There are tons of benefits to reading books to and with your baby. Along with spending time together and having your little one hear your voice, it’s a great way for them to learn vocabulary and potentially grow up to have a love for books.
According to some studies, it’s best to start reading to your baby when they are an infant; although they won’t understand what you’re saying, the words will give them a sense of safety and comfort and will be embedded into the depths of their brains. The best baby books are ones with pictures, bright colors, or things they can touch. Because they can’t read, they’ll be able to appreciate the simplicity of shapes and colors and can communicate with you about the book through facial expressions. Then, when they become a toddler, they can be introduced to books with an age-appropriate reading level.
Whether it be a favorite book from your childhood or a baby book that came out in recent years, here are some of the best baby books that you could gift at a baby shower or for a birthday or books that should be read to a baby at bedtime:
Best Baby Books Of All Time
This is a classic book about a little bunny saying goodnight to everything in its room. With gentle poetry and simple illustrations, this is a beloved book for every bookshelf. “Goodnight room, goodnight moon, goodnight cow jumping over the moon…”
This is another beautifully written and illustrated baby book about a mother and her son and their lives growing old together. This is a story that has touched so many hearts and will for sure bring you to tears.
This is an iconic story about Max, a little boy with a beautiful and wild imagination. He sets sail to an island with the Wild Things, creatures who name him king. This picture book has beautiful illustrations and colors and it’s a great read for the little one.
Maggie is the farmer’s daughter, who, one day, receives a package in the mail: a crate of dirt. She’s confused and disappointed and so she tosses it into the garden. Then comes Easter morning and she finds a big, beautiful lily in the garden. This is a sweet book that teaches readers about patience, hope, and gratitude.
A brown bear, a red bird, a yellow duck, a blue horse–this picture book is a great way for infants to see and respond to bright colors, animals, and questions. This is a lovable children’s book and a must-need for every bookshelf!
Lily is a little girl who loves everything: her shiny red boots, the chocolate milk she drinks at lunch, her new purple plastic purse, her teacher. One day, she brings her beloved brand new purse to school, ready for show-and-tell. Sadly, her favorite teacher confiscates it and she gets upset. Follow her funny journey of how she goes from remorse to revenge to amends.
The very hungry caterpillar eats its way through the days of the week: one apple on Monday, two pears on Tuesday, three plums on Wednesday, and so on. This is a beloved caterpillar-butterfly metamorphosis story and another classic picture book that should be read and shared for generations.
Dr. Suess’ name is as memorable as his stories, and this is one of his classics. With simple rhymes and colorful illustrations, the message he tells is short and sweet. This is a great book for any child starting a new phase of their life.
This picture book by the popular and beloved Shel Silverstein, telling the most touching story about love and being loved in return. The Giving True is classic and unforgettable must-read.
With eye-catching illustrations of glitter and bold colors, this is a universally loved picture book. With a simple, beautiful message about friendship and sharing, this is a great book for your child.
Exploding with humor, Silly Sally dances, plays leapfrog, and goes on fun adventures with a pig, a dog, and her many other outrageous friends. This is a zesty, quirky picture book great for young children.
This is the story of a mouse, trying to outsmart the creatures he comes across in the woods: a snake, a fox, an owl. He then makes up a scary monster as the Gruffalo, who likes to eat scrambled snakes, owl ice cream, roasted fox. But it’s okay, because it’s just a made up creature…right? This is a great book for any kiddo!
This big book contains stories about the well-known family of bears: The Bears’ Picnic, The Bear Detectives, The Berenstain Bears and the Missing Dinosaur Bone, The Big Honey Hunt, The Bear Scouts, and The Bike Lesson. It’s a great compilation of beginner stories for young readers.
Arthur is a beloved character on TV and in this book series that must be a part of every child’s young life. There are over 30 books in the Arthur series, with adventures at school, with his friends, his family, and so much more.
This is another universally read and loved book, written by an acclaimed French writer known as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The writings in this book have been translated by an English poet and paired with intricate, colorful artwork on every page. This will for sure capture the heart of your little one!
Best Baby Books For Newborns
This is the perfect book for every new baby. With its bold black, white, and red colors, abstract art, and bouncy rhymes, this is a fun way for your baby to see and learn colors for the first time.
This board book is a wonderful thing for your toddler! They can use their little hands to learn the first few numbers with the help of animals and bright colors and sturdy pages to help them grip.
This board book is an easy way for a baby to learn the alphabet and be entertained while they do it. With a new dimension to learning, the cut out visuals are fun — their little fingers will love this interactive book!
With little nursery rhymes from “pat-a-cake” to ”this little piggy”, this little book is a great addition to any bedtime routine. With the lovable characters of Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Kanga, Baby Roo, and Eeyore, bounce your little one to sleep with these beloved hush-a-bye lullabies.
This baby book has been known and loved in recent years and has recently been transformed into a board book with sturdy pages. Now your toddler can learn the alphabet in an interactive way!
This lift-the-flap book is a great interactive way to play with your baby in a peekaboo manner. “Where are Baby’s hands? Where are Baby’s eyes?” This book will for sure make them giggle!
This book by Ezra Jack Keats is a classic story about the first snowfall of winter. It depicts the magic and wonders that an infant experiences when witnessing snow for the first time.
Mother Goose is a classic baby book and great to read to your young babies at bedtime. With a beautiful illustration on every page and familiar and loved rhymes, any story from this collection would make a great bedtime story.
Travel around the solar system with your child and help them learn about the planets and what makes each of them so unique. With fun facts and cute illustrations, this is a great book for older babies!
Best Baby Books About Love and Family
These sweet stories are great reads for any kid learning the true meaning of love and a family. No matter if your child is becoming a big sister or a big brother or if they have two mommies or two daddies, this is something they will love and keep close to their heart for a long time.
This read-aloud bilingual book is full of love and simple Spanish words that your baby can learn, like Mami, Papi, perro, gato, and more. ¡Muchos besos para baby!
Follow this young penguin and this older penguin while they enjoy their favorite activities–dancing, reading, holding hands, and more. This book will show that no matter what kind of caregiver you are, your little one can begin to understand the love, care, and affection you give.
Love is love! If there’s a special bond between two mommies and their child, there’s no limit to what their love can do. With rkhymes and illustrations, this original board book about gay parents is a must for your bookshelf. Love is universal!
This is another gay parent board book, with rhymes and illustrations and a universal appeal from the same authors of Mommy, Mama and Me. With the care and affection of two daddies and their child, this is an inspirational and freeing book. Love is love!
Baby bird Choco has always wished he had a mother. So, he goes on an adventure to find anyone who looks like him. Instead, he gets taken in by Mrs. Bear and is then introduced to her other children: a piglet, an alligator, a hippo. This is a book about adoptive families and shows that love can come in all shapes and sizes.
Young Lily loves her mother dearly, but she can’t help but wonder what it would be like to have a bigger family with siblings or a dad. This is a sweet story about how “family” isn’t defined by anything but love, no matter how big or small or different.
This book is a great way to show young kids that a family is a family, no matter how big, small, or different. Through cartoon illustrations, your child can see families of hippos, lions, whales, tigers, and more in family groups and that no matter what the circumstance or difference, a family is all about love.
Divorce is a tricky subject that many parents find hard to discuss with their kids, especially if they are young and don’t quite understand. This book offers a reassuring, sensitive perspective for the child in the midst of their parents’ separation and helps them embrace the uniqueness of homes.
Best Baby Books About Race, Diversity, Inclusivity
Some of these books are better for your young child who are noticing the differences in who they are and the people around them — and that’s okay! These books can be read to your child to remind them that although on the outside we are all different, on the inside, our hearts are the same. Help your child get comfortable with the skin they’re in, with the language they speak, and with the feelings they feel.
This sweet story is a great way to show your young one the beauty of the skin they’re in. With the ease of a nursery rhyme and with themes of love, friendship, acceptance, and self-esteem, this is an absolute must-read for every parent and child.
Follow baby Harold as he goes on an adventure with his bright purple crayon! There’s not many illustrations for your baby to look at, so this is better as a read at bedtime.
We all know and love the Sesame Street characters who teach the necessities for the developing baby, like the ABCs and 1, 2, 3s. But what about what makes us, us? Sesame Street is here with a colorful, charming book to show that even though we look different on the outside, we are all the same on the inside.
Hello! Hola! Bonjour! Through the eyes of Carmelita and her dog Manny, this is a great way for your kiddo to see that neighborhoods are colorful and people are different, and there are hundreds of ways to say a kind “hello” to someone.
Best Baby Books About Food
Do you remember being young and playing “house” or “school” or “restaurant”? Now, with this interactive book and its factual recipe, your child can use their imagination just the same. Allow them to imagine independence and “bake cookies” because I mean, who doesn’t love baking cookies?
What does a bear eat? Honey! What does a squirrel eat? Nuts! With this illustrated book of bright colors and lovable animals, your child can match the food to the animal and its diet. It’s a great book for young children looking for a book of fun.
With this hands-on learning experience, your child can read and understand the basic vocabulary words of food, from soup to pie to peas and everything in between. This is a unique sensory experience that every parent and child should explore together.
This book is both a story about food and a story about cultures and differences. With foods like rice, chicken, spaghetti, and more, let your child embrace the food of their culture and appreciate the food of other cultures.
Best Baby Books About Animals
This imaginative alphabet book is a must need for any bookshelf and for any child looking for a little more excitement in their learning of the ABC’s. The botanical creatures in this book are scattered throughout the pages in a creative way, with natural, brightly-colored petals and leaves from her garden.
If a hungry mouse appears at your doorstep, what should you do? This cute book has been around for a long time and your little one will love it. Even after it’s all read and done, they will wonder: “what happens if I actually give a mouse a cookie?”
What better way to let your little one feel animals for the first time than through the ease and safety of an interactive picture book? From soft creatures like a bunny and a kitten to rougher feels like a turtle shell and elephant skin, your animal-loving child will adore this!
Young readers can get to know the animals at the zoo and will appreciate the fun and colorful illustrations! Dear Zoo has been around since 1982 and is offered as a hardcover or a large board book that can be held with a baby.
What sound does a cow make? A sheep? A pig? These animals bhave familiar noises that your little one will enjoy making. It’s a silly, fun, and cute book for any young kid.
Through the eyes of a mommy kangaroo towards her baby kangaroo, this picture book captivates the sweetness of new parents making their babies feel at home as well as showing the beauty of mother’s love. If you’re a new mom or know someone who iis a new mom, this is a great gift for both mother and baby!
Pout Pout Fish is glum and needs some cheering up. With the bright colors of the ocean and playful rhyme, this fun fish story is a great way to show kids that it’s okay to feel sad sometimes and that other people feel dreary sometimes too. It’s a sweet way to show kids ways to turn their frown upside down!
Just think — when they are old and grown, they will think about you and the books you read to them as a baby, just as you probably think about the books someone read to you when you were young. Baby books can spark joy and memories and an opportunity for them to pass down to their kids too.