My youngest, Story, just turned two in April, and I cannot help but think of how quickly my three children have grown up. I’ve blinked, and the oldest is reading chapter books, the kindergartener self-wrote an apology note and the baby is beginning to tell stories with his words and phrases. Today, I am reflecting on the books that helped grow their baby brains and fulfilled this mama’s literary needs. For this mama, these are the best books for babies:
1. Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton
Learn about clothes and colors with three animal friends and one silly turkey. Boynton’s magic has gifted me with my three children’s first literary giggle.
2. Black and White by Tana Hoban
It’s never too early to start reading, and this accordion style book shows simple, lovely pictures in black-and-white for newborn vision. In the beginning, I label the objects. As my babies grew, I would start to describe the pictures while looking at the book.
3. Goodnight Moon/Buenas Noches, Luna by Margaret Wise Brown
This classic books has rocked babies to sleep for generations. The poetic words and illustrations of common bedtime musts have served as a literary staple.
4. Yum Yum Dim Sum by Amy Wilson Sanger
Through rhyme and vibrant, creative illustrations, this book pulls you into an exciting dim sum meal, a style of Chinese cuisine with bite-size dishes. Oh, how I wished to consume ha gau, steamed dumplings, when I would read this!
5. Pride & Prejudice: A BabyLit® Counting Primer by Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver
As a fan of Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice, I was thrilled to get my hands on this book for my children. They no longer needed to wait for high school literature. Instead, they learned their numbers reading about 1 English village, 2 rich gentlemen and 4 marriage proposals with the antics of the 5 Bennet sisters.
6. More, More, More Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams
This book tells the tale of three babies from three different families. Ms. Williams, once again, pulls you in with her vibrant illustrations and subtly gives the message of diversity and honoring all life paths.
7. What Can You Do With a Paleta? by Carmen Tafolla
A girl walks through the barrio and excitedly talks about getting a paleta, a cold Mexican treat. The vivid words are great descriptive language for the brain, and the colorful pictures serve as a great catalyst for talking about colors, shapes, sizes and sounds. Oh, and I would like a coconut, please!
8. Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherri Duskey Rinker
This magical book tells the tale of a train pulling into the station one evening. Animals begin to unload the train cars–polar bears fill the car with ice cream, kangaroos fill the hopper car with colorful balls and the camel loads the car with toys. My two-year-old, a train enthusiast, looks forward to this fun adventure each evening.
9. The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton
A group of silly animals go through their bedtime routine. They scrub scrub scrub in the tub, brush and brush and brush their teeth, and finally rock and rock and rock to sleep. Boynton’s ability to use words to appeal to the youngest readers is perfection, and there’s a reason she is on this list twice.
10. Global Babies by The Global Fund for Children
Babies love babies, and this book will surely feed that need. Simple words and pictures of babies all around the world serve as the foundation of this lovely book. For my children, this book yielded awesome opportunities to use some of their earliest words: baby, night-night, mama.
Books are a cornerstone of our speech-language therapy, and we are always happy to share our favorites. Beginning from day one, babies can gain so much from books. For more information on the best books for babies and how to use books in speech therapy, order our newest book, Literacy-Based Speech and Language Therapy Activities book. I will say that the tools offered in this comprehensive resource have been an integral part of my therapy since 2005. I am proud of the rich content, and I am excited for the impact it will make in your daily speech therapy sessions.