It took about three seconds of being pregnant to realize the world of all things baby had an immediate ability to be incredibly overwhelming (and paralyzing). Small decisions suddenly felt like BIG decisions; I’m pretty sure I spent way too much time walking around wondering if whether or not my baby slept on organic sheets was going to determine their eligibility for college someday (psst – it won’t). I got over it eventually, as I believe (and hope) most mamas do. Parenthood is quick to show you that you aren’t really in charge of much.
If there was (and is) one place where making decisions about baby purchases felt easy, it was with books. I quickly fell into the camp of parents who believe reading to your children (a lot) matters and I happily began purchasing or requesting all the books in the hopes of raising readers.
After reading my way through the first 18 months of two little lives, I have found that both my girls and I have developed some favorites. These titles will likely be well loved by your littles (or other littles you love) as well.
12 BOARD BOOKS YOUR WHOLE FAMILY WILL LOVE
I Love You Through and Through: I actually had never heard of this book until it was gifted to my first daughter. It marches its way through a child’s body, which is a favorite feature for me when littles are in that sweet stage of learning where their fingers and their toes are.
On the Night You Were Born: You’re probably going to find this book on a lot of “bests” lists and there is a good reason for it. Three years later, I continue to tear up every time I read it. The artwork is also gorgeous – I frequently think that I should find prints and hang them in the girls’ spaces. Nancy Tillman has multiple books, and really, every single one of them that I’ve had the privilege of reading is absolutely beautiful.
Steam Train, Dream Train: This book brought so much joy to my oldest so quickly. The story rhymes, which is another favorite feature for me, especially in the earlier months. It also touches on colors, which I appreciate as those early months are also spent learning those.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Another classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar has great art and a sweet story. My little girls always love the interior pages, as they are easy for little fingers to turn (points for the development of fine motor skills!).
Giraffes Can’t Dance: There’s a reason this is a favorite of many. The message is important (and it rhymes), the art is colorful and engaging, and there’s something about Gerald that is just so endearing that you can’t help but cheer for him. If your family occasionally acts out books like ours does, this one is a winner.
Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?: I initially thought everyone loved Dr. Seuss, until Jenn informed me that she does not. What? While I don’t know that you need to own every single one of his books (because good Lord, there are so many), we’ve loved this one, as there’s plenty of opportunity for learning and repeating words.
Snuggle Puppy: It quickly became clear that my husband couldn’t resist a good sing-a-long book. I think it’s true to say that we love all of Sandra Boynton’s books, but this one burrowed into all of our hearts instantly and we now sing it nearly every night as part of our bedtime routine.
Little Blue Truck: This one likely comes as no surprise either. But, much like Giraffes Can’t Dance, it’s just hard to not love this book. If your family gets the sweet privilege of reading together, this one is so much fun for parents to read together, as there are just so many voices and sounds the reader(s) can share.
10 Little Fingers, 10 Little Toes: We didn’t hear about this book until Quinn was born, but I’m so glad we did. It’s never too early to teach your little one that though we may look different, there’s much more about us that is the same. I love the premise of the book, that regardless of what a baby looks like, they’ve all got 10 sweet fingers and toes.
From Head to Toe: Though Eric Carle is perhaps better known for The Very Hungry Caterpillar or Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, we have loved this book. The artwork, as always, is exceptional, and the story is extremely interactive, including body parts, colors, and exercises with language. Both my three year old and my 17 month old equally love this book.
Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me: This book will always hold a sweet place in our heart, as we used it to announce our first pregnancy. It’s been fun to watch both my girls love it – their tiny fingers love the foldouts and flaps that they can turn and open on their own.
An Alphabet: Jeffer’s art is a favorite of everyone in our family. It is simple, clean, colorful, and a bit unexpected. While an ABC book usually feels a little bit “been there, done that,” we loved this one right away for it’s quirky take on the oft-done ABCs.
What are we missing? Let us know! We are always okay with new books around here.
I’m pretty sure that there is NOTHING sweeter than catching your little one reading to themselves or to a sibling, cousin, or friend. I’m also pretty sure that one of the greatest gifts you can give your little would be teaching them to love getting lost in the pages of a good book.