Babies are everywhere! Lately, I am finding that more and more of my friends are pregnant and having babies, and it’s so exciting. There’s nothing more exciting than a brand new life (and a squishy, cute little baby!) coming into the world and brightening our days.
As exciting as this might be, many parents are often curious about what they should really add to their baby registry. Do we need a wipe warmer? Does baby need a sound machine? Honestly, I’ve been in those same shoes, and it can be very confusing. But what I would recommend all new parents add to their registry are books. Lots and lots of books!
Encouraging a love for reading in your child should start while they are in utero. From helping to establish a parent/child bond to helping the development of your unborn child’s brain (and aiding in the progression of their speech once they are born), reading to your child while they are in the womb has a lot of benefits. After your child is born, it’s just as important to continue the daily habit of singing, talking, playing, and reading to your baby. It’s good for baby, and it’s fun for both of you!
Whether you’re a parent-to-be or you know someone with a baby on the way, there are so many great books for children out there. While reading in general is always a good idea, I recommend starting with board books. Board books are books that are made with thick paperboard that is not as easy to damage, which means baby can touch and hold the book, and you don’t have to worry as much about pages being torn from the book.
As your baby grows, it’s a great idea to encourage your child to touch, crawl toward, and hold their books, while they enjoy a story on your lap. I also have to note that the American Academy of Pediatrics has advised that children should refrain from tv and screen time (other than video chatting) until they are between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four months, so having lots of books around and learning to enjoy books at a young age is so valuable.
Listed below are only a few great titles that I would recommend having at home for your baby or to give as a gift to others. My one-year-old and I have enjoyed these books many times and have shared much love and laughter as a result.
1. Black & White by Tana Hoban
Black & White includes various monochromatic images that you can point to, name, and talk about with your baby. It’s also a great book for newborns, who typically have limited eyesight.
2. Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
This is such a fun book about a child hoping to receive a new pet from the zoo. Discussing the animals on the page, making animal noises, and laughing about the silly plot is sure to be an enjoyable time! Also, with this lift-the-flap edition, baby can touch and reveal the animals, which will increase their print awareness (meaning they will learn how to handle a book).
3. Your Nose: A Wild Little Love Song by Sandra Boynton
Honestly, any Sandra Boynton title is going to be a winner, but my son and I have LOVED this particular book. It’s a sweet book about a parent singing to their child about how amazing their little nose is. My son enjoys hearing me sing all of the silly words!
4. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox; illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
This is one of my favorite children’s books, and I read this one quite regularly. It’s full of rhyming (a tool that can help a child recognize sounds and help them develop their literacy skills), and it’s filled with babies from diverse backgrounds. It’s important for children to see both themselves and people who might look different from them. This builds empathy, understanding, and respect for others.
5. Please, Baby, Please by Spike Lee & Tonya Lewis Lee; illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Please, Baby, Please is an adorable book written by the famous director Spike Lee and his wife, Tonya Lewis Lee. The gorgeous illustrations by award-winning Kadir Nelson (my favorite illustrator!) capture the many comical moments that occur during parenthood, such as begging your child to eat their peas, instead of throwing them. Rhyming is also heavily used throughout this book.
6. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star by Jerry Pinkney
Another illustrator that I absolutely adore is the late, great Jerry Pinkney, who beautifully captures this timeless song and provides sweet, soft imagery that families will love.
7. My House by Byron Barton
Byron Barton is known for his colorful, minimalistic books that are designed to help babies and young children learn more about objects. This particular title is one of my favorites, and it’s one that I share often with my son.
8. Dim Sum for Everyone! by Grace Lin
This title, by award-winning author Grace Lin, tells the story of a child and her family as they visit a dim sum restaurant. You and your child will enjoy the bright colors and illustrations, and you’ll start craving some of the yummy dishes that are served!
9. Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
This one is my favorite book by Kevin Henkes (a literary giant in the children’s book world). Kitten’s First Full Moons is a Caldecott Medal winner (an award that goes to books with the best illustrations each year) and tells the story of Kitten, who only wants a bowl of milk but just can’t seem to get to it. But don’t worry, this story has a happy ending.
10. Besos for Baby: A Little Book of Kisses by Jen Arena; illustrated by Blanca Gomez
This sweet book is so full of love and great vocabulary. It’s written with both Spanish and English words, so your child’s vocabulary is sure to grow! You can read this story to them and pepper them with your own loving kisses at the same time.
These are only a few of the great books that you can purchase for yourself, add to your baby registry, or gift to a new or expecting family. Each of these books is available to purchase online, but if you just want to pick up a copy to borrow for free, check out your nearest local library location.
What board books would you add to this list?