Finding the best baby books for their first year can be difficult, as they're too little to read and it's hard knowing what the best children's books will be and how they'll benefit their development.
If you're not sure when to start reading to your baby, you should know that reading is one of the best things you can do to bond with them, it can help to establish a bedtime routine and it helps with their language development, so there's really no reason to delay reading to them!
According to KidsHealth, reading aloud to your baby can also help to teach communication, introduces new concepts and information in a fun way, and builds skills. So, the more you read to your child, the more they'll be able to build up an awareness of the world around them.
From black and white baby books to the best books for first-time parents, we've found out the books you should be reading to your newborn throughout their first year.
Best for a classic baby book
This enchanting classic will keep your baby fascinated with the colourful artwork and the
Best for a sensory baby book
The Where Is Baby Activity Book is great for a bedtime story or just in the day. It has sensory
Best for a rhyming baby book
A simple rhyming book, Moo Baa La La La goes through different animals and what noises they make.
Best for a baby book keepsake
This lovely board book describes how much Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare love each
Best for a repetitive baby book
With lovely illustrations, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is a repetitive book that is
Best for an interactive baby book
This touch and feel book is great for sensory development. The Baby Touch: Seasons book helps to
Best for an educational baby book
A beautiful story about social and emotional growth, Feelings is great at introducing different
Best for a black and white baby book
The Baby Touch: My First Book features black and white illustrations and a touch and feel on every
Best for an animal baby book
The Noisy Farmyard is made from 100 per cent cotton with a retro-style pinked edge. It's
Best for an inclusive baby book
This sweet book explores the relationships babies have with others and with the call-and-response
Best for a dinosaur baby book
That's Not My Dinosaur is a lovely book about finding the 'right' dinosaur. It has touch and feel
12. Dear Zoo
Best for a lift-the-flaps baby book
First published in 1982, Rod Campbell's classic Dear Zoo has been a favourite for babies and
Best for a durable baby book
Baby's Very First Touchy Feely Book is a great way to introduce different textures to your baby.
14. Where's Spot?
Best for a fun baby book
This best-selling board book, Where's Spot?, is a must-have for the nursery shelf. Your baby will
Best for a traditional baby book
This tactile Peter Rabbit Touch and Feel Playbook is the perfect way to introduce shapes, colours,
Best for a hide and seek baby book
With beautiful illustrations of animals and different environments, Where's Little Bunny? features
Best for a textured baby book
The Baby Touch Peekaboo Book has plenty of different textures for your baby to feel, and large
Best for a BSL baby book
With lovable illustrated characters, the My First Signs: BSL depict 40 signed key words, with a
19. 100 First Words
Best for a first words baby book
This 100 First Words book is vibrant and large to keep your little one engaged. It also features
Best for a board baby book
This interactive sensory book, Never Touch a Porcupine! has a different silicone texture on each
21. Peekaboo Moon
Best for an interactive baby book
With 10 interactive board book pages, Peekaboo Moon has easy to use sliders, cute faces and a
22. Garden Sounds
Best for a noisy baby book
Your little one can listen to all the lovely sounds you can hear outdoors with the Garden Sounds
Best for a soft baby book
The Soft Sensory Baby Book is great for small babies, with peek-a-boo flaps, mirror, sounds and
•Best for a classic baby book: The Very Hungry Caterpillar - View offer on Amazon
•Best for a black and white baby book: Baby Touch: My First Book - View offer on Amazon
•Best for a baby book keepsake: Guess How Much I Love You - View offer on Amazon
•Best for an animal baby book: The Noisy Farmyard - View offer on Kidly
Best books for babies and toddlers: All you need to know
Why is it important to read to my baby?
Creating a bedtime routine: Even though your newborn is still too little to understand what you are saying, it is a soothing ritual to start from a young age.
Learning to talk: Your baby will settle with the sound of your voice, and will subconsciously pick up the rhythms, tones, and inflexions of your voice which can help when they learn to read later on.
Developing eyesight: The stories might be too complex, but from birth to around three months old, your baby is learning to focus their eyes on simple patterns. All of these books will have bright illustrations, shapes, and letters to occupy your baby.
Storytelling skills: Your baby will develop their own imagination in time and storytelling will be a big part of this. Reading to your baby from an early age can encourage this.
Developing empathy: Scientists have found that children who have stories read to them regularly show more empathy and find it easier to understand people.
Extending understanding: As your tot gets older, at the end of storytime stop and ask them ‘why do you think this character did that’ — this can help your child develop their understanding and vocabulary.
What makes a good baby book?
When creating our list of the best baby books for those under 12 months, we took into consideration these features which we think make for the best book for your baby:
Strong characters: Fun, strong characters will keep your little one mesmerised and engaged following them through the book. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Spot and Peter Rabbit are some classic characters loved by babies, young children and parents too!
Brilliant illustrations and vocabulary: Books with bright and colourful pictures and beautiful illustrations will help keep your baby captivated along with repetition and rhyme.
Sensory interaction: Encouraging your baby to touch, feel and play with tactile materials and lift-the-flaps will not only make them smile but provide them with sensory stimulation, great for early development. Cloth books are brilliant for that sensory aspect too.
Board books: Not all the books on this list are board books but the majority are. Board books are great for babies. They're more durable, robust and remove the risk of papercuts from your child eagerly wanting to turn the page.
Opportunities to learn: As well as helping your baby to develop their vocabulary, understanding and imagination, some of these books provide your little one with the chance to learn more about the world around them; from feelings to animals and cultures to counting.
Emily Gilbert is a Digital Writer for Mother&Baby and has written for the website and previously the magazine for six years. Specialising in product reviews, Emily is the first to know about all the exciting new releases in the parenting industry.