The Best of the Best Books for Babies

Since the turn of this century, a group of Pittsburgh librarians and child development experts have been meeting annually to select a list of books perfect for sharing with the very littlest listeners.  Not all of the titles honored so far are still available. That’s partly because children’s books can go out of print relatively quickly and partly because we’re coming up on the 20th annual list.

Still, for those who are curious about what kinds of books earn the designation of a “best book” for babies birth to 18 months, the titles below  provide a sampling of the qualities the committee seeks.

Clap Hands

A toddler learns to play hand-clapping games.

Black White

White illustrations against a black background, alternating with black illustrations against a white background, create high-contrast shapes that will engage your baby and allow you to explore together.

Diggers Go

Come to the construction site and read about the eight construction vehicles that rumble and boom their way through this book.

Everywhere Babies

Flowing descriptions celebrate many moods and infinite charms of babies, while engaging illustrations show infants from a wide variety of cultures engaged in everyday activities.

Fuzzy Fuzzy Fuzzy!: A Touch, Skritch, & Tickle Book

This brief board book features cartoon-style illustrations of animals and offers young listeners the opportunity to feel different textures and make a choice about whether (or how many times) to “read it again.”

Global Babies

Wonderful close-up photographs of babies from a number of different countries show how babies are cherished and cared for all over the world.

A Kiss Means I Love You

Explores the meanings of different actions, expressions, words, and sounds, from a kiss and a clap to a wave and a yawn.

My Car

Bold, brightly colored illustrations accompany this simple story.  Young listeners will enjoy identifying familiar places and objects and appreciate the humor of the surprise ending.

My Face Book

Invites babies to look at the faces of other babies as they learn the Chinese and English words for various facial expressions.

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.