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10 Must Have Baby Books For The First Year

Reading to baby is highlighted as a key activity in almost every baby development book. But selecting the correct baby books can be an overwhelming task for parents. What topics should be covered? Which books are most developmentally appropriate? These are just a few thoughts that come to mind when researching baby books.

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Reading aloud promotes language development and early literacy skills. Books for babies especially young ones under the age of one should be:

  1. Short, babies are unable to sit for long durations with focus on one object. It’s better if the stories are short and captivating.
  2. Made with sturdier materials example board books, indestructible books that can be chewed on and soft cloth books so that baby can handle book on their own.
  3. Interactive, examples are flap books, touch and feel books, musical books.

The baby books listed here make a great first library. You may find it minimal in nature, but don’t worry the collection perfectly captures all the key learning concepts for this stage of development. You can add more books as baby grows into the toddler years.

Each book is unique in a way that it introduces baby to a new concept for example; numbers, ABC’s, names of foods, animals etc and gives them an interactive way to learn and grasp these concepts either through sensory based touch and feel or music.

baby books-first library

Baby Books For The First Year

  1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
    You can’t have a library of baby books without this classic. This is a great book to teach children about eating healthy and introduces them to different names of foods that they have likely just started eating too. My son was introduced to strawberries and oranges around the time we bought him this book. And even though he was only 8 months old he would squeal and point at the fruits on the page when he spotted them. The story is easy to read and narrate repeatedly to babies and they never tire of hearing it. I like that the board book has tiny holes in each fruit on the page that helps baby put their fingers in and experience touching the fruit and interacting with the book.
  2. Manhattan Toy Farmyard Friends Soft Activity Book
    This cloth book about farm animals and farm life has crinkly paper especially for babies to chew on. Four months of age is the perfect time to introduce this book. Every page has some touch and feel aspect for baby to explore, from crinkly cow ears to soft hay blocks. Makes a great addition to your tummy time routine.
  3. What The Ladybird Heard – Julia Donaldson
    A classic Julia Donaldson book about a ladybug who foils the plans of two robbers who want to steal the cow on the farm. Babies love the vivid colors and illustrations in this book. The repeated animal sounds help them pick up these words in a fun way. Another great point about the book is that it is adaptable to every stage of learning concepts from 0 months until 3 years of age.
  4. Indesructibles: Baby Faces 
    Indestructibles is a book series made especially for babies. They can mouth these books or use them roughly but the pages won’t tear off. The indestructible book on baby faces is a delightful book that shows baby faces and expressions for different daily situations. Babies love looking at these faces and also pick up some first words through this book. My son caught on to the word “Yum” from his copy of the book.
  5. When I Grow Up – Noella Menon
    Another great book by Little Latitude Publishing that teaches children the names of different animals and their babies. The illustrations in this book are beautiful, each page has lots of little objects to point and show to a baby.
  6. Cheep Cheep – Tulika Publishers
    Tulika publishers have a collection of board books for babies, and this one is a favorite in my house. Learning about sounds different animals and things make is a great concept to aid learning through associations. Best suited for infants 4 months to 12 months of age.
  7. VTech Musical Rhymes Book
    A musical book yes! Though it is not technically a book, more a book shaped toy that plays nursery rhymes but this one is a great way to get babies connected to music and learn rhymes too. The music is not too loud like similar toys in the market and is actually pleasing to the ear. Features classic nursery rhymes that entertain until the toddler years.
  8. Dr. Seuss’s ABC
    What a better way to teach babies ABC’s then with Dr. Seuss. A great introduction book to the series.
  9. Let’s Play Ice Skating – Campbell Books
    Similar to a busy book like concept Campbell Books makes a series of interactive books on various themes. Every page on this book has features built in to interact with the book. It helps to keep baby engaged as you get some work done on the side. My son spent hours each day flipping through every page over and over again, trying out each feature.
  10. Petter Rabbit Finger Puppet Book – Beatrix Potter
    Another family favorite of ours. This Peter Rabbit book teaches numbers and names of different animals. It comes with a built-in finger puppet of Peter Rabbit. You can use the puppet to weave your own stories at bedtime.

Baby Books Shelf

Those of you who follow me on Instagram have asked me about the bookshelf I use for my son’s reading corner. I bought ours from Hopscotch by a brand named KidKraft. Hopscotch stocks this baby books shelf from time to time, so keep an eye out for it. I found similar designs on Amazon too, Tot Tutors Book Rack.

Creating an environment that encourages reading from infancy impacts many aspects of development throughout childhood. It is amazing to watch how much our son has picked up from this first baby books collection.

If you are interested in learning more about toys that encourage a child’s early learning you can check these two posts:

The only toys you need for your toddler (1- 2 years)

The only toys you need for baby (0 – 1 year)

I hope you got some ideas from this list. Which books do your children love? More suggestions are always welcome.

18 thoughts on “10 Must Have Baby Books For The First Year”

    • Indestructible’s is my baby’s favorite. Fun-fact I was introduced to this concept by a fellow Youtube Mommy Vlogger. It’s amazing how mom recommendations work so well, experience does teach us 🙂

  1. This is a very useful list of books to buy or gif. ABC books were a favourite at home.Reading early to children can help a lot.

  2. We already have Eric carle and julia books and love reading them. Have been wanting to buy the books by Tulika publishers but looking at your post I shall get them soon

    • Tulika board books are appropriate for babies under 1, since your little one is already a little older I would now suggest some other books by Tulika like Ammachi’s glasses (word less book) and Dosa Amma (teaches numbers 1-5).

  3. I always love seeing the books that others have and love. My kiddos get stuck on one book for about a month and then onto another one for a month. I end up reading the book with a made up story to mix it up. Lol

  4. I have heard a lot about Julia and Dr.Seuss books but not sure why I haven’t got them yet. Definitely a great list there. Adding some books to the cart right away. 🙂


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