After raising three boys and being an advocate for literacy and effective books that promote language, I have been asked to make a list of good “boy books.” I know I am not politically correct to suggest that only boys are attracted to trucks or cars so this list is open to girls too! Countless times I have had a play session or diagnostic session with a boy and I ask to see his favorite books. He produces books with large heavy machinery and equipment pictured on each page with no sign of people or action, other than dumping, towing or lifting. I want to promote good toys and books for language development so I make it a practice not to “bash” a product but I picked up a train book at one house and began to “read” it. All I could manage to do was name the intricate pictures of Hong Kong tram, coal haulers, GNER Intercity etc. You get the idea. Me, the one who never runs out of words, couldn’t think of much to say with this book.

Since we want to flood our children with words, we need books with great illustrations, lots of action to describe and people interacting to encourage language. Recent research states that the number of words our child hears by the age of two, positively relates to future academic success. A good book gives us, the parent-teacher, unlimited topics to talk about. Add some people or animated animals to the trucks, boats and planes and you have more to discuss. Where are they going? What are they doing? Who is that? How do they feel?

And remember, read a variety of books to your preschooler. If they love trains, have a few books on that subject but offer books about their everyday experiences such as going to the playground, visiting grandma, starting school, or going to bed.

Top Ten Boy Books for Toddlers and Preschoolers

1. Emergency! by Usborne Chunky Jigsaw Books
2. Duck’s Key Where Can it Be? By Jez Alborough
3. Machines at Work by Byron Barton
4. Go Maisy Go! By Lucy Cousins
5. Fire Engine Man by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha
6. Stop and Go Maisy! By Lucy Cousins
7. The Fire Engine Book illustrated by Tibor Gergely
8. I Love Trains by Shari Halpern
9. Cars and Trucks and Things That Go by Richard Scarry
10. (Tell me your favorites in the “comments” section after this article—thanks!)