When my daughter was barely two months old, my mother gave her a lovely book as a gift – the board book Monkey Puzzle by Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson – and asked me if I had started reading books with the baby yet. I was slightly surprised – isn’t it too early, I asked her? She’s not going to understand anything I read to her, shouldn’t I wait till she was at least 6 or 8 months old? This was her reply:
it’s not about the content, it’s about the atmosphere. She will be lying on your lap, with dim light, she’ll be cozy and hear your voice and look at the different pictures, and she will always associate this loving, cozy atmosphere with reading, and that’s how she will learn to love books.
The great things about reading with a small baby is that you can actually read anything, whatever you want to read. Baby will be happy to lie in your arms and listen to your voice, so for the last time in many years, you can actually even read your own books, rather than children’s books :-), at least in the first months. Once your baby is more alert and starts grabbing and exploring items, you can switch to actual baby books. I highly recommend board books as your teething darling might be more interested in eating the book than actual reading! Other than board books, I recommend simple books that show faces and animals, as well as interactive books with different textures to keep your baby engaged. Here’s a list of baby books I recommend.
1. This Little Baby
This is an adorable book that you may have received as part of your first Bookstart kit. It shows a different baby on each page with simple rhymes and colours, and on the last page there is a little mirror for your little one (“and this little baby is the one I love the best…”). I still enjoy reading it even with my two-year-old, as she has memorised the rhymes by now and loves to chant along.
2. My Cat Just Sleeps
Another adorable book that is very suited for bedtime reading. It’s about a girl and her cat who always sleeps, while all the other cats do exciting things. Only at the very end does the girl find out what her cat is up to when she doesn’t sleep! It’s not a board book, but well suited to read as a bedtime story. I am attached to the book because even though I must have read it hundreds and hundreds of times, for some reason I never got tired of reading it and looking at the different pictures.
3. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
This must be one of the most popular children’s books, and deservedly so! There’s lot to explore in this board books with finger-sizes wholes and die-cut pages, and your baby will learn important words such as lollipop and cheery cake :-). A very sweet story and another one on the list of “books I can read 1,000 times without getting bored”.
4. Baby Touch: Peekaboo
This is a lovely touch-and-feel book from the Baby Touch series. Your baby can try different textures and explore as well as learn to play peekaboo.
5. Dear Zoo
A lift-the-flap board book perfect for little hands. Your little one can learn about animals and touch and explore.