Best Books for Babies 2016

Each year since 2000 a group of Pittsburgh librarians and child development experts has selected the ten Best Books for Babies published in the previous year. Occasionally lists have more than ten titles because a pair of titles may have been chosen to occupy a single slot.

The Best Books for Babies project highlights the importance of reading beginning at birth. Books selected will delight and engage babies age birth through 18 months and the adults who care for them. Best Books for Babies is a cooperative project of CLP, The Fred Rogers Company, and Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children (PAEYC).

Baby Animals Spots and Stripes

Realistic black and white, high-contrast drawings and a low page count make this brief board book perfect for the very youngest infants and an unexpected full-color final illustration adds interest.

Big Bear little chair

Sophisticated black and white artwork with red accents accompanies a three-part catalog of quirky combinations of animals, objects and settings; in addition to being visually arresting, the pictures offer parents plenty of details to point out and talk about as baby grows.

Boats Go

This extra-wide board book showcases a variety of ships, boats and even a submarine; vigorous illustrations in bold colors and inventive sounds, from the flap of a sail to the siren on a fireboat, bring the vessels to life.

Global Baby Bedtimes

Sleepy babies are cuddled close or sprawled out, yawning sweetly or rubbing their eyes in appealing close-up photos that showcase children from around the world in the latest title in the outstanding Global Babies board book series.

I Get Dressed; I Play

A small bear (I Play) and a number of different animals (I Get Dressed) engage in fun, familiar activities (like reading!) or show off various items of clothing (including some seriously snazzy underpants) in these board books perfectly sized for baby hands.

One Gorilla: A Counting Book

Colorful, realistic paintings of apes, monkeys and other primates, including humans, peer from the pages of this board book, illustrating the author’s assertion that we are “All one family.”

Snuggle Up with Mother Goose

The focus of these collected nursery rhymes, some familiar and some not, moves from morning to night; sturdy pages, a padded cover and Rosemary Well’s charming illustrations make this board book compilation of verses from two larger collections just right for the littlest listeners.


Drawn with just a few scribbly black lines, Smick is a big, goofy dog who delights in finding a new friend; rhyming phrases and repetition make this story especially fun to read aloud, simple words make it accessible to big brothers and sisters eager to share books with the babies in their lives.

Splish, Splash, Baby!

Sturdy flaps, bright colors and a bouncy interactive text introduce a diverse group of babies to a soon-to-be familiar everyday experience filled with toys, bubbles and fun.


This board book’s unusual construction offers a tactile experience perfect for the youngest listeners; raised shapes are paired with incised areas on opposite pages, allowing babies to enjoy the book with their fingers as well as their eyes and ears.