Before becoming a mom, I worked in children’s publishing, and am now an aspiring writer myself, so I’ve experienced books from various angles. But, as with this blog as a whole, I am writing from the mom perspective. Here’s the criteria that went into making this list:
- In a huge stack of books, baby picks this one out again and again and again.
- I can get through a dozen or so readings (a day) before cringing.
- The book has some sort of educational value in addition to being fun.
- All except one are short enough that baby doesn’t get bored before the end.
Good for babies to explore on their own (board book material that doesn’t rip easily):
- Baby Be Kind -Jane Cowen-Fletcher
- One of our favorite books, with a nice message. We both have this one memorized, and my daughter shows me with hand motions that she knows what is coming on the next page (pretending to eat, hug herself, etc.)
- Hello World! It’s Me, _________ — Jennifer Dewing, illustrated by Holli Conger
- This is a personalized book from I See Me. I love that it has my daughter’s name and birth details in it, and she loves all the animals in it. We use this as a before bed story since it ends with everyone going to sleep.
- I’ll Teach My Dog A Lot of Words – Michael Frith, illustrated by P.D. Eastman
- What we love about this book is it has a lot of my daughter’s first words. At 20 months, she actually helps me read this book…I pause at a word she knows and point to the picture, and she says it.
- Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? –Dr. Seuss
- My daughter lets me know when she wants to read this book by mooing and hoo-hooing.
- Barnyard Dance – Sandra Boynton
- A silly book with all my daughter’s favorite farm animals.
- Who Said Boo? – Phyllis Root, illustrated by Ana Martin Larranaga
- I have no idea why my daughter loves this book so much, but it was an early favorite. She loves opening each door flap to see who is hiding behind it, and after many readings, she “eeeeks” with all the characters on the last page.
The rest of this top 10 is books my daughter loves, but that require adult supervision to avoid flaps and pages being torn:
- Pete the Cat, I Love My White Shoes –Art by James Dean, story by Eric Litwin
- This book is for older children, but no matter how I try to keep it out of reach, my daughter begs for it. This is the one that is a bit long for her, so I abbreviate the text on each page to allow us to get to the end. She loves cats and shoes, so it’s no surprise this is a favorite, and I love the positive message that even when things don’t go as planned, “it’s all good.” In addition to the positive message, this book teaches colors via healthy fruit. And, there is a free video online of the author singing the story. What more could you want? Maybe a shortened board book version.
- Dog – Matthew Van Fleet, photography by Brian Stanton
- This book is hilarious! My daughter loves the touch and feel elements, and is beginning to understand how to work the pull tabs, although two of the dogs are now missing a head and leg. We love the surprise cat hiding at the end. (There is also a Cat version of this book that I’m sure we will also love, but I haven’t read it yet.)
- Where Is Baby’s Belly Button? (and other similar Karen Katz books)
- This is a huge lift-the-flap series that everyone knows about. I particularly like this one which teaches parts of the body.
- Where’s Spot? – Eric Hill
- Another lift-the-flap book favorite. After many readings, my daughter makes the sound of the animal hiding behind each flap before opening it.
In addition to these, I think every child’s library should have a “first words” book. I see advantages to both the ones organized by topic (In the garden, in the kitchen, etc.), and ones organized by the alphabet.
There are many more books my daughter and I love, but I really kept this list to the favorites. Did your favorites make this list?