Top 10 Books for Ages 0-5 | By the Madison Reading Project

Books are a magical way to connect with children and strengthen bonds. Research also shows that kids who are read with early-on and often can grow into students who have more expanded language and vocabulary skills, a healthier sense of self and a love of reading. 

We truly believe that with the right book, any child can love reading! To encourage every child to be a bookworm, we have selected a few of our favorite board books and picture books for children aged 0 to 5. You can purchase all these recommendations on our Madison Reading Project Bookshop page. We hope that you consider adding some of these books to your at-home libraries – or that you might consider donating some of them to the Madison Reading Project so that we can share the gift of reading with children across Dane County!

Here are a few of our favorite board books:

Love You Head to Toe: This is the sweetest book that both babies and caregivers will enjoy. It is told from the caregiver’s perspective, and celebrates the simple and special moments that make up a baby’s day. This is a must read for new parents! 

It’s You I Like: Mister Rogers fans cannot miss this delightful and nostalgic read. It is affirming and uplifting for children, and reminds us all that what makes each person special is who they are on the inside. We also love the other book in this series, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Love Makes a Family: This book features all types of families doing a variety of everyday activities, and even though no two are the same – the message is clear, love makes a family. Little readers will enjoy the bright, lively and familiar illustrations. If you enjoy this read, check out the other books in this series, Kindness Makes Us Strong, and Change Starts with Us (pre-order now!).  

Here are a few picture books you may want to give this season:

Little Witch Hazel: This is a beautiful collection of four stories that is perfect for bedtime. Little Witch Hazel is hard working and kind, and the best friend to everyone she meets in the forest. Follow her on her adventures through the seasons, and enjoy returning to this book over and over again. 

What Would You Do in a Book About You?: This is the perfect book to open young hearts and minds to what is possible in the future. It is lyrical and fun, and features captivating and imaginative illustrations that all kids will love. 

My Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World: We know that not every child loves reading at first, and many struggle to find the right book or feel confident to read on their own. This book was made for that child. It is empowering, reminding us all that everyone has an important story to tell, and any book has the potential to be a favorite. 

Bodies are Cool: This book is just what you would expect: so cool! It is a celebration of all the types of bodies in the world, encouraging body positivity and love for everything from hair to skin tone to shape and size. We love the joyful illustrations and how it’s truly an inclusive and authentic look at human bodies. 

We encourage you to visit our Madison Reading Project blog and Bookshop for more recommendations and resources. Click here for our post on starting a reading routine with your baby.


This article was written in collaboration with the Madison Reading Project, a local literacy nonprofit. MRP connects our community with free books and literacy resources that ignite a love for reading and affirm and reflect the diversity of young readers. You can find out more about our Community Book Drive here. 

Madison Moms Blog is written by and for moms who live in the Madison Area. We strive to connect local moms by sharing personal experiences, fun ideas and useful information as well as promoting local businesses. Our community begins online, but doesn't stop there! We offer Mom's Night Out events, play groups and other opportunities to connect offline, with and without kids.

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