5 'Sesame Street' kids books to help with life's biggest moments

Have your kids learn about potty training, diversity, and counting from 'Sesame Street' characters like Elmo and Big Bird with these 5 children's books.
Some of the most popular Sesame Street books for kids and toddlers
"Sesame Street" has a library of books specifically designed to help kids and toddlers master life's essential stepping stones.
By Gideon Grudo

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"Sesame Street" is celebrating 50 years as one of television’s most revolutionary children’s shows. And recent headlines tell of the show’s propensity to push the envelope and stay relevant.

For example, it recently explained the opioid crisis to kids through the green, yellow-haired character Karli. And you can count on favorite "Sesame Street" characters like Cookie Monster, Elmo, Abby and Big Bird to help us all eat better.

How do they do it? The show’s robust past is explored in deep histories like "Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street" and documentaries like "I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story." And one hint to the show’s continued success is the various ways it informs and educates kids.

A litany of "Sesame Street" children’s books, for example, hone in on some of the biggest moments in the life of a toddler and help parents navigate these moments with a little bit of Muppet-centric guidance. To help you get a taste of the options at your fingertips, here are some of the most popular books to consider.

1. Favorite "Sesame Street" character Grover stars in a great starter book

"The Monster at the End of This Book” by Jon Stone and Michael Smollin

This is by far the most popular "Sesame Street" book on Amazon — that might be because so many parents remember reading it as kids themselves. The interactive story follows Grover as he asks the reader to stop reading because a monster awaits them “at the end of this book.” Naturally, curiosity draws the reader to keep flipping pages and learn that the monster is none other than Grover. “It's funny how kids will naturally empathize with Grover being afraid of monsters,” one reviewer wrote. “But in a way, they become somewhat empowered as the readers who keep turning the pages.” More than 2,700 reviewers left it a 4.8-star average rating.

2. Potty training is the centerpiece of this fun guide

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"P Is for Potty!" by Naomi Kleinberg and Christopher Moroney

Elmo takes the lead in Amazon’s top-selling toilet-training book. The book is comprised of 30 flaps designed to make it through hours of a child’s lifts and peeks, with surprises in each flap. The potty trainer boasts a 4.5-star average rating from 1,800 reviewers, one of whom shared, “My big one loves it (3) and my little one (20 months) loves to read with us and look under all the flaps.”

3. The crib is easier to leave behind when Elmo heads to bed

"Big Enough for a Bed" by Apple Jordan and John E. Barrett

Elmo is a common cameo in many of these books, and here he's heading to bed “just like a big kid.” And according to one reviewer whose 2-year-old twins "love Elmo and all things Sesame Street,” the book works well in that it’s short, and "each page only contains a couple short sentences but it gets the point across without being too wordy.” More than 500 reviewers left the sleepy board book a 4.4-star average rating.

4. Ernie and Elmo team up to make two — and explain up to 10

"1, 2, 3 Count With Me" by Naomi Kleinberg and Christopher Moroney

Elmo is joined by Ernie in this counting board book. Relying on common animals like elephants, tigers and penguins, the duo will run through the digits your kid wants to know. The board book is complemented with a padded cover (and is available on KindleUnlimited for the right price if you want to go digital). According to a reviewer who gave the book as a gift to their niece: “She LOVES it! My sister and her read it all the time, and the great thing is that she's not only learning the numbers, but she's also looking at the animals and imitating their sounds.”

5. "Sesame Street" favorite characters come together to highlight their differences — and similarities

"We're Different, We're the Same" by Bobbi Kates and Joe Mathieu

Upping the age range, "Sesame Street" is now talking to children between 3 and 7. This 40-page book brings the now-trusty Elmo back with "Sesame Street" confidants like Big Bird, Bert and Ernie to celebrate the foundational common denominators your kid shares with the kids around them. As one reviewer wrote: “I decided to purchase this because my 6-year-old cousin was questioned by other children about her dark skin tone and she felt bad/vulnerable about it. I read her this book and she loved it. She even found characters/pictures in each ‘different’ topic that she felt she could relate to.” Nearly 200 reviewers gave the book a 4.8-star average rating.

Whether you’re seeking your own "Sesame Street" helping hand or want to give a friend’s young ones a great gift, choosing "Sesame Street" and choosing books is a safe — and fun — way to go.

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