Books about holidays have a way of capturing a child's imagination, and they can provide great educational opportunities as well as entertainment. Consider adding some of the following books to your list of titles to share with your toddler and instill your child with a love of reading.
Toddlers will enjoy learning about Christmas through these illustrated board books. Reading them aloud with family is a wonderful way to celebrate the holiday.
Christmas in the Manger
By Nola Buck, this book provides a great way to introduce a small child to the story of the nativity. The illustrations are warm and colorful, and they really capture a toddler's eye. The story is told in simple rhyming verses, with words on one page and pictures on the opposite page.
The Sweet Smell of Christmas
By Patricia M. Scarry, this story joins Little Bear as he discovers all the wonderful smells of Christmas. Children can scratch and sniff each scent and experience it right along with Little Bear, including the fresh scent of the Christmas tree, gingerbread cookies and candy canes.
A Wish to Be a Christmas Tree
By Colleen Monroe, this book describes a lonely pine tree that dreams of becoming a Christmas tree, but he's passed over each year until he's finally too big for anyone to take home. He begins to despair, but then his woodland friends step in and show him how much he is already loved. This is a heartwarming tale with beautiful illustrations. Toddlers will love hearing the story, but the book is also suitable for slightly older children.
Don't Push the Button Christmas
This interactive book by author Bill Cotter is the story of Larry and his quest to keep from pushing the button. Toddlers will enjoy the fun visuals and pushing the big red button as they follow Larry's Christmas.
That's Not My Elf
By Fiona Watt, this is another interactive book. This one involves touching different textures as toddlers read along about five of Santa's Christmas elves at the North Pole. The goal of the book is to provide entertainment while helping toddlers with new sensory experiences.
Little Blue Truck's Christmas
By Alice Schertle and illustrated by Jill McElmurry, this Amazon best seller follows Little Blue Truck's Christmas tree delivery service. The beautifully illustrated book focuses on teaching children math skills. It also has festive flashing lights on the final page for an extra holiday treat.
Holiday traditions like the dreidel, the Menorah and Hannukah songs are explored in these toddler friendly picture books.
My First Menorah
By Salina Yoon, this fun book features candle-shaped pages and sparkly images that will captivate nearly any toddler. The book explains each of the eight days of Hannukah individually in the simplest terms that even little ones can understand without being overwhelmed with too much information.
Where Is Baby's Dreidel?
By Karen Katz, this is a fun activity book in which toddlers can help a baby search for a dreidel by looking under different flaps. Each flap reveals a different Hannukah symbol, including the menorah, presents and, of course, the dreidel. This book offers a simple, entertaining way to familiarize a young child with this holiday.
Happy Hanukkah, Corduroy
Authored by David Martin and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Hanukkah Lights presents the holiday rituals in an easy format for young children to understand. It includes descriptions of holiday traditions like the dreidel, giving presents and singing and dancing to celebrate.
How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah?
Written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Mark Teague, this board book is part of the popular dinosaur series. The story follows the adventures of young dinosaurs learning about the holiday through family rituals.
Grover's Eight Nights of Light
By Jodie Shepherd and illustrated by Joe Mathieu, this book features the beloved Elmo character from Sesame Street. The story follows a Hanukkah party Elmo throws for his friends including Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Bert and Ernie.
Toddlers can learn about the festivities involved with Kwanzaa and the principals involved. These books also are an excellent way to teach concepts like the alphabet at an early age.
My First Kwanzaa
Toddlers will learn about the essentials of Kwanzaa and the importance of family, friends and community in this book by Karen Katz. Parents will appreciate the pronunciation guide for the Swahilli words and the clear explanations of each of the seven principals of Kwanzaa.
K Is For Kwanzaa
By Juwanda Ford, this book is doubly useful as a primer for Kwanzaa and a tool for teaching the alphabet. Each letter is used to present a particular concept of Kwanzaa. Explore them all with your toddler, but you can also take it one letter and concept at a time.
My First Kwanza Book
This book by Deborah Chocolate offers a wonderful way to introduce a young child to the principals and symbolism of Kwanzaa, as told through a family gathering. It's a lovely book to share with a toddler, but there's plenty here for a child to explore once she or he begins reading.
The fall five-day festival of lights is an important holiday for Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains as well as certain types of Buddhists. Toddlers will love learning about this festive time bringing in the new year.
The Festival of Lights - A Diwali Book for Toddlers
This book by Aneeka Patel is available only as an eBook which requires a Kindle or tablet. It's a lovely choice for parents to sit with their toddlers and read aloud the rhymes about Diwali.
Lots of Lights: Lots of Lights
By Kavita Sahai, this is a fun book introduces children to the concepts of Diwali in a simple way. The illustrations are done in a colorful watercolor style that will delight children and adults.
Diwali (Celebrate the World)
A board book by Hannah Eliot and illustrated by Archana Sreenivasan explores the Diwali holiday through the story of siblings. It's a number one best seller on Amazon with a five-star rating by readers.
Rani Saves Diwali
This story by Anita Badhwar tells the tale of Princess Rani's attempt to save the palace Diwali festivities by helping with the decorations. It's a good read-aloud book for children who can learn more about their culture and holiday traditions.
New Year's Books
Ring in the New Year by including your toddler by reading aloud these adorable board books. These books cover a range of holiday festivities including the Chinese New Year.
In this book by Joan Holub, your little one will learn about the traditions of Chinese New Year. There's also a Chinese zodiac wheel in the back of the book, as well as instructions for a dragon puppet you can make with your toddler.
Bringing in the New Year
This board book by Grace Lin presents a Chinese American family's New Year celebration. The colorful illustrations present the Chinese Lunar New Year in a delightful way for children.
Squirrel's New Year's Resolution
By Pat Miller and illustrated by Kathi Ember, this delightful book teaches children about the age old New Year's practice of making resolutions. Squirrel meets with his friends in the forest to come up with ideas to celebrate the new year.
Happy New Year, Spot!
By Eric Hill, this board book features the puppy Spot. He longs to stay up late with his family to celebrate New Years Eve but he's too young. Children will enjoy his adventures learning how to have a joyous New Years Eve.
Shanté Keys and the New Year's Peas
Written by Gail Piernas-Davenport and illustrated by Marion Eldridge, this fun rhyming book is the story of Shanté's quest to find black-eyed peas for Grandma's big feast. It's designed for children four to eight years old but is a great read-aloud book for younger children as well.
Enjoy teaching your toddler about the spooky joys of Halloween with these colorful explorations of wearing costumes and trick or treating.
I'm Not Afraid of Halloween
By Marion Dane Bauer, this pop up and flap book lets children find out which spooky character lives in each house as a group of trick-or-treaters go door-to-door. Don't worry, it's all in good fun and toddlers will be fascinated with the pop-ups.
By Janet Schulman, this a counting book and a Halloween book all rolled into one. Explore traditional Halloween customs with your child as a group of 10 trick-or-treaters grows smaller and smaller. Overall, the book is amusing, and most children will love the rhyming text.
Maisy Dresses Up
Mouse's First Halloween
By Lauren Thompson and illustrated by Buket Erdogan, this book tells the story of Mouse on his very first Halloween. Mouse learns about trick or treaters, Halloween songs and spooky bats.
The Spooky Smells of Halloween
By Mary Man-Kong and illustrated by Viviana Garofoli, this book is all about Little Sammy's Halloween celebration. The book is a scented storybook and children can experience all the smells associated with Halloween.
Even toddlers aren't too young to learn about giving thanks and enjoying time with family. And of course, the traditional Thanksgiving feast!
Thanks for Thanksgiving
This book by Julie Markes will help little ones learn just how much there is to be thankful for. At the end of the book, there's even a place you and your youngster can record something you're thankful for, so the book will become quite a keepsake.
The First Thanksgiving
Your toddler will love lifting a flap to see what's beneath it in this Thanksgiving tale by Nancy Davis. There aren't a lot of words to this simple little book, but that leaves you plenty of room to talk about this holiday with your child.
What Is Thanksgiving?
I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie
This Thanksgiving story by Alison Jackson and illustrated by Judy Schachner is full of fun rhymes that children will love. It's based on the "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly" poem.
Ten Fat Turkeys
Written by Tony Johnston and illustrated by Rich Deas, Ten Fat Turkeys features fun visuals including turkeys doing a noodle dance. The book is centered around teaching children how to count so it's not only entertaining but educational as well.
Valentine's Day Books
These sweet board books teach toddlers about the concept of love between family members. They cover simple Valentine's Day concepts like giving cards and gifts to show appreciation.
How Do I Love You?
By Marion Dane Bauer, this book was inspired by a famous poem written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. A parent's love for a child is explained with simple comparisons from nature.
Mouse's First Valentine
Authored by Lauren Thompson, join little Mouse in this book as he follows his sister Minka around the house trying to figure out what she's up to. Surprise - she's making a valentine card just for him!
Heart to Heart
This is a Valentine story by George Shannon about true friendship. Mole sends a valentine to his friend Squirrel, who has forgotten about the holiday and must scramble to make a valentine for Mole before he arrives.
Love from the Very Hungry Caterpillar
This book by Eric Carle features the beloved children's book character, the Very Hungry Caterpillar. Children will love the colorful and unique illustrations with a story teaching children about love.
Llama Llama I Love You
Easter books for toddlers range from religious explanations of this joyous Christian festival to learning about the Easter bunny and the fun of Easter egg hunts.
What Is Easter?
This book by Michelle Medlock Adams explains that Jesus is the reason for Easter. It's a nice way to introduce a child to the religious aspects of this holiday.
The Easter Egg
In this book by Jan Brett, Hoppi wants to make the best Easter egg in order to become the Easter Bunny's helper. He winds up saving a robin's egg and keeps it warm until the baby hatches. For his kindness, the Easter Bunny selects the little robin's eggshell, and Hoppi gets to help deliver the Easter eggs.
By David A. Carter, this book should be in every toddler's Easter basket. Pop-up Easter eggs reveal an assortment of adorable bugs that hold the answers to a series of questions.
We're Going on an Egg Hunt
This book by Laura Hughes is a fun story perfect for reading aloud to children. It's also a lift-the-flap and search-and-find book for interactive reading and play. The story follows a group of bunnies looking for ten eggs to celebrate the holiday.
The Biggest Easter Basket Ever
Part of a series of holiday "biggest" books by Steven Kroll and illustrator Jeni Bassett, this beautiful book is the story of the Easter festivities in Mouseville. Clayton and Desmond, our story's mouse heroes, learn how to cooperate with each other to enter a contest for the biggest Easter basket.
4th of July Books
Young children can learn about the founding of our country with these patriotic toddler-friendly books.
The Story of America's Birthday
Fourth of July Mice!
Follow the mice family as they take part in traditional 4th of July activities in this book by Bethany Roberts. Watch them parade, picnic, play games and attend the fireworks celebration.
Corduroy's Fourth of July
This book features the popular character authored by Don Freeman. Food, fun and fireworks fill the day for Corduroy and his friends.
Blue Sky White Stars
By Sarvinder Naberhaus, this book explores the history of the U.S. with stunning illustrations by Kadir Nelson. It also features a multicultural array of people for a truly diverse description of America.
Fourth of July Cheer
By Dee Smith, this book features Buster the dog's experience celebrating the Fourth of July with his family. They enjoy a barbeque, parade and of course, fireworks!
Ramadan and Eid Books
For toddlers in the Muslim faith, these picture books are an excellent introduction to the major holidays of Islam.
My First Ramadan
Sweet Dates to Eat: A Ramadan and Eid Story
By Jonny Zucker, this book explains the holy season of Ramadan and Eid for young children. It follows a family as they take part in the major traditions of Ramadan and the celebration of Eid that follows it.
It's Ramadan, Curious George
This book features the beloved character written by H.A. Rey and Hena Kahn. It tells the story of George and his friend Kareem learning about how to celebrate Ramadan.
Hassan and Aneesa Celebrate Eid
By Yasmeen Rahim and illustrated by Omar Burgess, this book is the story of these two young children's experience with Eid al-Fitr. They decorate the house with traditional decorations and readers will learn about the prayers and celebration involved with this holiday.
There's Even More to Explore
This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds more books about these holidays and others. Visit your local library with your toddler and share the magic of reading.