Choosing Great Books for Babies Print E-mail

This booklist has been designed to help you learn more about choosing books for babies aged 0-12 months, though almost all of these titles will still hold great appeal for older toddlers and preschoolers.  Look at the books in each short section for examples of the types of books or of characteristics that appeal to this age group.

Look for these features in books for babies 0-12 months:

High Contrast

Babies’ brand-new eyes need help zeroing in on images. Simple pictures with contrasting colors and clear “edges” help them focus on the page. Illustrations with black “outlines” (think of cartoons) can help babies focus, too.

  • Look at the Animals! by Peter Linenthal
  • I Like Black and White, by Barbara Jean Hicks
  • Counting Kisses, by Karen Katz
  • I Kissed the Baby! by Mary Murphy

Big, Simple Pictures

Clear, uncluttered images surrounded by lots of white space help young eyes focus on the page.

  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.
  • Wake Up, Me! by Marni McGee
  • I Went Walking by Sue Williams
  • Clap Hands, by Helen Oxenbury  


Even very young babies love looking at faces and photos of faces—especially baby faces! Simple photos of familiar objects have high appeal, too.

  • Baby Faces, and others by Margaret Miller in the Look Baby! series
  • Hands Can, by Cheryl Willis Hudson
  • Baby! Baby! by Vicky Celeen
  • Red Blue Yellow Shoe, by Tana Hoban

Songs & Games

Many board books and picture books contain favorite finger plays, new bounce rhymes, or familiar songs.

  • The Bear Went Over the Mountain, by Rosemary Wells
  • Pat-a-Cake, by Annie Kubler
  • My First Baby Games, by Jane Manning

Short & Sweet

Just one or two words on a page are plenty for babies. They’re not quite ready to follow a longer, more complex story…

  • Hello, Day! by Anita Lobel
  • Peekaboo Morning, by Rachel Isadora
  • A Child’s Good Night Prayer, by Grace Maccarone
  • Baby Says, by John Steptoe

…on the other hand, babies do love the sound of your voice and the rhythms of read-aloud! So, go ahead and read longer books, too, especially when there is a bounce or a beat or a rhyme to the words.

  • 10, 9, 8, by Molly Bang
  • I Love You as Much, by Laura Krauss Melmed
  • Piggies, by Don and Audrey Wood  

Touch & Feel

Books are a multi-sensory experience for babies—they love soft books to chew on, sturdy board books that are small and easy to hold, and textured pages.

  • That’s Not My Tractor! by Fiona Watts
  • Bright Baby Touch and Feel Shapes, by Roger Priddy
  • Max’s Snowsuit, by Rosemary Wells
  • Pat the Bunny, by Dorothy Kunhardt

Magazines for Babies and Young Toddlers

These two magazines are printed on stiff cardboard pages and are full of appealing photos, rhymes, illustrations, short stories, and fingerplays.

  • Babybug
  • Wild Animal Baby

Not to Be Missed

These authors and publishers do a consistently great job of creating board books for babies.

Annie Kubler
Helen Oxenbury
Margaret Miller
Sandra Boynton

Cathryn Falwell
Karen Katz
Roger Priddy
Tana Hoban
DK Publishers
Lucy Cousins
Rosemary Wells
Usborne Publishers