How To Find the Best Books for Babies?

Check out the Tulsa City-County Library’s Build A Reader app!

If you ask doctors what the best exercise is for patients, they will often answer that the best exercise is the exercise that they will do. The same holds true for reading books to babies.

What are the best books for babies? The ones you will read to them!

Yes, that means if you are in the middle of reading the latest Liane Moriarty or James Patterson and cannot put it down, it’s OK to read these out loud to your baby! The most important thing is to spend time reading with your baby or young child so that they hear the rhythms of the language and associate reading with happy vibes of being with you.

Beyond that, as librarians, we understand that you are probably looking for an expert-approved, curated list of the books that were created to best support your baby’s language development and pure enjoyment.

Good news!

This year, with a generous grant from the Hardesty Family Foundation, the Tulsa City-County Library launched the Build A Reader app for parents and caregivers. One excellent component of the app is the ability to find books for different ages and stages of a baby’s or young child’s life. The books are organized into the Every Child Ready to Read categories of Talk, Sing, Read, Write and Play, and they are updated quarterly.

Here are just a few “librarian approved” books currently on the app. Find more by downloading the Build A Reader app in your app store (search “Tulsa City-County Library” or “Build A Reader” to find it)!

applesauce is fun to wear book cover, for a list of best books for babiesApplesauce is Fun to Wear written by Nancy Raines Day and illustrated by Jane Massey

Of course, applesauce is best when it ends up in the mouth and belly, but making a mess at mealtime has its own rewards. Rhyming lines and a jaunty pace make this particularly good for babies, who are learning language and need both to grow. Besides, any book that compares “spaghetti” to “confetti” is bound to be fun!

Lola At The Library book cover, for a list of best books for babiesLola at the Library with Mommy! written by Anna McQuinn and illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw

The Lola books are some of the most gentle and sweet, combining everyday observations with a curious protagonist. Of course we love this one because it’s all about the library! If you take your baby to the library frequently (and we hope you do!), this is a good book for growing baby brains because it will help them identify a familiar place while expanding their experiences in book form.

Sidewalk FlowersSidewalk Flowers written by JonArno Lawson and illustrated by Sydney Smith

This is a wordless picture book, so you will have lots of opportunities to talk about what you are seeing to your baby. Remember – even if your baby is not talking yet, talking to them helps them learn not only words but rules of conversation. So, stop frequently to ask questions and wait for them to respond. This is one way they learn that talking is give and take.

Leo Loves Baby TimeLeo Loves Baby Time written by Anna McQuinn and illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw

Leo is Lola’s younger brother, so of course he’s at the library, too! (Lola and Leo’s parents get extra gold stars for their library outings.) COVID sent the library’s storytimes online for a bit, but they are back. If you haven’t had a chance to attend one of our storytimes with your baby, this is an excellent book to prepare them for what it’s like. Songs, stories and new friends!

Animal BabiesAnimal Babies Like to Play written by Jennifer Adams and illustrated by Mary Lundquist

Learning the letters of the alphabet is a building block for learning how to read. But there’s no need to sit your baby down with flash cards to do this. Reading fun books like this, that pair the letters of the alphabet with children in animal costumes (so cute!), are a great way to introduce and reinforce letters. Babies like to look at other babies, including baby animals – and babies dressed as baby animals! – so this book is especially good to keep your baby’s interest while teaching letters.

Laura Raphael is the Children’s Services Coordinator for the Tulsa City-County Library.

Sept 2022 Books Pin

Categories: Books and Literacy, September 2022