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I have always loved to read, my parents used to read to me every day when I was a small child, so reading to my own child came as a natural habit for me. Unfortunately, I initially had a hard time thinking about what to read! I’m sharing my list of the Top 10 baby book ideas for babies and toddlers!
Reading to your baby from early on has many benefits, such as increasing their vocabulary, teaching them about the world, making them better readers, and serving as a fun source of quality time.
I also discovered from my experience reading to my preemie that it has helped me to establish a routine, provide an additional source of comfort for him, and develop a unique bond between mommy and baby.
This is a list of my all-time favorite reading books for my baby, they are perfect for newborn to 2-year-olds (and, in many cases, for older children as well). They vary in genre and length, which makes each of these books special for a specific time of our daily routine.
1. The Little Prince
The first book I ever read to my son was The Little Prince.
My newborn was in his incubator, I couldn’t hold or touch him. I couldn’t do much for him except sit beside him for as long as I could and talk to him, telling him that he would be okay, and complimenting him for being so strong.
But I couldn’t talk long before becoming emotional, and then I knew I was transmitting my angst and fears to him, and that’s not what I wanted.
So I did the only thing that made sense to me so that my son could hear my voice and feel my support. I read.
The Little Prince was perfect, I swear that he breathed better whenever I started reading. For me, this book is many books in one book.
The story of a pilot who gets stranded in the desert and meets a strange little man who loves his flower and trained a fox leaves the right amount of story to the reader’s imagination and evokes deep feelings of love, and of the adventure that is growing up.
I have read it many, many times to my boy now, and he simply loves it.
2. Harry Potter Books 1-7
We went through all seven Harry Potter books in the NICU, and we have been through all seven of them several times by now.
Harry Potter just never gets old, I purchased these amazing illustrated editions recently and dedicated them to my son so that whenever we read he can see colorful images to speed up his imagination.
Out of all his books, these are the ones he brings to me the most for a good read.
I really prefer long reads for bedtime (and for NICU stays) and short reads during storytime.
And Harry Potter has been the perfect bedtime book. It is entertaining to me, and to my son. It’s incredible how a book can be appealing to both adults and children, but whenever I read any of the books from the saga, I find new, wonderful meaningful things. Harry Potter is the story of a young wizard on his journey to defeat the evil wizard, Voldemort. Simple at its core, but complex in execution!
Harry Potter isn’t just one of my top baby book ideas, it’s one of my top book ideas for all ages!
In fact, my son has been dressed as Harry for two years straight for Halloween! I’m making a Harry through the year’s scrapbook for him!
3. Oh, The Places You’ll Go
Dr. Seuss’ motivational rhymes lull my son into a near-trance happiness state!
“Oh, the Places You’ll Go” is perfect for playtime. It’s short, sweet, crazy, and motivational.
In fact (a little secret between us) sometimes I still read it to motivate myself whenever life has me on the ropes.
Oliver likes this book so much that I can read it over and over again without him losing focus (and that is quite an achievement since he has a short attention span).
He points at his favorite characters and tries to read them himself whenever I pause to breathe and continue reading. The effect is quite hilarious!
There is also an app version that I use during screen time. It doesn’t only make the cut for my top baby book ideas, but also for my top baby app ideas!
4. Love you Forever
A classic, it is a moving tale of the journey of being a mom.
Although I must admit I read this book more for my sake than for Oliver’s, he likes it anyways.
We read it specifically for nap times, while I hug him and try to sing “Love you forever,” it is ideal for bonding time.
I wouldn’t recommend reading it without handkerchiefs or during a particularly sensitive period of time since it can be quite moving. But who doesn’t need to get emotional from time to time, especially as a new mom!
5. The Tales of Beedle the Bard
A magical collection of short stories that form part of the Harry Potter lore.
I normally read “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” to Ollie during meal time whenever he doesn’t want to eat.
He ends up eating while listening intently. It made the list of my top baby book ideas not only because of the amazing story it tells but also because of how good my little one eats when I read it to him!
It’s a fun book that puts you into the Harry Potter universe, without quite being Harry Potter.
This may sound silly but I’ve actually felt like a witch mom reading common wizard fairy tales to him.
6. The Day the Crayons Quit
Poor Duncan just wanted to color, but his crayons had all written him letters because they were either feeling overworked (like red, who had painted so many firetrucks he was exhausted!) or underappreciated (like black, who had only outlined things for others colors to paint).
Well, except for green, green was happy, but he did write a letter to Duncan anyways. Isn’t this such a creative idea for a book that also teaches about colors?
I absolutely adore this book. I find it hilarious! In fact, I have two copies (one is a board book and the other one is a hardcover), because Ollie loves it so much he likes to paint it, too!
I have found it great to start teaching him about colors in a fun, creative way! And he can’t have enough of it!
Another thing I love about this book is the way it captures the emotion that each color transmits, graphic designers use this in marketing (and video games!), but I love seeing it so literal in a children’s book! I mean, you can feel the passion of the red when it complains, or the calm tone of the purple.
7. Two Monsters
“There is a monster that lives on the East side of a mountain. On the West side of the mountain lives another monster.”
These words resonated throughout my own childhood. This particular book is my mom’s favorite, and she used to read it to me and my sister all the time. No wonder I like it so much!
Two monsters have never seen each other but speak through a hole. One day the blue monster states that day is ending, the red monster gets angry and corrects him, the night is beginning.
This small disagreement leads to a heated argument between the two of them, and they end up destroying the mountain and meeting each other for the first time… realizing that they aren’t so different after all.
An all-time favorite that teaches us that no matter what lies on the other side of the mountain, we are the same after all. This one is definitely my most sentimental choice in my list of baby book ideas.
David McKee wrote another one of my top baby book ideas: Elmer.
This gem is about a colorful elephant, Elmer, who lives with grey elephants and keeps them happy by playing games and making jokes.
But Elmer himself isn’t happy because he is different from the rest, and he tries to paint himself grey, but he can’t resist his fun personality and joyfully scares the other elephants, revealing himself.
In the end, Elmer was colorful inside and outside. I find that irresistibly beautiful. It’s a tale about acceptance and understanding of oneself, and my baby always has a laugh while mommy reads it to him and points at all the fun colors!
9. The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig
Yup, you read that right!
It’s a charming twist on the classic tale! Three innocent, hard-working wolves are harassed by a big, bad pig, who resorts to any means available to destroy the homes of the three little wolves, interrupting their cricket game!
Why not take the traditional baby book ideas and give them a bit of twist!
This book is a fun addition to any child’s library, with great pictures.
We love reading it during playtime!
10. Guess How Much I Love You
A sweet story in which Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare, father, and son, try to measure how much they love each other.
How do you measure incommensurable love?
Whenever I read Ollie this book I end up mimicking how much I love him by gesturing with my hands, hugging him, and kissing him. It’s the book I go to for bonding time!
My husband also loves to read this one to him, he emphasizes that the book is about a father and son, like them!
11. Peek-a-Boo! (Baby Faces Board Book)
The baby faces board books have been a fresh breath of fun for us.
Since Ollie wasn’t allowed to be around other babies for the first 15 months of his life, his lungs became strong. We had a few choices to show the other babies like him: TV or books.
While I don’t underestimate the educational power that the occasional TV show may have when used right, I do prefer any form of literature since it has the physical enhancement of developing motor skills and the emotional enhancement of creating engaging, bonding, fun.
There are five main books in the babyfaces set: Peek-a-book! Eat, sleep, Splat! and Smile!
They depict in 16 pages different facial expressions that babies make during their daily lives. We also use it to explain to Oliver what each emotion means. Although my favorite is the Peek-a-Boo, I’d recommend the whole set.
That’s a Wrap!
There you have it!
My top baby book ideas are also great for toddlers! The favorite books I read to my son during bedtime, playtime, bonding time, and even during meals! I hope you enjoy them too with your babies.
Do you have a favorite book in mind? What do you read for your baby? I’d love to hear your all-time baby book ideas and read them to my son!