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25 Best Baby Books: Improve Your Baby’s Learning and Development

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
July 5, 2018
Best baby books

Few things in life are more precious than the time spent reading to your child. The memories that come from reading together can last a lifetime.

Studies indicate that reading to your baby, beginning when it’s in the womb, can result in benefits throughout your child's lifetime. Hearing your voice helps the baby develop language skills more quickly than babies who don’t have this experience.

With so many great children's books on the market, I wanted to provide a list of the top 25 best baby books. I hope it motivates you to take on the wonderful experience of reading with your child.

Baby Book FAQs

Many parents have questions about reading to their child. I thought I'd start with some frequently asked questions.

When will my baby enjoy books?

Researchers say it is never too early to start reading to your child. Babies can pick up on rhythms and tones while still in the womb.

Should I only read age-appropriate books to my child?

At early ages, it is more about tonality, rhythm and intimacy with your child. Until your child is ready for age-level material, you could try Shakespearian sonnets, passages from the Bible, or excerpts from other literary classics.

What are board books for babies?

Board books are specially designed for little ones to make it easy for them to turn the pages and hard for them to tear. Publishers make the covers and pages from thick cardboard.

What makes a good baby book?

Books that you and your child both enjoy reading make the best books for babies. Typically, if you enjoy reading the book, your child will respond in kind.

What do I do if my baby seems disinterested when I read?

Attention spans develop over time, and every child is a little different. If your baby entirely lacks interest, try livening up your act a bit with silliness in the form of crazy character voices and wildly exaggerated facial expressions. Ham it up; your baby will eventually catch on that you have not gone bonkers, but you are having fun and join in the hilarity.

Different types of baby books

Publishers classify baby books based on how they are made, their subject matter or their type of content. Here are some of the most common categories:

  • Cloth books are known for being soft and virtually indestructible. Babies can chew on them and you don't have to worry.
  • Textured books provide interaction by giving children something to touch on each page. Children can learn things such as what a tiger or an elephant feels like.
  • Picture books use photographs to bring the world to the baby's bedroom. They give your little one a chance to see far-away places or people from different cultures, right from the safety of your lap.
  • Alphabet books help a baby catch on to the fact that those shapes mommy always points to have some meaning. These books start the process of associating letters with sounds.
  • Word-per-word books teach children the sight recognition of words. At a young age, children can start recognizing and remembering common words by sight.
  • Nursery rhymes are one longstanding genre of children's books that don't seem to be going away anytime soon. The combination of rhythmic language and abstract thought make them beloved to children and parents.
  • Storybooks fulfill the innate human desire to tell and listen to stories. Learning the structure of stories helps children develop the ability to create their own plots.

Benefits of reading baby books to your little one

Babies can derive many benefits from being read to regularly. Here are a few ways in which reading to your child can be beneficial.

Mental development is greatly accelerated in young children that are read to by an adult regularly. Each time you read memory books to your baby, you are stimulating his or her brain.

Emotional development in children improves with regular reading time. Researchers have shown that the time you spend reading to your baby can result in the child being more emotionally balanced.

Sensory improvement happens more rapidly in babies that are read to by an adult. Hearing you read and seeing the pictures in books will help exercise all of your baby’s senses.

Developing language skills typically happens more quickly in children who are read to by an adult from an early age. Hearing the repetition of words helps children grasp the concept of verbal expression.

Preparedness for school is more apparent in children that have been read to since infancy. With a firm grasp on language skills, these children can usually expect to excel in the school environment.

Tips on how to choose the best baby books

Selecting books for your baby can be a rewarding experience. Many times, finding the right types of books for your child requires a bit of trial and error to see what the baby prefers.

Generally speaking, board or cloth books are an excellent choice for a baby's first book to play with and explore. Keep paper pages and sharp-cornered covers out of reach for a while.

Babies love books that contain high-contrast pictures, photos or illustrations of human faces, rhyming verses and comforting stories. Remember to pick out books that you enjoy reading.

Most popular baby book brands

With a staggering number of baby book publishers out there, I wanted to give you a quick overview of some of the most popular brands of baby books.

DK Publishing


  • Largest publisher of children's books
  • Huge range of styles
  • Impressive production quality

DK Publishing leads the market with innovative book types and storylines. The “Touch and Feel” series of books provides terrific sensory experiences for young fingers.

Scholastic Corporation


  • Publishes “Clifford the Big Red Dog and Magic Schoolbus”
  • Custom learning programs for parents
  • Community-building book fairs

Scholastic Corporation is known for book fairs hosted in schools across the country. This company focuses on helping children develop early reading skills and school readiness.

Usborne Books


  • In-house writers, designers and editors ensure quality standard
  • Encourages early reading
  • Produces Touchy-Feely series of board books

With 40 years’ experience in publishing children's books, UK-based Usborne Books continues bringing critically-acclaimed products to consumers. Its website allows parents to search their immense catalog by age or subject matter.

Simon & Schuster


  • Board books featuring Peanuts characters
  • Common Core approved titles
  • Many holiday-themed titles

Teaching babies about holidays is a snap with American publisher Simon & Schuster's expansive catalog of holiday-specific books. You can trust this long-time publisher for quality books.

Penguin Random House


  • Independent publishers
  • Provides new authors a platform
  • Diverse selection of books for all 

This brand hosts a network of almost 250 independent publishers. Each publisher under its giant umbrella enjoys creative and editorial freedom, which allows for a broader perspective in the books published.

Best baby books

I've tried to mix up my list of the 25 best baby books with some classics and some new titles. I've included baby books for boys, baby books for girls and some that a baby can practice reading in the crib alone. The list is not exhaustive, but I feel it represents a good selection of books for you to begin the incredible adventure of reading with your baby.

Good Night, Stinky Face


  • Reassuring story
  • Entertaining
  • Board book

Good Night, Stinky Face is part of the Stinky Face series. These entertaining books let children know their parents will always love them no matter what.

First 100 Words


  • Teaches 100 simple first words
  • Contains 100 color photographs
  • Tough board book

The charming First 100 Words uses photography to illustrate a list of baby's first 100 spoken words. Later, your little one can learn to read the words.

Babies in the Forest


  • Sturdy board book
  • Thick flaps for baby to explore
  • Superb illustrations

Babies in the Forest encourages little ones to explore under flaps that reveal hidden objects and animals. The thick construction gives you peace of mind.

Fox in Socks


  • Funny tongue twisters
  • New baby board book edition
  • Illustrations never get old

Get ready to get your “muddle puddle tweetle poodle beetle noodle bottle paddle battle” on as you find your way through the ageless Fox in Socks. All of Dr. Seuss’s work is genius.

Little Poems for Tiny Ears


  • Baby-friendly design
  • Stimulates language development
  • Fun and humorous

The childhood experiences presented in Little Poems for Tiny Ears will delight your little one and make you chuckle. The easy-to-read verses are charming and fun.

Giraffes Can't Dance


  • Inspiring story
  • Rhyming text
  • Now a board book

The classic story of Gerald in Giraffes Can't Dance is now available in a beautiful board book. A new generation of young readers and listeners can enjoy the tale of uncovering inner greatness.

Are You My Mother?


  • Edited by Dr. Seuss
  • Hilarious story
  • Teaches determination

The timeless classic Are You My Mother? is a perennial bestseller that follows a baby chick through the barnyard in search of his mother. This funny, easily read story will have you laughing as much as your little one.

ABC's for Boys


  • Hand-illustrated
  • Helps teach boys the alphabet
  • Ages 0-5

ABC's for Boys is a fun book for boys featuring everything they naturally love—airplanes, dump trucks, etc. — presented in a format that helps them learn the alphabet.

Goodnight Moon


  • Poetic lyrics
  • Classic illustrations
  • Gentle verses
  • 9 color options

The classic bedtime story Goodnight Moon will help your little one relax. It’s an all-time favorite of parents and babies.

The Bike Lesson


  • Timeless classic
  • Cute rhymes and simple phrasing
  • Great for parent-child sharing

I've included this classic from 1964, The Bike Lesson, because no list of top baby books would be complete without a shout out to the Berenstain clan. With authorship now taken over by son Mike, the “Berenstain Bears” continues to provide laughter and lessons to this day.

Green Eggs & Ham


  • Written by the author, Dr. Seuss
  • Fun for all
  • Important lessons

Sam-I-Am drives the main character crazy in Green Eggs & Ham until the unnamed cat finally agrees to try some of the unusual food. Be sure to pretend to eat the green eggs and ham and say, “yu-uum!”

Guess How Much I Love You


  • Loved by babies and children
  • Tender story
  • Sturdy board book

Love is universal. The new edition of Guess How Much I Love You comes as a board book so babies can enjoy its classic illustrations anytime.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar


  • Classic bestseller
  • Dye-cut shaped pages
  • Interactive

It is hard to beat the classic tale of The Very Hungry Caterpillar for interactive fun in a children's board book. The creative style of the book itself is a delight.

Welcome Little One


  • Allows for bonding
  • Celebrates the day a baby came into the world
  • Cherish memories and hopes for the future

Everyone needs to feel appreciated, and Welcome Little One will remind your baby how much he or she is appreciated by you. The heartwarming verses and charming illustrations make it a timeless classic.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?


  • Uniquely illustrated
  • Easy to use
  • Exposes baby to the natural world

The rhyme, repetition, and beautiful illustrations in Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? will create lasting images in your child's imagination. The book publishers have released this 25th-anniversary edition.

Little Green Frog


  • Fun lifting flaps
  • Sturdy board book
  • Simple sentences

Little Green Frog will build your baby's curiosity with flaps that hide surprises in the swamp. Language and motor skills benefit from this favorite title.

Goodnight Gorilla


  • Lively fun
  • Story told through illustrations
  • Short words

The board book Goodnight Gorilla features the antics of a sneaky gorilla in the zoo at bedtime. The short phrases make it an easy read.

Moo, Baa, La La La!


  • Silly fun
  • Promote language skills
  • Perfect for reading out loud

When you learn the hilarious rhymes in Moo, Baa, La La La!, you may find yourself reciting them throughout the day. Babies will love the smile it brings to their face as much as the book’s whimsical phrasing.

Where's Spot?


  • New, vibrant cover
  • Board book
  • Fun story

The premiere of the Spot series is Where's Spot? The new edition of this iconic classic features a re-colored cover that babies will enjoy.

The Wonderful Things You Will Be


  • Rhythmic delights
  • Encourages hope
  • Never grows old

This book expresses the hopes parents have for their children. The Wonderful Things You Will Be captivates and motivates both parents and children of all ages.

My Mom Loves Me!


  • Portrays love between a mother and child
  • Adorable illustrations
  • Comforting

Babies can't ever get enough love, and My Mom Loves Me! gives them an extra dose just before bedtime. The soothing verses and tender illustrations help get the point across.

Noisy Farm


  • Engages all senses
  • Teaches animal sounds
  • Sturdy board book

The Touch and Feel Sound Book, Noisy Farm, lets the baby get a sensory-rich tour of the barnyard. This book encourages the baby to explore the world and discover the unknown.

Someday


  • Expression of a mother's love
  • Artwork adds to the emotions
  • Prepare your baby for a bright future

If you’re anything like I am, reading Someday will require some tissue to get through. Fortunately, all of the tears are of hope, joy and the immense love a mother has for her child.

Ten Tiny Toes


  • Comfortable Fit
  • Easy to use
  • Made in the USA
  • thumbs-up9 color options

Ten Tiny Toes is a great read anytime you need a cute, fun and comfortable book. The happy vibes will help put you and your baby in a good mood.

The Pokey Little Puppy


  • Fun to read aloud
  • All-time best-selling baby book
  • Kids love it!

The Pokey Little Puppy is one of the most popular children's books of all time. Its endurance is due to a timeless tale told with beautiful illustrations and verse.

Relevant products to buy

Some of these items may help you keep your baby's books in good shape and easily accessible.

Baby bookshelf


Bookcases for children include ones that hold books with soft fabric to reduce the risk of injuries. They sit low to the ground and make it easy for your baby to access books.

Toy organizer


Keeping a baby's toys stored neatly will help them to last longer. Storing toys and books in a separate area is a good practice to get into early on to that can help promote order and instill the discipline to care for possessions. You may also check our review for some bath toy organizers here.

Diaper bag backpack


Backpack-style diaper bags allow you to carry your baby's favorite books along on day trips or more extended stays. Books are heavy, so a backpack can make things easier.

Final review of the best baby books

Whatever book you end up reading to your little one, remember to treasure each moment of intimacy that reading together provides. Rest assured that the time you spend reading together now will benefit your baby in the long run. The bonding and learning experienced during reading are irreplaceable. Cherish these times with your baby because one day, you blink, and they're all grown up.

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