A carefully chosen set of baby books makes a wonderful addition to your nursery.  Part of the motor skills learned during baby’s first year include holding, opening, closing, turning pages, and pointing to pictures in a book.  These fine motor skills develop the small muscles in the fingers and eyes.   Hand-eye coordination also develops as baby’s curiosity guides her to open and look at the book.  She learns to see an object and then point to it or to turn a page in order to see something new.  She learns to focus her attention on something for quite awhile when she is “reading a story.”  In order to capture her attention with books, carefully choose the books in baby’s first library.


When selecting books for baby, think about choosing books from various categories for a range of developmental benefits.  For example, cloth books are best for younger babies.  ABC and counting books teach skills that are different from the lift-the-flap books.  Here are some categories of baby books to include in her library.

  1. CLOTH BOOKS – These are great books for newborns  and 1-3 month old babies because the thick fabric pages cannot be torn.  Baby also may fall on them in a playpen  without harm.
  2. HIGH CONTRAST BOOKS – These books for newborn babies and 1-3 month old babies use contrasting colors such as black and white to create images that baby’s eyes can focus on at this stage of development.  Tana Hoban’s “White on Black”  is a great example of this category.
  3. TOUCH-AND-FEEL BOOKS – Books for babies to stimulate the sense of touch have patches of textured fabric added on to the pages.  Sometimes it could be white and soft like the fur of the bunny in “Pat The Bunny,”  a book recommended for the 1 to 3 month old babies.
  4. ABC BOOKS – Learning the letters of the alphabet begins with reading charming ABC books filled with rhymes, color and imagination.  Dr. Seuss’ ABC’s is a favorite of many.
  5. COUNTING BOOKS – Whether it is “5 Little Monkeys Jumping On a Bed” or “10 Little Lady Bugs”, the goal of the book is to teach baby how to count.  These are great books for toddlers.
  6. BEDTIME STORIES – Include a bedtime book in baby’s sleep ritual.  The repetition of a classic bedtime story provides a nightly cue that it is time to go to sleep.  A favorite for over 60 years is “Goodnight Moon.”
  7. RHYMING BOOKS – Dr. Seuss is the master of this category.  Just think “The Cat in the Hat.”  Rhyme makes learning words easier because it creates patterns which are easier to remember and to pronounce.  For speech development, baby can focus on one particular sound at a time, such as the “at” in “Cat ” and  “Hat.”
  8. BOOKS OF COLORS – Some of baby’s first words include colors.  Books that focus on learning colors are a fun addition to the library, too.
  9. LIFT-THE-FLAP BOOKS – These books invite baby’s participation as she lifts the flaps to reveal what is hidden in a box, behind a door, under a stair, etc.  Babies enjoy these books. One of our favorites is “Dear Zoo.”
  10. CLASSIC BOOKS – Baby books considered to be “classic” have been favorites for generations.  When you hear a grandmother fondly remember “I read ‘Goodnight Moon’ to each of my children,” you know that she is talking about a classic book.  They can be found in each of the above categories and are outstanding for the development of a baby.  Click on the “Tools For Parents” table and see the “Best Books for Babies” which lists classic books for baby’s first library.


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