I loved books as a child (and still do). I have fond memories of visiting my local library with my mom and getting lost among the books and the little stools that had legs that looked like cute little pencils. I also remember getting excited every time my teacher passed out the colorful Scholastic book catalogs. I loved how those catalogs felt as I turned each colorful page to see which book I would order next. Book fairs at my elementary school would get me pumped. I wanted every book I picked up. The illustrations and stories in these books allowed me to imagine the most amazing places and I remember getting lost in a new world every time I read a book. It sounds cheesy, but it's true!
Now that I have Amira, I get excited whenever it comes time to reading to her. I have been reading to Amira ever since I was pregnant with her. It always felt funny to read to her before she was even born, but every now and then I just read my own books, magazines, articles, and recipes aloud. When she was finally born, I was eager to open up the books I bought for her. I never realized how much I would love reading to her and how much she would enjoy it. Amira's eyes light up with each illustration and she smiles as soon as I pick up a book and bring it close to her. As I read to her, she listens attentively, waiting for the next page of colorful drawings to come up. It warms my heart every. single. time.
So today, I thought I'd share just a few of our favorite books (so far). Whether you're shopping for books for a friend's baby shower or purchasing books for your own little one's first library, I hope this list helps:
- The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
One of many classic children's books written by Eric Carle, The Tiny Seed was the very first book I ever read to Amira when she was born. She sat in her swing as I read the story, but she mainly wanted to just look at the bright and colorful illustrations. It's a story about a tiny seed that grows to be a huge flower after surviving many adventures through the seasons.
- Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
One of my friends shared this book with me and I absolutely love reading it with Amira. I might even love it more than my baby. Every time I read a story from this book, I learn a new fact about an outstanding woman or girl who has achieved something amazing. Each story is short, simple, and easy to read. There's a beautiful illustration of each person along with their story. Amira loves staring at the colorful portraits while I read about the achievements of women through time. Sharing these empowering stories with my daughter makes me so excited to see what she'll achieve one day!
- The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton
This one's another classic. I read this to Amira right after I lay her down in the crib to sleep. The moment she sees the cover, she has a huge smile on her face. The rhymes are perfect for funny voices, which babies love, and the colorful illustrations keep them focused on the book. If there's one book I love, it's this one, just because it actually puts my baby to sleep sometimes!
- The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin
Books shouldn't be entertaining just for the baby. You should love reading them too! The Wonderful Things You Will Be hits that emotional spot in my motherly heart. The story is so sweet and gets you thinking about all of the wonderful things your baby will do as she's growing up. The illustrations are soft and beautiful. You'll love this book just as much as your little one does. Trust me.
- Five Pillars of Islam by Anwar Cara and Azhari Zulkifli
While looking for Islamic children's books, I thought this one was great for babies. It's a very simple read compared to other Islamic children's books and covers the topic of the 5 pillars of Islam. Amira enjoys seeing the characters in each scene as they illustrate the meaning of each pillar.
- Pantone Color Books by Pantone
This set of six books was one of the best gifts Amira received from a dear friend of mine. Each board book is devoted to one color of the rainbow and has cutouts of objects that represent different shades from the Pantone collection. The books are very well designed and Amira enjoys grabbing them to touch the cutouts. I like taking one with me in my diaper bag when I'm out, so Amira can look through it on the go.
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
I remember this book being one of my favorites growing up, so I needed to share it with Amira! I mean, who hasn't read The Very Hungry Caterpillar? My mom even remembers reading it to me, which makes it even more special. It's another Eric Carle classic that gets Amira giggling every time we get to the part where "...he was STILL hungry!" This one's great for silly voices too. Did I mention I sound crazy when reading to my baby? Anything to get our little ones to smile and laugh, right?
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
I read Goodnight Moon with a soft voice right when Amira is ready for bed. The illustrations pop with bright red and green, which keeps her eyes moving throughout the page with curiosity. It's a short and simple read that gets her ready to snuggle, cuddle, and fall asleep.
- Peek-a-Boo Forest by Lamaze
The cloth pages of this book make a crinkly sound, which gets Amira's attention immediately. If your baby's obsessed with the crinkly sound the diaper wipes bag makes (is mine the only one?) then she'll love this book. Peek-a-Boo Forest has flaps that you pull back to reveal which animal is hiding around the forest. It's an adorable book that works as a bedtime read or a fun game of peek-a-boo with your little one.
- My First Shapes with Frank Lloyd Wright by Mudpuppy
I have always loved Frank Lloyd Wright's geometric creations as a designer and now love them as a tool to teach my baby about shapes. I bought this book as a souvenir for Amira while we were at the Guggenheim in New York. It's a wonderful book to teach your baby about colors, shapes, and of course, a little architecture.
There are many more books I'd love to add to this list, but I hope you enjoyed reading about some of our first favorites! Which books are your little one's favorite? Let me know below!