Baby & Toddler
Must-Have Board Books for Baby’s First Library
by Janssen Bradshaw
It probably won’t come as a shock that one of my favorite things to give at baby showers is a stack of my favorite board books.
Whether you are looking for a baby shower gift or something to grow your own baby’s library, I hope this book list of classics and newer board books (all of which I couldn’t stop reading with my babies) will help you!
Llama Llama Red Pajama
Llama Llama has just gone to bed when he realizes he needs a drink — and his mama. When Mama Llama tells him to wait a minute, he throws a fit because he tires of waiting. This touching, hilarious book is wonderful for those little ones who have a bit of separation anxiety after being put to bed.
Where’s the Polar Bear?
Lift-the-flap books are terrific until they get ripped to shreds. Where’s the Polar Bear? saves the day with soft, shape-filled flaps. They’re easy for tiny hands to lift (and treat a little rough) without ruining the book.
Baby Touch and Feel: Animals
This lovely baby book is chock full of adorable animals ready to have their bellies and backs rubbed. Get those little hands moving and brains working by identifying the animals and their noises!
Hair entrances Baby — until it's Baby’s turn to get a haircut. Is it scary? Will it hurt? This comical book is perfect for little readers, especially if they have an upcoming visit with the barber.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
You can’t go wrong with a baby book that has been around for 50 years and is still cherished by readers. This classic follows a caterpillar as he eats all sorts of food to prepare for his transformation into a beautiful butterfly.
The Snowy Day
Little Peter invites us along as he experiences the first snow day of the year. His wonderment about everything you can do with snow makes this book charming. I especially love the ending when he brings a snowball indoors to save for later, and then it mysteriously disappears!
100 First Words
This stylish board book will help your little one learn 100 words for essential objects and animals. With colorful illustrations and flaps to lift, it will become a storytime favorite for your baby or toddler.
Littles: And How They Grow
Babies grow faster than we expect, and this book celebrates the things that encompass a baby's earliest days. And not to mention, the babies in this book are utterly adorable!
Love Makes a Family
This simple book focuses on what is important in a family — a helping hand, a kiss before bed, and spending time with one another. If you are looking for a book filled with inclusivity and love, this is perfect!
A Book of Sleep
Watch with the owl as he scopes out the other forest animals hunkering down for the night, each with a unique routine. It’s an excellent book to get your baby settled down for bedtime!
Hello, World! My Body
Talking about toes, fingers, noses, and more is a favorite pastime for all my children. It’s even more fun when we have a book like this one to go along with it! These cheerful, simple pictures will keep your baby engaged from start to finish.
This is an excellent book to give a brand new baby. Look, Look! is loaded with black, white, and red color combinations for those brand new baby eyes. They’ll love the high-contrast designs and bright pops of color.
B is for Baby
Baby’s big brother has an adventure ahead that baby doesn’t want to miss. Vibrant illustrations of Africa show big brother with a busy day filled with “B” sounds — bananas, bikes, birds, butterflies, and bumpy roads. These colorful pictures full of first words will keep your baby’s attention.
Little Baby’s Playtime: A Finger Wiggle Book
This baby board book is jam-packed with non-stop fun and interaction. Get those baby legs moving as you poke your fingers through the die-cut holes and join him for his busy day.
Have you Ever Tickled a Tiger?
Instead of pets and farm animals, Have You Ever Tickled a Tiger? allows your baby to touch and feel exotic animals! Touching an octopus's tentacle or a tiger’s smooth tummy is amusing for little hands.
Love surrounds a little bunny and her parent as they spend an adventure-filled day in the meadow. This delightful board book celebrates the undeniable love a parent has for their child.
Decked out in bold black and white from cover to cover, Hello, You! Will grasp your baby’s eyes from the get-go. In these eye-catching illustrations, babies will see familiar characters like mommy, daddy, and animals.
Shake My Sillies Out
If you have a squirmy reader, Shake My Sillies Out is all about movement. Get up with your baby or toddler and imitate the motions in this delightful rhyming sing-along book.
Where Do Diggers Sleep At Night?
Calling all toddlers who love transportation and construction! This modern classic is for you. Snuggle up with your little one and find out where the hard-working machines sleep after a long day.
Paper Peek: Colors
Colors and numbers are the first concepts we teach babies, and what better way to do that than with a wonderful board book filled with cut-out shapes, energetic colors, and patterns? Engage with your baby each time you flip through this book together.
Babies have needs long before they can verbalize them. Open up their world of communication with this terrific book of first signs for babies to learn. And I challenge you not to topple over with cuteness overload when they use them.
Pop-Up Peekaboo! Farm
Lift-the-flap books are excellent for keeping a baby engaged, and Pop-Up Peekaboo! Farm is no exception. The bright colors and adorable plush animals on every page will have you and your baby counting and working on gross motor skills while having fun!
Pat the Bunny
Pat the Bunny is a classic baby book and a long-standing bestseller adored by generations of tiny readers. Full of touch-and-feel opportunities and sweet pictures, you and your little one will enjoy cuddling up with this one.
Guess How Much I Love You
This board book follows Little Nutbrown Hare and daddy all over their meadow while they describe how much they love each other. It’s a modern classic about a parent’s love for their child.
This is a Book of Shapes
Just when you think you are reading a book about basic shapes, it transforms into a series of unexpected, hilarious twists. This imaginative board book will have you giggling the entire way through.