We all know you should read to your baby every day and why (larger vocabulary, higher grades in school, early literacy, higher IQ scores, better memory, less hyperactivity) and that it’s never too early (or late) to start. But it’s difficult when it feels like your baby is bored or disinterested, or when it seems like she just doesn’t want to engage. On top of this, it’s hard to have a conversation with someone who can’t converse back, harder still, is trying to converse with someone who’s just not into it. So what can we do then, when silly character voices don’t come easily to us and we find it difficult to read an entire book in parentese?
In addition to changing around the time of day that we read books, and changing the environment to promote focus and attention. We can find books that our baby likes and is interested in. Now, I love the sweet, heart warming books just as much as any other mama, but my baby doesn’t seem to like them as much as I do and that’s ok. I sneak them in when I can and resolve myself to the fact that once she’s a little older, she could “grow” into them.
While I can’t guarantee that your baby will enjoy the same books as mine does, I can tell you that there’s actually a good chance they might, due to how these books do things differently than other more conventional choices.
First up, is Feathers for Lunch by Lois Ehlert. This charming story is about a kitty that has escaped from his home and unsuccessfully tries to catch and eat various backyard birds for lunch. A personal fascination of mine about this book, is that all of the birds throughout it are actually drawn to scale, as is the cat. It’s for this reason I believe it’s been a favorite of my daughters since she was just three months old. The pictures are big, and the colors are bold with lots of black and red (two colors among the few that babies see best when first born). Not only that, it’s entertaining for adults as well. You can learn about plants (they’re labeled throughout the book) and I honestly chuckle almost every time I read it as I picture my own cats getting into the same sort of mischief.
Second, is The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. As a true classic (it’s been around for over 50 years) I have to believe at this point, we have all heard of this caterpillar and his appetite. Not only is it a great tool for helping to teach numbers and sequencing and days of the week, it too, contains big, bold, and simple pictures. Why my daughter loves it however, is because of the odd sized pages. Since six months old she has been obsessed with turning pages. She can sit for a good 5-10 minutes, board book in hand, trying to figure out how to turn one page at a time. The Very Hungry Caterpillar was the first book that allowed her to do this. SInce then, she gets so excited every time we get to these pages because she gets to turn them on her own. They even helped her figure out how to turn other normally sized board book pages. The Very Hungry Caterpillar is still the easiest one to do this with however, so it remains a favorite.
Third, but by no means in last place, is Never Touch a Porcupine by Make Believe Ideas Ltd. This one is honestly probably my daughters favorite and it’s easy to see (and feel) why. Every page has a new piece of textured silicone to touch. She’s not only hearing silly rhymes and seeing new, fun animals, she gets to touch them too! She wants to touch everything we read together and gets frustrated when I don’t let her (such as when we read paper books) but with this book she is actually encouraged to interact and she adores it. She will even “read” it by herself during individual play time. This has been a favorite for six months now and we’re still going strong.
As time goes on and my baby gets older (or as I have more) I will update this list. It is by no means exhaustive and I can’t wait to add more stories to it! If your little one has any particular favorites, please let me know! Aurelia and I love reading new books and I’m looking forward to updating this list.