Since 2000, child development experts in the Pittsburgh area have created an annual list of Best Books for Babies published in the previous year. This list is a wonderful resource for new parents who want to support their babies by reading beginning at birth.
At Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh we feel that we can do even more to spread the word on early literacy and Best Books for Babies. We asked ourselves, “What is one of the most exciting ways to celebrate babies?” A baby shower, of course! So, we combined books and baby showers, and began hosting Best Books for Babies Baby Book Showers. Not only do caregivers get to attend a fun event that celebrates a new addition to their families, they also get cake, prizes and Best Books for Babies!
The first Best Books for Babies Baby Book Shower took place in May, 2018, at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Main. We welcomed expecting parents, caregivers and children ages birth through 18 months to come and play, sing and share books from the 2017 Best Books for Babies list. It was so successful that we decided to throw additional showers in neighborhoods across Pittsburgh. Whether parents were sharing a lullaby in Arabic in Knoxville, celebrating a new walker in Northview Heights, dreaming about reading with a baby on the way on the Northside or celebrating a first outing to the Library in Hazelwood, families and expecting parents made connections. Caregivers also learned ways to be their baby’s first and most important teacher. Each family took home a set of Best Books for Babies to grow home libraries.
It’s never too early to start reading to your baby, and we hope that the Best Books for Babies booklist in combination with continued Baby Book Showers will inspire caregivers to share books with their babies—whether they are newborns, learning to crawl or standing on tiptoe to grab their favorite board book from the top of the shelf.