Some of our favorite books for the 0-5 year olds in your life!


The LENA team is made up of statisticians, speech-language pathologists, curriculum specialists, designers, engineers, linguists, marketing professionals, and product managers. We talk a lot about things you can measure: child vocalizations, conversational turns, adult word counts, IQ scores, surface area of the left perisylvian cortex region of the brain — the list goes on and on and gets more and more complex.

We’re also people who can take a step back and appreciate the human, heartfelt connections that make all the measurements we care about possible. Among those connections: the magic of shared book-reading.

We think it’s unanimous, in fact: We love reading books with the young children in our lives. In honor of National Reading Month, here are some of our favorites.

Keep in mind that our age group categories below are based on individual children and their personal connections to each book. Any of the children in your life may well fall in love with (or be blasé about) any of these books. In other words, results may vary. 🙂

Books the infants in our lives love

Starry Night, Hold Me Tight | by Jean Sagendorph

John Matthews, Sr. Product Manager: “It’s one of the very first books we read together. She would giggle at one page and want to read the whole book again just to get back to that part.”

Hooray for Fish! | by Lucy Cousins

Mindy Ricketts, Head of Marketing and Content: “My infant has been obsessed with this book for months. It introduces a lot of great foundational concepts like colors and numbers, and she loves turning the pages and waving hello to all the different fish.”

Baby Angels | by Jane Cowen-Fletcher

Cameron Kizziah, Implementation Specialist: “A simple rhyming book that was given to me by a friend because it was a favorite of their child. It proved to be the same for all four of my kids. The comfort of being watched over and protected resonated and made it a favorite. I appreciate that the illustrations represent a variety of races.”

Yawn | by Sally Symes and Nick Sharratt

Ivan Ross, Marketing Manager: “It says ‘3 and up’ on the back, but I remember my infant daughter loving it. What’s not to like about ‘splishy, splashy fish’ and ‘biggy, diggy moles’ — not to mention the unique design!”

Books the toddlers in our lives love

I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie | by Alison Jackson

Kim Coulter, Sr. Trainer and Data Specialist: “This is the Thanksgiving version of ‘I know an old lady who swallowed a fly’. Very funny, with clever and fun rhyming. Little ones enjoy jumping in with the refrain! Funny and surprising ending.”

Mail Duck | by Erica Sirotich

Caitlyn Stafford, Business Development Operations Manager: “Full of different shapes, colors, and surprises, this book celebrates friendship and fun.”


The Book with No Pictures | by B.J. Novak

John Matthews: “One of the first books to make her laugh and laugh and laugh. So good.”


Goodnight Gorilla | by Peggy Rathmann

Cameron Kizziah: “Nothing better than the silliness and engagment that comes from acting this book out with your little ones. Pure joy for kids anticipating the antics of the Gorilla!”

Wherever You Go | by Pat Zietlow Miller

Caitlyn Stafford: “The whimsical illustrations are captivating as you read a story about a bunny who goes on big adventures, meets new friends, and tries new things, but always knows he can come home.”

Mango, Abuela and Me/Mango, Abuela y Yo | by Meg Medina

Liz Pettit, Product Manager: “Meg Medina lives in our city, Richmond, Va, so I take great joy in reading and supporting a local author. My 2.5-year-old loves the expressive illustrations and animals throughout. It’s also available in Spanish!”

Books the preschoolers in our lives love

If I Were a Grown-Up | by Éva Janikovszky

Kim Coulter: “Looks at adult life and ‘privileges’ through the eyes of a child. Cute.”


Good Morning, Sam | by Marie-Louise Gay

Kim Coulter: “Fun books with cute artwork. In this one, Sam dresses ‘himself’ with a lot of extra help from big sister, Stellaǃ”


Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur | Marvel Comics

John Matthews: “Moon Girl took over bedtime reading for months, concluding with a Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur Halloween costume this year.”


Dragons Love Tacos | by Adam Rubin

John Matthews: “My kiddo loves dragons. They are better than dinosaurs ‘because they have wings’, according to her.”


Jabari Jumps | by Gaia Cromwell

Jess Simmons, Chief Growth Officer: “A great way to address fears in a fun and accessible manner. It’s also available in Spanish, translated by Georgina Lázaro.”


Beegu | by Alexis Deacon

Krista Ingle, Technical Support Specialist: “This is a quirky book about an alien child who crashes on Earth all alone and has a hard time making friends until they find the right ones — children. It’s both edgy and sweet, sad and happy. The illustrations pack a lot of emotion and tell more of the story than the words do so there are huge options in how to share the book with kids.”

The Smeds and the Smoos | by Julia Donaldson

Silke Koester, Partner Program Planner: “My preschooler loves this book because the rhymes are fun and silly, some of the words are made-up and silly too so they are fun to say, it’s easy to make silly voices for the characters, and it teaches kids about diversity (red vs blue aliens).”

Horse Meets Dog | by Elliot Kalan and Tim Miller

Ivan Ross: “The text in this book consists almost exclusively of dialogue between a couple of very confused but well-meaning animals. We like to imitate their voices together. My daughter finds the baby bottle full of hay particularly funny!”

Don’t Call Me a Pig | by Conrad Storad

Cameron Kizziah: “A delightful rhyme with colorful illustrations telling the story of a javelina and why it should not be confused with a pig! A favorite for us in the southwest!”

The Hello, Goodbye Window | by Norton Juster

Krista Ingle: “We all loved this ‘day in the life’ story of a little girl who stays alone with her grandparents. The kids liked the sequence and some of the very funny details. I love that everything is told completely from the child’s perspective and in a way that celebrates the difference between the child and adult experience.”

Please, Louise | by Toni and Slade Morrison and Shadra Strickland

Ivan Ross: “One of several children’s books that Toni Morrison wrote with her son. My daughter’s middle name is Louise and she has a yellow raincoat — a kind of roundabout way of having the book resonate with her, I guess!”

Five tips for turning children's books into conversation starters

Staying engaged and animated when you’re reading to very young children might seem intuitive to some, but it’s not always easy. We wrote a post about turning read-aloud time into interactive conversation time with the infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in your life.

Read the blog post



The LENA Team is a dedicated group of professionals who are passionate about increasing awareness of the importance of early interactive talk. We are statisticians, speech-language pathologists, curriculum specialists, engineers, and linguists.

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