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Reading with Babies and Board Books for Babies

Our top tips for reading with babies, plus favorite board books for babies. A must-read for new parents!

books for babies - our favorites

It’s never too early to introduce a baby to books! Seven-month-old Anna has a basket of board books at our house, and she LOVES them!

Tips for Reading with Babies

Here are a few things I’ve learned about reading with babies:

Have fun!

Babyhood is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be appreciated as a comedian. Every baby I know adores it when parents attempt silly voices and sound effects. Make the most of it while it lasts! Exaggerated voices may also help babies understand emotions and story plots.

Pick books your child enjoys.

Some kids adore poetry, while others prefer prose. Still others will spend hours looking at I Spy books. If your child has trouble sitting through a book, try books with little or no text. What Do We Do All Day? has a list of fifteen wordless picture books to get you started!

Pick books you will enjoy reading.

There are some very creative children’s picture book authors! I’ve recommended a few below that we enjoy, but if they aren’t your style keep looking – I’m sure you will find something!

Respect their personality.

Some babies love for you to sit and read with them. Some would rather look at pictures and flip through pages out of order. My now-five-year-old would sit and listen to stories for hours. My now-seven-year-old was a page flipper – but she sure loves reading books now! She sometimes reads chapter books that way, but mostly reads them sequentially. There are lots of different ways to read a book!

Keep books accessible.

I love board books as a way of keeping books accessible to even small babies without having to worry about ripped pages. Board books do eventually wear out, and if you look closely at the photo for this post you’ll see that some of ours are showing quite a bit of wear and tear!

Listen to recorded books while you play with your baby.

It’s one of my favorite ways to build that 100th block tower!

Our top tips for reading with babies, plus favorite board books for babies. A must-read for new parents!

Favorite Board Books for Babies

Here are some of our favorite board books – fun for babies, toddlers, and parents! Links are Amazon affiliate links.

  • Blue Hat, Green Hat We adore all of Sandra Boynton’s books, but this is probably our favorite.
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? This is a classic that my younger siblings loved, and every single one of my children has loved as well.
  • Goodnight Moon I never read this book until I was a parent, and at first I was skeptical. But I’ve become increasingly attached to it over the years, and it really does sooth my kids and get them ready to fall asleep at night.
  • Owl Babies I really enjoy Martin Waddell’s books, and the three little owls in this book are wonderful! I’m partial to the UK English version, but haven’t worked out how to buy that in the US.
  • That’s Not My Monster… It’s Nose Is Too Bobbly (Usborne Touchy-Feely Books) We have enjoyed all of the books in this series; I am especially attached to the monster version, and the dragon one is probably my second-favorite.
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar A must-own classic. Definitely get the board book version so kids can stick their fingers in the holes the caterpillar leaves without ripping the pages!
  • Press Here Technically it’s not a board book, but the pages are pretty sturdy. And I consider it a must-own for parents of babies and toddlers!

What are your favorite board books for babies? Do you have tips for reading with babies that I’ve missed?

a book full of baby play ideas that will help you enjoy parenting a baby and bond with your baby.

MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

28 thoughts on “Reading with Babies and Board Books for Babies”

  1. Great post! We love all your picks and great advice. I was fascinated with how my kids developed into good story time listeners. It took a long time and started with a very short attention span, lots of book tearing and chewing!

  2. That is such a cute picture and a great list!

    My daughter loved the Maisy books by Lucy Cousins, the Ladybird Touch books and the ‘That’s not my’ books. Kipper and Spot were also favourites and Each Peach Pear Plum and The Baby’s Catalogue by Janet and Allan Ahlberg.

  3. We have a lot of favorite board books: Everywhere Babies, I’ll See You in the Morning, Global Babies, The Night Night Book and I Love You Stinky Face. Since books are so hard to come by here I still (at ages 2 & 3) keep the board books as the accessible books and the other books (they can have whenever they want) but they have to ask for them. I think we are almost at the age where I can put the paper page books out without worry of them being ripped to shreds.

    1. We love Everywhere Babies, but I need to find the other ones you love. Thanks for sharing them!

      I feel very grateful to have easy access to books for myself and my kids!

  4. For some reason, we don’t have a lot of board books. I think I used to check out a lot from the library. Our library has a neat selection of kits that contain toys and books for babies.

    Most of the board books we do have are Sandra Boynton books. Good Night Moon and The Very Hungry Caterpillar were two of our favorites, also. I need to get a new copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It has been ripped apart.

  5. Elisa | blissfulE

    Anna is such an adorable spokesmodel for board books!! :) All of ours get a serious workout – I have replaced a couple and bought a couple new ones for David. He is my first flip-through-the-pages-in-random-order kiddo, and it is reassuring to hear that Emma did that and now reads sequentially as well. :) Your first, third, and fifth recommendations are very important to me – I have culled some books that I couldn’t bear to read over and over. And I listened to BBC radio quite a lot when Nikki was small and there weren’t sibling goings-on to liven things up.

  6. Because I wanted my kids to love reading and books, I read to them while I nursed them when they were little. I love our little book collection!

  7. Cool book suggestions, Mama! We also have all those books, and the kids still love them.

    Let’s see. Hadyn wanted to listen to the same book – 550 times. Seriously. The Very Hungry Caterpillar was read thousands of times over. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to remember that. I had forgotten about it.

    Ava wanted to flip the pages randomly. I don’t think we really got a word in edge wise with her.

    Grayson is just a busy body who wants to get up and walk away. Me thinks he’s just going to get up and walk away while I’m reading.


    1. That is a great post, Kim! Thanks for sharing it here!

      She is growing up really fast! I wish I could slow it down a little, but I sure enjoy her!

    2. Moo, Baa, la, la, la… and any book by Lynley Dodd especially Slinky Malinky..oh yeah and Mama do you love me? Don’t let the pigeon drive the bus. There are so many great kids books out there. Dinasour Roar…look for rhythm, rhyme and picture that make your children laugh.

      1. I don’t think I know Lynley Dodd’s books – must check them out. Thanks for the recommendation! We love all the others you named here!

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