High Contrast Books (Black & White) (< 6months)

High contrast black & white (& red) books are ideal for young infants since they get their attention. Infants’ vision is not fully developed in the first months, and they prefer to look at images that show bold color contrasts with sharp, clear contours.

  • Look, Look! (board book), Peter Linenthal
  • Hello, Bugs! Smitri Prasadam, Emily Bolam
  • Hello, Animals! Smitri Prasadam, Emily Bolam
  • I kissed the Baby!, Mary Murphy
  • White on Black (white shapes on black background), Tana Hoban
  • Black on White (black shapes on white background), Tana Hoban
  • Black & White, Tana Hoban

Babies – Faces (from infants and up)

Babies are really interested in faces, especially those of other babies and familiar people. Ideally, select books that show one face per page with the face looking directly at you/the baby, at least in the early months. Big, bold and clear photographs where the features of the face are easily visible are best since they grab the baby’s attention. Regardless of the text, just point and label the various facial features – eyes, nose, mouth, … and as you do so, also touch the babies corresponding features. He’ll love your touch and voice.

  • Baby Faces, DK Publishing
  • Baby Faces Board Book, Smile!, Roberta Grobel Intrater
  • I love colors ( big baby pictures that can later be used for learning color words), Margaret Miller
  • Peekaboo Baby (ideal when the baby is interested in playing peek-a-boo; you can read the book and imitate with your baby what’s happening), Margaret Miller
  • What’s on my head? (Look! Baby books; shows baby with something on his head – Make a game out of this and put a toy doggy on the baby’s head, for example), Margaret Miller
  • Baby Faces (showing different expressions), Margaret Miller
  • Indestructibles: Baby Faces (drawings of baby faces with different expressions), Amy Pixton, Kate Merritt

Cloth Books (from infants and up)

Cloth books are a good introduction for your baby to learn to turn pages. Also, if you get soft ones, this may calm your baby down and he’ll have an enjoyable tactile experience, as well. Cloth books with different textures encourage the baby to develop sensory awareness. Again, look out for books with big, clear illustrations, and bright colors.

  • Touch and Feel Cloth Book Series: Fluffy Chick and Friends, Fuzzy Bee and Friends, and others), Roger Priddy
  • Good night, Teddy, Francesca Ferri (the teddy can be taken out and inserted into every new picture)
  • Lamaze Cloth Book, Peek-a-boo Forest, Tomy
  • Lamaze Cloth Book, How do I feel?, Tomy
  • Squishy turtle and friends, Huggy Pup Album, KF baby
  • Little Monkey; Little Panda (of the Little green books series), Kimberly Ainsworth, Michelle Berg
  • My First Taggies Book Series (I Love you, and others), Kaori Watanabe

Touch & Feel Books (from infants and up)

Select touch & feel books to encourage your baby’s exploration. These books invite your baby to reach out, touch, and feel things. Different textures allow the baby to make enriching, enjoyable tactile experiences. Again, choose books with big, clear illustrations showing one animal or object of a kind on the page, and books that have large areas for your child to feel the various textures. Some books will have better textures than others. Having one object of one kind per page fosters early word learning. As your baby touches the picture, label it. The more babies hear the label in these joint attention settings, the more easily they will recognize it and eventually understand it.

  • Pat the Bunny (an interactive book that gets the baby’s tactile senses going), Dorothy Kunhardt
  • Touch and Feel Series (Baby Animals, Kitten, Puppy, Pets Farm and others), DK Publishing (ideal for early word learning)
  • Funny Faces: Millie Cow (Rocky Dog, Chirpy Chick, and others), Roger Priddy
  • That’s not my Teddy (Puppy, Monkey and others; great books for different textures – ideal later on for learning about different adjectives, such as hairy, fluffy, and more ), Fiona Watt, Rachel Wells
  • Touch & Feel: Clothes, Home, and others (good for early word learning), DK Publishing

Lift-the-flap books & Find the … (from 6 months and up)

Lift-the-flap and find books encourage the baby’s exploration and make reading naturally interactive. Some time around 8 months, babies develop a skill called ‘object permanence’: They realize that things haven’t vanished even when they are no longer visible. Your baby will start searching for things more and more. These kinds of books feed into the baby’s developing cognitive skill, foster fine-motor skills while she can also learn about objects and their names. Lift-the-flap books are great for word learning since you can name the object as you lift-the- flap, and it’s this perfect timing that fosters word learning. At first, lift-the-flaps with your baby, so she knows how the book works, and then she’ll enjoy taking over. Create suspense, act excitedly as you lift the flap to make reading fun. Babies love predictability, and these books allow you to create a predictable structure when reading, saying for example, peek-a-boo, when you lift-the-flap and then only you make the object appear.

  • Where’s Baby’s Belly Button (learn about body parts; link it to your baby’s and your parts – Where are your eyes?, … ), Karen Katz
  • Where’s the Cat? Stella Blackstone, Debbie Harter
  • Peekaboo Series (Farm Time, Bedtime, and others), Karen Katz
  • Dear Zoo (animals are hidden behind the flaps; animal names; text is also appropriate > age 2 since it has a nice little story), Rod Campbell
  • Peek-a-who (includes rhymes, simple text and predictable structure), Nina Laden
  • Do cows meow? (about animal and the sounds they make), Salina Yoon
  • Who’s at home? (about animals – more advanced names )

Going to bed books

Include books that deal with going to bed, and falling asleep routines. The baby learns that we all go to bed, and so reading a going to bed book is ideal when bedtime comes around. Keep the story structure simple at first, and once your child’s language skills are more advanced, introduce books with a more complex story line. From Infants and Up

  • Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown
  • The Going to Bed Book, Sandra Boynton
  • Sleep, baby faces, Roberta Grobel Intrater
  • Time for Bed (repetitive, simple text with simple rhymes), Mem Fox
  • Good night, Spot, Eric Hill
  • Ibaby: Goodnight, Baby. (interactive book where the babies are put into the bed of their mommies), Ana Martin Larranaga

Older than 2 years (these books have a more complex story-line)

  • Good night, Good night Construction Site! (book with rhymes, and for any reader who loves machinery and wants to put it to sleep), Sherri Duskey Rinker, Tom Lichtenfeld
  • Good Night Gorilla (story line: gorilla gets zoo keeper’s key and lets the animals out – great pictures), Peggy Rathman
  • Pajama Time (simple structure; colors and other adjectives, clothes names, clear illustrations), Sandra Boynton
  • Llama, llama, red pajama (story about a llama who has a hard time falling asleep, includes rhyming as well), Anna Dewdney
  • Sweet dreams, Maisy, Lucy Cousins

Early Word Learning – First Words for Objects, Sounds & Actions

These books encourage the caregiver to point to and label the objects shown, or imitate the actions demonstrated. At first, use books that show one single, familiar object on a page. This way the baby hears the corresponding word just AS you point to the object or action. This perfect timing allows the baby to more easily make the right connection between the word and its object which fosters word learning.

  • Touch & Feel books (Farm, and others ), DK Publishing
  • First Words (Touch & Feel, textures are not always clear but great first words book since there is only one object per page), DK Publishing
  • Hugs & Kisses (book about actions you can do with your baby – ideal to imitate simple actions shown in the book), Roberta Grobel Intrater
  • Where’s my fuzzy blanket? (lift-the-flap book, clear illustrations and simple story line with a kitty looking for her blanket; understanding of where questions), Noelle Carter
  • Baby Food (Look! Baby Books; the book includes photographs of baby faces, each with an object the child is familiar with), Margaret Miller
  • Pat the Bunny, (touch & feel; simple action words for imitations), Dorothy Kunhardt
  • Are you a cow? (interactive, repetitive structure that encourages answers from the child, engages the baby), Sandra Boynton
  • Animals Talk (about animals and their sounds; one illustration per page), Emily Bolam
  • Where’s the baby’s mommy? (a baby looks for his mommy; ideal to extend into real-life hide& seek play), Karen Katz
  • Who Said Moo?, Harriet Ziefert & Simms Taback
  • What do you say?, Mandy Stanley
  • My First Animal Book, DK Publishing
  • Animals (Touch & Feel book; animals & sounds), DK Publishing
  • Open the Barn door (chunky flap board book), Christopher Santoro
  • Peek-a-who, Nina Laden
  • Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You: Dr. Seuss’ Book of Wonderful Noises, (there are all kinds of noises which will be fun to imitate), Dr. Seuss
  • Moo BAA La La La , Sandra Boynton
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? (includes color words), Bill Martin Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do you hear?, Bill Martin
  • I like it when … (a small & pig penguin doing things together – great for learning action words), Mary Murphy
  • From Head to Toe, (great for imitating actions, learning action words and eliciting responses), Eric Carle
  • Farm Peekaboo (touch & feel, lift-the-flap book), DK Publishing
  • I see me: Mirror Board Book (simple actions – suited for imitation), Julie Aigner Clark, Nadeem Zaidi
  • Toes, Ears, & Nose (lift-the-flap book; encourages learning of body parts), Marion Dane Bauer, Karen Katz
  • Belly Button Book! (includes rhymes), Sandra Boynton
  • Things that go (introduces all kinds of vehicles; cars, boats, … ), DK publishing
  • Do Crocs Kiss? (animal names, their sounds and yes/no answers) Salina Yoon
  • Open the barn door (lift-the-flap book, small book, about animals and their sounds), Christopher Santoro
  • Where is Maisy? (lift-the-flap book; learning about where-questions; question-answer structure; simple, repetitive predictable structure), Lucy Cousins
  • Where’s Spot (Lift-the-flap book – lots of animals and objects to talk about, large flaps, simple illustrations; simple story line), Eric Hill
  • Find the Puppy (Kitten, Teddy, and others; (simple story line, clear illustrations), Stephen Cartwright
  • Where are Maisy’s friends? (lift-the-flap book; animal names, prepositions), Lucy Cousins
  • Tubby (Baby bath time; great illustrations, simple text – easy to follow), Leslie Patricelli

Bath Books (are waterproof and float)

  • Barn Yard Bath, Sandra Boynton
  • Barnyard Dance, Sandra Boynton
  • Bath Time, Sandra Boynton

Finger Puppet Books

Young children love finger puppets, so including books that come with finger puppets make for an enjoyable play and reading time. To make the most of these books, bring the puppets to life: Move the puppet around, have them act and interact with the child, give each puppet a different voice, … Encourage your child engage with the puppet and never leave her alone with the puppet.

  • Little Finger Puppet Board Books: Little Giraffe )Little Puppy, Little Shark, and others), Image Books
  • Finger Puppet Book Series (Little Snowman, Little Kitten, and others), (great illustrations, peek-a-boo holes), Chronicle Books

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