Silver Lining: 10+ best interactive books for kids

May 15, 2017

10+ best interactive books for kids

There's one pretty magical thing about interactive books.

You all remember what interactive books are, right? In an interactive book, the reader does physical actions to move the plot along. They're clapping their hands, whispering magic words, rubbing dots, and slapping the fly on every page. They're tilting and shaking and shouting at pages as instructed.

They are so fun, and here's the thing: every child loves them. Young kids love them, older kids love them, English language learners love them. But, maybe most importantly, kids who don't love to read like interactive books. Even the most reticent of children will usually get involved when it comes to slamming the book shut, turning it upside down, or blowing on the pages. They're incredibly engaging, especially for reluctant readers.

There are chapter books for older kids that are interactive (Choose Your Own Adventure books immediately come to mind), but I'm going to focus only on picture books geared for an audience from about ages two to ten. Here is a list of our absolute favorites.

Press Here by Herve Tullet
If you only get one interactive book, this is the one to buy. It's already a classic that involves clean and crisp colors, bright dots, and lots of tilting, shaking, and blowing on pages. I haven't gotten my hands on his other two interactive books yet, Mix it Up! and Let's Play! but I've heard they're equally delightful.

Don't Push the Button! by Bill Cotter
Young readers love this one because the whole point is to disobey, and the results are pretty funny. Watch them push the button on every page while the monsters multiply, and then do simple actions like tickle a tummy to get it back to normal.

Plant the Tiny Seed by Christie Matheson
This one is a little less rambunctious, and so delightful. Readers squish one tiny zinnia seed into the ground, and through lots of clapping, wiggling fingers, and shooing away a hungry snail, they have a full flower garden by the end. Great for teaching how seeds grow at the same time. Her other book is Tap the Magic Tree, which illustrates how a tree's leaves change throughout a year.

The Fly by Petr Horacek
This one is less interactive than some, but readers LOVE slapping the fly swatter on many of the pages. It's narrated by the fly who is wondering why the whole world is out to get him, and the sense of humor makes it appeal especially to older kids. We had a copy in my fifth grade classroom, and it got read (and slapped) about a thousand times per week.

If You're a Robot and You Know It by Musical Robot and David A. Carter
This book is just verse after verse of a "If You're Happy and you Know It" spin-off, but it's really fun. As you sing along (the book comes with a free download code for the song, and it's also on YouTube), you're shooting laser beams out of your eyes and making funny beeping noises. It's also a really cool pop-up book, so you can pull the tab on every page to see those laser beams in person while you sing the verse.

More Bears! by Kenn Nesbit
This one is popular for read-alouds since the bulk of the interaction comes from simply yelling, "More Bears!" The illustrations and funky names for each new bear is what makes this one stand out. The last page switches to, "More Chickens!"

Warning: Do Not Open this Book by Adam Lehrhaut
This is another fan favorite because children are supposed to break the rules. Most of the interaction is just repeatedly turning the pages as the author tells them not to, but it's so fun and filled with curious monkeys.

Touch the Brightest Star by Christie Matheson
I know I mentioned this author above, but I wanted to include this one separately because it's the only bedtime interactive book I've ever come across. Again, this book is less rambunctious than most other ones, and involves patting, blinking, and whispering to change the night sky. It's beautiful and actually winds children down before bed.

This Book is Magic by Ashley Evanson
This book is brand new on the market and absolutely wonderful. Children will be swishing magic wands, rubbing potions, and shouting nonsense spells to make a circus come alive. I love the colors and illustrations too.

The Black and White Factory by Erin Telchin
This one has more words than average, but it's a really fun one. Readers tour a black and white factory, where black and white things like dice and tuxedos are made. But then, some color seeps in, and readers make a bigger mess while scrubbing messes with their fingers and blowing into nozzles to clean the factory from color.

Open Very Carefully by Nick Bromley
This is another classic interactive book. A crocodile interrupts what would have been a nice calm story and starts eating letters. Through rocking the crocodile to sleep and other fun interactions, kids love this funny sharp-toothed tale.

Which interactive books are your favorites?
Others for my list?

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