Holiday gift guide: Books for babies

Halloween has come and gone, which means Christmas is right around the corner—at least if you’re listening to radio commercials and shopping, um, anywhere. (I swear the Christmas displays were up before I could stalk the aisles for discounted Halloween candy.)

But with all the tasks I’m juggling, I’m a big fan of getting holiday shopping done early. You too? Well, good news: here’s our baby-tested holiday gift guide, books for babies edition.

The 10 best books for babies: This gift guide makes your Christmas shopping list easy for kids in the family! Ten Thousand Hour Mama

(This post contains affiliate links, which means clicking and buying gets me a few pennies.)

Why books for babies?

Some folks scratch their heads about buying books for babies. (“Do they know babies can’t, you know, read?” they whisper.)

But reading to babies encourages language skills, helps them learn patterns of speech and vocabulary, promotes bonding and even develops fine motor skills as they eventually lift flaps and grab at soft books. Plus, reading is fun. (Thank you, Mama Obvious!)

What’s more, your house—or your friends’ houses—are already overflowing with baby toys like poppers, stacking cups and bath squirters. And don’t even get me started on the onesies.

So chances are, kids and parents will appreciate a book instead of yet another plastic gizmo that you’ll accidentally-on-purpose run over with your car. Looking for books your nearest and dearest rugrats will love? Here’s our holiday gift guide with books for babies.

Holiday gift guide: Books for babies

  1. Reach, by Elizabeth Verdick. Babies seriously love to look at other babies, and this book is filled with close-ups of faces. The rhymes are so sweet that they get stuck in my head—and I don’t even mind. I can still recite the entire book from memory—that’s how many times we’ve read it ’round here.
  2. Skip Hop Explore and More Animal Matching Book. A book with a rattle handle? That’s something babies can get behind. This book is much more than a book with teethers, crinkly pages and tons of opportunities for sensory play.
  3. The Robot Book, by Heather Brown. Kiwi hasn’t taken to books as quickly as Peeper did—she was too busy trying to roll, crawl and now run a decathlon, apparently—but she can always be tempted toward the bookshelf by The Robot Book. She loves to twist the gears and open the flaps that make up the robot with a big heart. (Make sure you get the version that has moveable parts [ISBN 0740797255]. It’s more expensive, but worth it.)
  4. Hello Baby: Mirror Book, by Roger Priddy. Ok, so geometric shapes in white, black and red isn’t your idea of scintillating reading material, but babies go gaga over the high-contrast patterns. Decades of research show that infants’ eyes have a hard time perceiving more subtle colors, so books like this are perfect for their development.
  5. Baby Faces, by Margaret Miller. The close-up photos of babies in this oldie but goodie show a wide range of emotions. It’s never too early to help babies begin to name their feelings, from frustration to happiness.
  6. Dear Zoo, by Rod Campbell. There’s a reason this book has gone through almost 20,000 printings: It’s simple enough for babies with an attention span of a gnat, it has flaps that reveal sweetly illustrated animals and it has a twist at the end parents will appreciate. I also like that the flaps are built into the page, which makes them sturdy. Muscle kid Kiwi has yet to tear one off.
  7. Moo Ba La La La, by Sandra Boynton. Sandra is on a first-name basis with my kids—we adore her in this house—and Moo Ba La La La is my favorite from this very prolific writer. It’s perfect for littles who are still learning animal sounds. Pretty soon, your baby will be able to answer when you say, “The sheep says…”
  8. Tails, by Matthew Van Fleet. Babies love exploring the different textures of this fun book all about tails. From sparkly peacock tails to bumpy pangolin ones (wait, what’s a pangolin?…), there’s plenty to entertain easily distracted kiddos.
  9. Indestructibles: Old MacDonald Had a Farm, by Jonas Sickler. Whoever thought to make books that are safe to chew (and throw in the dishwasher even!) is a genius. Babies can safely nom/read to their heart’s content! I particularly like this one because it’s singable.
  10. On My Beach, by Sara Gillingham. This finger puppet book follows a cheerful crab as it moves from habitat to habitat on the beach. Kids love playing with the puppet as you turn the pages and poking their hands through the holes in the board book.

What baby books do you buy for children on your shopping list?

13 thoughts on “Holiday gift guide: Books for babies

  • November 21, 2016 at 9:55 am
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    I’m a big believer in giving the small humans – and big ones too – books as a gift. Thanks for the inside scoop on what’s hot these days.

    Have a very happy Thanksgiving.

    Reply
  • November 21, 2016 at 10:33 am
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    At not even 3 months yet my niece is a bit young to be looking much at the books but these are great ideas for when she’s a bit older and can finally hold her head up! Until then, I’m still big into books as gifts to read to her while she demands to be held

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    • November 22, 2016 at 8:17 pm
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      You’re such a thoughtful auntie! Even 3-month-olds often like to look at the high contrast black and white books – even if they’re not ready for something like War and Peace. 😉

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  • November 21, 2016 at 4:09 pm
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    I tried to buy some books for a 1-year-old’s birthday a couple months ago and was so overwhelmed by how many there are, and hard to tell which ones are good! I’ll have to remember you as a good resource next time!

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    • November 22, 2016 at 8:16 pm
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      I feel you! It can be a maze in the book store unless you have an idea of what you want.

      Reply
  • November 21, 2016 at 5:01 pm
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    I’m a new aunt and need to send my little niece a present, so these are such great suggestions! I really love the Tails book. That might have to be the winner. Thanks for making my life a little easier 🙂

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    • November 22, 2016 at 8:14 pm
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      Absolutely – happy to help, Erin! Tails really is a fun one.

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  • November 21, 2016 at 5:03 pm
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    yes! reading aloud to babies is so good for their development! my favorite book for babies is extra yarn by mac barnett. it’s so cute and fun to read for adults too 🙂

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    • November 22, 2016 at 8:15 pm
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      I’ve never heard of Extra Yarn – I’m going to have to check it out. Thanks, Mel!

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    • November 22, 2016 at 8:12 pm
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      Me, too! I love giving (and, ah, getting) books as gifts. Bonus: You can mail them media mail if you finish your holiday shopping early enough and avoid paying a zillion dollars in shipping.

      Reply
  • December 2, 2016 at 5:28 pm
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    Great book list, we have most all of them! Indestructibles are fantastic 👍🏻!

    Reply

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