My niece just turned 1. She is amazing in every way. But her superpower is reading. Like her mother and her auntie (me!), she loves books. Yes, she’s only 1 and can read…I told you, she is amazing. Okay, she looks at the pictures and turns the pages just like your child, but that counts as reading when you are 1.
Her birthday got me thinking about what board books she needed to have. Her mother has done a fantastic job equipping her with the basics so far. Now anything I add is just the icing on the proverbial cake. But as you can imagine, even if my role is simply to fill in an already excellent, growing library, I take that role very seriously. Babies, like all children, should have books they actually enjoy. We get carried away using books to teach babies their alphabet and numbers and colors. What we need to do is surround babies with books they can’t put down, books with vibrant, lively pages that they want to turn again and again and again. This is the best way for babies to learn academically later on, by letting them first learn to love books.
After four children of my own, untold numbers of baby showers, newborn hospital visits, and first birthdays, these are some of the board books I found most enjoyable by babies and parents alike. I have not included any of the excellent bedtime books there are only because that should be a blog post all its own. As always, there are many others not listed, that is where you come in! It is something I truly enjoy about this blog, I get to hear your suggestions and book recommendations. Here are mine:
Moo Ba La La La (Sandra Boynton) – This is my favorite from the expansive Boynton collection.
Guess How Much I Love You (Sam McBratney) – What could be better than reading about how much you love your baby?
Peek-a-Baby (Karen Katz) – Karen Katz’s books are favorites for young children, they are colorful, interactive, and fun. Peek-a-Baby is my personal favorite.
Tails (Matthew Van Fleet) – This is an excellent touch-and-feel book for your tactile baby or toddler.
Please, Baby, Please (Spike Lee) – Go ahead and buy this fantastic book, you will thank me later!
Brown Bear, Brown Bear (Eric Carle) – Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? was the first book each of my kids “read” on their own. It is everything books for very young children should be.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (Michael Rosen) – Be prepared to read this book again and again and again. There will be actions, voices, squealing, and general chaos, but it will be awesome.
First 100 Words (Roger Priddy) – There are thousands of “first word” books out there but this one is, arguably, the best.
The Carrot Seed (Ruth Krauss) – This story has everything you want your children to learn: persistence, patience, responsibility, and joy.
Lola at the Library (Anna McQuinn) – For your library story time loving child, this is a great book.
That’s Not My Dragon (Fiona Watt) – My brilliant niece just picked this book as one of her favorites and it is, therefore, amazing! In all seriousness, all of the “That’s Not My…” books are well loved by children.
My Farm Friends (Wendell Minor) – Children love animals, it’s just a fact and this is an excellent first book about farm animals.
Harold and the Purple Crayon (Crockett Johnson) – This classic tale is a must have. Also, it will prepare you for the inevitable real life version that will happen on your walls.
5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed (Eileen Christelow) – You will never stop reading this book. I recommend keeping a copy in your purse, it will get you through some tight spots in the grocery store, the doctor’s office, really anywhere.
The Pokey Little Puppy ( ) – For that one child always looking at something else, stopping at every ant, crawling to every flower.
Where’s Spot (Eric Hill) – This “lift the flap” book is always a baby favorite. It is hilarious to watch their genuine surprise every time they eventually find Spot.
Digger, Dozer, Dumper (Hope Vestergaard) – Like animals, you need to have a book about vehicles and construction trucks are the most exciting.
Animals: Baby Touch and Feel (by DK) – This is another book for your purse. The different textures of each page will distract and entertain your child effectively.
Duck and Goose, Goose Needs a Hug (Tad Hills) – I am a big fan of all the Duck and Goose board books. You cannot go wrong with these, but this one is my favorite.
Baby Lit Series (Jennifer Adams) – If you are looking for a cute way to introduce your baby to some of the European and American classics, look no further.
Enjoy watching the babies and young toddlers in your life chew, wash, throw, sit on, and in general try to destroy these fantastic board books…all in the name of reading!