18 Must-Have Board Books For Your Baby’s First Library

When I was a first time mom, I read up about the value of reading to babies when very young and even in the womb. It stimulates the baby’s brain functioning development and trains them to react and adapt to speech, inflection and the sound of their parents and caregivers’ voices…again, even in utero.

When a baby is born, it is again important for new parents to continue to talk to and read to their newborns and infants as it also stimulates the synapses in their very young brains and sets them up to be future geniuses! Who doesn’t want to have a little genius?

I made sure to equip my first child’s nursery with hard cover board books I could read to him as a baby and that he could use and flip through on his own late rin his first year of life. It will also work to help your baby associate reading with happiness and feeling warm and snug in your arms as being read to. It’s a great way to set them up to enjoy reading for life.

Here are 17 board books that I purchases and loved dearly, so much so, that I passed them down to my other later born children and to my nephew and nieces.


The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

This Classic Book has been around for ages, even when I was a child decades ago. “In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf,” starts this modern classic which has sold more than 12 million copies, in its original, full-sized edition and translated into 20 different languages! It tells the tale of a very hungry tiny gluttonous caterpillar who eats his way through various foods until his metamorphosis and he turns into a beautiful butterfly. There are cut outs to show the foods through each day of the week and each page of this hard back book. I have fond memories of this book from my own childhood and all children usually enjoy it!

Pajama Time! by Sandra Boyton

“It’s Pajama Time! Jamma, Jamma, Jamma Jamma, PJ!” I absolutely adored each of Sandra Boyton’s books. The rhyme pattern, the colorful illustrations and fun themes, all made her books faves of my and many children worldwide. Pajama Tims is a fun board book for little kids. It makes putting on pajamas a game or a party. With it’s fun mantra, “It’s pajama time,” and the little pajama dance called the “pajammy,” kids have fun with this book.

Hey! Wake Up! by Sandra Boyton

This is another perfect partner book to Pajama Time!Hey! Wake Up! . I love it as a good-morning book to read in the a.m.. Like with Pajama Time!, the language is fun and infectious and also filled with the inimitable illustrations and the irresistible cast of characters only Sandra Boynton could create.



Touch your toes.

Shimmy shimmy shimmy,

Wiggle your nose.

Just watch out for the broccoli stew. (Ew.)”

I used to act out the motions too while reading it to my children. So fun!!

But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boyton

A shy hippo makes a big impact in this Sandra Boynton classic. This is another silly but fun book. As with all of Boyton’s books, the animal characters are whimsical and full of personality. This book, like the others are printed on thick board pages, and are sure to educate and entertain children of all ages.

This book is a classic in my home and as an adult, I even enjoyed it.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Mill Martin Jr

The illustrations of this very well written interactive book may seem familiar and that is because they are done by the illustrator and writer of “A Very Hungry Caterpillar”, Eric Carle. I also enjoyed reading the later versions of this book, most well-known children’s book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?actually came first. Educator and author Bill Martin Jr approached Carle to illustrate a story he’d written in 1967. Brown Bear is the result of that collaboration and the first of several others: if you like bears, there are panda and polar bear versions available for your reading pleasure.

Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan
This book came out since my kids were younger but I’ve heard lots of great things about it. From the Amazon review: Little Owl spends the night visiting his nighttime animal friends throughout the forest. The artwork is fantastic, and this is a good choice to introduce new animals to your child, like the possum, the raccoon, moths, and crickets.  Little owls asks his mother how the night ends, but as she tells him, day breaks and he has fallen asleep.

Goodnight Moon byMargaret Wise Brown

This classic children’s book is a bedside staple in many homes.  In this simple story, a little bunny says goodnight to all the things he sees on his way to bed. Don’t be surprised if your child starts saying goodnight to the objects in your house on his way to bed after reading this book for several nights. The book is so loved by children, that there is even a plush bunny in striped pajamas that you can buy for your child. Each of my kids loved having this book read to them. Many newer moms and dads may remember it being read to them as children too.

The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boyton

The sun has set not long ago.

Now everybody goes below

to take a bath in one big tub

with soap all over—SCRUB SCRUB SCRUB!

Another Boyton fave in my home was this not classic bedtime story. Overall, it is about a band of funny animals bedtime rituals. It’s perfect for winding junior or your little princess down for the day. The silly group of animals scrub scrub scrub in the tub, brush and brush and brush their teeth, and finally rock and rock and rock to sleep

Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boyton

Three earnest animals and one misguided turkey learn colors and clothes.

Serious silliness for all ages. This is another well written, whimsical and silly Boynton classic. I love the colors and the fun adventures while showing baby about colors and sizes.

Black on White, by Tana Hoban

You may know that during baby’s earliest years, she can see best black and white optects and that’s why this book, featuring simple black illustrations on a white background and offers high-contrast images for an infant’s developing eyes is great! As your baby gets older, he’ll start identifying the images with the words you read — leaf, key, ring, bib, and so on. Get it!

One! Two! Three! by Sandra Boyton

A wacky crew of hippos, cats, pigs, and cows lead kids from a quiet One to a “LOUD LOUD LOUD” Ten-and back to quiet One again. From my Boynton collectoin of  extra-big, extra-fat, and extra-fun board books, here is One, Two, Three!, a counting book as only this beloved author could do a counting book. Filled with her humorous, colorful drawings and lively text, One, Two, Three! is an adventure with numbers that kids and their parents will love. We enjoyed this one as well.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

As an adult, I really love this tale of what ifs…When a hungry mouse shows up on your doorstep you’ll give him a cookie. And so it goes, if you give a mouse a cookie he’ll want a glass of milk,—this circular tale tells the story of how to handle a hungry mouse at your door. Perfect for storytime, this silly story from the If You Gives eries will become a beloved story in your child’s first library. This is a gem of a book.

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

Guess how much I love Guess How Much I Love You? This much! This book relays a parent’s love for their child which can never be measured, but in this story Little Nutbrown Hare tries to measure his love for his father in wide reaches and little hops. But Big Nutbrown Hare can always reach a little farther and hop a little higher. From the moon and back, a parent’s love for their child is an unconditional force. It’s a gem of a book and is bound to be your child’s fave as she grows!

Birthday Monsters by Sandra Boyton

You hear your door come crashing down—those birthday monsters are in town! And they’re going to wreak havoc in the most extraordinarily rude ways. What fun! I really really loved reading this Boyton book to my kids. I added all the extra stresses and inflections. It makes bed time or storytime at any young age very very fun! I highly recommend this one, for sure! I’m smiling reminiscing about it. Wow! (smile)

Hello Baby by Roger Priddy

This is another book released after my kids were young but which I have heard great things about! It’s Roger Priddy’s High Contrast Board Book series, designed just for babies: bold colors, high contrast, simple concepts. The books themselves are chunky and easy for little hands to grasp. Perfecto.

More More More Said the Baby, by Vera B. Williams

Because diversity is important, this book by Vera B. Williams is a love song to babies of all sizes, shapes, and ethnicities that’ll grab you with its enthusiasm. It is filled with very vibrant and bright folk art puts a reader right in the middle of the action as babies are swept up and swung around, and belly buttons are admired and toes kissed. And all the while, “more, more, more,” says the baby. This book will make you happy to be a parent.

Moo Baa LaLaLa! by Sandra Boyton

Another of my fave read out loud Boyton books is this one about a  raucous story about the sounds animals make—including three pigs who say “la la la!”! It is a great midday play book and full of silliness for all ages. I just love the fun characters and I can almost guarantee your baby will too!

The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

This is a classic story and the colors pop. It’s about the most beautiful fish who learns the importance of sharing when he finds that there is so much more to this world than being beautiful. Add this book to your baby’s first library to help them learn an important lesson from this classic story. Great lesson there in as well!

There you have it! My picks! Pick them up today. Add them to your baby’s library or order them for a baby shower for a family or friend. They’ll be glad you did!

Help grow a future genius!


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