Books are the ideal present for parents welcoming home their new little one. The best gift is one that has a personal connection or story from you. Did you love a special book as a kid? Buying a copy of that book, and including a note about why it was important to you will be particularly meaningful. Another good source is the “Build a Classic Library” list we’ve posted, but there is a danger: you don’t want to watch as they open the 12th copy of Good Night Moon! You may want to check first or consult with other gift-givers before choosing a classic.
Below, we’ve listed some suggestions to get you started thinking about what book you might like to choose. Our criteria for this list is this: high quality books that both children and adults appreciate. They might spark some other ideas for you. Oh, and do inscribe the book! It’s an important touch that adds meaning to your gift.
More, More, More, Said the Baby by Vera Williams
Tickles and kisses and lots of affectionate hugs fill the colorful pages of William’s book as several delightful toddlers call “More, More, More!” to the adults in their lives across generations. Splashy, rainbow colored pictures intrigue readers of all ages. It’s a perfect gift to anticipate the closeness that will come with the new baby, and toddlers we know love this as a read-loud.
Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
With its gorgeous black and white illustrations and lyrical, humorous text, this is a perfect picture book to introduce to a little one right from the start. Children and parents love the sweet, sometimes slapstick struggle of Kitten, who sees her first full moon and thinks it’s a bowl of milk in the sky. It sets a high standard for future books for your library shelves.
Corduroy by Don Freeman
There’s something special about teddy bears, and books about teddy bears. They make a perfect combination for a baby gift. We recommend Corduroy as a great choice. Lisa, the little girl who rescues the bear from the department store, might be wearing clothes that are a bit dated, but children don’t notice these details and continue to enjoy this loveable bear’s adventures and ultimate rescue. No need to buy a special Corduroy character teddy bear– any teddy you are drawn to will appreciate being brought home.
Little Boy by Alison McGhee Peter H. Reynolds (Illustrator)
For families that know they will be welcoming a little boy, this is a charming book to look forward to their own confident, independent, and imaginative little boy. The watercolor and ink vignettes use short rhymes to tell the story of the little boy’s day. A great reminder of how precious each day can be with our little ones: “Little boy, you remind me how, so much depends on days made of now.”
Someday by Alison McGhee Peter H. Reynolds (Illustrator)
A mother recalls her daughter’s infancy and looks forward with her to the milestones in her life ahead. Lovely pen and ink, watercolor illustrations. It’s more a book for mom to treasure than for little ones to enjoy. It actually makes a good gift from Mom to pregnant daughter, rather than specifically a gift for baby.
Because of You by B.G. Hennessy and Hiroe Nakata (Illustrator)
Each child born offers a unique new person who will add to the world throughout their lives. This tender book, with its gentle watercolors, and simple language, will not only reaffirm new family members they have always been welcomed and loved, but that they have the potential to change the world in positive ways. Drives home the idea that a peaceful world can start with one small child.
Winne the Pooh (Original Edition) by A. A. Milne (Author), Ernest H. Shepard (Illustrator)
We recommend this edition: Pooh Library original 4-volume set, but the single volume of the original Winnie the Pooh also makes a wonderful gift. There is simply no comparison between the original characters and the more recent Disney version. Children still love gloomy Eeyore, excitable Piglet, and of course, the adventures that Christopher Robin and Pooh share.
My Very First Mother Goose by Iona Opie (Author) and Rosemary Wells (Illustrator)
Why choose this version of the Mother Goose rhymes? The large type is perfect toddler-size, the illustrations are inviting and children are drawn to the multiple images of suns, moons, and stars, as well as the many kittens and bunnies. The large initials that begin each rhyme are also eye-catching. Folklorist Opie is the perfect choice to edit this anthology, choosing the best and most enduring of Mother Goose rhymes.
The following two recommendations are beloved by many gift-givers and new parents, but they have a tinge of “New Age” to them that does not appeal to everyone.
On the Day You Were Born by Debra Fraser
When a couple is expecting a baby, they want the universe to celebrate with them. Debra Fraser’s book highlights the wonder of bringing a new baby into the world and the delight the animal and natural world takes in the newest arrival. The simple bright pictures attract children’s interest, as well as adults’.
The Twelve Gifts of Birth by Charlene Costanzo, Wendy Wassink Ackison, and Jill Reger
We are all born with “birthright gifts” that we can use as blessings to enrich our lives. In some ways, this tale is crafted in a similar way to the opening of Sleeping Beauty where the newborn is bestowed certain character traits at birth from the good fairies. There is a page in the beginning for gift-givers to personalize the book—a nice addition!