53 Toddler Books to Start an Icelandic Tradition

By November 1, 2015 October 22nd, 2017 Children's Literature, Discussion and Recommendations

Did you know that Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country in the world? There are five titles published for every 1,000 Icelanders! We think that’s quite an achievement to be the reading capital of the world, but what’s also interesting is the timing. In Iceland most books are sold from late September to early November and the time is known as ‘Jolabokaflod’, the ‘Christmas Book Flood‘.

The culture of giving books is so big it’s a tradition and on Christmas Eve when presents are exchanged, it’s considered traditional to spend the whole night reading. It’s such a big industry it’s considered to be the backbone of the publishing sector, and with that in mind it should come as no surprise to find that the country has some of the highest literacy rates in the world!

We believe that this is a traditional to aspire to, we also believe that you should ‘start ‘em young’, so with that in mind, we asked you to suggest books for small children that you think should be in every Christmas stocking! I’ve added up all your results and now we have 53 books worth starting an Icelandic Tradition with.

Where the Wild Things are – Maurice Sendak

A children’s classic and popular through the ages, it was Where the Wild Things are that topped our vote.

Where the Wild Things Are US
Where the Wild Things Are UK

Where the Wild Things Are Review

Goodnight Moon – Margaret Wise Brown

Goodnight Moon isn’t one I’m familiar with, but it always gets suggested in our reading lists and comes second in this poll.

Goodnight Moon US
Goodnight Moon UK

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The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson

In third place is the Gruffalo, and shout out to all the people who answered ‘anything by Julia Donaldson’ too. The follow on book, The Gruffalo’s Child also got a couple of mentions.

The Gruffalo US
The Gruffalo UK

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We’re Going on a Bear Hunt – Michael Rosen

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is a hugely popular book, and hugely popular in song version too. My 12-year loves Michael Rosen, even still now.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt US
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt UK

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The Giving Tree – Shiel Silverstein

This isn’t really big in the UK, but clearly the American market always loves it as it does incredibly well in all of our suggestions lists.

The Giving Tree US
The Giving Tree UK

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle

The Very Hungry Caterpillar must be the only book suggestion we’ve ever had in several different languages! This is clearly popular around the world and takes 6th place in our list.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar US
The Very Hungry Caterpillar UK

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Love you Forever – Robert Munsch

I’m going to buck tradition and say I must be the only person who gets totally creeped out by this book! I’m sorry, I know many of you love it but I refuse to have a copy in the house.

Love you Forever US
Love you Forever UK

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The Velveteen Rabbit – Margery Williams

Ah, the children’s timeless classic, the Velveteen Rabbit just had to find a place in our list!

The Velveteen Rabbit US
The Velveteen Rabbit UK

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If you Give a Mouse a Cookie – Laura Numeroff

Coming ninth in our list is another that both children and grown ups love with If you Give a Mouse a Cookie.

If you Give a Mouse a Cookie US
If you Give a Mouse a Cookie UK

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The Book With No Pictures – B. J Novak

I’ve bought this for my friend’s 3 year old for Christmas, I hope he loves hearing it as much as I love reading it!

The Book with no Pictures US
The Book with no Pictures UK

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11. Green Eggs and Ham – Dr Seuss

12. Rainbow Fish – Marcus Pfister

13. The Polar Express – Chris Van Allsburg

14. The Day the Crayons Quit – Oliver Jeffers

15. Are you my Mother – P. D Eastman

16. The Poky Little Puppy – Janette Sebring Lowrey

17. The Littlest Angel – Charles Tazewell

18. Llama Llama Red Pajama – Anna Dewdney

19. Owl Babies – Martin Waddell

20. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very bad day – Judith Viorst

And after the featured top 20, here we take the list to the full 53 books:

Paper Bag Princess – Robert Munsch

Stellaluna – Janell Cannon

The Magic Faraway Tree – Enid Blyton

The Monster at the end of this Book – Jon Stone

The Jolly Christmas Postman – Allan Ahlberg

The Mitten – Jan Brett

Corduroy – Don Freeman

Winnie the Pooh – A. A Milne

The Tiger that Came to Tea – Judith Kerr

Curious George – H. A. Rey

The Foot Book – Dr Seuss

Brown bear, Brown bear what do you see- Bill Martin Jr

Elephant and Piggie – Mo Willems

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom – Bill Martin

How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Dr Seuss

Beatrix Potter Collection – Beatrix Potter

Berenstain Bears – Stan and Jan Berenstain

Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs – Judi Barrett

Fox in socks – Dr Seuss

Caps for Sale – Esphyr Slobodkina

The Pigeon Books – Mo Willems

Little Quack – Lauren Thompson

Room on the Broom – Julia Donaldson

Peace at Last – Jill Murphy

Guess How Much I Love You – Sam McBratney

Make Way for Ducklings – Robert McCloskey

Tacky the Penguin – Helen Lester

Ferdinand the Bull – Munro Leaf

Zombie in the Basement – Brian Parker

Just So Stories – Rudyard Kipling

Hairy McLairy – Dame Lynley Dodd

Not Now Bernard – David McKee

The Pirate Cruncher – Johnny Duddle

We hope the list helps you start a brand new Christmas reading tradition and if you have any more suggestions, we’d love to hear them in the comments!

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