Reading aloud to Savannah has become one of my favorite activities to do with her and a great way to sort of settle down into the later evening while we get ready her bedtime. When we brought Savannah home from the hospital this past January, we did not have any board books for her. In fact, I just bought her first one, Guess How Much I Love by Sam McBratney ill. Anita Jean, as a little side present to go along with Alex’s main gift on Mother’s Day. So up until recently, I had been reading aloud Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I love Harry Potter and I want to introduce the wonders of the boy wizard to our little Savy as soon as possible, but I am starting to realize that board books are more appropriate for her right now. I am really looking forward to starting a little mini collection for her to keep one day.
I have written a separate blog on the benefits of reading aloud to your baby and I will attach the link for you to check that one our right here. Babies and toddlers can gain a lot from being read aloud to and that starts a very early age. I started reading to Savannah from the moment she was born and honestly, that was mostly for me because it was a great way for us to have some bonding time. I have read that newborns start to benefit from being read aloud to around two to three months, possibly even sooner. They are learning about communication, learning concepts like shapes, sounds, colors, letters, and numbers. Reading aloud will help grow baby’s vocabulary and improve their memory. So, there are lots of amazing benefits to reading aloud with your newborn. My favorite is reading aloud will help turn she/he into a little reader too!
Since Alex and I started out this journey of parenting without any board books for Savannah, I decided to put together a fun list of the top 10 board books I wanted to get! Hopefully, you can use this list to find a good board book for that special someone in your life that has recently had a baby. We are all learning how to social distance and unfortunately, we cannot be there in person with our loved ones right now, but maybe you could send a board book to that family as a way to stay connected. I spent a good amount of time researching the best board books for newborns, for toddlers, for reading aloud, for illustrations, for rhyming, there is even a bilingual book on this list so this is really a list of my favorites from a certain category in no particular order. This is a list of board books that I want to buy for Savannah and Alex, and I will start collecting them here and there over the next couple weeks. We have not actually seen any of them yet, so these are based on popularity and reviews. I hope you find this list fun and helpful and happy reading!
Book 1 – How To Be A Cat by Nikki McClure (2013)
Newborn babies are still developing their eyesight, so they have a hard time seeing color. That is why high-contrast books in black and white are perfect for a newborn. This book has bold illustrations in black and white and has a lot of narrative to it. All the reviews say it is a simple book and a perfect first book that a newborn baby will love.
Book 2 – The Very Hungry Caterpillar (1994)
I really want to get this one for Savannah Bee because it is such a staple among board books. Just last year Alex and I went to The Very Hungry Caterpillar play at a local theatre with our niece Alba. Kids are learning everything for the first time and I love the concept of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly and how exciting that must be for a child. Plus, the book has a bunch of holes in it that kids can stick their fingers through. How cool is that!
Book 3 – Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell (1999)
When I was conducting some super exciting research for this list, haha, I came across this little gem. This one is a flap book and I really wanted one of those on the list. The can where you pull something back to reveal an animal. I hope kids get there first taste of suspense when waiting to see what is behind the flap! If the book was created in 1999 and it is still at the top of the list, it is probably a good one.
Book 4 – Dinosaur ROAR! By Paul Strickland (1997)
I loved dinosaurs when I was kid and this book is supposed to be the best dinosaur book out there. Of course, I tried to be conscious of picking books for Savannah that I think are directed for girls, but I intentionally wanted to include one book that is probably directed at boys for contrast. I love getting out of the stereotypical box we are supposed to use when parenting. Girls like dinosaurs too! I think.
Book 5 – Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans (2012)
This book apparently won a medal called the Caldescott medal for its picture book version and has been adapted to a board book. The board book is missing some endpapers and scenes of Paris but is otherwise the same thing. I have a HUGE soft spot for Paris since this was the first city Alex and I traveled abroad to, and where we got engaged. Plus, the book is named after a delicious cookie they have in Paris that Alex and I absolutely loved. The review of this one says, “A masterpiece of poetry and illustrations.” Merci Beaucoup!
Book 6 – Besos For Baby by Jen Arena, Ill. Blanca Gomez (2014)
As you might have guessed, this board book is bilingual. I have recently gotten into trying to teach myself a second language and I know how hard it can be. Alex and I have always talked about how values and now we are talking about how our family values will impact Savannah. I think it is important to introduce a second language to Savannah at an early age. This book is a fun way to give that effort a try and see what comes of it. We may change our mind, but we may decide we want to continue pursing this for her. The illustrations are cute and the book uses repetition and patterns to show toddlers what words are being shown in English and Spanish. I am excited to give this a try!
Book 7 – Little Bee by Edward Gibbs (2012)
No surprise here, the book is called, “Little Bee” and I just could not pass it up! I must admit I had not previously heard of this book or the author, but my research says if anything, we need to get more books from this man. The illustrations are supposed to be wonderful and this book is supposed to be very funny.
Book 8 – Rapunzel (Once upon a World Series) by Chloe Perkins, ill. Archana Sreenivasan (2017)
One of my first memories of books is from this giant blue ‘Once Upon A Time’ collection of books that my parents would read to me when I was a toddler. I remember it being all the famous stories, probably the Brother’s Grimm ones in a happy version. I think there was one picture and then the short story. For some reason that really sticks out in my mind and I’m not sure if my parents still have that book. Anyway, this was one of the traditional ones where a damsel is locked away and someone must rescue her. I think it is a great story for boys and girls.
Book 9 – Peek-a Who? By Nina Laden (2000)
Savannah is four and a half months old now and she is just starting to react with a big smile or laugh when Alex and I are playing with her. She has not been too interested in peek-a-boo just yet but I am still holding out hope that she will! I wanted to include a peek-a-boo book on this list and this one looks like a fun one with lots of colors and fun animals.
Book 10 – Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, ill. Clement Hurd (1991)
Of course, I wanted to include a bedtime board book and this one was literally ranked number one on a couple lists I found. Again, it was published in 1991, it is going to be a traditional, old school board book perfect for reading to your little one before bed. If you have been reading my posts on Alex’s blog, you know that I really enjoy having a routine for Savannah. I want to get this book for her and start including reading it as part of her bedtime routine.
Bonus – A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na (2011)
Okay I had to include this bedtime board book because when I was trying to pick out the perfect bedtime book, I could not decide between this one and Goodnight Moon. I know Goodnight Moon is one of the best, but the reviews said the illustrations in this book will blow your mind away. In fact, I read that all of Il Sung Na’s books have amazing illustrations. The owl in the cover is different and it intrigues me. Look at that huge eyeball, haha! I love it! The author was born in South Korea and lives in Kansas City, or at least he did. Give this book a try and maybe you will want to check out his others.
Savannah’s First Board Book: Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney ill. Anita Jeram (1988)
On Mother’s Day, I was in Barnes and Noble looking for a book for my Mom actually and suddenly, I knew I wanted to get Savannah her first board book! I would normally research that sort of thing, haha, because that is just who I am. Since I was there I decided to pick one out based on the cover. I know, not really the recommended approach as the age old saying goes. Alex loved it and I think I ended up with a classic. The illustrations and narrative are beautiful and it has been a wonderful start to our little collection.
I hope you enjoyed going through this list as much I enjoyed creating it. I’m excited to get started on ordering these so we can start reading them aloud with Savy Bee. She is going to be a little reader I think! Let us know if there are any board books that you loved growing up or ones that you think we should add to our list. Happy reading! Picture