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HelloCreativeSisters is all about creativity. So to “grow creative babies”, we love our inspiring collection of 20+ best baby books.
Definitely, the best gift we can give a child of any age is the gift of reading.
What an adult can expect from our collection of best baby books:
Great children’s books are works of art.
Here’s what you, the reader will experience as you turn these pages:
- the visual joy of rich colors and inspiring design
- the auditory pleasure of beautiful lyrical rhyme or carefully chosen words
- the intellectual happiness of humor, imagination or enlightenment
- the tactile delight of interactive flaps or holes
- stimulation of a fond memory, (perhaps of your own reading time with a beloved adult)
- reconnection with childhood feelings when you first heard one of these books
- they invite you into worlds rich in humor, conspiracy, heartbreak, and surprise.
- the older you are when you read them, the more you see.
Asked to vote their favorites, friends confessed that they had stopped time briefly to reread their own beloveds.
You may find yourself buying an extra copy for
- an unexpected gift,
- sharing when a child visits
- your own fabulous collection.
The thought/science behind this collection of best books for babies:
You don’t need to wait until a baby is born, you can gift this to an expectant mom because:
- babies hear in the womb
- newborns can see at birth.
- first clearly at arm’s length
- and love faces and objects with light and dark borders (like eyes).
- by three months, babies also enjoy bright colors (red, green, blue)
All of us learn best when learning is fun.
Further on you can read all the proven benefits of reading early to children.
It is worth noting that theAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents prioritize creative, unplugged playtime for infants and toddlers. The AAP believes that at 18 months, some media (with high educational value like Sesame Street Workshop) can have value. However, AAP recommends that parents of young children watch with their child to help them understand what they are seeing. The full AAP recommendations for Media and Children is included later in this post.
HelloCreativeSisters Collection of 20 Best Baby Books:
Best baby books: Classics
The word “classics” (at least to me) is intimidating. Tested by time, millions of readers, accolades, and book awards these are winners.
Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Goodnight Moon may have been part of more toddlers bedtime readings than any other. The beautiful rhythmic text that suggests to “simply look around and listen” is enriched by the accompanying bright clean shapes. Its pages of sleep-suggestive thoughts are filled with tenderness and mystery. The rhythm of the text is like a small stream of consciousness song. The rhyme is easily committed to memory by parents and children who know if the reader attempts to skip pages.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a book about time passing as it follows a day-to-day account of the life of a caterpillar. The text is enriched by Carle’s colorful, expressive collages made from his hand-crafted papers. Each interesting page is enhanced by a small child-sized interactive hole. Quietly present teaching elements include the life cycle of a caterpillar and the days of the week.
The Snowy Day by Ezra Keats
As its name suggests, The Snowy Day follows a little boy’s day as he plays in the snow, and goes through his day’s routine. The words are simple. The descriptions are matter-of-fact. There is a quiet, peaceful ending. The magic of this book is the illustrations which transform the text. The beauty of the vast white, minimally textured snow is contrasted visually the boy’s bright, red sharp-cornered snowsuit.
The Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood is filled with restful, soft, calming, blue-tinted images. The words are gentle verse with a twist at the end. Slightly older children wnjoy searching for the characters in the piles.
Best baby books: Interactive , Early Educational Baby Board Books
Fuzzy Yellow Ducklings by Matthew Van Fleet is an interesting bright interactive book that contains sturdy liftable flaps. Look beneath each flap to discover a relevant tactile shape of different color. The shapes and colors belong to an interesting collection of animals.
The teaching elements include: descriptive vocabulary, colors, shapes, counting, and some unusual creatures that are touched or petted.
Your baby will enjoy the fun-to-open flaps, rhyming text, interactive flaps, pop ups sliders, and tabs to pull in Bizzy Bear Fun on the Farm by Benji Davies. The thick study cardboard invites manipulation by eager child fingers.
Nature, Beauty Or a different Point Of view
Feathers for Lunch by Lois Ehlert is a rhyming treat to share with gardeners and bird watcher adults. The cute tuxedo cat (also featured in another beautiful book by Ehlert) wears a bell. Therefore, the cat fails to catch one of the brightly colored birds.
Another fabulous book by Lois Ehlert, Waiting for Wings is an absolute visual treat. Rich with color, the pages are even more interesting as they change shapes and sizes. The gorgeous collages follow the life cycle and metamorphosis of a butterfly. It makes a wonderful gift for a butterfly-loving adult.
They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel is a wonderful visual exploration of the world from different vantage points. Therefore, its illustrations are thought-provoking, inspiring and unusual.
To Market, To Market by Anne Miranda is a new take on a classic rhyme. But the best part of this large book is the fabulous illustrations in this large book. Contrasting black and white background images with the wonderful expressions of exasperation and the beautiful animal portraits make this a favorite with visual children. P.S. No one gets eaten in the end.
Color, Art and Inspiration
Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh is a great way to introduce beginning color theory. The mice illustrations might inspire a child to also paint them. Definitely loved by an art-loving reader.
Beautiful Oops by Barry Saltzberg changes many small mistakes (torn paper, spills, drips, smears) into a beautiful and interactive collage. We all make mistakes. Wouldn’t it be life-affirming to know from an early age that mistakes can be fixed and are part of learning.
I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld is a beautifully illustrated wish for positivity and a concluding affirmation of love. A book to be read often and held in a special adult’s collection.
I would like to gift The Dot by Peter Reynolds to all of my art students, including you. Its message of validation for “trying” is so important for growing creatively. Read this and see the excellent presentation of this concept.
Amy Krose Rosenthal and her daughter Paris Rosenthal wrote Dear Girl toward the end of Amy’s terminal illness. It is a message of affirmation to all girls. I have given it to as many children as special ladies. Simply and beautifully written it is a reminder to all girls to be unique, creative, brave, and fully feel life.
Best baby books: Not For Boys Only
Cars and Trucks and Things That Go by Richard Scarry is filled with Scarry’s signature illustrations of all vehicles real and imaginary. This is the favorite book of many two-year-old boys (and my “go to” gift”). Hours and hours and tattered pages, great colors and tons of imagination, what else does a recommendation need?
Vehicle enthusiasts love the bedtime rhyme in Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld. It is filled with pictures of construction vehicles but seen at night. Parents will enjoy rereading this text as many times as asked.
Noises, truck and animal sounds fill Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle. Children learning to talk love to repeat. In addition, the illustrations are funny and it reminds us all about friendship and being nice.
Best baby books: Laughs to share
RRRALPH by Lois Ehlert is a humorous language play book. Again, Ehlert illustrates this book with bright colors, this time many found objects. (which would be interesting to identify with a little older child to inspire a craft project). The dog “talking” is a joke for listening children. Ralph appropriately uses his words including “RRalph” ,“roof ““bark”“rough” and ”wolf
The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry and The Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood has the beautiful Wood illustrations. This time, there is a dilemma and a twist for the reader to figure out. The vocabulary is particularly good in this book.
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler contains a lyrical rhyme written by former musician and playwright Julia Donaldson. This book also presents valuable lessons in bravery, an interesting way to solve a problem using great imagination. Hopefully, the reader will be “up for” great character voices.
The ability to rhyme and to find rhyme amusing is one of the ways to assess appropriate interactive language development at about age two. Rhyme engages a normal two-year old’s sense of humor and makes all of the Seuss books perfect for this age.
Fox in Socks by Dr Seuss is one of the best tongue-twisting rhymes in his collection and is much loved.
Why reading to children matters
Reading is also a great way for all adults including fathers, grandparents, and older siblings to bond with babies. Reading is so important for child development that thirty plus years ago, pediatricians in Boston started to prescribe books and reading aloud at their well visits. The Reach Out and Read Program continues today to give new, age-appropriate books at well child visits.
Read to from a young age, children develop improved language skills and increased interest in reading in study after study. When one starts to make reading part of a baby’s daily “reading” pictures for a few minutes at a time is often a way to start. Then adding f=gentle rhyme as a routine bedtime ritual and gradually extending to longer reading sessions following the child’s interest and attention span. All children love when the stories “come alive” with different voices for different characters and love to look at illustrations for particular characters.
Board books are important at about 6 months of age, when babies want handle their own books. Then books build motors skills. Six-month-olds learn by putting things in their mouths. Board books withstand occasional “tasting” plus they are constructed to for the open handed page swipe that a little one is capable of. Pincer grasp paper page turning by small fingers develops later. We learn to recognize sounds and letters.
- Reading teaches word sounds, vocabularies and naming.
- Stories can help with stress, sadness, anger and fear.
- Adventure books enlarge our world.
- Books build our friendships, our creativity and our imaginations.
Best books take us all away from screens.
Here are the AAP Recommendations For Media and Children by Age:
Younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting.
18 to 24 months of age: if parents want to introduce digital media they should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they’re seeing.
- For children ages 2 to 5 years, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them.
- For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health.
- Designate media-free times together, such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, such as bedrooms.
- Have ongoing communication about online citizenship and safety, including treating others with respect online and offline.
I have to end now. I am in the middle of a good book.