I remember buying books for my baby’s first library before my son was born almost five years ago. I had worked with kids ages 3 and up for many years, but now I got to think about books for babies!
There is something so special about selecting books for a new baby who will someday be a reader. I started reading to my baby before he was even born. But, babies don’t need a lot of books in their library.
Aim for a collection of 10-12 board books to get you through the baby stage. Here are some tips and ideas to get you started in creating baby’s first library!
CREATING BABY’S FIRST LIBRARY
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Select one book from each category below to create a well-rounded library for a little one. These are all board books which means they have nice sturdy pages that won’t tear and hold up to babies who WILL put them in their mouths. Though I’m a huge fan of libraries, I chose to buy our own baby library since books at this age end up being chewed.
Note: When your baby is an infant, you could read the telephone book and life would be good. The main thing about reading to a baby is that YOU are getting in the habit of reading to your child each day and that your child is connecting with you through language.
1.High Contrast (black and white)
A newborns’s vision is pretty fuzzy. Select a book with high contrast pictures especially for the first few months. Black & White by Tana Hoban fits the bill with big bold black and white images. The neat thing about this book is that it unfolds like an accordion so that you can stand it up next to a baby during tummy time for him/her to gaze during awake time.
There are so many great classic board books to choose from when picking a book for this category. You can’t go wrong with Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. The soothing words are almost a lullaby as the bunny says goodnight to the things in the room. This book would also fit in the bedtime category.
There is something about “real pictures” in books. Seeing photographs of babies delights little ones and there are some great ones to choose from on the market. I adore this series from The Global Fund for Children. Global Babies is one of my favorites. The photographs are amazing and the brief text includes the country that the child is from on each page. There is also Global Baby Girls and Global Baby Boys. For more book ideas for this category, check out our Multicultural Books for Babies.
I sang the alphabet song over and over again while I rocked my boys to sleep. They loved the same rhythm of alphabet books too. Chicka Chicka ABC by Bill Martin Jr. is a favorite and the illustrations are bold and colorful.
5. Animal Sounds
Some of the first sounds that our little ones will mimic are those of common animals. It brings us such delight to watch kids start to associate sounds with animals and to hear their little voices. Open the Barn Door by Christopher Santoro is a chunky book which is perfect for little hands. It is a lift-the-flap book, so when you child gets to the tearing stage, you may choose to put the book away for a bit.
Even if you don’t think you are a great singer, your baby will disagree. Babies love for us to sing. Cottage Door Press has a brand new series of books out called the Sing & Smile Stories. Traditional songs are matched with beautiful illustrations. My favorite thing about this series is that there is a handle that little ones can grab, hold and carry. Try Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, The Wheels on the Bus or Old MacDonald Had a Farm.
7. Rhythm and Rhyme, Silly and Fun
I could do a whole list of books in this category because there are so many great ones. Ten Tiny Toes by Caroline Jayne Church explores all the little parts of babies from their ears to their toes. Lots of opportunities to stop, play and giggle with your baby.
8. Nursery Rhymes/Mother Goose
I bet you can still recite a few nursery rhymes you remember from your childhood. Our copy of Hickory Dickory Dock is so well loved that the cover now is held on the book with a thick layer of packing tape. This one will be in our treasure chest to keep forever.
Teaching little ones to interact and engage in books at an early age will carry on throughout childhood. I have to list two of our favorites in this category. The first is Peek-a-Who? by Nina Laden. This was my youngest son’s favorite book. In fact, his 1st birthday theme came from this book. Babies will love seeing themselves in the mirror on the last page.
Also, the That’s Not My… series from Usborne are a must! There are dozens of touch and feel books in this series. They are hands down the best touch and feel books I have found. I love That’s Not My Elephant. You will also find other subjects including: snowman, dinosaur, puppy and frog.
One of the great benefits of reading with babies is the bonding experience between you, your child and books. Have at least one book in baby’s library that conveys the message that your child is loved. My top pick is Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton.
11. Time for Bed
Books are a great transition for sleep. Even as adults, many us like to read right before bed. A soothing read-aloud is a perfect addition to your bedtime routine for baby. Time for Bed by the wonderful Mem Fox soothes you with language and calming illustrations.
12. One You Loved as a Child
Be sure to include a book that you loved as a young child. It may be a book that your parents have saved for you or perhaps it is still in print and you can order a new copy. It’s important to share books we love.
Enjoy building a brand new library for a little one. You don’t have to break the budget when building a library either. Check out my 8 Free Ways to Build a Library! And, don’t forget to start that baby registry! Shop Amazon – Create an Amazon Baby Registry
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