I felt silly reading Winnie the Pooh to my newborn twins, but I knew it was supposed to be good for them. Still balancing tandem nursing two babies as they wiggled on the twin nursing pillow while holding the book and reading was a nearly impossible.
Later when we got ready for bed, their daddy and I would take turns balancing them on our laps and reading goodnight stories as they wiggled. At times we wondered if we were a little nuts.
Then one day something changed.
One night when we were reading a goodnight book, they sat still. One of them reached for the book and the other one sucked on her thumb. They seemed content and interested.
It was like magic. Suddenly it seemed like we might be on the road to creating little readers after all.
Below are 10 of our favorite books from the first year. We read all of them countless times with our twins.
Many of the authors have written numerous books for this age group. This list of the best picture books for babies gives you a good starting point for finding a few authors and beginning a collection of books that you and your child love.
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10 Best Picture Books for Baby’s First Year
1. Black on White by Tana Hoban
Research shows that babies attend more to black and white than they do color. Utilizing this knowledge, Tana Hoban created a simple black and white book that is perfect for the littlest ones. As my kids got older, they also enjoyed recognizing the typical baby objects and practicing their verbal skills.
2. Colors by Emily Bolam
We got this book as a gift and it was one of the most loved books in our collection. The illustrations are bright and textured. It has simple text and is generally perfect for this age group.
3. Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton
Our home library includes a lot of Sandra Boynton books and I highly recommend them to anyone with young children. Her books are quirky and humorous. As infants, my twins did not get the humor of a pig saying “la la la” but they enjoyed the rhythm, illustrations, and animal noises.
4. Peek-a-Who? by Nina Laden
Another well worn book in our collection. This board book is the ideal sized for little hands and the rhyming, peek-a-boo text is intriguing and the perfect length for the audience.
5. My Little Word Book by Priddy Books
A word book is a must for this age group. Especially as they approach a year, children become fascinated with learning what words are used to label what objects. Our children stared endlessly at this book pointing to pictures.
6. Flutter! Fly! by Karen Pixton
This is from a series of indestructible books that are ingenious. They are paper like, but made of a water proof and tear proof material. Our kids pulled, twisted, and chewed on these books constantly at a young age with only a little wrinkling as proof. They are all super simple. This was my daughter’s favorite.
7. My Daddy Loves Me! by Marianne Richmond
I find Dad books to be in short supply so I snatch up any good ones I find. We enjoyed this simple book that shows a variety of animal father and sons. It is sweet and lovingly composed.
8. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox
Mem Fox is another author high on my list. Many of her books are for toddlers or preschoolers, but this one is perfect for babies. I read it again and again to our children. It celebrates that babies everywhere all have ten little fingers and ten little toes. The illustrations by the wonderful Helen Oxenbury are enchanting and delightful.
9. Where is Baby’s Belly Button by Karen Katz
Karen Katz is also a wonderful author for infants and toddlers. Our babies loved this simple lift-the-flap book that encourages body part awareness.
10. Daddy Calls Me Doodlebug by J. D. Lester
This is another good book about Dads. It is a collection of animals and a human dad at the end, all with humorous and unique nicknames for their little ones. We read this book frequently throughout the first year.
If your baby is still wiggling while you read or can’t resist nibbling on the corner, don’t worry! One day they will appreciate those hours spent on your lap and will toddle up to you with their favorite book to read again.