10 must-have books for baby’s first library

I read to my children even before they were born. I read to them almost every day and night until today, 5 years later, I am still reading to them. Reading aloud to your babies and young toddlers has plenty of benefits such as stimulating curiosity and sparking imagination, encouraging them to value stories and books, cognitive, social and emotional development, as well as the close bonding you develop with your children as they snuggle up to you.

If there is ONE activity you HAVE to do with my kids every day, it will be reading to them. There are so many children’s books out there, so it can get quite overwhelming scrolling through all of them. If you are a first time mom, I can recommend these 10 board books that are very much loved by the children. I bought them even before the kids were born!

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  1. Hello, Bugs! (Black and White Sparklers) by Smriti Prasadam: This black and white high contrast book helps babies who are still developing their vision. There is a different bug on each page with bright pops of shiny colour. The kids loved my buzzing sounds! I placed it in front of the children during their tummy time. (more fun tummy time activities here) or as a distractor while changing their diapers.

2. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown: Every baby should own this book. I’ve read this so many times my son could memorise it… probably because of the rhythm and rhyme. Even until today, the kids enjoy searching for that little mouse on every page.

3. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? by Bill Martin Jr and Eric Carle: A hot favourite with many children, the rhyming phrases in the book flows, and the repetitive nature of the story helps the children to read along even though they can’t recognize the words yet. One animal per page is perfect for little children to cultivate their love for books!

4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle: This book requires no introduction. What’s the young of a butterfly? Because of this book, my children can tell me “caterpillar”. We read this when D was a baby, and we read it when he is a preschooler – we found a caterpillar and he gets to watch it metamorphose into a beautiful butterfly. As an educator, I like the learning opportunities in this book that I can talk about to the kids:

  • numeracy (the holes are perfect for one-to-one correspondence!)
  • concept of time (days of the week!)
  • healthy food choices (and the consequence of eating too much junk food)
  • life cycle of a butterfly
  • art and creative expressions

5. First 100 words by Roger Priddy: I read this to my firstborn, now I am reading it to my second child. And my firstborn helps me to read to his sister too! This book is a definitely a good investment, and helps children to learn their first vocabulary. The words are sorted according to the categories and can keep the kids entertained for a really long time since there are so many pictures that excite them!

6. Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill: Children loves surprises and flip-a-flap books! This is one of the first books that my daughter spent a long time on, because she can’t stop opening and closing the flaps, trying to find Spot. There are many extension for this activity where children can learn about animals, colours, and positional words.

7. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault: The first book you should use to introduce the alphabet to your babies. The story is so catchy, your children will join in whenever you go “Chicka chicka… BOOM BOOM!” It is fun to read, I read this and got my girl to move the magnetic letters up a coconut tree that I drew on the board!

Oh did you know there is the number version of this book? Chicka Chicka 1, 2, 3. It introduces numbers up to 100! Great for toddlers and preschoolers.

8. Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell: Its another flip-a-flap book, but this time, the flaps open up in all directions, and reveals a small part of the animal on each page. The words are simple for children to understand, and introduces the characteristics of each animal. Eg. the giraffe is tall, the monkey is naughty etc. Definitely a book to be on every kid’s shelves, especially animal lovers!

9. The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton: My children are older now, but I vividly remember reading this book over and over again when they were younger. In fact, we used this story as a guide to our bed time routine, and it helps condition the children who willingly went to brush their teeth, put on their pyjamas etc. For the exercise part, we did a simple yoga pose. This is a cute story with catchy rhymes and good illustrations.

10. Where is Baby’s bellybutton by Karen Katz: This flip-a-flap book helps the little ones to learn about parts of their body. The story uses simple words like “Where is baby’s mouth? Behind the cup!” While reading, children also pick up prepositions like “behind, under”. Parents can make the story telling session fun by encouraging their children to point out the parts of their body mentioned in the book.

If you are looking for more books to read to your children, you may click here to check out our book recommendations.

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