Tips for Creating Baby’s First Library
We all know that reading to infants and toddlers can have great impact on their cognitive development.
But what kind of books are best to include in your baby’s first library? And what other options are out there beyond some of the well-known classics?
You do not need an entire bookshelf’s worth of books to build the foundation for a well-rounded baby library: 10-12 books is plenty to get you through the baby stage! We recommend going for durability.
Here are some factors to keep in mind when making your selections, along with some of our favorites:
At some point, most if not all of these books will wind up in your baby’s mouth. I promise! So, whenever possible, go for board books with sturdy, hard-to-tear pages.
2. High Contrast
A newborn’s vision is a little blurry, and they can be overstimulated by pictures that are too busy. For this reason, developmental specialists recommend books with high contrast (black and white) images. Because baby’s love looking at faces and will even imitate expressions as they begin to interact more with the world around them, one of our favorite picks for this category is Baby Talk by Stella Blackstone. Not only is it filled with black and white illustrations and images, but represents families of diverse ethnic backgrounds paired with simple text about cuddling, talking, and other family activities.
There are so many wonderful children’s books that have endured through the years. This is a great opportunity to pick a book that you loved as a child and bond over it with your little one. As Boston area residents, The Very Hungry Caterpillar would have to be one of our picks, especially because as kids get older the Eric Carle Museum is just a day-trip away! Plus, little hands are always entertained poking their way through the holes the caterpillar leaves behind as he munches his way along.
4. Rhymes & Songs
Even if you think you can’t carry a tune in a bucket, your baby disagrees! They love the sound of your voice and your singing is a real treat. The Sing and Smile book series features traditional songs like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and “The Wheels on the Bus” matched with lovely illustrations and a handle perfect for little hands to grab and hold. Chicka Chicka ABC is another fave, useful for introducing the alphabet song. And, of course, you can never go wrong with classic nursery rhymes, like those in My Very First Mother Goose.
Did you know that in 2016 authors, illustrators, and characters of color accounted for only 22% of children’s books? So many of our families in the Boston area are multicultural. We are a city and region rich in diversity. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find children’s books that represent our children, cultures, and varied family structures. Families, Families, Families uses silly animals to portray all kinds of nontraditional families and celebrate family love. Last Stop on Market Street is another amazing choice and one of our most cherished personal favorites. It is well on it’s way to becoming a modern classic, with it’s beautiful prose and illustrations depicting urban life and people of color as central characters. It’s also a great tool to open the door to some important conversations with you child down the road. Want some more ideas for diverse books? Check out the Cooperative Children’s Book Center website. It’s an incredible resource.
There are choices galore for this category. And understandably so! Once you have to go back to work, bedtime readings often become one of the most precious bonding opportunities in your day. You can’t go wrong with Goodnight Moon. But if you’re looking for some alternatives, you can start with the truly lovely A Book of Sleep or the charming Princess Baby, Night-Night and Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night.
One of the best parts about reading to your little one is the bonding experience it creates between the both of you and books. It’s a great idea to include a book or two that convey your love and even help you engage in extra cuddle sessions. Mama, Do You Love Me? is a beautiful selection that conveys a mother’s unconditional love for her child. More More More, Said the Baby is another favorite and, as a bonus, can double as a bedtime book. It begins with high energy play, so you can act out with your child, before transitioning into a calmer mini story to help little ones settle down.
No need to break the bank on this project. Add books to your baby registry, request books in lieu of other traditional gifts for your baby shower, and visit your local library for book sales or to borrow books, if they have a children’s section.