What are some good books for babies and newborns, you ask? Since research shows that babies are stimulated by high contrast images, I highly recommend you invest in some black and white board books. Bold black, white and red graphics are much more likely to engage your infant than soft pastels and beautiful watercolor illustrations.
What is a board book, you ask? A board book is a book made from heavy cardboard. Board books are very durable and can stand up to a lot of abuse from little hands. In addition, many board boards can easily be wiped clean after baby has drooled all over them. They are usually smaller than a typical picture book and since they are designed primarily for kids 0-3, the stories (if they have one) are much shorter in length.
But why read to babies, you ask? Reading aloud to your baby is not just a great bonding experience, it will give them a head start in life! Plenty of research demonstrates that children who are read to develop greater language, vocabulary and social skills, and do better in school when they are older.
Babies love to hear their parents and other caregivers talk, so be sure to ad lib and describe what you see in each picture. You don’t need to stick to the scant text of each of these board books. (Note: book covers and titles are affiliate links.)
Black Cat and White Cat by Claire Garralon. A visually stimulating board book that also contains a sweet story about a black cat visiting with a white cat. There is even a surprise ending!
Farm Animals by Xavier Deneux uses black, white and orange to create simple, bold graphics. But what makes this title stand out is that each page has a finger slide which changes part of the animal. Slide the tab the change the duck’s bill from black to orange, give the turkey spots, the rabbit an eye, and more. When your little one starts to point you can gently show him how to manipulate the slide himself to encourage tactile exploration and hand coordination skills!
Look! Look! by Peter Linenthal. I like this one because parents are constantly saying “Look!” to their kids, so babies might as well get used to it right away, ha ha ha. Linenthal has several other books in the Look! series, so go out and look for them. (pun!)
Spots and Dots Chez Picthall. Loads of bold patterns to gaze at! Look for other books by this author, too.
Baby Sees Colors! A high contrast book to improve focus by Akio Kashiwara. Although your babe in arms is not getting board of all that black and white, you might be. This choice gives color satisfaction while still being stimulating for baby.
Hello Baby: Baby Grip by Roger Priddy. Priddy has a ton of board books for babies and you will want them all. I wish this one was around when my kids were still tiny. It is designed to your little grabber can hold it!
Black on White, and White on Blackby Tina Hoban. I read these two books one million times. Sometimes I would just turn the pages in a tired stupor. When I had energy I would tell little stories about each object while the little guy pulled my hair or nursed. And yes, please do read all of Hoban’s board books!
Jane Foster’s Black and White. Mom, dad do you crave some visual sophistication while you read 101 black and white books to your babies? Try this one.
Hello, Animals! by Smriti Prasadam. Each image of a black and white animal includes a bit of colorful, crinkly foil for extra interest. Also look for Hello, Bugs!
If you really, really, really want your black and white baby book to have a story, try the 3-book Checkers and Dot series by J. Torres. The jaunty rhyme is fun for baby’s ears, too.
Smile! by Roberta Grobel Intrater. Okay, is this a black and white board book? Um, no. But I had to sneak it in. If there is one thing babies love more than bold graphics, it is human faces! So smile and read this book and the other photograph board books in the Baby Faces series.
More books for babies and toddlers, too!
- 15 Multicultural Books for Babies and Toddlers
- The Best Toddler Books (or, books I’ll miss reading…)
- Math Books for Babies and Toddlers