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Indian Story Books Recommended for 0-2 Years

I am often asked, what story books do I recommend for infants and toddlers. So here is my story… My toddler wakes up very early in the morning, this allows her to watch all the morning activities at home. Brushing, preparing coffee, cutting vegetables, preparing breakfast and so on. She then eats her breakfast (typical south Indian breakfast) and sets off to play in the balcony, there she watches the birds chirping, dogs barking and if she is lucky, she will sight a cat too. The days when my mom or mother in law visit us, they would prepare the breakfast and she loves both of them pampering her! In my mother in law’s house, she loves to walk in the garden and look at the flowers, bees and butterflies. After her lunch and nap in the noon, we usually try our best to walk down in our society and also play in the park. My daughter loves to explore sand rather than swing or slide and I just let her be. We would return home and have a quick wash followed by an early dinner and then we have our storytime with her favorite stash of books before she is off to bed.

Considering this being a typical day in an infant or toddler’s life, I would pick books that have well-thought illustrations of stories that speak about the child’s immediate surroundings and rhythms. Like preparing dosa, beautiful red flower, chirping birds, warmth of family, lush green garden, pets following you and so on. These are more appropriate content for 0-2 years as children are still exploring their environment and they can relate well when the stories speak about things they can physically see, feel and hear.

Children pick up language so quickly when you say stories regularly to them. Do refer to my earlier post on how you could start reading to children. It’s best to begin saying stories in your mother tongue or translate the English stories in your own words. Indian books from Tulika and Pratham have a large variety of books in regional languages.

I have shortlisted the best books available for 0-2 years. I hope your child enjoys them as much as mine did 🙂


Akkad Bakkad: Adorable book for toddlers! It is themed after the Indian rhymes/songs like Akkad bakkad bumbai bo- A wacky lot of numbers have the time of their life in this all-time favourite Punjabi rhyme! A must have!

Gajapati Kulapati: This is one of the most popular book, so popular that they have part 1, 2 and 3 🙂 This book has a mention of all the people we see on our street regularly.. banana seller, flower seller paati, akka, anna, postman. All children and adults love Gajapati, kudos to Ashok Rajagopalan to come up with this lovely series.


Goodnight: Baby Elephant has decided to sleep in his parents’ bed tonight. But, despite his inventive arguments, Papa Elephant is categorical, our young hero must sleep in his own room. But when it’s time to sleep, the little fellow decides to sneak in…a whimsical and charming tale!

Mala’s silver anklets: You can find Mala in every house literally, adorning the jingle-ful silver anklets! It is one of our favorites… we love the common man’s scooter that appa has, simple everyday clothes that Mala dresses up with, Mala’s two plaits with ribbons and Ajji’s traditional tawa and dosa! Imagine how a child will feel to hear a story about little pleasures of life 🙂


Where is Amma: Oh the beautiful watercolour illustrations! Little Kiran looks for his mother all through the house… room, balcony, kitchen… just take a look at the kitchen, richness of an Indian home can be seen here…. my little one recognises the grrrr…(mixer), kauck(coconut), kakari(tharkari) and all the little things this book offers.


Pooni Pooni: A charming find-it book for toddlers, from the creator of the other bestselling Pooni books, ‘Where’s That Cat?’ and ‘Pooni at the Taj Mahal’.

Let’s Go: Perfect book for children who love vehicles, we see them around us and a child can associate so well, also has numbers if you want to introduce it to your toddlers.Remember not to expect a toddler to understand the value of numbers yet, he may only repeat the numbers just like another sound he learns.


Juniour Kumbhakarna: Every night, Kukku wants his father to tell him his favourite story. It is about the giant Kumbhakarna who sleeps non-stop for six months — and Kukku falls asleep just as Kumbhakarna does. In Kukku’s dream, everyone is trying everything to wake up the giant. Nothing works . . . A lively retelling of an episode from the Ramayana with wildly funny pictures.

Little Fingers : When ten little fingers come together, they make many things happen. In playful verse, with bright uncluttered visuals, this story draws children into a game of all that their busy fingers can do.

You may buy these books from my eStore I will add more titles to this list as and when I find the books are available and have appropriate content.

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Introducing Books To Little Children

Frankly, there is no one formula to raise children. Each child is different and we all know that! Yet, we adults compare our children with others with regards to achieving milestones – eating, sleeping, reading, writing, and so on.

Here, I will talk about reading story books!  Yes, not all children have an interest in books and it should not be forced because we want them to read books. Having said that, books if introduced at an early stage is definitely an advantage in the long run!

My association as a teacher with a popular kindergarten in Bangalore helped me develop an interest in children’s storybooks and how it supports their development. I began to buy storybooks from the local stores in my city and gifted a stash of books to my 2.5 years old nephew back then. Every day, we sat down for our story time and read out the same 4-5 picture books. Translating the words in our mother tongue, simple and easy words to recollect and their repetition helped him connect to the books instantly. Eventually, he started to come to me with those books after his outdoor play. We had a fixed time and space for reading books.

Kannada Books from Tulika
This set of Tulika books is a good recommendation if you’re looking for stories in Kannada.

I gradually added a few more books and as he grew bigger and joined kindergarten, he was compelled to communicate in English and he did not like it a bit! I then started reading the same old stories in English and he would understand as he already knew the storyline and did not need an explanation.  He would often ask me to use our mother tongue and I would do so but continued English until he was comfortable. He then learned phonics and started recognizing words in the storybooks, he eventually read all the books on his own and that is when we got him a large collection of books! Today, he is 9 years old and loves sports more than books 🙂

With my daughter, we introduced picture books when she was 9 months old and she instantly loved the pictures and could associate words/sounds with pictures in the story book. She is 15 months now and continues to enjoy us reading books to her in our mother tongue. When we are not around, she flips through the pages herself during the day and tries to repeat certain sounds with the pictures she sees. Our usual story time would be just after her dinner time. Board books like Pooni, Pooni Where Are You? are also some favourite first reads with little ones.


There are numerous ways to introduce books to little children. Do try what worked for me and let me know if it helped. Tweak as you go along to suit what you and your baby are comfortable with.

You may introduce picture books, books with simple vocabulary, content which children can relate to their day to day surroundings, books which have rhythmic lines, and so on. I’ve included some favourites recommended by parents on the MLB Circle of Parents community:

Using props like the My Little Bookshop finger puppets, wooden animals or wooden peg dolls will help you enhance story times with your little ones in a really creative way. Also, our Story Kits are another fun option to try out with children. Bringing stories alive in your own way will create priceless one-of-a-kind experiences for your child. So do not hold yourself back, read aloud to your child, laugh together at the stories, and make memories for a lifetime.