There’s nothing sweeter than welcoming a new baby into the world with a library of favorite books that say “We can’t wait to show you how amazing this place we call home is!” The books on this list will earn smiles at any shower—whether the theme is Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Bollywood Baby, or somewhere in between. Some are traditional favorites. Others are modern classics. Many fall into classic board book categories, teaching shapes, colors, numbers, letters, and feelings. Animals, transportation, community, and nature are all popular themes, along with nerdy topics like quarks and chemistry. There are also more literary titles that include song lyrics, rhyming text, or characters that early readers will fall in love with. They all say “Welcome to the world, little one!
Baby Faces, by Kate Merritt
Anything in the Indestructibles series is a practical and playful gift for little hands, and this is an especially baby friendly title. Gnawing, slobbering, and tearing are no match for these super duper books, making them a favorite of parents and babies.
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, by Elena Favilli
Consider bedtime handled. With 100 stories about the lives of 100 women, including Serena Williams and Malala Yousafzai, this collection will leave kids feeling sleepy, inspired, and just a wee bit rebellious.
Pat the Bunny, by Dorothy Kunhardt
As nostalgic as they come, Pat the Bunny has been a favorite for generations. There’s the peekaboo cloth, fragrant flowers, Daddy’s scratchy beard—and of course the fuzzy bunny! Introduce a new generation to this favorite title at your next shower.
Dinoblock, by Christopher Franceschelli
The books in this super chunky series are so satisfying to hold, and dinosaurs are a perennial favorite of kiddos. This title highlights the shape of classic dinosaurs like the long necked brachiosaurus with a guessing game kids will want to play for eons.
[ean 5]The Montessori Toddler, by Simone Davies
It’s always nice to include a 3T outfit and a nod to toddlerhood in the baby shower bonanza. Parents will wonder how their newborn will ever fit into those clothes, but before they know it, they’ll be living with a toddler. Help them think ahead and understand the basics of the popular Montessori philosophy with this helpful guide. Filled with easy activities and reassuring pep talks, this is a book parents will turn to for years.
Goodnight Songs, by Margaret Wise Brown
Or put a modern spin on classic Margaret Wise Brown with this posthumously published collection of the children’s songs she wrote. Each tune is illustrated by a modern artist and included on a pitch perfect CD that will easily find its way into the bedtime routine.
If I Had a Little Dream, by Nina Laden
Published in 2017, this dreamy book is already a classic. Filled with wonder, love, and lyrical language, this is a book that wishes only the best for our children. And the illustrations are beyond beautiful.
Baby Loves Quarks!, by Ruth Spiro
It’s never too early to nerd out with your baby when it means reading a charming, colorful book together. This simple yet accurate introduction to the invisible world of physics is a great way to inspire a love of science and awe for our amazing world.
Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak
There aren’t a ton of picture books that belong in a baby’s library, but this is one of them. It’s a book that has inspired hundreds of writers, children, and even parents to embrace their inner monsters and trust that we will always belong at home, no matter how wild we get. What better way to say “Welcome, little one”?
Welcome, by Mo Willems
For anyone who has wished life came with a user guide, this book is a clever introduction to the weird, wonderful thing we call life. Addressed to babies, this is a witty book parents and older siblings will treasure as well.
Peek a Flap Dig, by Jaye Garrett
The chunky pages in the Peek-a-Flap series are easy for little hands to grasp. The text includes a nice mix of fun facts and vocabulary words. With cranes, bulldozers, and wrecking balls, the construction title, Dig, is a favorite in our house.
Feminist Baby, by Loryn Brantz
Rhyming text has never been so subversive. Long overdue, this board book stars an irrepressible girl who is ready to take on the patriarchy. Extra points if you give this to parents having a boy!
Be Bold Baby!: Michelle Obama, by Alison Oliver
With quotes directly from Madam O herself, alongside memorable moments from her life, this board book is part mini bio and part call to action. The best part is that each book in the series ends with a mirror, so kids can see themselves following in Obama’s footsteps!
I Wish You More, by Amy Krause Rosenthal
Go ahead and buy the whole Amy Krause Rosenthal catalog. It will be treasured throughout childhood! But if you want to limit yourself to just one book, this lovely poem is the perfect place to start. It’s like a book and a heartfelt card all in one.
The Boss Baby, by Marla Frazee
When you bring a new baby home, it doesn’t take long before you realize who’s boss, and it isn’t you. This witty book celebrates pint-size CEOs in all their managerial glory (and just might help Mom and Dad feel a little less alone too).
The Wonderful Things You Will Be, by Emily Winfield Martin
Part of the magic of being so very little is having so very many possibilities lying before you. Wise and dreamy, this book invites children to imagine all they can be and does it in a way that’s never heavy, but rather as uplifting and whimsical as a boy floating up, up, and away on a bouquet of balloons.
Peek-a-Who?, by Nina Laden
Spinning the classic peekaboo game into a menagerie of animal-themed questions, reading this book becomes a game that parents and kids can enjoy together. (Spoiler alert: The last page includes a mirror…peekayou?)
Tap the Magic Tree, by Christie Matheson
Bring the magic of nature inside with this interactive book that follows a single tree through the seasons. Readers will delight as they pat, jiggle, and clap page by page and watch as the illustrated leaves grow.
Color Me: Who’s in the Pond?, by Surya Sajnani
All the Wee Gallery books feature black and white illustrations that are easy for newborn eyes to see. This illustrated bath book includes a special ink that changes color when it gets wet. Perfect for older babies and toddlers who need a little enticement for getting wet.
The Runaway Bunny, by Margaret Wise Brown
There are a few authors on this list more than once, and it’s because they’re so stinking talented. This classic story of a bunny and his mother’s love still makes grownups cry. It’s a beautiful way to say I love you at bedtime each night.
Your Baby’s First Word Will Be DADA, by Jimmy Fallon
Don’t forget dad at the shower. This book is a funny (and clever) way to tilt the scales toward Baby saying “Dada” before “Mama.” A gift sure to get a laugh and an appreciative smile from new fathers!
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, by Sherri Duskey Rinker
From the first rhyming line to the last, this book is a satisfying bedtime poem that is perfect for truck-obsessed littles. The sophisticated writing will make it a book new parents look forward to reading again and again and again.
The New Father, by Armin A. Brott
Include dads in the pre-baby study sessions with this popular series. Written by an experienced father, these books are easy to dip into as new dads navigate all the questions that come with being a parent. There are practical tips and lots of “just between us men” essays that will help men feel confident and excited about becoming fathers.
Charley Harper ABC’s, by Charley Harper
There’s something about Harper’s art that is perfect for bright eyed little ones. Graphic, bold, and filled with lively animals, it begs to be admired again and again. This title introduces the alphabet with style.
We Are the Gardeners, by Joanna Gaines
Inspired by Gaines’ real-life, adorable kids, this picture book celebrates the lessons that can be learned in a garden and the power of family. Dreamy illustrations from Julianna Swaney make this the perfect addition to any stylish nursery.
Potty, by Leslie Patricelli
Pair this book with a box of diapers or a kid-size potty, and you’ll have the most popular gift at the shower. With her signature humor and bold illustrations, the author addresses one of the classic pain points of parenting in a way that kids will adore.
Touch and Explore Farm, by Xavier Deneux
This is not your grandma’s touch-and-feel book. Multisensory elements enhance sophisticated design and modern illustrations to engage kiddos on every level. Don’t be surprised if you find your own hands longing to lift the flaps too!
The Colors of Us, by Karen Katz
This charming book reveals there are many shades of brown—and they’re all beautiful. This walk through a neighborhood will be a favorite for kids of all colors.
This Little President, by Joan Holub
Prime pint-size patriots to know their history with this simple, bright intro to the American presidents. Perfect for family field trips, holidays, and any baby born on the Fourth of July!
Before & After, by Jean Julien
A clever collection of before-and-after scenes, this book will have kids of all ages giggling and wondering what’s next. There’s a pregnant woman, an ice cream cone, and a roller-coaster—all with their funny outcomes revealed on the next page. Expertly paced, this is a book that will inspire your own games and questions.
I Look Up to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, by Anna Membrino
Introduce a new generation to the beloved RBG. This simple board book highlights the traits that make her special and encourages readers to let their own light shine. So one day, a new baby might say I Look Up to You!
TouchThinkLearn Opposites, by Xavier Deneux
Xavier Deneux is another one who deserves to be on this list more than once. He is totally in sync with babies’ developmental milestones and the designs that adults find sophisticated and compelling. The TouchThinkLearn series features diecuts, a colorful, graphic design, and clever juxtapositions. Opposites is a great place to dive into this series.
1 2 3 Count with Me, by Tiger Tales
Help little ones practice the skills they need for reading and writing with this tacticle series. The counting title is filled with traceable numbers up to 20. Happy illustrations reinforce the concepts for visual learners.
Everywhere Babies, by Susan Meyers
A poem about all the many things busy babies do from morning to night, this book is a delight to read again and again, because there are always new details to uncover. And diverse characters in the illustrations make this a welcome present for modern families that might not fit the traditional mold.
Pantone: Colors, by Pantone
Let little ones learn colors in the most design-savvy way possible, from the masters of colors themselves—Pantone. Just don’t be surprised if one day you spy a swatch book peeking out of the diaper bag!
The Odyssey: A BabyLit Primer, by Jennifer Adams
The BabyLit books are both stunningly nerdy and totally kid friendly. Bright illustrations and simple allusions to classics like The Odyssey make it easy to introduce Baby to great literature. When they are ready to embark on more reading adventures, there’s BabyLit Pride & Prejudice, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, and Frankenstein.
Flora Forager ABC, by Bridget Collins
Encourage a love of nature from the start! Parents will “ooh” and “ahh” right alongside kids as they page through this stunning ABC book. Featuring real and imaginary animals made of flower petals, twigs, and other natural elements, this book is wildly beautiful.
All Aboard! National Parks, by Haily Meyers
The All Aboard! series encourages new readers to see the world from their crib. With everything from puffins and bison, this wildlife primer introduces American animals that any young explorer would be glad to know!
All in a Day, by Cynthia Rylant
Simple, evocative illustrations paired with text that encourages children to take care of the Earth and make the most of each day make this book a treasured keepsake. Adults will appreciate the wisdom. Children will be drawn in by the rhythm of the text.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
If there’s one book every baby should know, it’s this classic diecut board book. Little fingers can wiggle along as they watch everyone’s favorite green caterpillar becomes a beautiful butterfly. Along the way, kiddos will also learn the days of the week and how to count.
Paris: A Book of Shapes, by Ashley Evanson
Introduce shapes in the chicest of ways with this Paris-inspired title from the Hello, World series. Each book teaches basic concepts like shapes using stylish illustrations of famous cities. Paris? New York? London? And more? You might even inspire a nursery theme!
Baby Touch and Feel: Animals, by DK
With the high-quality photographs DK is known for and touch-and-feel elements like fur and bumps, this book is engaging for new readers and anyone who learns through touch. And don’t bunnies make anything better? Even spit up at midnight?
You Are New, by Lucy Knisley
There’s so much for babies to take in about this strange place we call Earth. Celebrate all the newness with this sweet ode to napping, cuddling, crying, and doing all the things that babies do so well—even when they’re really new.
Read to Your Baby Every Day, by Rachel Williams
Encourage parents to start reading with their kids early. Newborns might not seem interested, but they won’t mind the extra cuddles, and it will lay the groundwork for a lifetime of reading. This book includes 30 classic nursery rhymes and illustrations that will put parents and baby at ease immediately.
Besos for Baby, by Jen Arena and Blanca Gomez
Share some Spanish kisses with your loved ones with this simple bilingual real-aloud. Its cheery illustrations and sweet text are sure to inspire muchos cuddles, giggles, and besos!
Peekaboo!, by Taro Gomi
Before Baby is ready for the classic Everyone Poops, you can introduce Taro Gomi’s winning style with engaging board books. This one turns into a mask that’s perfect for playing (you guessed it) peekaboo with everything from frogs to robots.
Hug, by Jez Alborough
There’s nothing better than a huge hug from someone who loves you, and this monkey knows it! He is on a hunt for a good hug, and readers will love following along as he spreads the love.
The First Forty Days, by Heng Ou
Start the conversation about what those first days home will look like, and encourage new parents to accept help, physically and emotionally. Help them make a plan for meals. (Add a coupon to cook some yourself to round out this gift!) This book will guide new parents through the postpartum experience and help women focus on healing and bonding with their new baby. It’s an essential process, that can be overlooked or become an afterthought in our busy lives.
The Skin You Live In, by Michael Tyler
This book celebrates all the ways we are are the same and the beautiful ways we are different. Help children embrace diversity in themselves, their friends, and their family with this playful book.
Cozy Classics: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Jack Wang
Another entry in the smart-but-sweet category, this series features simple felt versions of stories like Moby Dick, Emma, and Les Misérables. It’s a cozy way to introduce kiddos to the classics!