My mom started a tradition of giving board books as baby shower presents, so that’s kind of become our family trademark. Maybe because she’s a book lover and librarian who supports early literacy initiatives – or maybe just because we’re homeschoolers and we always buy educational gifts out of habit! Either way, it’s something a bit different from the baby supplies, toys, and onesies that other people commonly give.
After all, every little one deserves to have their very first book, and it’s never too soon to start reading to them! Aside from being a great way to strengthen your bond by spending close-up face time with baby, reading aloud can help them soak up all of the words you’re using, which can boost their language skills as they begin to speak.
Perfect for new mothers, holidays, and happy occasions of all kinds, baby board books with their thick sturdy pages are a literacy-nurturing gift that babies can literally sink their teeth into! The following titles are the best baby board books we’ve found that babies from newborns to one-year-olds will love listening to, and parents will enjoy reading over and over again.
Look, Look! By Peter Linenthal – Black-and-white patterns are ideal for newborns because the high contrast is easy to distinguish and will capture their attention. This sturdy board book, full of striking and stylish black-and-white art, is ideal for the eyes of the youngest babies to focus on. A few words in curving red type on each spread describe the scenes — a car races, a cat stretches, flowers bloom — and extend the book’s age appeal so that it will be fascinating to older babies, too. The author is an illustrator who has taught art in elementary schools for twenty years.
Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown – You can never go wrong with this classic of children’s literature. Beloved by generations of readers and listeners, the quiet poetry of the words (“Goodnight room, goodnight moon”) and the gentle, lulling illustrations combine to make a perfect book for the end of the day. Goodnight Moon is a time-honored gift for baby showers and other special events.
Chicka Chicka Boom! Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault – In this lively alphabet rhyme, all the letters of the alphabet race each other up the coconut tree. Will there be enough room? Oh, no – Chicka Chicka Boom! Boom! The rhythmic alphabet chant rolls along on waves of fun, while Caldecott Honor illustrator Lois Ehlert’s cheerful artwork in bright, bold colors makes the merry parade of letters unforgettable. This children’s favorite is a great book to pair with Goodnight Moon.
Slow Snail, by Mary Murphy – Snail is soooo slow! It takes her all day to slide down her flower, across a stone, through a boot, under a stick, along a bottle, in and out of a brick, and so on. But when she finally arrives at her vegetable bed, it’s worth it — she’s just in time for dinner! This simple and charming story is meant to be read slowly which has a calming effect. “Snail slides s-l-o-w-l-y down her flower…” You can track the snail’s journey across the pages, by way of the silvery slime trail as it weaves through the watercolor illustrations.
Time for Bed, by Mem Fox – This gentle book, with its soothing rhythmic verse and peaceful, watercolor illustrations, will lull babies and toddlers whether it’s bed time, nap time, or just snuggle under the covers time. “It’s time for bed, little mouse, little mouse, darkness is falling all over the house. It’s time for bed, little goose, little goose, the stars are out and on the loose. It’s time for bed, little cat, little cat, so snuggle in tight, that’s right, like that.”
Who Sang the First Song? by Ellie Holcomb – Have you ever wondered who hummed the first tune? Was it the flowers? The waves or the moon? Dove Award-winning recording artist Ellie Holcomb answers with a lovely lyrical tale, one that reveals that God our Maker sang the first song, and He created us all with a song to sing. The gorgeous artwork by Kayla Harren beautifully matches the precious story featured in this 8×8 inch board book.
Mini Masters, by Julie Merberg – This is the perfect set of board books for toddlers and young kids to start learning about and appreciating masterful works of art. Kids ages 1-4 will love the beautiful paintings and simple stories written in rhythmic text. Packed in a colorful box, the set of four beautiful board books include Dancing with Degas, A Picnic with Monet, A Magical Day with Matisse, and In the Garden with Van Gogh.
First 100 Board Book Box Set, by Roger Priddy – An attractive slipcase containing three of Priddy’s bestselling small, chunky board books: First 100 Words, First 100 Animals, and Number Colors Shapes. These fun, informative and engaging nonfiction early learning books are perfect tools for building vocabulary and developing speech. They are also are an ideal size for little hands.
Baby Einstein My First Library 12 Board Book Block Set – This boxed library includes 12 mini board books—each 2.5 x 2.5 inches—housed in a durable carrying case with handle for hours of on-the-go entertainment and learning. The books introduce such concepts as letters, words, numbers, colors, shapes, animals, and more. Little ones love to learn with the playful characters of Baby Einstein!
The Little Green Box of Bright and Early Board Books by Dr. Seuss – Tucked inside this cute box topped with a plastic handle are abridged board book editions of the classic Dr. Seuss titles Fox in Socks, Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?, There’s a Wocket in My Pocket!, and Dr. Seuss’s ABC. There is also a little blue box and a little red box set, but I picked the green box just because it has more of my old favorites. These board books will serve to whet baby’s appetite for the Dr. Seuss Beginner Books for young readers.
What are your favorite board books? Please let us know, leave a comment below!