The first baby books on our shelves were books we received during out shower – Goodnight Moon, Brown Bear, the Hungry Catepillar and most of the Seuss collection. Those were the days…when other parents passed along books that were age appropriate for our little guy.
Now that he’s 10-months, those same picture books don’t ignite the same excitement. It was time for a library upgrade. We upgrade his clothes and toys every few months…and now, his books. So, why did I return from the bookstore empty-handed and feeling like a bad parent? And why did the clerk laugh at me when I said I was looking for baby flash cards?
I made the rookie mistake of going to the bookstore and expecting to find the right books just by going to the children’s section. I wanted to find a section that said 9-12 month books, just like clothes shopping. Instead I found piles of books about colors, shapes, going to the potty, things that George did and so on.
I used to work at a bookstore. I love bookstores, but experiencing a bookstore for a baby is a totally different experience. Baby book shopping left me so overwhelmed that I ran home to Google with a million questions.
How much can he understand? Should I get a book of first words? What’s too young for him?
Before this happens to you, i put together a guide to help you navigate through the children’s sections when it’s time for your library upgrade.
Things to considered when book shopping for your baby:
• Age-appropriate subject matter with uncluttered illustrations
• Easy physical manipulation of the book, as well as book durability
• Text, illustration and design aimed at children 18 months and younger
So, here’s some book suggestions to according to age:
0-3 months: lots of contrast, vary the pitch of your voice, at this age you can read anything since baby likes the sound of your voice yet doesn’t understand the words
The Tana Hoban contrast series
3-6 months: choose books that are highly tactile or textured, books that make noise, and books that feature realistic images of every day items
Lorena Siminovich does great tactile books with strong illustrations that also help teach colors (as seen above – I Like Fruit )
6-12 months: choose board or plastic books that will end up in baby’s mouth, books with flaps that lift, books with playful rhythms and phrases, keep it small for baby to hold.
Nina Laden’s Peek-a-Boo book
Rod Campbell’s lift-the-flap book
1yr-2yrs: Still stick to books with few words and great illustrations, everyday images, point while you read and keep these interactive
Sandra Boynton series are silly and sound great out loud
Start introducing art with the interactive art series
Other sites to check out:
www.fredrogers.org – every year they post the best books for babies chosen by a committee of child and literary experts
www.parenting.com – 25 Must-Have Books for babies first library