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Best Baby Books in 2021

Updated 17-01-2021 – Lucy Walters

Books are one of the best ways to help your little learner discover new words and worlds within their reach. Reading interactive books with toddlers gives them a sense of leadership and independence while reading sweet family-centred narratives allows them to feel accepted, cherished, and unique.

Introducing a world of discovery to your child can be made easier with books that offer them the chance to flip through short, vibrant stories with bright illustrations and loud language. And as a parent, reading books to your child starting at a young age can make it easier on you in the future: certain styles of books can improve your baby’s sensorimotor, pronunciation, and communication skills.

Reading with your child is also a great way to bond with them and equip them with what they need to grow and develop into intelligent and responsive individuals. Plus, as a bonus, many of the children’s books included in our list are just silly enough to have the whole family giggling.

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Things to Consider When Picking a Baby Book:

Newborns:

  • Your newborn’s vision is still developing, so high-contrast, bold images appeal to them the most. 

 

Older babies over six months:

  • Your baby will be getting curious by this stage. She would want to touch the book, maybe even bite on them or toss them around. Sturdy, curved-edge board books are the best for this age group. 
  • You also want to choose activity books that they can touch and feel to allow them sensory exploration.

 

Over 1s yet under 2s:

  • Enhance their object recognition skills by going for picture books with a lot of interactivity (think pop-ups, flipbooks, puppet books, etc.). 
  • It is also the best time to start introducing them to colours, numbers, and letters through large picture books.

Listed below are our pick of the ten best baby books to help boost your little one’s love of reading, learning and the world around them!

ProductBest forRatings
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Best Pick.10
TouchThinkLearn: ABC
TouchThinkLearn ABC
Premium Pick.9
Happy Baby: Colors
Happy Baby Colors
Value Pick.9
Black & White
Black & White
Best for younger babies.9
Where is Baby's Belly Button?
Where is Baby's Belly Button
Best for interactive learning.9
The Going To Bed Book
The Going to Bed Book
Best for bedtime reading.9
Made for Me
Made for Me
Best for daddy and baby.9
I'm a Big Sister /I'm a Big Brother
I'm a Big Sister I'm a Big Brother
Best for older siblings.9
I Love You, Grandma
I Love You, Grandma
Best for nana time.9
I've Loved You Since Forever
I've Loved You Since Forever
Best for explaining adoption.9

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

1 The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Best Pick

Publisher’s recommended age: 3 to 5 years.

Versions available: Board book, paperback, Kindle Edition, Rag Book, Audio CD.

A classic, interactive picture book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is perfect for teaching children colours, numbers, and the names of foods and fruits! 

Children have so much fun examining the book’s beautiful illustrations as they follow the very hungry caterpillar’s journey through chocolate cake, ice-cream cones, lollipops and cupcakes that they don’t even notice that they’re learning the names of some of their favourite foods and even the days of the week! 

They’ll also be surprised by the book’s ending when the insatiably hungry caterpillar finally transforms into a beautiful butterfly! When your baby has some free time let him play with some space toys or castle toys.

TouchThinkLearn ABC

2 TouchThinkLearn: ABC

Premium Pick

Publisher’s recommended age: 3 years and under.

Versions available: Board book.

Studies show that engaging in sensory play develops the nerve connections in your baby’s brain pathways. This process leads them to learn the ability to do complex learning tasks. Also, sensory play has been found to help aid language development and fine and gross motor skills.

For this reason,  Xavier Deneux’s TouchThinkLearn: ABC is our premium pick on this list. This book is a haven for sensory enrichment. While learning the alphabet, your child will also develop their vocabulary thanks to Deneux’s elaborate letter and word associations and the vivid illustrations contained throughout the book.

Moreover, TouchThinkLearn: ABC features embossed page features and raised letters so that your child can trace and learn the shapes of letters as they read! This is more than your typical ABC learning experience, Xavier Deneux’s TouchThinkLearn: ABC is an experience you can feel.

Happy Baby Colors

3 Happy Baby: Colors

Value Pick

Publisher’s recommended age: 1 to 2 years.

Versions available: Board book, Kindle edition.

Happy Baby is a series of board books by Roger Priddy that explore the worlds of animals, colours, machines, and more. Featuring simple text paired with photos of familiar objects, this easy reader encourages children to flip through on their own and begin placing words with objects. 

The Happy Baby: Colors edition presents photographic images labelled in simple text, making it the perfect introductory book. The colours edition introduces a wide array of things that your baby encounters daily as well as some colourful animals. 

With bright colours and soft covers, these books are perfect in their hands, and they can start getting to know the world around them in a safe and unmediated way.

Black & White

4 Black & White

Best for younger babies

Publisher’s recommended age: Newborn and up.

Versions available: Board book.

Baby’s don’t instantly see as clearly as we do. This is why black and white books are great for young babies – because black, grey, and white are the first colours that they see. To help improve their visual focus, choose books with bold patterns and contrasting images for your little ones.

Black & White is an accordion book by acclaimed photographer Tana Hoban that features a simple concept: it is made up of several high-contrast black, and white images meant to stimulate your baby’s retina and optic nerve. 

With photographs of everyday items from your household and beyond, like chairs, spoons and leaves, Black & White makes for a simple sensory experience for babies and children that will stimulate their developing sense of sight and their curiosity about the world around them. When reading in the sunlight make sure your baby is wearing suncream.

Where is Baby's Belly Button

5 Where is Baby’s Belly Button?

Best for interactive learning

Publisher’s recommended age: 1 to 4 years.

Versions available: Board book.

One of the most exciting interactive children’s books is Where is Baby’s Belly Button? by Karen Katz. Short yet sweet, this board book offers your child the chance to get up close and personal with recognizing patterns and body parts. Yourself and your baby will have tons of fun playing peekaboo with this playful book.

The text is written in a simple question and answer format to help your child identify patterns of speech and conversation. More than that, it gives them a chance to act out the cuteness of the book with you later when you ask, “Where is my baby’s belly button?”

The Going to Bed Book

6 The Going to Bed Book

Best for bedtime reading

Publisher’s recommended age: 2 years and up.

Versions available: Hardcover and Kindle edition.

This silly children’s classic by Sandra Boynton about, well, going to bed, features everything children (and parents) could want in a bedtime story! Boynton’s funny rhymes about a group of animals brushing their teeth and looking for the perfect pyjamas pairs perfectly with the book’s nonsensical illustrations.

That said, Going to Bed will have children giggling and adults happy to have found the ideal book to read their children as they “rock and rock and rock” them to sleep. It’s the perfect book to tuck your little ones to sleep and to wind up an undoubtedly energetic day.

Made for Me

7 Made for Me

Best for daddy and baby

Publisher’s recommended age: 3 to 5 years.

Versions available: Hardcover.

Father’s are often overlooked when illustrating the joys and wonders of parenthood. This book does exactly the opposite of that. Made for Me by Zack Bush is a heart-felt ode from dad. It perfectly depicts the joys of parenting – from the father’s perspective. 

The nurturing words spoken by the father in this book elevate the powerful bond shared between him and his child, which makes this book a warm story for a child to hear. 

The illustrations picture a hulking yet sensitive father figure in contrast to his wild, young baby, all the while teaching the importance of fatherly love, compassion, and protection. Made for Me uses a classic rhyme pattern to gently remind your child how quality time with dad is a cherished thing.

I'm a Big Sister I'm a Big Brother

8 I’m a Big Sister / I’m a Big Brother

Best for older siblings

Publisher’s recommended age: 4 to 8 years.

Versions available: Hardcover and Kindle edition.

If you’ve already got kids and have another little one on the way, grabe one of these sibling books as soon as you can.

Joanna Cole has written two beautiful books from the perspective of an older sibling: I’m a Big Sister, and I’m a Big Brother. These two not only give your child a sense of purpose in the life of their new baby brother or sister but also teach them appropriate ways to interact with newborn babies. 

They use gentle, short sentences to describe how the older sibling in the book understands the baby’s crying and even teaches your child how to help with caring for the baby. Plus, if your child is having trouble adjusting to the presence of a new baby, this book ends with explaining how much more fun it is to be big than to be little. 

The big sibling discovers that unlike their younger sibling, they can enjoy walking, playing, and especially eating pizza and ice cream!

I Love You, Grandma

9 I Love You, Grandma

Best for nana time

Publisher’s recommended age: 2 to 5 years.

Versions available: Board book.

I Love You, Grandma by Jillian Harker follows a curious little bear and his grandma as they search for food. Baby bear asks grandma questions like, “why is my nose so big?” and, “why are my claws so sharp?” Luckily, Grandma bear has all the answers – she too was a curious bear when she was a baby. 

Across their journey and the whole of I Love You, Grandma, a beautiful multigenerational bond is established between the two bears – the same that exists between grandmothers and grandchildren reading this book. 

This book beautifully portrays the special connection between the grandparent and a child, which is why it is our pick for the best book to read with nan – or pops.

I've Loved You Since Forever

10 I’ve Loved You Since Forever

Best for explaining adoption

Publisher’s recommended age: 4 to 8 years.

Versions available: Board book, Kindle edition, Audiobook.

Hoda Kotb’s I’ve Loved You Since Forever is a celebration of love and of family – no matter how these families came to be. Inspired by Kotb’s adoption of a baby girl in 2017, I’ve Loved You Since Forever explains that it is possible to have loved someone before “sun rose in the sky,” “monkeys swung on trees,” or before they’ve come into your life at all. 

Kotb’s book explains adoption and love in a short, sweet and simple way that makes I’ve Loved You appealing to children and adults alike.

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