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Board Books

Ages 0 to 3

Black & White

By Tana Hoban

An accordion style book without words which can be stretched on the floor next to baby. This book inspired more concentration and engagement than most of the other books combined. Great for tummy time!

My Face Book

By Star Bright Books

Babies love looking at faces:

all different races, all different emotions, one feeling per page.  Probably our baby's first favorite book, she smiled when she saw the cover and spent a long time looking at each face.

I Can

By Helen Oxenbury

Beginner board book with one word per page and simple, delightful illustrations. I like the idea of this book. It hasn't been a favorite yet, but preferences change as babies age. Could double as an early reader!

Carry Me

By Star Bright Books

Celebrating how babies are carried around the world with clear text and vibrant pictures. Our daughter showed most interest in photographs of people at the beginning, so we read this type of book on loop.

Hands Can

By Cheryl Willis Hudson and

John-Francis Bourke

Children's hands are capable!  A larger than average board book with beautiful pictures to boot. Another frequently read book during the photo-loving stage.


By Star Bright Books

Families do many loving things together: human families alongside other animals. I like this book as a conversation prompt for how we live and take care of each other.

Dear Zoo

By Rod Campbell

Our daughter loves lifting the flaps to see the animals. We say slithery instead of scary for the snake, and mischievous instead of naughty for the monkey. This is a fun book.

Everywhere Babies

By Susan Meyers and Marla Frazee

A favorite for its poetic language and evocative illustrations, this is a book that parents love, too.  I frequently give this book at baby showers. This is my top pick from the bunch.

All The World

By Liz Garton Scanlon and Marla Frazee

Another perfect combination of poetic language and pictures you could stare at all day. I also like this as a picture book because the larger pages show off Marla Frazee's art.

Crowds of Creatures

By Kate Riggs and Dogi Fiammetta

"A flock of geese flies to nest, A colony of ants works without rest." Lovely selection of precise terms for describing animal families, also including troops of monkeys, prides of lions, clouds of bats, and pods of dolphins.

Duck's Ditty

By Kenneth Grahame

An adaptation of a favorite song from The Wind in the Willows, I like this book's lyrical prose and varied language: "All along the backwater, through the rushes tall, ducks are a-dabbling up tails all!"

Charley Harper's

Count the Birds

By Zoe Burke

A counting book with Charley Harper's bird illustrations and the names of birds like bunting, bluebird, grosbeak, puffin, pelican, finch, owl, turnstone, and quail.

Music Is...

By Brandon Stosuy and Amy Martin

The many ways to create music and how music makes us feel: "Music is quiet, music is loud, music is slow or made of fast sounds, music is hard, music is soft, music is sad, music is happy."

Let's Play

By Gyo Fujikawa

I like that the illustrations inspire conversations about different feelings in social interactions. You can talk about the child who feels excluded or worried, in addition to those who feel connected and engaged.

Sleepy Time

By Gyo Fujikawa

Soothing nighttime rituals for babies offered alongside varying sleep habits of other animals. "Sometimes it can be hard to fall asleep. You could try sleeping on the floor. Some people do, you know." 

The Toolbox

By Anne and Harlowe Rockwell

Precise language and nostalgic feel, I find myself choosing this book again and again. The watercolor illustrations are stunning.

Hats of Faith

By Medeia Cohan and Sarah Walsh

From turbans to hijabs to Rasta hats to kippahs, this book embraces diversity through headwear. I appreciate the pronunciation guidance.

My First Book of Patterns

By Bobby and June George and Boyoun Kim

Accurate language and crisp design; even adults learn something new. "This is a zigzag. A lot of zigzags make... Chevron!"

Quiet Time with Cassatt

By Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober

I read these books after featuring the artist with calendar pictures in our long picture frame (more on this in Baby Registry).


Mini Masters: 4 Board Books

By Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober

I like the word choice and flow: "Through a field of poppies, red and bright, past a flock of turkeys, feathery white 

(A Picnic with Monet)."

Sharing with Renoir

By Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober

The last page tells where you can find the paintings in museums, some right in DC!

On An Island with Gauguin

By Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober

Sometimes I skip the text and describe the images, style, and moods in the paintings.

Painting with Picasso

By Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober

When choosing when to offer an artist, I go for high contrast: Monet followed by Picasso.

Dreaming with Rousseau

By Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober

For older children, I also tell stories about the artist when introducing paintings.

Matisse Dance for Joy

By Susan Goldman Rubin

"I'm a pony prancing kickity-kick, or a bird swooping low, soaring high." Strong verbs to go with Matisse's vibrant art.

What A Wonderful World

By Bob Thiele, George David Weiss,

and Tim Hopgood

Saying, "We know that song," did not do this book justice.  It feels different and special when reading to your child.

"More More More," Said The Baby

By Vera B. Williams

Three babies, three races, three nurturing adults. I'm tickled by the sweetness of this book.

Forest Baby

By Laurie Elmquist and Shantala Robinson

Crisp writing with carefully chosen words and attractive collage artwork. "Reach to leafy maples with winged seeds.  Bend to a painted turtle stretching in the sun.  At the lake's edge, foam lifts in the wind."

Feast for 10

By Cathryn Falwell

A counting book: grocery shopping + preparing a family meal with many helpful children. An excellent springboard for talking about family life and race, respectively. If you've read Nurture Shock, you know we should all be talking about race.

A Good Day

By Kevin Henkes

A bad day gets turned around for each character, a story of encountering and overcoming obstacles. "Little yellow bird lost his favorite tail feather... Little yellow bird forgot about his feather and flew higher than he ever had before."

At The Supermarket

By Anne Rockwell

I like that the capable child helps his mother, inspiring and interesting for little helpers.

Ten Little Fingers... And Toes

By Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury

Poetic language and a global message; this was one of my husband's first favorites.

Planting a Rainbow

By Lois Ehlert

I highlight the names of plants and flowers and read this in conjunction with garden visits.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

By Eric Carle

The classic tale of mysterious and miraculous transformation.

Freight Train

By Donald Crews

Precise train language here!  Caboose, tank car, cattle car, box car, tender, steam engine.

The Very Busy Spider

By Eric Carle

The perfect Montessori book, a celebration of concentration and hard work!

One Eagle Soaring

By Roy Henry Vickers & Robert Budd

The unique illustrations appeal to me. Parts are raised and shiny, which my daughter ran her fingers over. I like the rhyming, varied word choice: "Three orcas swim the strait. Four bees pollinate."

In the Wind

By Elizabeth Spurr and Manelle Oliphant

A board book with a plot beginning, middle, and end, plus a range of emotions.  A girl joyfully flies a kite, accidentally catches it in a tree, breaks the string, watches the kite blow away, and glumly walks home only to find the kite caught in her own apple tree.

Ocean Motions

By Kate Endle & Caspar Babypants

A board book with alliteration, enough said! "Walruses waving warmly... Jellies gently jiggling. Sea stars slowly swaying." I also like the colorful collage illustrations.

In the Middle of Fall

By Kevin Henkes and Laura Dronzek

Love this sweet poetic book.

"In the middle of fall,

when the leaves have already turned,

and the sky is mostly gray...

and the gardens are brown,

and the pumpkins are ready

and the apples are like ornaments..." Also check out Winter is Here and When Spring Comes.

Clive Is A Nurse

By Jessica Spanyol

The research-supported Tools of the Mind preschool program orchestrates topic-related role playing games, sometimes involving professions. This Clive series gives older toddlers language and illustrations to spark realistic pretend play about jobs.  

Clive is a Teacher

By Jessica Spanyol

The research-supported Tools of the Mind preschool program orchestrates topic-related role playing games, sometimes involving professions. This Clive series gives older toddlers language and illustrations to spark realistic pretend play about jobs.  

Time for Bed

By Mem Fox & Jane Dyer

Soothing and lyrical.  On the longer side for a baby.  This classic puts a series of animals to bed: "It's time for bed little goose, little goose, the stars are all out and on the loose."

Big Red Barn

By Margaret Wise Brown & Felicia Bond

Strong and precise writing by the author of Goodnight Moon: "There was a bantam rooster and a little bantam hen

with a big clutch of eggs.

Count them.  There are ten."

Swirl by Swirl

By Joyce Sidman & Beth Krommes

For an older toddler or preschooler.  Poetic writing with intricate illustrations.  "A spiral is a snuggling shape.  Coiled tight, warm and safe, it waits for a chance to expand!"

Boat Book

By Gail Gibbons

All types of boats! Rowboats, canoes, sailboats, speedboats, cruise ships, submarines, tugboats, and more!  A font of language for a boat lover.

The Little Fire Engine

By Lois Lenski

An advanced board book in that is has a beginning, middle, and an end + a problem and a resolution. Great for children interested in community heroes! 


By Byron Barton

Explaining the magic of things that fly through the sky. 

Great preparation for your child's first airplane trip.

Mommy Snuggles

By Anne Gutman and Georg Hallensleben

"Mommy tiger walks with her cub.  Mommy swan glides with her cygnet." This beautifully illustrated book highlights the ways that animals keep their babies close.

Daddy Dreams

By Anne Gutman and Georg Hallensleben

"Daddy lion dreams on his side. Daddy flamingo dreams on one leg." Simple and charming. The ways that animals rest along with their young.

Goodnight, Goodnight Sleepyhead

By Ruth Krauss and Jane Dyer

A reality based alternative to Goodnight Moon. A body scan saying goodnight to different parts of the body, followed by parts of the room.

I love this charming book.

Mangia! Mangia!

By Amy Wilson Sanger

Part of Amy Wilson Sanger's World Snacks board book series. The books are most interesting if you're familiar with the type of food.

hola jalapeno!

By Amy Wilson Sanger

The singsongy text is fun to read: "Corn tortillas make my tacos, my tostada,... and my chips. Tomato salsa, por favor, and guacamole dip!"  

A Little Bit of Soul Food

By Amy Wilson Sanger

Across the series, the three-dimensional collages use wood, plastic, fabric, paper, cross-stitching, and color choice to evoke culture.  

Baby Elephant:

Finger Puppet Book

By Chronicle Books & Yu-Hsuan Huang

Our daughter has entered a phase where she likes to interact with books: open flaps, feel textures, and, of course, grab a finger puppet. The elephant puppet steals the show from the text and illustrations. But that's okay, it is a finger puppet after all. Fun!


By Matthew Van Fleet

"Tails fluffy, tails stringy, scaled tails strong and -- clingy. Tails long, tails stumpy, pulling tails makes snoozers grumpy!" All sorts of interaction possibilities with this book. Pulling tabs, lifting flaps, feeling textures. Our daughter spent a lot of time trying to figure out the wagging tails. This book will be well-loved when we are through.

Pat the Bunny

By Dorothy Kunhardt

I still need to round out our interactive book collection. This is a classic. "[Paul and Judy] can do lots of things. You can do lots of things, too."  Pat the bunny, play peek-a-boo, smell the flowers, look in a mirror, put on a ring, read a book. We also have Pat the Zoo, which is not reality based, but I let it slide.   

Good Morning, Good Night!

By Teresa Imperato and Melanie Mitchell

Part of our daily nap routine. It's large and doesn't qualify as a board book (bendable pages), but it means so much more texture for the little hands! Love.

Touch and Feel Farm

By DK Children

Touch and feel books with realistic pictures. Pure gold. We also like this and this. Honestly can't get enough of these.

Touch and Explore the Ocean

By Nathalie Choux

This is touch and feel book with busy fact-filled pages. Less of a story to read straight-through and more of a conversation starter to savor over time. Fun for older toddlers and preschoolers!

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