The 6 Best Books in My Baby’s Library

by Megan Mangiaracino

The 6 Best Books in My Baby’s Library

With a goal of “inspiring a lifelong love of reading, writing and art,” the first week of February is Children’s Authors and Illustrators Week and at Baby Boldly, we are celebrating the brilliant writers and artists that educate and entertain our families! Whether you’re preparing your library for a future little one or feel like you and baby keep re-reading the same Dr. Seuss book, I’ve compiled B’s “greatest hits” when it comes to storytime with the hope that you and baby will enjoy these book gems as much as we have.

The benefits of reading aloud to babies might seem obvious (developing communication, introducing concepts like colors and numbers, building vocabulary, memory and listening skills), thanks to the awareness raised from studies beginning in the 90’s. However, more recent studies are exploring the effects of the quality of these language experiences, in addition to quantity. And if you really want to nerd out on the brain science behind the genius that is Dr. Seuss, check out this article on rhyming and language development for babies.

So, you may have already committed to reading to your baby every day (you might have already started while pregnant, knowing baby can hear you in the womb). Whether you are home with baby or, like me, work full-time, carving out a storytime ritual before bed can only be positive. I’ve found that I’m fully present and I’m thoroughly amazed to watch B interact with his books differently each day as he grows.

The quality of storytime starts and ends with me. Talking about what is in the pictures, pointing out colors and shapes, expressing emotions and encouraging participation are all ways to make storytime more engaging and impactful. But not all books are created equal. Below are my top six (and B-approved) books to have in baby’s library for a higher-quality storytime experience.

Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt

This is the perfect starter-book. There are different materials to touch and “activities” on each page (like peek-a-boo and–you guessed it–patting the bunny). Perhaps what I like best is how lightweight and small the plastic comb version is, making it perfect to throw in the diaper bag for on-the-go entertainment.

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

This quickly became a favorite of B’s. It encourages “opening” boxes on each page, which challenges his finger dexterity and keeps him interested. As he grows, naming the animals, mimicking animal sounds, and identifying colors makes it engaging for multiple stages.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. / Eric Carle

It is a classic for a reason. The version we have encourages you to slide-open animals on each page. Combining that physical participation with the colorful and simple concept of the book is a win!

Follow the Moon Home by Philippe Cousteau

I bought this book on a whim at a sweet children’s book shop in NYC and I’m so glad I did. The illustrations are beautiful and I love its message of protecting nature and promoting activism. Although it is written with an older child in mind, B has taken to it thanks to the engaging illustrations.

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems

Maybe it’s just my child that is obsessed with buses, but the fact that this video on Youtube has 687 million views tells me he is not. He asks to read this book almost every night because for the first time in his day I encourage him to say “no!” It has also provided me an interesting opportunity (attempt to) explain the difference between a duck and a pigeon to a one year old…

Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman

This has been a go-to for me since the newborn days. I especially loved reading B this book before he was engaging with the books and just listening. It poetically describes how far, tall, wide and deep my love is for him. Another beautiful and touching book by Nancy Tillman is On the Night You Were Born.

What are your top picks for baby’s library? #babyboldly

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Megan is co-founder of Baby Boldly and a full-time nonprofit fundraiser in Florida. She has been married to Mike for 3 years and (if you don’t count her furbaby, Max) she became a mom to Bennett in 2017. Megan believes strongly in supporting women (especially working mothers), the power of optimism and generosity, and the sacred tradition of Showtunes Friday in her car.

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