Best books for newborns – yes, you can read to your newborn baby!
A well-stocked library for your baby is a gift that keeps on giving. Reading out loud to your baby, even as a newborn, contributes to their learning and development in many ways. Besides benefits for your baby, the time you spend snuggled up with a sweet book and your babe is one of the most precious parts of parenting.
With literally thousands of children’s books available, how do you decide which ones to buy? While it is hard to narrow it down, we’ve put together a collection of 10 of our favorite board books for newborns. But don’t just take our word for it…these books are some of the highest selling children’s books on Amazon.
So grab a cozy blanket and get your best character voices ready…here are the ten baby books you’ll want to have in your nursery library.
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TL:DR (too long, didn’t read)
Short on time? If you’re looking for a great first book for a newborn, you can’t go wrong with one of the Indestructibles – we like Hello, Farm! You can check it out here on Amazon.
The Top 10 Books for Newborns
There is good reason that this book has remained a top seller for over 45 years. Your newborn will love the quiet and soothing repetition of the words, and as they get older they will love to look for the pictures that match what you are reading. The illustrations inside the pages of Goodnight Moon are colorful and simple. Little touches like the mouse you can find on every page make it enjoyable for little and bigger kids. This classic board book will survive rough hands and slobbery exploration and become the book your kids remember from their childhood.
This book is full of high-contrast black, white and red images that will keep your baby’s interest. Look, Look! is a high quality board book written and illustrated by Peter Linenthal, an author and illustrator that taught art in elementary schools for almost 30 years. Your newborn will love looking at the images in this book including flowers, the sun, smiling children and a car.
Welcome Little One is the perfect combination of vivid illustrations and sweet poetry. Written as a “love letter” to your child, this book has space for you to record information about your new babe. It is a cloth book, which makes it safe and easy for baby to hold by themselves as well as long lasting and easy to clean. It is an adorable book that your family will treasure.
The Lamaze Peek-A-Boo Forest book is an interactive cloth lift-the-flap experience your baby will love. Filled with colorful animal illustrations and some “crinkly” pages for baby’s squishing pleasure, this book is full of sweet and educational rhymes about animals. The storyline and pictures means this baby book will keep interest even as your child grows.
This set of four fabric books have a lot of sensory features that are great for newborns. They are made from soft fabric, with crinkly pages that will help baby learn cause and effect. The books also contain squeakers and have tabs on the outside that your baby will enjoy touching, tugging and chewing. These simple books aren’t literary masterpieces, but your baby will enjoy the colors and cute animal pictures.
The Black & White Board Book has high contrast illustrations in an accordion style fold-out book. This type of book is wonderful to set up on the floor near newborns to give them visual stimulation and help with brain development. This book is excellent for newborns and young babies learning to speak, but won’t be of interest to older babies.
It’s no secret that faces are one of your babies’ favorite things to look at. This board book uses high-contrasting colors to illustrate the faces and emotions of the people in your baby’s life. You can explore the faces of boy, girl, mom, dad, grandma and grandpa as well as happy and sad faces. Hello Baby: Faces is written and illustrated by the popular author Roger Priddy and is perfect for younger babies up to 12 months.
Hello Baby Animals is a high-contast baby book with adorable illustrations and sweet text. This board book uses contrasting color along with bold patterns to grab and keep your newborn’s attention. At 6” x 6” Hello, Baby Animals is also small enough for babies to safely hold from an early age.
Filled with gorgeous full color photographs of animals, Baby Touch and Feel Animals by DK is a fun way for baby to see and learn about different critters. The book goes beyond visual stimulation by adding textural elements to every page so your baby can “feel” the animals as he or she learns about them. My kids loved their touch and feel books far beyond their baby years.
The makers of this book say it is constructed for the “way babies read: with their hands and mouth.” Made of a lightweight paper-like material, these non-traditional baby books are impossible to rip AND dishwasher safe! The illustrations are adorable and colorful and this will be a fun read with your little one.
The Different Types of Books Suitable for Newborns
There are so many different options when it comes to books for newborns. As you begin your baby’s library, try one of each kind so you can learn what your family enjoys the most. Here are some different types of baby books that are available.
- Fabric: Many newborn books are made out of fabric. This is a great option for babies because the books are light, baby can hold them from an earlier age, they are long-lasting AND they are washable. Whether they are covered in spit-up or germs from an airplane, fabric baby books can be tossed in the washing machine and used over and over. Some fabric books combine sensory elements like crinkle paper within the pages, so your baby is sure to love them as they get older and want to explore.
- Board Book: This type of baby book was created to keep books safe from the reckless exploration of baby hands. Made of thicker cardboard, they are durable but NOT indestructible.
- Paper-like Fabric: A sort of hybrid between paper and fabric, these newcomers to newborn books are light, indestructible and washable. They are worth a try in your baby library.
- Bath books: Although they are specified for use at bath time, these plastic/fabric books work any time of day. They are squishy, soft and can withstand bathwater and/or slobber.
- Black and White: A large number of newborn books are illustrated with high-contrast black and white colors. A newborn’s vision is still blurry, and black and white images are easier for them to see and focus on.
- Fold-Out Book: Accordion books are excellent for tummy-time or use while you are changing your baby’s diaper. They can be folded-out into one long display of pages.
- Lift the Flap Books: This type of book is typically for babies around one-year-old who have the fine motor skills needed to lift a flap to reveal a hidden image or word. However, even if your baby is younger, they will still enjoy mom or dad showing them the picture under the flap and it’s a great type of book for them to grow into.
- Touch and Feel Books: Baby books with fabric or textures on each page are a fun way to engage more of your baby’s senses while reading.
When To Start Reading With Your Newborn and Tips on Making Reading Time Fun
Reading to your newborn baby might feel awkward at first. Not only is it hard to hold a new baby plus a book, you might feel like they aren’t getting anything out of it. However, carving out time to read with your newborn every day will benefit them for life.
It helps to decide on a consistent time of day to incorporate reading into your routine. You could read before naptime, at bedtime, after baby wakes up from their first nap or have one partner read to baby while the other fixes dinner. Setting up an established reading time will make it a part of your routine that everyone will look forward to.
Some other tips to make reading time with your newborn fun:
- Get comfortable: Babies thrive on the familiar. Choosing a comfortable place where you can both enjoy your reading session is key to making this a lasting tradition. You might read cuddled up on mom and dad’s bed, in a rocking chair or outside under a tree. Find several comfy places where you can head to for reading time.
- Use voices: Your baby will love hearing variation in your voice when daddy bear’s porridge is too hot and baby bear’s porridge is just right. Don’t be afraid to do all the voices…your children will love seeing mom or dad being silly.
- Vary how you explore books: One of the best parts of reading is that you can do it any way you like. If you aren’t feeling the storyline one day, make up your own story, or point out the illustrations and patterns. Especially when it comes to newborns, the most important aspects of “reading” are your baby hearing language, viewing pictures and bonding with you.
- Don’t set a timer: Some days reading time will last a few minutes, other days it will last a lot longer. Don’t stress about how much time you are spending reading each day, just make it a habit to read at least a little bit every day.
- Choose your favorites: Reading the books you treasured as a child is a wonderful way to make reading time fun with your newborn. Ask your parents and in-laws which books you and your partner enjoyed and add some to your own baby library.
6 Benefits Of Reading Books to Your Newborn Baby
Why should you read to your newborn? Does it REALLY make a difference? The answer is yes, yes and MORE YES. Here are some of the benefits of reading books with your newborn.
- Helps them transition to different activities: The soothing sound of mom or dad’s voice in a familiar and comfortable spot can help your baby recognize transitions. Having an expected transition can calm your baby down and help them move from one activity to the next more easily.
- Develops language skills: One of the most important things parents can do for their baby is to talk to them early and often. Reading is one more way for your baby to hear language which helps them as their brain develops language skills.
- Develops listening skills: As your baby gets older and more interactive, reading can help your baby learn to listen and respond to questions.
- Exposes them to other cultures/experiences: Reading books from different countries can help your child recognize the beautiful differences that are found throughout the world.
- Strengthens bonds: Reading with your child will continue to strengthen your bond as you hold them close and read to them.
- Makes reading a positive experience: Many studies have shown that a love of reading gives children a huge advantage educationally. By making reading enjoyable when they are young, it will become a desirable constant in their lives.
The Final Word
You will never regret the time you spend reading to your newborn. Will it feel silly? Sometimes! Is it hard to fit into your schedule? Often! But reading with your baby daily will benefit them in many ways and start them down a lifelong road to a beautiful relationship with books.
Any of the books for newborns we mentioned in this article will be a wonderful addition to your newborn book library. By choosing a variety of newborn books including a bright and durable book like Indestructibles: Hello, Farm!, a charming classic like Goodnight, Moon, and a high-contrast book to hold their interest like Hello, Baby Animals you will be well on your way to a well stocked library that your family will enjoy.