Reading stories to your child has so many benefits—helping your child to learn language, giving you and your child an opportunity for snuggling, setting the groundwork for reading and writing, establishing night-time and nap-time routines—and it’s a blast. But let’s be honest, after reading the same book 300 times, even if our child is still enjoying it, we parents need something new! Based on other parents’ feedback, as well as my own (and baby Savannah’s), here are my top 10 favorite books for babies (with the Amazon links to make your life a bit easier). In case you’re wondering, I have not, in any case, selected a book on this list, based on an author, publisher or other person/entity asking me to include it– these are our real favorites. Happy story time!
1) Giraffes Can’t Dance: This is a fun and beautiful story about a giraffe who goes to the annual African jungle dance, but he gets laughed off the stage. Then, a cricket inspires him, saying, “Sometimes when you’re different you just need a different song”. The giraffe then impresses all the other animals with his amazing moves. And, the book ends, saying, “Then he raised his head and looked up at the moon and stars above. ‘We all can dance,’ he said, “when we find music that we love.’”
2) Moo Baa La La La, But Not the Hippopatamus, Happy Hippo Angry Duck, The Going To Bed Book (pretty much everything by Sandra Boynton): Each of her books is short, fun and has an educational theme (colors, counting, alphabet, sleep, opposites, etc). These are the books that everyone recommended when I asked, and they’re our staples. In Red Shirt, Blue Shirt, now, I’ve replaced the “oops” with “uh oh” when I read it, and Savannah will jump in to say “uh oh” for me at the end of each page—so fun!
3) Goodnight Moon: We read this every night in our good night routine. I like that it says, “good night”, over and over again, as a clear signal to my daughter that it’s bedtime. I also love the rhythm. Since everyone already has this book—have you noticed that the baby rabbit changes positions in all the different pictures?
4) If I Were a Cow: This book has a tail, which my daughter played with the whole way through (especially in her first year). The different pages also have different textures.
5) No Matter What: In this super-sweet book, the mama (fox?) explains, “I’ll always love you, no matter what” to her baby, over-and-over… even if he were a squishy bug or turned into a crocodile.
6) B is for Bear: This is our favorite alphabet book, by far. It rhymes and has textures on the different pages, animals, and a mirror at the end. When I read it, I make the animals’ sounds as I go—I actually (guilty confession) even learned the words and put it to a song, and sometimes I’ll sing it to Savannah.
7) My Little Animal Book: This book must have over 100 pictures of real animals labeled with the names of the animals. It’s not a story, but my daughter is totally fascinated by the animals, and seeing the pictures of the real animals seems like a great way for her to really learn about them.
8) I Am A Bunny: A cute and well-illustrated book told by a little bunny who talks about the seasons. There are lots of opportunities for movement between chasing butterflies, and snow, rain and leaves falling. My husband would have voted for another favorite, but Savannah and another mom love this one so much that their votes made it make the list.
9) Big Red Barn: This is another goodnight story by the same author as Goodnight Moon, and it has the same great rhythm. It includes more animals, and Savannah will choose it over most other books.
10) The Little Engine That Could: The beautiful story about a little train whose incredible determination enabled her to pull a broken-down engine full of toys and food over the mountain to the boys and girls on the other side. I don’t like the three trains that say, “I won’t pull the likes of you”, so I usually abridge it a little, which I also think makes it a better length for such a little reader. I love the message about kindness, helpfulness and determination though, from the little train who says, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can”.
If you have a favorite not on this list, please let me (and others who follow this page) know! Also, this post is a bit of an experiment—If there’s an interest in more book suggestions, I’m happy to round up some more (I had a few I actually wanted really to add, but 10 seemed like a good start). Hope you and your little one can enjoy these as much as we do!
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