If you’re filling your baby’s first bookcase, here’s a handy list of 10 of the best books for babies – all classic baby books to start your little one on a lovely journey into reading.
Books are my go-to gift for babies! There’s nothing better to me than giving the gift of reading to little ones. The best thing for keeping my babies happy were books – they played with them so often and returned to their favourites over and over again. These are the ones that we got the most fun out of and are therefore my list of favourites! As you can see we have a mix of classics and more modern books but the more modern ones feel like classics to me as I’ve now read them so many times! And I can recite them all by heart! Kim, kids book expert and blogger, Bookbairn.
Jane Foster’s Black and White
In the first few months of your baby’s life their eyesight is still developing. To begin with their sight is blurry and they can only focus on people or objects that are 20-30cm away from them. The perfect distance to lie on the floor beside them and look at a book. I love Jane Foster’s designs, her Black & White baby book is one of the few that I really appreciated when reading with my son as it is incredibly stylish and full of things that are actually black and white and not just made so for the sake of creating a first baby book.
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
If you don’t know the story, it’s about a zoo which sends lots of inappropriate animal pets in large colourful crates (which you lift the flaps to see what’s inside) until finally they think very hard and send the perfect pet. Wtih bold colourful flaps set against plain white backgrounds, it’s perfect for little peepers to get excited and
find the flaps easily. And the repetitive text is great for little ones language development! But mostly it’s great fun!
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Another classic! I’m sure you know this story – a little caterpillar eats his way through a mountain of food in a week and the little die-cut holes invite little fingers to join in the story. The illustrations are bright and cheerful. I love the food pictures with caterpillar-nibbled holes in them and the board book edition is great as the cut-outs are just the right for little fingers to wriggle into. It’s no wonder this is a much-beloved book.
Where’s Spot? By Eric Hill
Spot’s a firm favourite in our house! We love the simple illustrations and lift-the-flap hiding places for Spot. In a similar style to Dear Zoo, this book uses brightly coloured flaps to keep little fingers engaged and crisp clear illustrations to help them to focus on the story. Spot’s a lovely character for little ones to fall in love with too and there are many great books in the series!
Me by Emma Dodd
For me this is THE baby book. It’s the one we read and loved the most and though our board book is now looking rather worn, it’s one I will always cherish. This is a beautiful story about the love between a parent and a child. With adorable illustrations and rhyming couplets that I can recite from memory (as can both my children) this is the one book I will always gift new babies.
What a Wonderful World (based on the Louis Armstrong song) illustrated by Tim Hopgood
Take some of the most famous, beautiful and inspiring lyrics and turn them into an equally beautiful and inspiring picture book creates something utterly enchanting. It follows one little boy as he discovers just how wonderful this world of ours can be. You’ll no doubt know the lyrics and t Tim Hopgood’s illustrations are breathtaking and still at age five, this is a book that my daughter and I read-sing regularly!
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney & Anita Jeram
An absolute classic! I love this story. It is a story for grown-ups too. It reminds us all about that beautiful bond and neverending and far-reaching love between a parent and a child. The little nutbrown hare loves the big nutbrown hare, and the big nutbrown hare loves the little nutbrown hare even more. With beautiful watercolour illustrations this is a gentle and soothing bedtime story that will have babies’ falling asleep feeling loved.
Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd
Hairy Maclary and all his friends walk along the street into town encountering one of the most villainous characters in children’s literature: Scarface Claw the toughest tom cat in town. And then, understandably they all race home. This is a great story for little ones and will trip up a tired parent with the rhyming names if you try to race through the last pages of the story alongside the characters, making everyone giggle.
Baby’s First Playbook: Farm by Jo Jodge
This is a book that both my children returned to over and over. Made of super sturdy card with large pull tabs and a mirror at the end it’s a brilliant book for little ones to explore and discover. From a young age I could leave them to play with this one by herself and enjoy a hot cup of tea. Introducing some farm animals and using a simple and bold colour palette it’s great for introducing initial concepts for little ones. But quite honestly it’s just a great and fun book!
Books Always Everywhere by Jane Blatt and Sarah Massini
You will no doubt be able to tell from the title that this book is sort of a motto for our life! And if you’re going to give a baby a book it might as well be a glorious celebration of the love of books! My little ones loved the rhyming couplets in this and loved poring over the illustrations and pointing to what the babies and children in the story are doing. It’s a book that’s never failed to make me smile as I read it!
10 Classic baby books for your baby’s bookcase
The best books for baby’s first year as recommended by expert kids book blogger Kim, of Bookbairn
- Jane Foster’s Black and White
- Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
- Where’s Spot? By Eric Hill
- Me by Emma Dodd
- What a Wonderful World (based on the Louis Armstrong song) illustrated by Tim Hopgood
- Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney & Anita Jeram
- Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd
- Baby’s First Playbook: Farm by Jo Jodge
- Books Always Everywhere by Jane Blatt and Sarah Massin
Add 10 Classic Baby Books to your Tidy Books bookcase and build your baby’s love of books. These best books for newborns are ideal books for baby’s first year. Happy reading!
Kim lives in Scotland with her daughter, nicknamed BookBairn, son, nicknamed The Wee Page Turner, husband and large collection of children’s books. She has always enjoyed reading books, a passion inherited from her librarian-mother, and hopes to pass on this love of books to her little bookbairns. A teacher on career-break to spend more time with the bairns, she is passionate about baby-led reading where little ones have free to reign to choose what they read and make mountains of book mess throughout the house.