Essential Board Books for Your Baby's Library

Learn how to get your little one engaged with books from the start, and how to grow a home library.
By Jodie Rodriguez
Feb 01, 2018



Essential Board Books for Your Baby's Library

Feb 01, 2018

Last weekend I attended a baby shower where the hostess asked everyone to bring a book, in lieu of a card, in order to start her baby's library. I'm all for giving books, so this challenge was right up my alley! And, it got me thinking about those essential board books that should be included in a baby's first library.

A well-stocked library is a great beginning for your baby's early literacy learning. Here are four kinds of books to include, and practical tips for using those books.

1. Basic Concepts Books

Try these board books for introducing basic learning concepts and developing language.


Chicka Chicka ABC by Bill Martin Jr. is a shortened version of the classic Chicka Chicka Boom BoomBright vivid images of the letters will captivate your child's interest in the alphabet.


Scholastic Early Learners: Touch and Feel 1 2 3 not only introduces your baby to simple counting, but also allows your child to interact with the story by touching and feeling different textures in the book.


My Rainbow Surprise by Amy E. Sklansky is a magical book bursting with shiny colors and eye-catching illustrations your baby will love; plus, this chunky board book is in the shape of an actual rainbow, perfect for your baby hands to hold and carry around. 


Carry and Learn Shapes is full of fun shapes of different sizes and colors your little one sees in the real world. And with fun flaps and interactive pages, your early reader will be captivated for hours. 


With 64 different animals to find, your little one will have a blast searching for chickens on a farm and fish in the ocean in Amazing Animals: A Spin and Spot Book by Liz Charlesworth., an interactive board book that introduces your baby to the entire animal kingdom.

Read-Aloud Tip:
As you read, make sure to stop and point to objects in the illustrations. Name the object or describe the color, shape, or number of objects on the page. In time, your baby will eventually start to name the items too.

2. Rhythm, Rhyming, or Repeated Text Books

Reading aloud to children helps them absorb sounds and language. Listening to a loved one reading a book fills their language tank. Add these rhyming and rhythm titles to the library shelf.

Ten Tiny Toes by Caroline Jayne Church bases the classic "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" with a heartwarming rhyming book with adorable illustrations.

My Truck Is Stuck by Kevin Lewis was read so many times in our house that it fell apart! This is one that will take you right through the toddler years.

Read-aloud Tip: If there's a line in the book that's repeated several times, look at your baby so she can see your mouth as you say it.

3. Song Books

It's delightful to your baby's ears to hear your voice singing to him. Chances are you will entice some baby babbling along the way.

Raffi is a well-known musician of children's music. Some of those songs have been turned into books. Try the Wheels on the Bus by Raffi.

You Are My Sunshine by Jimmie Davis is a sweetly illustrated book of the classic song.

Read-Aloud Tip: You'll find that you memorize these songs pretty quickly and can sing them without using the book at different times of the day. I highly suggest one of those times being bathtime.

4. Naptime and Bedtime Books

It's important to have a few books that are calming, reassuring, and full of love and kindness right before bedtime. These titles will help build a loving bond with your baby, and ease him into slumber.

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown is a classic childhood book, and so comforting to read before sleep.

Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton could also fit in the song book category. This was my all-time favorite song to sing to my boys when they were little. It is a memory maker.

Read-Aloud Tip: Cuddle up with baby during this read aloud time. Grab a favorite blanket, dim the lights, and enjoy these precious moments together.

Choosing books from each of these categories will be a great starter set of books for your baby. Best of all, you'll be setting your little one up on the amazing reading journey that begins at birth.

Connect with Jodie Rodriguez on her site, Growing Book by Book.

Shop These Recommended Reads

Raise a Reader Blog
Age 1
Age 2
Guided Reading