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Book Recommendations

By Domains

Approaches to Learning 

This domain addresses how the child learns. It includes attitudes toward and interest in learning.

Support Approaches to Learning goals by choosing books:

  • that have baby faces
  • with touchy-feely pages or sound books (crinkly, squeaky)
  • that promote curiosity
  • about patience and turn-taking
  • that encourage attention and persistence
  • about trying something new, problem-solving, and encouragement
  • about “actions” – This is the way we…. (encourage social norms)
  • that promote imagination and play
  • about the world around them (water, plants, places, people, etc) that encourage questions
  • about participating in new settings such, as preschool or kindergarten


Social Development and Emotional Development Domain

This domain addresses developing a sense of self, developing relationships with peers and adults, and learning to self-regulate and express emotions appropriately.

Support Social Development and Emotional Development goals by choosing books:

  • with pictures of babies, children, adults
  • that show relationships with peers, adults, family, friends, grandparents, parents, etc. or make your own book using family photos
  • that focus on self-expressions and self-regulations: how they are feeling, how they are working through feelings, and controlling emotions
  • that focus on individual emotions and how the characters work through them: anger, sadness, fear, jealousy, happiness, and excitement, etc.
  • about social actions: how to act in school, how to act in a library or grocery store, etc.
  • about empathy, kindness, love, friendship
  • about self-help skills: potty training, getting dressed, buttoning, zipping, eating, cleaning up, etc.
  • about new settings, such as preschool and kindergarten, and responsibilities in those settings


Communications, Language & Literacy Domain

This domain addresses communication, grammar, vocabulary, interest in and appreciation of literacy, comprehension, concepts of print, phonological awareness, knowledge of the alphabet, writing skills, and understanding there are multiple languages in the world. For early learning, these skills will progress as the child matures and is exposed to experiences related to language and literacy.

Support Communications, Language & Literacy goals by choosing books:

  • that have faces, emotions, people, places, things for babies and young toddlers
  • of nursery rhymes which develop phonemic awareness, memory, articulation, listening skills, and understanding concepts (imagination and comprehension)
  • that introduce familiar words and new words for building of vocabulary
  • without words which encourage storytelling, imagination, and language building skills
  • that encourage comprehension: what happens in the book, who are the characters, predicting what will happen, etc.
  • with puppets, stuffed animals, or other materials that will help tell the story (for added interest)
  • from online that are narrated by other adults or children
  • or other reading materials that show different print examples: magazines, beginning reader books, books with pictures that have descriptions, etc.
  • with alphabetical letters and pictures to match the letters
  • with letter sounds, rhyming words, word families: Duck on a Truck, Mice in Rice, etc.
  • with a rhythm of words: those that repeat the same group of words over and over
  • that show different writing tools and how they are used: pens, markers, crayons, etc.
  • about making lists (could use paper and pencil to make lists from books)
  • about drawing (imagination books of a character drawing)


Cognitive Development Domain

This domain addresses a wide range of skills such as the creation of knowledge through thinking and reasoning, mathematical thinking and expression, scientific exploration and knowledge, social studies, family and community connections, and creative arts and expression.

Support Cognitive Development goals by choosing books:

  • that utilize babies and toddlers’ five senses which are how they explore and absorb knowledge (touchy-feely, sound books, etc.)
  • that are short, read frequently, and can be recalled by the child: even babies and young toddlers will show familiarity in book sequence when read repeatedly
  • about making simple decisions: those you can ask the child things like “What do you think she/he should do…?” Questions can encourage thinking, reasoning, and decision-making

MATH books:

  • that use counting, how many, order of numbers
  • about shapes and positions: simple to complex shapes, simple positions such as in/out, up/down to more complex positions such as over/under, next to, beside, etc.
  • about sorting and grouping by different attributes: color, shape, size etc.
  • about measuring, patterns, comparisons, opposites
  • about solving simple mathematical thinking problems: simple additions or taking something away
  • about the concept of time such as sequence of routine in comparison to times of the day: first we eat breakfast, then we brush our teeth, etc.


  • that explore the five senses: different textures, smells, things to see, tastes, and things you can hear
  • that encourage observations, predicting, asking, and answering questions, and developing generalizations
  • that contain things to explore, investigate, and provide new knowledge on environment and its impacts: animals, humans, nature, land, water, air, recycling, etc.
  • that contain things to explore, investigate, and provide new knowledge on needs and survival: living vs non-living, plants, animals, humans
  • that contain things to explore, investigate, and provide new knowledge on push and pull such as ramps, balls, pull-toys, push-toys, movement, speed of toys, etc.
  • that contain things to explore, investigate, and provide new knowledge on the sun and energy: effect of the sun on the earth, plants, animals & humans, what can reduce the effects of the sun, etc.
  • that contain things to explore, investigate, and provide new knowledge on the weather: local weather, patterns of common weather (time of day, seasonal), descriptions of weather, preparing for severe weather, etc.
  • about how things work: machines, appliances, transportation (boats, cars, planes, trains, etc.), or any item your child is interested in


  • about relationships and roles of familiar families, groups, and communities
  • on similarities and differences among people, places, and things around the world
  • about different backgrounds: people, places, clothing, houses, buildings, etc.
  • about community members or jobs: from familiar ones such as police officers, firefighters, mail deliverers, teachers, doctors, etc. to perhaps less familiar ones such as engineers, florists, beekeepers, etc.
  • about days of the week, yesterday, today, tomorrow, months, years, etc.
  • about your local community: town newspapers, magazines, etc.
  • about local and national celebrations: town anniversaries, community celebrations or national holidays or celebrations of people like President’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Mother’s Day, etc.
  • about the United States and symbols of the nation
  • about rules: in the classroom, community, public places, etc.
  • about maps: local, earth, globes, etc.
  • that distinguish between needs and wants


  • about dance, music, instruments, bands, acting, drama, singing, arts, etc.
  • about local and national artworks and artists
  • that show different artistic tools for creation
  • that encourage creativity and expression


Health & Physical Development

This domain addresses healthy eating, healthy sleeping, engaging in physical play, large motor and fine motor activities, self-care and personal hygiene and safety behaviors.

Support Health & Physical Development goals by choosing books:

  • about healthy eating, food groups, and the effects of healthy practices
  • about different foods: healthy vs. unhealthy or texture comparisons like crunchy vs soft
  • on healthy sleeping: bedtime routines, why sleep matters, etc.
  • about different types of exercise: yoga, playground, kids’ sports
  • about large muscle movement
  • on personal hygiene: washing hands, brushing teeth, blowing noses, toileting, etc.
  • about germs and sickness and how to avoid them
  • about safety: indoor, outdoor, classroom, playground, pedestrian, fire, weather, etc.
  • that address community or the adults that help keep us safe