I've heard a lot of cliches since becoming a mom, but the one I hear the most is this: "You beg your kids to walk and talk, and then you spend the rest of your life telling them to sit down and shut up." Although I get the joke, it bums me out. My chatty toddler is my absolute favorite, and I could listen to her "stories" all day long. I'm pretty sure her love of reading encourages her to talk more and more, but there are some books every parent should read their child before they can talk, too.
OK, I can admit that sometimes your kids are going to ramble incessantly and all you'll want is a set of ear plugs. But your children have so much to say! And literally everything they're thinking is important to them. They're going to ask you questions, comment on all the things they see, repeatedly ask you to name things or explain something, and tell you everything on their mind. It's a blast to see their little minds develop and watch their curiosity soar, no matter how aggravating the question "What's that?" becomes.
With these 17 books, you can encourage your child to talk, influence their vocabulary, and give them the tools they need to speak up and ask questions about their world. The conversations you're going to have with your little one will surpass these books, sure, but they're perfect to read before your child starts talking.
1. 'Goodnight Moon' by Margaret Wise Brown
2. 'Chicka Chicka Boom Boom' by Bill Martin Jr & John Archambault
An absolute classic, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tells the story of all the lowercase letters climbing up a coconut tree before falling down and their uppercase letters coming to rescue them. Your little one won't be writing and spelling for a while, but introducing them to letters is never a bad idea.
3. 'Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin' by Lloyd Moss
4. 'Moo, Baa, La La La!' by Sandra Boynton
5. 'Home' by Carson Ellis
6. 'The Whisper' by Pamela Zagarenski
7. 'Is Mommy?' by Victoria Chang
The text is very simple in Is Mommy? but makes a sweet impact. As toddlers are asked questions about their mommy, they shout out the one word answers like "tall" and "fun." Your kiddo's favorite subject is you, so they'll love learning about adjectives and how to describe you with this book.
8. 'One Thousand Things' by Anna Kovecses
9. 'Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You' by Dr. Seuss
10. 'Walk This World' by Jenny Broom
Another sweet book full of new things for your baby to learn about, Walk This World is also a lift-the-flap book which gives your non-verbal babe a whole new way to learn that caters to their skill level. The illustrations are gorgeous as they cover many different cultures, and will give your kid a jump-start at tolerance, acceptance, and appreciation for the world around them. It will also encourage them to ask questions about things, places, and people they see!
11. 'Your Baby's First World Will Be Dada' by Jimmy Fallon
12. 'The Odd One Out' by Britta Teckentrup
13. 'Before After' by Matthias Arégui
You just can't go wrong with a book full of illustrations for a non-speaking kiddo and Before After is perfect. Beyond the graphics that show things changing, like an egg to a chicken or a seed to a plant, it will also encourage your little one to ask questions and pay attention to the world around them.
14. 'Big Words For Little People' by Jamie Lee Curtis
15. 'Ask Me' by Bernard
I will never stop recommending Ask Me, especially if you're looking for a book to help with speech and communication. The story is about a little girl asking her father all types of questions and will get both you and your little one prepared for their curious mind once they start speaking.