books for early readers will help your children build phonemic awareness and increase their vocabulary. Plus these books are just fun to read!
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Top ABC Books for Kids
Another favorite from Bill Martin Jr, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom can be found in almost every preschool and elementary school in the US! Follow the exciting story of the ABCs as they race up the coconut tree and fall back down, only for the capital letters (their parents) to come to their rescue.
The playful narrative and colorful illustrations make learning the alphabet a fun and interactive experience. With vibrant illustrations and a song-like rhyme, this is a story that will be enjoyed for years to come.
Ehlert introduces children to fruits and vegetables from around the world with this beautifully illustrated book. Each page showcases a letter of the alphabet alongside a variety of produce, encouraging kids not only to learn their ABCs but also to appreciate the bounty of the earth.
Having kids who are good readers and not picky eaters is a definite possibility after enjoying this book!
Using adorable peas as the main characters, this book dives into the world of jobs and activities, associating each with a letter of the alphabet. From artists to zoologists, the peas present a fun and unique exploration of the ABCs, all set against brightly colored backgrounds.
A Children's Book of Alphabet Words to Inspire Compassion, Kindness and Positivity
This book goes beyond teaching the ABCs by incorporating values like kindness, empathy, and social consciousness. Each letter is associated with a positive trait or value, aimed at fostering a sense of global citizenship in young readers.
A Children’s Empowerment Kit accompanies the book, including printable alphabet & positive affirmations posters, a weekly heart-based lesson Plan, and ‘101 Acts of Kindness and Compassion’ (PDF).
Sandra Boynton's "A to Z" is a whimsically illustrated book that captivates children with its goofy animals and playful rhymes. Each uppercase letter is represented by an animal engaged in a funny activity, making it entertaining and educational.
If you love Sandra Boynton's other books, you'll definitely love this one too!
This bedtime-themed alphabet book presents the alphabet through a narrative where the lowercase letters are depicted as mischievous little characters who are not ready to go to sleep when their parents (the capital letters) want them to.
It's the perfect bedtime story for a little giggle before sleep.
Eric Carle's ABC book is just another of our favorite children's books from one of our favorite authors. He brings his iconic illustration style to the alphabet, using his famous Very Hungry Caterpillar character to guide children through their ABCs. The book's bright and engaging visuals make learning the alphabet a joyful experience.
With thick pages cut into the shape of each letter, this innovative board book provides tactile exploration for young readers. The book cleverly integrates die-cuts with rich illustrations, teaching the letters of the alphabet in a memorable and engaging manner.
This picture book is set in a fantastical marketplace, and each letter of the alphabet is represented by a different vendor selling goods that start with that letter. Anita Lobel's imaginative illustrations add layers of story to each page.
A Caldecott Honor book, a New York Times Best Illustrated book, an ALA Notable Book, and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book for Illustrations
The title of this alphabet book is hilarious in itself, but that's where the words end. This is a wordless alphabet book that tells a tale through the experiences of a little red cat. Each letter corresponds to an event in the cat's adventurous journey, requiring kids to use their imagination to fill in the narrative. It's an excellent way for children to work on letter recognition while also strengthening their creativity and storytelling skills!
If you have a pirate-loving kiddo, this may become one of their new favorite books! This engaging story combines the excitement of a pirate adventure with learning the alphabet. The pirate characters search for treasure in the form of letters, making it both entertaining and educational. Kids will enjoy discovering the hidden alphabet again and again!
This unique book introduces children to the concept of mindful breathing while learning the alphabet. Each letter corresponds to a type of breath or breathing exercise, making it a calming read. It's a great way to teach calming strategies to young children.
This visually captivating book weaves intricate illustrations that represent each letter. With every letter, readers are treated to a detailed scene filled with objects beginning with that letter, turning the simple task of learning the ABCs into a delightful game of discovery. The alliterative sentences and bright colors make this the perfect beginner alphabet book for babies and toddlers.
My personal all time favorite ABC book! No list of alphabet books would be complete without this classic from Dr. Seuss. With its quirky characters, rhymes, and rhythmic text, this book introduces letters in the inimitable style of Dr. Seuss, making it both fun and educational.
Written in traditional Dr. Seuss silly, rhyming style kids will love this Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzzer tale!
Lift a Flap books engage children by hiding content behind flaps that can be lifted. This interactive book has brightly colored pictures and helps toddlers begin to associate letters and sounds with objects. It's an entertaining way to play an alphabet guessing game!
Using the concept of the classic "I Spy" game, this book encourages readers to identify objects related to each letter of the alphabet. It combines visual puzzle-solving with alphabet recognition, keeping young readers engaged and entertained while they learn.
Toddlers love games and they will love this book. Interact with your child as you guide them to discover pictures based on the letter they start with.
What happens when you take a classic alphabet book and put a fun twist in it? You'll see as you read this fun story! Moose really wants to be one of the ABC animals, and his antics add quite a bit of humor along the way.
The twists in the story, the creative pictures and the silly interactions of the animals will make this your child’s favorite ABC book.
A drama unfolds in 26 acts, each corresponding to a letter of the alphabet. Known for his intricate illustrations, Chris Van Allsburg (a three-time Caldecott medalist) brings an artistic and slightly mysterious touch to learning the ABCs.
Note: This is not written in the expected layout, with the text positioned on the same page or across the page from each letter. Instead, the picture is presented first and the text follows on the next page. In this type of layout, you have a bit of an alphabet mystery. Children can try to predict what happened to each of the letters before they turn the page. Another instructional activity option is for children to see the illustration and write out their own story, strengthening their creativity and writing skills.
For kids fascinated by construction sites, this book offers an A-to-Z tour of all kinds of construction equipment. The text is informative and the illustrations vivid, making it a great book for children with a love for big machines.
If you're a self-described nerdy parent like me, you'll love this unique alphabet book! Kids are never too young to learn advanced vocabulary, and what better way to introduce science terms and interesting facts than with a simple alphabet book and eye-catching illustrations.
This book provides a great introduction to such terms as "Q is for Quadriceps" and "P is for Precipitation." Your tiny science lover will learn all about different types of science topics while they practice their letter recognition. It’s the perfect S.T.E.A.M. book for littles.
Observant children and curious learners will love this unique twist on the classic ABC books. No words, just pictures that represent the alphabet letters in everyday life.
Enjoy it together and then head out on your own alphabet adventure to see what letters you can discover around you!
A 1996 Caldecott Honor book.
Is it really fair that the letter A always gets to go first? When letter Z decides to go first, it’s chaos! It’s pandemonium! And it’s definitely not as easy as A-B-C!
Kids love Richard Scarry books and this one doesn’t disappoint.
This classic alphabet book by Richard Scarry combines whimsical illustrations with the alphabet, focusing on different types of cars and trucks for each letter. It's a delight for children who are fascinated by vehicles and offers a fun and engaging way to learn the alphabet.
"ABC and 1, 2, 3" is a dual-purpose book, offering a beginner’s introduction to both the alphabet and basic numbers with everyone's favorite Sesame Street friends. The fun book features simple illustrations and is perfect for young readers who are eager to learn. Sesame Street alphabet books are a classic that parents will love as much as their kids!
A fantastic resource for bilingual education, "My First Spanish Alphabets" helps introduce children to the Spanish alphabet alongside the English one. Through colorful illustrations and simple text, it sets a foundational understanding of both languages.
Spanish alphabet books are a great way to expose young children to a second language. This book has English translations to help your child become bilingual.
Best Alphabet Books for Older Children
ABCs aren’t just for toddlers and preschoolers! There are alphabet books for older children that can make reading and learning exciting too. Here are just a couple of our favorites.
Quite possibly the funniest ABC book ever written. A quirky and amusing book, "P is for Pterodactyl" is dubbed the 'worst alphabet book ever' because it humorously highlights the idiosyncrasies of the English language. Each letter features an unconventional word, offering a clever way to explore the alphabet.
One of our favorite alphabet books, this one shows just how confusing the English language can be!
(Kind of embarrassing, but I totally bought this book for myself and just pretended it was for my son. It is SO FUN to read, and is the funniest children's alphabet book ever. Every upper elementary teacher needs this!)
Oliver Jeffers is one of our favorite authors and illustrators, and this book is a great representation of why we love his work! Each letter of the alphabet is given its own mini-story in this creatively illustrated book. It's a unique twist on traditional alphabet books and suitable for children who are a bit older but still enjoy exploring the alphabet.
An Amazon Best Book of 2014, Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, and a New York Times Bestseller
This book is more than just an alphabet book; it's also a cultural journey through Guatemala. Each letter introduces an aspect of Guatemalan culture, history, or geography, making it educational on multiple levels. A great book for older kids to learn facts about Guatemala in a fun way.
These books offer a variety of styles, themes, and educational values, making it easier to find the perfect fit for any early reader’s interests and needs. There seems to be no shortage of alphabet books and you can probably find one that covers just about every topic. What are some of your favorite ABC books?
MEET THE AUTHOR
As a mom of 4 kids (and the oldest of 4 kids herself), Amanda has over 30 years of parenting experience. A former special education teacher, Amanda has a Master’s degree in Special Education and a second M. Ed. in Educational Leadership.
When she’s not working, Amanda enjoys DIY projects, exercising, photography, and long walks through Target.