Board books make the best presents for babies and toddlers. I love giving books away — and seeing them get read over and over again. Why? Because board books start kids out an important literacy foundation. They also introduce kids to the joy of a good book during special time with a caregiver which also shows them how to hold a book the correct way and that the squiggly black things are words. Believe it or not, kids who are not exposed to books won’t know these book basics. (I taught those kids when I worked in migrant education.)
You can pick books from my Best Book List for Babies and Toddlers or try one of these excellent newly published choices. I can’t even pick a favorite, there are too many good choices here! (Many of which I’ve added to my Best of list.)
Board Books Make the Best Gifts (New Choices for Fall 2018)
Guess How Much I Love You Here I Am! A Finger Puppet Book by Sam McBratey, illustrated by Anita Jeram
Poke your finger through the Little Nutbrown Hare finger puppet to play hide-and-seek! Big Nutbrown Hare searches for Little Nutbrown Hare. “Where are you, Little Nutbrown Hare?” / “Here I am!” When you read that part, you or your child will wiggle the Little Hare’s puppet hiding in a tree, under a rock, near white flowers, and other places. Eventually, Big Nutbrown Hare is too exhausted to play any longer and rests. If you’re like me, you’ll love the playful interactive puppet, the sweet story and the loving relationship between caregiver and child. Will this be a new favorite for the readers on your lap? Added to: The Best Books for 2-Year-Olds.
Creature vs. Teacher A Book of Rhyme by T. Nat Fuller, illustrated by Alex Eben Meyer
Exuberant illustrations show a monster creature and a teacher. The creature tries to get the teacher’s attention. When he does, it’s fun and giggles! Then the two friends rest. Love the illustrations. I think this will be a huge hit with kids.
Tyrannosaurus Wrecks! A Preschool Story by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, illustrated by Zachariah Ohora
I love this board book!!! The dinosaur kids are all doing quiet school things except Tyrannosaurus — he wrecks! “Styracosaurus copies. Stygimoloch checks. Iguanodon picks out a book. TYRANNOSAURUS . . .” Turn the page to read, “WRECKS!” The other dinosaurs ask him to stop by he says no but he’s sad and lonely. What does he do? “Tyrannosaurus fixes” and tries to clean up his messes. When he accidentally wrecks, the other friends cheer him up by including him in coloring and playing. Then, APATOSAURUS WRECKS! Whoops! It’s a clever and relatable story for kids who feel like they make a lot of mistakes only to realize that everyone does. I also like how it shows social skills in action during a school day. There is so much to love about this gem!
Baby Sees Colors! A Totally Mesmerizing High-Contrast Book for Babies by Akio Kashiwara
Got a baby shower coming up? This is the perfect book for babies, just as soon as babies can hold something. I love the high-contrast, bold color stripes and swirls and know they will captivate the youngest of readers. There is no storyline per say just lots of color fun on each page. “Fish, swish / Gulp, gulp” or “Drip drop! / It’s raining.”
Walk and See Opposites by Rosalind Beardshaw
Beardshaw’s illustrations are enchanting from outside and inside to near and far…whatever opposites she shows. Two friends explore the frozen pond, trees, and snow. This is a lovely choice to read during winter or anytime.
Walk and See 1 2 3 by Rosalind Beardshaw
By the same author/illustrator of Walk and See, read this counting story about the two friends who are exploring outside. From 1 dog to 15 dandelions to 100 stars, this is a delightful book to inspire your own nature counting.
Christmas: Baby’s First Cloth Book by Lisa Jones and Edward Underwood
Continuing Nosy Crow’s lovely cloth book series, this book about Christmas shows Baby Boo build a snowman, come inside near a warm fire, notice the Christmas tree, and more Christmastime delights. The book’s middle page is especially crinkly and fun to smoosh for sound effects. I love the red and white striped carrying handle with velcro so you can attach it to a car seat or stroller. And, if the book gets dirty, you can wash it! How awesome is that?
Zoo: Baby’s First Cloth Book by Lisa Jones and Edward Underwood
Remember Baby Boo? In this story, she and Daddy ride the bus to the zoo where they see many animals and hear the sounds that some animals make. “”Hello, giraffe!” says Baby Boo.” This book also has a striped cloth velcro handle and is washable. Colorful illustrations with simple text about animals is sure to make this first book widely appealing to young readers.
A Pile of Leaves by Jason Fulford & Tamara Shopsin
There are no words in this picture book, only see-through pages with leaves, bugs, and fall things in one fall color. Each page layers upon the other. What’s on the green page? A small leaf, a bigger leaf, and a grasshopper. Underneath, you can see the orange and red pages of more leaves and things. What are those? Can you guess before you turn the page? See everything on the back two pages. Use these pages as a guide to go back and find the different kinds of leaves. It’s an interesting book that will get children excited about fall.
Good Night Buenas Noches by Meritxell Marti & Xavier Salomo
Firstly, I adore the black background with white text and simple images. Each image has a slider for kids to move the eyes from awake to asleep which kids will love. The text is basic — first in English, then in Spanish — making it easy to either read in one or the other language or both languages. With the illustration as reinforcement for your second language, you don’t need to read it in your first language at all. Kids will be able to infer “estrellas” with the illustration of four stars. “Good night, stars. / Buenas noches, estrellas.” Say goodnight to the moon, tree, stars, squirrel, cat, house, and baby. This is a well-done, spot-on beginning bilingual book.
Good Morning Buenos Dias by Meritxell Marti & Xavier Salomo
Similar to the above book, read this book to say good morning to the sun (sol), rooster, Dad, Son, alarm clock, neighbors, and baker. It’s time to get up! Slide the levers and watch what happens. The bakery’s windows open to reveal the bread-filled store, the windows show the neighbors busy inside their houses, the dad shaves shaving lotion off his face, and more. How fun is this book? I highly recommend it.
Busy City: Indestructibles by Maddie Frost
Light-weight pages that are chew proof, rip proof, non-toxic, and 100% washable show people and vehicles living, playing, and working in a city. “Construction workers build,” says one page filled with big machines and people working including noise sounds like “grr” and “clank“. “People shop and eat,” is on the next page with sounds like “huff huff” and “toot” and “vroom“. This is a book a baby can hold and chew if they want — I wonder how easy it is to turn these thin pages though? It must be okay because tons of people rave about these books! Let me know in the comments what you have experienced.
Hello, Farm: Indestructibles by Maddie Frost
In the same series of Indestructibles for babies and toddlers, this book takes place on a farm where we say hello to all the animals. Predictable text (hello, horses, hello, cows) make this one that kids can memorize and “read” themselves. That’s literacy skill building!
House: First Words Board Books by Michael Slack
The case looks just like a modern-style house. Open the cover and inside you’ll find five small board books, each with pictures and words from the living room, bathroom, kitchen, garage, and bedroom. (sofa, coffee table, computer) If you like mid-century or just modern design, you’ll love these illustrations, too. Chunky pages invite readers to explore and play with each little book.
Why The Face? by Jean Jullien
Fold-out-pages and important clues about feelings and facial expressions make this book not just engaging for the youngest of readers but important for children of all ages, particularly those children who need support with social-emotional skills. Look at the face. To answer the question of “Why the Face?”, unfold the page to see the answer. For example, someone is making a scrunched up face. We unfold the pages to see a rock band and read “AAH! TOO LOUD!” Another page shows a girl with swirly eyes. Open the slap to see several media devices and read “FIVE MORE MINUTES!”