Baby & Toddler
Alphabet Books for Your Little Linguist
by Janssen Bradshaw
Alphabet books are a far more enjoyable way for children to learn the alphabet than flash cards.
Plus, seeing all the different objects and animals associated with letters helps strengthen their understanding of the sounds letters make and how letters are used to make words.
And ABC books can just be plain fun. I love watching how a talented author and illustrator can take these building blocks of the English language and create something beautiful and original out of them.
These eight books — a mix of classics and new releases — explore the alphabet in a creative way.
We’ll read anything from Oliver Jeffers, and the youngest of readers are extra lucky to get a pared-down version of his bestselling picture book Once Upon an Alphabet. The witty and alliterative text pairs with Jeffers’s trademark whimsical illustrations.
Mr. Boddington's Studio: NYC ABCs
From the illustrators at Mr. Boddington’s Studio comes a charming alphabet book featuring the hallmarks of New York City — M for Metrocard, K for kitten in the bodega, and so on. For West Coast-lovers, don’t miss San Francisco ABCs, Chicago ABCs, and Washington, DC ABCs .
A Little Book About ABCs
Leo Lionni’s classic collage-style artwork is showcased in this baby-friendly board book that’s suited for read-alouds and independent browsing. Tiny mice tour the alphabet-filled landscape for an extra dose of cuteness.
Eric Carle's ABC
Done in Eric Carle’s signature bright colors and textures, each flap in this book opens to reveal an animal that corresponds with a letter of the alphabet. Perfect for the tiniest readers.
A Is for All the Things You Are
This title from the National Museum of African American History and Culture is totally joy-affirming. Each letter coincides with a trait that children can explore as they grow, and the message inspires positive racial identity, diversity, and inclusion.
You’ll love poring over this wordless, watercolor book as much as your kids do. With multiple items per page (the argyle A is adorned with an arrow-pierced apple), Kim Krans’s meticulous, textured artwork is completely unique.
Dr. Seuss's ABC
You can never go wrong with a Dr. Seuss classic. This zany compendium of characters (some real, some purely Seussian) makes for an indispensable alphabet book for every home library, available as both a picture book and a board book.
We’ve all seen a thousand animal ABC books, but this one is a guessing game, alphabet book, and puzzle all in one. A beautifully illustrated and engaging book from the bestselling author of The Gruffalo, this animal alphabet book is an absolute treasure.Available from:
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2015 and updated in 2021.