There are countless books out there for infants and toddlers. Most of them are in English, and some great ones are in Arabic. But, I found Urdu books for infants and toddlers to be challenging to find.
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It seems that Pakistan has adopted a more English-centric approach to learning. Most educational materials are only available in English or don’t ship worldwide. Urdu books for infants and toddlers, even in foreign lands, are growing scarce.
We all know that reading provides many benefits. One of the most important for me is that it creates a bond between parent and child. Children tend to feel more secure when we read to them. Creating a positive attitude around reading will help children view reading positively in the future.
The Quran so eloquently sheds light on the importance of reading. The very first word revealed to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w) was “Iqra,” which is Arabic for “read.” The books we share with children in their infancy and otherwise are forms of learning with lasting effects.
As Muslims, we have an endless array of Islamic literature that fills us with history. Creating a passion for literacy will help our children grow into avid readers and set them up for success as they explore their faith independently.
As I strive to teach my children the Urdu language, I tried and tested many Urdu books for infants and toddlers and would love to share my favorites with you!
This post is all about Urdu books for infants and toddlers.
My reviews take into consideration the following:
- Type of Book: Board book, paperback, or hardcover.
- Vocabulary: Single words, basic sentences (1-2 sentences per page), or complex sentences (3+ sentences per page or paragraph writing).
- Illustrations: Quality and complexity of images and their relation to the book’s intended storyline.
- Rhythm: The book’s flow (single words, rhyme, or a storyline) fulfills expectations.
The Best Urdu Books for Infants and Toddlers:
These bilingual books are my favorite out there for infants to toddlers. Firstly, these are all board books. If you have children like mine, you know that infants and toddlers love to rip pages if they can. Because these are board books, they will last much longer and may remain intact for use by multiple kids.
These books are basic, which is what you need for this age range. The illustrations are colorful and simplistic. There are typically no sentences, only general vocabulary, making them the perfect first books for infants and toddlers.
Generally, I read these books repeatedly for the first year, and then I’ve noticed my children reach for them on their own once they’re capable because they are familiar. Once my children were able to recite single words, they had these books memorized. That’s a lot of Urdu vocabulary learned just from the consistent repetition of single images and words.
Here is a list of available Urdu and English board books from Milet Publishing:
Milet Publishing also introduces some books with more complex concepts intended for toddlers three and up. These book titles include:
If you’re looking to learn all the body parts in Urdu and English, then this is your go-to book. We learned about this book after my children already knew their body parts, but that didn’t stop them from racing to see who could label the body part in the book first. This is because the illustrations are simple, accurate, and just the right size to grab a young toddler’s attention.
While this book targets 3 – 12-year-olds, two-year-olds will find this book enticing because of the vibrant colors and simplicity of illustrations. I only wish these books had a board book option to prevent toddlers from ripping pages. This book is helpful for all ages as it labels all body parts, even those uncommonly used in the Urdu language. Accuracy is essential, and this is a component I genuinely appreciate in this book. You may also consider this book to be an Urdu body part’s dictionary.
Zille Huma has also published other books that are worth the investment. What’s best about Zille Huma’s collection is the topics covered by each of her books. Generally, these are the first words and concepts we introduce to our littles. Zille Huma’s books include:
- Learn Urdu Alphabets
- Learn in Urdu: In the Bedroom, In the Living Room, In the Kitchen
- Learn Colors, Directions, and Shapes in Urdu
- Learn Seasons, Months of the Year, Days of the Week in Urdu
With this book, you are now transitioning into sentences. Although basic, this book has 1-2 sentences per page, and the storyline is limited. That’s why I love it. This book is developmentally appropriate for the 2-3 year age range. It might even be suitable for a young toddler to memorize. The content is primary, making this a great introductory Urdu book. This book’s quality is excellent, and again, the board book aspect is perfect for this age group.
These books range from basic to complex, which is great for an infant and toddler. What’s most interesting about this book series is that they advertise a 4-step program encouraging the Urdu language. The first step introduces the child to common words and vibrant illustrations, building up to the fourth step, which includes storybooks that most children are familiar with in English but can now learn in the Urdu language. For example, ‘The Lion and the Mouse’ is now ‘Sher Aur Chooha‘ – same storyline, two languages.
Before the board books came out, I kept these books to the side, bringing them out to read occasionally because toddlers and infants can easily rip the pages. I learned that the hard way. Now, InglishforKids has come out with board books, so that is a huge bonus.
These books are also great because they have English transliteration. If you are learning how to read yourself or are interested in having your children speak Urdu rather than read it, this book gives you that option. Once your toddler is at the age where they are less interested in ripping pages (around the age of 3), these books will be ones to keep in the home library.
This book, as we know, is already an English classic. Most children have read it during school, if not before. Well, we now have an Urdu version of it!
This book’s word repetitions make it easy for infants and toddlers to stay engaged. By a few reads, your toddler will have most of the book memorized. The illustrations are classic, creative, and straightforward, making it a perfect book for toddlers.
Be aware—this is a paperback book, which is one of its limitations. It’s not ideal for a toddler bookshelf because it’s too good to rip, but it is excellent for adult-led storytime! You may even find yourself memorizing the book if you don’t know it already. The predictability of this book is what tends to keep the little ones’ attention. It’s a great one to use as you begin asking your toddler questions about what happens next. They love that!
I listed these books last because I would not place them on my toddlers’ bookshelf. Idries Shah’s children’s books are best suited for the 6 – 12 age range, are paperback, written with multiple sentences per page, and even paragraphs. The illustrations are intricate, detailed, and beautiful. However, these books have a storyline worth following and can be fascinating to an older toddler (3-5 years of age). More importantly, each book tackles a challenge and in the end, there is always a lesson to be learned.
Idries Shah’s books made it to my list because they are great books that an adult can access and read to toddlers on occasion, and even use to practice their own Urdu. The storylines should keep the toddlers’ attention intact for at least most of the read. You may also find that an older toddler will be intrigued to focus on and analyze the illustrations due to their intricacy and detail. So while this is not my favorite for an infant or young toddler, it still makes my list.
Here are some of our storytime favorites from Idries Shah, which are all available in Urdu and English text:
- The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water
- Fatima the Spinner and the Tent
- The Silly Chicken
- The Boy Without a Name
- The Magic Horse
These books have been a staple in our household and continue to play a role in developing our children’s Urdu language skills in their formative years. Reading to our children multiple times a day has played a role in their passion for reading independently or chiming in when they see us reading the Quran, in whichever way they can.
This post is all about Urdu books for infants and toddlers!
What are your favorite Urdu books for kids?