Baby’s “Starter” Library (10 Books Under $50)

People often ask me for baby book recommendations. Our friends Edgie and Mel are expecting and in addition to selecting some items off of their registry, I sent them a box of baby books. I spent just under $50 on Amazon Prime and was able to purchase ten books to create what I would consider a well-rounded “starter” library for a new baby.

In selecting these books, I considered the following:

  • Books baby Kokoski could “read” before turning one, when “reading” consists of chewing, slobbering and trying to rip things to shreds.
  • Books baby Kokoski could “read” just after turning one, when “reading” is more interactive and motor skills are more developed.
  • Keeping the cost of each book under $5. Selecting board books allowed me to purchase more books, but board books are also more durable and more portable (fitting easily into purses, diaper bags, strollers).
  • Selecting books that are not super white. The world is a diverse place, so let’s put books in our babies’ libraries that aren’t entirely filled with pictures of white people.

Indestructibles: Baby Faces I will write an entire post about my love for Indestructibles. These books are hands down the absolute best books for babies under the age of one. They are chew proof, rip proof, nontoxic and 100% washable. They have beautiful, bright illustrations. There are no words, so you can either make up a story or talk to baby about what’s in the picture. They weigh practically nothing, so they are great to keep in your purse/manbag and whip out at a restaurant when you need baby to simmer down so you can enjoy your alcoholic beverage. Indestructibles: Baby Faces is especially awesome because it shows babies from all different ethnicities inside the book (though I definitely take issue with the baby on the cover being white – yet another topic I will write about at some point).

Indestructibles: Mama and Baby It’s not enough to have one Indestructible. In our home we have half a dozen floating around. Even at 16 months Poppy loves to sit and read these books to herself.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom A classic rhyming alphabet book that will undoubtedly be read to baby in preschool and kindergarten.

Pajama Time! Sandra Boynton is the poo. She is so awesome. Pajama Time! is a fun read because it’s sing songy. My husband and I walk around the house hours after Poppy has gone to bed, still singing, “Jamma jamma jamma jamma! PJ!” There is something truly liberating about reading silly books and acting a fool with a tiny human who finds you wildly entertaining.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Another classic, this rhyming book is by the same author as Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, but has illustrations by Eric Carle. If you’re wondering why Eric Carle didn’t make this list it’s because his board books cost more than $5 on Amazon and I was going for a healthy combination of quality and quantity. If I was splurging, I would have also purchased The Very Hungry Caterpillar (obviously).

Animals (Baby Touch and Feel) Starting around the age of 1 these sensory books are mighty enthralling to babies. I like this simple one, but Peekaboo Kisses is another really good one if you want to spend a little more dinero.

Little Blue Truck Whether a baby boy or a baby girl, this rhyming book is fun and has a good moral to its story: don’t be an a-hole.

On the Night You Were Born Author Nancy Tillman gets me every time with her beautifully written, whimsically illustrated books about how much a baby is loved. I cannot get through any of Tillman’s books without dissolving into a puddle of tears. I like to torture my new-mom friends with a copy of this book for their own personal sobfests.

Little Owl’s Night This is a sweet little story. Enough said.

Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book I wouldn’t recommend giving babies Lift-the-Flap books before the age of 1, or at least before you know that you’re out of the “I just wanna eat books” phase. When they understand that books are for entertainment and not eating, introduce Lift-the-Flap books. These are so engrossing, you’ll be able to take a shower, go to the bathroom, eat a meal and maybe even brush your hair.

Happy reading!

(Want to know more about baby books I recommend? Message me on Twitter @MsReidReads)


    1. Lots of great suggestions – of course! I would encourage parents to hang on to the board books until they can be read and comprehended. They are familiar favorites and comprehension will come easier. They are also easy to read to younger children which makes for a confident reader. Also for all the reasons you gave, they are easy to leave around and carry in your bag.

      1. Preach, Wendy! Yes, board books are good for babies and for early readers. Thanks for sharing! xx

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