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15 Teacher Approved Best Books For 3 Year Olds

Encouraging 3 year olds to read can help with their development and give them more confidence.

Teacher Approved Best Books For 3 Year Olds

There are lots of excellent books to choose from, but you need to make sure that they are age-appropriate. It is also good to choose a book that has a meaningful message. 

We have put together this list of 15 of the best books for 3 year olds that have been approved by teachers to provide an educational reading experience. Keep reading to find the perfect book. 

1. Hair Love – Matthew A Cherry & Vashi Harrison

This New York Times bestselling book was adapted into an academy award winning short film. A father and a daughter share a special bond as he helps her to style her hair for a party.

This book teaches children to accept their natural hair texture, and features tender daughter and father moments. The illustration is beautiful and it is a great book for 3 year olds. 

2. The Rainbow Fish – Marcus Pfister 

The Rainbow Fish is a classic story about vanity and pride. It also teaches young children about the importance of sharing, kindness and friendship.

The illustrations are eye-catching, with glittery scales and rainbow colors. This award winning book has been read for years and is a timeless classic. 

3. Beautiful Blackbird – Ashley Bryan

This stunning book is a celebration of African culture, in particular Zambia and the Lla language.

It follows the blackbird who was praised as the most beautiful bird in the forest, causing the other birds to ask for black feathers of their own.

Not only is this book about heritage, it tells the important message that beauty comes from within. 

4. Up And Down  – Oliver Jeffers

This is a sequel to ‘Lost And Found’, so you could start with that book if you wanted. It is also part of the ‘The Boy’ series.

This book is about a penguin learning to fly, who realizes that experiences are better when they are shared. The illustrations are adorable and it’s a wonderful story.   

5. The Color Monster: A Story About Emotions – Anna Llenas

This is a fantastic book to help young children learn about identifying their emotions and how to process them so that they feel more in control.

It associates different emotions with different colors, and the confused monster is able to find peace as he becomes more aware of how he feels. 

6. The Giving Tree – Shel Silverstein

The Giving Tree has been a popular book for children ever since its release over 50 years ago.

It is a beautiful and poignant story about giving, about being grateful, and about unconditional love. It’s simplicity makes it easy for children to understand, but it is also very moving for adults, too. 

7. Dragons Love Tacos – Adam Rubin & Daniel Salmieri

This is a newer children’s book that has already become a firm favorite in schools and homes.

It tells you all about the different types of tacos that will lure dragons to your party, but also the dangers of letting dragons eat salsa! The illustrations are fun and this book will certainly get the children giggling. 

8. Grumpy Monkey – Susan Lang & Max Lang

This is a New York Times Bestselling book about a chimpanzee who is always in a bad mood.

All of his friends try to help him, but nothing can shift his grumpiness. The book teaches children that it’s okay to have days when you don’t feel happy. 

9. Little Blue Truck – Alice Shertle & Jill McElmurry

When the little blue pickup truck gets stuck in the mud, he needs help from all of his friends at the farm to get moving again.

All of the animals help the truck get back on the road, teaching children about teamwork and about how to be respectful towards animals. 

10. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile: Meet Lyle – Bernard Waber

The Lyle Lyle Crocodile book came long before the hit movie. It is a great book, and if the children enjoy it they can watch the film to see the characters come to life.

Lyle is a fun, musical crocodile that lives in the attic of a house in New York, much to the surprise of the family that moves in.   

11. Green Eggs And Ham – Dr Seuss

Dr Seuss is a classic children’s author and there are lots of books to choose from that are great for three year olds. Green Eggs And Ham is full of fun rhymes to help children learn to read.

It also helps them to develop their recall, as they will pick the rhyme up in no time. 

12. The Hiccupotamus – Aaron Zenz

This hilarious poem is full of calamity and will get the children laughing. The hippo gets the hiccups, and their friends must help them to find a cure. The illustrations are so colorful and bright. 

13. How To Catch A Dinosaur – Adam Wallace & Andy Elkerton

This funny picture book teaches you how to catch a dinosaur and includes elements of STEAM learning to help the children’s development.

This is part of a series which includes ‘How To Catch A Unicorn’ and other titles. 

14. The Good Egg – Jory John & Pete Oswald

This New York Times bestseller is a favorite with teachers.

It has many important lessons for children, including self-care, accepting people for who they are, and finding balance in yourself. It is a heart-warming story that both parents and children will enjoy. 

15. Llama Llama Mess Mess Mess – Anna Dewdney & Reed Duncan

This story is a great way to teach children to tidy up after themselves, such as putting their toys away.

It is perfect for children who make a lot of mess, as it teaches them the importance of cleaning and helping your parents or caregivers. 


Any of these books would make an excellent choice if you are reading with a 3 year old, with lovely storylines and illustrations. 

Simon Lewis

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