The best books for a deep understanding of infant and toddler development

Alice Sterling Honig Author Of Secure Relationships: Nurturing Infant/Toddler Attachment in Early Care Settings
By Alice Sterling Honig

Who am I?

Dr. Alice Sterling Honig, Professor Emerita of Child Development at Syracuse University, has spent over a half century working with and studying young children and creating numerous courses on how best to nurture early development. She has lectured widely in many countries and is the author of over 600 articles and chapters, and dozens of books on children and their caregivers. For nearly 40 summers she conducted an annual workshop  “Quality caregiving for infants and toddlers”. As a licensed  New York State psychologist, she has worked with families to ameliorate troubles in development and behavior. In Beijing, she was invited to give the “Dr. Alice Honig award” to a prominent Chinese pediatrician. She was awarded the Syracuse University Chancellor’s Citation for Academic Excellence.


I wrote...

Secure Relationships: Nurturing Infant/Toddler Attachment in Early Care Settings

By Alice Sterling Honig,

Book cover of Secure Relationships: Nurturing Infant/Toddler Attachment in Early Care Settings

What is my book about?

Besides promoting healthful and safe experiences, the most important skills for parents and caregivers with young children are to give love and empathy to promote each child’s development of secure attachment and the second skill is building language powers and a passionate love of learning. This book provides specific tips to l empower child care providers to nurture secure attachments that result in children’s ability to become more cooperative, friendly, and loving.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is readers supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Oneness and Separateness: From Infant to Individual

By Louise Kaplan,

Book cover of Oneness and Separateness: From Infant to Individual

Why this book?

Vividly and poetically, Dr. Kaplan describes the emotional development of infants, including the choreography of each stage, through ‘holding on and letting go,’ and ’no-saying’ in the Separation / Individuation stage, to a psychological rebirth by the end of the toddler period. The writer carefully delineates the struggles of each baby toward this rebirth as a person who can handle the contradictions of his or her own feelings and those of the parents.

First Feelings: Milestones in the Emotional Development of Your Baby and Child

By Stanley I. Greenspan, Nancy Thorndike Greenspan,

Book cover of First Feelings: Milestones in the Emotional Development of Your Baby and Child

Why this book?

Psychiatrist Dr., Greenspan illuminates in careful detail for parents six emotional milestones on an infant’s journey toward becoming a more self-regulated person with an organized sense of self. He provides positive and wise supports for parents to help each child along this pathway.

Rethinking the Brain: New Insights into Early Development

By Rima Shore,

Book cover of Rethinking the Brain: New Insights into Early Development

Why this book?

By three years of age, toddler brains are two and half times as active as those of adults and they stay that way for a decade. New brain imaging techniques reveal how powerful adult-child positive interactions are for enhancing brain development from birth. With large print, charming infant and toddler photos, and easy-to-read charts, this book should galvanize parents and program personnel to support care providers’ frequent, sensitive, and enriching social interactions from birth onward to enhance and optimize early brain development.

Childhood and Society

By Erik H. Erikson,

Book cover of Childhood and Society

Why this book?

Erikson’s classic theoretical rubric clearly describes the positive and negative poles of social development across the life span. For the earliest years, these poles are: Trust vs. Mistrust; Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt, and Initiative vs. Guilt. Freudian psychosexual theories of development and cross-cultural practices are also discussed.

Ghosts from the Nursery: Tracing the Roots of Violence

By Robin Karr-Morse, Meredith S Wiley,

Book cover of Ghosts from the Nursery: Tracing the Roots of Violence

Why this book?

Building on the brilliant work of Dr, Selma Fraiberg, who published Ghosts in the Nursery, detailing the consequences for impaired mother-infant relationships when the mother has had traumas in her past and then is “unable” to hear her own baby’s cries and need for nurturance, these authors go further. They provide specific details of how, during the first three years of life, insecure attachments, violence, abuse, terror, neglect, and prenatal ingestion of drugs, lead to impaired brain development, emotional disturbances, and later violent behaviors.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in child psychology, toddlers, and infants?

5,215 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about child psychology, toddlers, and infants.

Child Psychology Explore 13 books about child psychology
Toddlers Explore 27 books about toddlers
Infants Explore 34 books about infants

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Touchpoints-Birth to Three, The Magic Years: Understanding and Handling the Problems of Early Childhood, and Children's Minds if you like this list.