Obviously, baby can’t tell me what kind of books he likes. What should I be looking for?
You’re going to be doing a lot of reading right from the start. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends reading books to baby every day beginning at birth. Yes, even before baby knows what the heck a bunny is, you should be pulling out Pat the Bunny and reciting its fluffy, flappy pages. Reading to baby now aids in brain development, helps him gain language skills and will get him on track for learning to read and being ready for school. (School? I know, I know. Slow down. But really it will happen eventually -- might as well get a jump on it.)
Bright colors and strong contrasts
Illustrations with bold colors and high contrast (think: black-and-white or other pairings of light and dark) are most interesting for a young baby with developing vision.
We love: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle; Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd
Choose books with photos of things baby can recognize, like a baby’s face, a ball or a car. Point to the items and tell baby what they are. He’s listening and will soon start making connections between the pictures and the real-life things.
We love: Where Is Baby’s Belly Button? by Karen Katz; First 100 Words by Roger Priddy
Um, you’ve probably figured this out by now, but baby’s books need to stand up to chewing, throwing and tugging. Laminated board and heavy-duty cloth books are your best bets.
We love: Just about anything by Sandra Boynton
Simple, clear pictures
Baby’s not ready for Where’s Waldo? just yet. Smaller pages with simple designs -- nothing too busy -- are the right speed for an infant. Luckily, baby board books are usually designed just for this age group, so you won’t need to search too hard for something that fits the bill.
We love: Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman; The Foot Book (board book version) by Dr. Seuss
Oh, and one more thing: Don’t worry if you don’t have a bookworm just yet. It’s totally normal for an infant to just want to put the book in his mouth and an older baby to squirm off the chair in the middle of a story. Read to baby as much as he’ll let you and don’t get frustrated. He’ll develop a longer attention span eventually.
Plus, more from The Bump:
Top 12 Books to Read to Baby
Top 10 Sleep-Themed Bedtime Books
Smart Ways to Play With Baby