When choosing special welcoming gifts for a new baby, most of us want to choose something meaningful, something that will last, and something that you can enjoy with your baby for a long time. With all the wonderful words, long lasting literacy benefits, and the opportunity for cuddle time, there is no better welcome than starting their own little library and choosing some great first books for baby!

10 great first books for baby to see them to their first birthday:

Goodnight Moon

by Margaret Wise Brown. The perfect gentle, quiet book for reading right before bed. Simple illustrations, bold colors with a minimal color palette, and a last look around the room before falling off to sleep.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

by Eric Carle. This is a wonderful welcome for a brand new baby! Bright, bold illustrations with a simple story about a brand new caterpillar eating his way to becoming a brand new butterfly (this is the book we chose for our toddler when she was born).

Hairy Maclary From Donaldson’s Dairy

by Lynley Dodd. Especially great for dog families, but a lovely, fun, rhythmic classic for everyone. It follows various neighborhood dogs with funny names as they nurdle around together and finally, encounter the neighborhood tom cat. Our copy has been well loved through 3 babyhoods and beyond.


(Retitled as Peek-a-boo for the American market) by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. A fun rhyming story about all the things baby sees and adventures he has in a day. “Perfectly tuned for a first-book experience.” – Booklist.

Welcome: A Mo Willems Guide for New Arrivals

by, you guessed it, Mo Willems. This is a new book, out May, 2017, that I grabbed off the New Books shelf at the library, and fell in absolute love with! It’s like a users manual, for babies, for the world. Hard to explain, but as with all Mo Willems books, it’s quirky and outside the box and brilliant. I immediately bought a copy for my impending nephew.

There is no better welcome than getting a baby a book! Here are 10 great first books. Click To Tweet

Are You My Mother?

by P.D. Eastman. A baby bird falls out of a nest and spends the day searching for his mother. He encounters many different things that are not his mother, then is put back in the nest just in time for his mother to arrive back from fetching him a worm to eat. A sweet book for Mama and baby to read together.

Owl & Cat: Family Is…

by Emma Apple. I wrote this Owl & Cat book especially for the arrival of my youngest child. It talks about all the elements of what family is, while the illustrations show various stages a family can go through, from new baby to grandchildren, celebrations, saying goodbye, and first days at school.

The Story of Ferdinand

by Munro Leaf. This is my absolute favorite children’s book. It’s sweet, and surprising, and you just fall in love with Ferdinand. The illustrations are stunning black and white ink drawings and the story is written in such a unique rhythm, it sort of pulls you along in an unexpected way. I like that it pokes fun at the bull fighting tradition, but at the same time introduces the culture of it. I especially like that Ferdinand wins with only his gentle soul.


by Don Freeman. The story of a sweet bear who wants a home, and the sweet girl who wants to take him home. The story takes us on an adventure with Corduroy as he searches for his missing button, then as he goes to his new home with the little girl. It’s one of my all time favorites! The perfect book for a diverse home library as well.

The Giving Tree

by Shel Silverstein. I wasn’t sure about this well-loved classic the first time I read it, it felt very sad, and the boy felt very selfish, but it grew on me after a couple of reads, and as I let it sink in a bit. It is a tale of generosity and loyalty, and even a caution about selfishness. A lovely, if somewhat sad, baby welcome gift. (The book could maybe do without the huge photo of the author on the back though).

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