Baby Books by Stage

Children’s book editors share their favorite classic baby books by stage.

A friend recently told me that she feels silly reading to her six-week-old. Another friend has been complaining that her four-month-old doesn’t like reading before bed, and it’s messing with her nighttime ritual. Let’s be honest, though you could never go wrong in the books you pick to read to your baby, you may be more likely to capture his attention with some than others. To help stock your baby’s bookshelf, we’ve asked two children’s book editors — Abigail Ranger of HarperCollins and Janine O’Malley, who works at Farrar, Straus & Giroux — to share their recommendations. Amazingly, these supermoms actually found the time to do so.

When your newborn begins smiling at your smiles and following you with her eyes, it’s a great time to start sharing visually stimulating books with her. Try:
1. I KISSED THE BABY by Mary Murphy, for the high-contrast black and white art.
2. The HELLO BABY line by Roger Priddy. My newborn has the HELLO BABY MIRROR board book. Every time he sees it, he puckers his lips and jerkily raises his arms. Is he challenging it to a dual? I’m not sure. But, I do know he’s totally captivated by it.

During the infant stage (post-newborn, pre-toddler), expose your little one to a variety of books with bold images, textures and interactivity. Baby face books are always a crowd pleaser, as are lift-the-flap books. Select bedtime books that aren’t too long and that you enjoy reading. Try:
2. Bill Martin and Eric Carle’s BROWN BEAR, BROWN BEAR, WHAT DO YOU SEE?
3. WHERE’S SPOT by Eric Hill
4. NIGHT NIGHT SLEEPYHEAD by Jean McElroy is a perfect little cozy book to begin with.

One Year Old
All babies develop at their own speed and have their own unique fixations. Indulge them. You might want to try:
1. FREIGHT TRAIN by Donald Crews
2. CORDUROY’S TINY TREASURY, a set of five little Corduroy books that are just the right size for tiny hands to hold.
3. ALL OF BABY, NOSE TO TOES by Victoria Adler, illustrated by Hiroe Nakota, is a great read-aloud for the emerging toddler
4. Any of the Sandra Boynton books, like THE GOING TO BED BOOK 
5. Mem Fox’s TEN LITTLE FINGERS AND TEN LITTLE TOES. Also a great read-aloud book. A must-have.


Erica Rand Silverman

Erica Rand Silverman

Erica Rand Silverman is a former NYC public school teacher turned literary agent specializing in children's books (picture books through YA), parenting and family DIY. It's impossible to just walk away from your first love so she remains active in the education field through her company Room 228 Educational Consulting. She feels lucky to have two delicious sons and be a part of NYC's smart and fabulous mom community.

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