It’s no secret that reading with your children can become a source of family connection. Reading is unique in the way that it’s an activity that grows with your child through their early years—and so forth as they venture in school and even adulthood!

Not only are books a great way to instill an appreciation of learning and exploration, but it’s a time for you and your little bookworm to grow closer together. Reading is a safe space to encourage their big, bold and beautiful imaginations, challenge them to see things from different perspectives, and gently prompt them to ask questions. Ditch the screen time and pick up one of these board or picture books instead. 

Here are our picks for the best children’s books of 2021.


1. A Busy Year by Leo Lionni

In this cute board book, two mice named Winnie and Willie befriend a growing tree named Woody, who teaches them about the different seasons over the span of a year.


2. Eyes That Kiss in Corners by Joanna Ho

A New York Times bestselling picture book, Eyes That Kiss in Corners tells the story of a young Asian girl’s journey to self-love and discovering her inner beauty after she notices that her and her family’s eyes look different than her other friends and their families.


3. A Pizza with Everything on It by Kyle Scheele

Who doesn’t love a hearty slice of pizza?! This funny book is about a father-son duo that makes the most decorative pizza the world has ever seen with every topping imaginable.


4. Jungle Night by Sandra Boynton with music by Yo-Yo Ma

Say hello to your child’s new favorite bedtime story! This two-for-one purchase comes with a copy of Jungle Night, an adorable board book that illustrates different animals sleeping peacefully in the jungle, accompanied by instrumental melodies from renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma.


5. Ambitious Girl by Meena Harris

Written by Meena Harris (Vice President Kamala Harris’s niece), Ambitious Girl is a beautiful illustrated story about perseverance, empowerment, dreams and owning your voice.


6. Are You a Cheeseburger? by Monica Arnaldo

Grub is a very hungry racoon scouring trash cans for food. That is where Grub meets Seed, a teeny tiny seed waiting to be planted so it can grow into something. What exactly? Well, Seed doesn’t know yet. Grub hopes it’s a cheeseburger tree, but these new best friends will both have to wait to find out!


7. I Am Smart, I Am Blessed, I Can Do Anything! by Alissa Holder and Zulekha Holder-Young

Ayaan is having a rough morning. But after a quick pep talk from his mom and his friends in the neighborhood, he’s ready to turn his frown upside down!


8. Hello, World! Cars and Trucks by Jill McDonald

This board book features vibrantly colored cars and trucks, their powerful motor sounds and easy-to-understand facts. Children will learn all about fire trucks, trash trucks, taxis, race cars and even tow trucks!


9. The Bench by Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex

Meghan Markle’s debut children’s book, The Bench, is an ode to the loving relationship between Prince Harry and their son, Archie. While told through Meghan’s perspective, its sentiment—the special bond between a father and son—is universal.


10. My Monster and Me by Nadiya Hussain

Nadiya Hussain—who you may remember as the season six winner of The Great British Baking Show—gently starts a conversation about the worries and anxieties kids may feel, but don’t necessarily know how to express.


11. I Don’t Want to Read This Book by Max Greenfield

Whether your child despises reading or can’t get enough of it, both of you will be rolling on the floor in laughter after reading actor Max Greenfield’s brand new picture book I Don’t Want to Read This. Filled with 40 pages of bright illustrations and amusing thoughts, this book is great for those who like very fast reads or storylines that don’t require much attention.


12. Gigi at the White House by Giovanna McBride

Travel back in time and follow along as young Gigi McBride takes you on a tour of the White House, which she grew up visiting while her mom worked under the George W. Bush administration. You’ll get to hear about the famed Easter Egg Roll, Fourth of July, Halloween, and Christmas. You even get to meet her new wonderful friends, such as First Lady Laura Bush, members of the Secret Service, the White House florist and more!


13. Nom Nom Nom: A Yummy Book with Flaps by Jeffrey Burton

This interactive board book invites little readers to actively participate by lifting the flaps and “feeding” the hungry characters.


14. The One and Only Sparkella by Channing Tatum

Actor Channing Tatum is officially a children’s book author, and he’s putting his girl dad knowledge on paper to remind little girls everywhere that they’re beautiful no matter what—even if someone at school doesn’t like their sparkly disco-ball shoes.


15. My Little Brave Girl by Hilary Duff

An empowering love letter to daughters everywhere, My Little Brave Girl teaches young girls that there’s no such thing as dreaming too big. And, with the support of those around you, especially your mama, the world is your oyster.