The same way everything from toothbrushes to computers have gotten clean, minimalist makeovers from designers, board books are looking pretty chic these days. The latest design-minded board books do more than teach ABCs, shapes, and colors. They also include lots of white space that lets readers rest their eyes, ask questions, and use their imaginations. The aesthetic is crisp, bright, high-contrast, sparse, and thoughtful. What’s not to love? These board books are as gorgeous as they are well written.
Touch Think Learn: Shapes, by Xavier Deneux
The Touch Think Learn series combines bright, minimalist design with tactile elements that make these books irresistible to little hands (and totally satisfying to grown ups too.) Each page features cutouts and layers that invite readers to trace the shapes with their own fingers. Adding this layer helps readers go from knowing to understanding. Each page adds a new level of meaning and interest. Little ones will return to this one again and again as they literally “grasp” new ideas.
Wee Gallery: Pets, by Peter Mueller
The Wee Gallery collection builds vocabulary as it introduces animal names with sliding panels. Brief riddles prompt adults to babble about each animal with children. Designers also chose visually stimulating elements to help babies grow. Bold illustrations pull readers in. The hands-on element engages them as they learn more deeply. Repeating patterns add another element for parents to talk about with their kiddos.
Baby Loves Quarks!, by Ruth Spiro
Scientists can nerd out on the surprisingly accurate Baby Loves series. The author introduces topics like engineering and atoms with simple sentences and easy-to-understand explanations. Bright, graphic illustrations support the text. Will your baby know the difference between fission and fusion? Probably not, but it’s never too early to introduce STEM into daily life. And if you’re interested in your kids’ books, you’re more likely to keep reading with them. And there’s nothing silly about that!
Pride & Prejudice: A BabyLit Counting Primer, by Jennifer Adams
If your family spends more time in the library than the laboratory, this simple series introduces young readers to classic literature in an accessible way. Why not help baby learn numbers with phrases like “1 english village” and “5 sisters”? There are age appropropriate versions of Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book, and more. There’s even a bedtime lullaby inspired by A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Designer Shakespeare? Yes, please!
Pantone: Box of Colour, by Pantone
When it’s time to learn colors, turn to the experts. Budding art directors will appreciate this colorful introduction to the world of Pantone. Six mini board books are packaged in a tower. Each chunky book features cut-outs that add layers to the reading experience. Text prompts readers to notice variations in color that other board books may overlook. This is a sophisticated and memorable way to learn the difference between red, magenta, and more.
Jane Foster’s First Words, by Jane Foster
Jane Foster’s books are gentle but never sleepy. Bold, graphic illustrations combine with sophisticated colors to introduce simple words like “flower” and “cat.” Stylish parents will enjoy seeing a new side of this textile-designer’s work. Young readers will be drawn to Foster’s charming aesthetic and open layouts. Perfect for reading together!
Let’s Play, by Herve Tullet
With 68 pages and softer paper, this book may not strictly belong on this list. But it’s hard not to include Herve Tullet when his work has inspired much of this genre. And his work can be enjoyed by kids of all ages, from the very young who are just learning what a book is to older siblings who can enjoy the games Tullet builds into his books. This book is a masterclass in doing so much with little more than bright colors and playful text. There’s no wrong way to read this book.
What beautiful board books do you and your little ones love?