“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child” Dr. Seuss (Maybe)*

Ah books… The best gift anyone could give or recieve! Recently (a year ago) I gave a small box full of books as a baby present to someone who possibly loves books more than I do. I loved that I contributed to her little girls library! I also figured since this beautiful girl was my namesake and also the daughter of a fellow book worm she would instinctively and genetically love reading.  On this little ones first birthday I also gifted her a book. I didn’t plan to give her another book but I couldn’t resist as the book was a beauty and I knew it would be appreciated. The day after I received this picture from her mama with the caption ‘thanks to our patron of Art Aunty B’. 

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Yes! That is what I want to be knows as! A patron of the arts, specifically the written type.

I have read to my children from the day they were born. I remember growing up, before Amazon and before Jareer had a proper book selection, we would go to Paris every summer. One of the first things we did when we arrived was to go to WH Smith and buy books. I loved walking into that store. It was on a corner on Rue De Rivoli across from Jardin des Tuileries. In fact I think it still was last time I was there. It was a little dark and there was a very distinct smell of books which got us all as excited as walking into a chocolate shop!

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This is the place! I borrowed this image from a blog called Juliet In Paris which by the way looks like an utterly lovely blog I am going back to read once I post this.

I read once in a book by John Holt , an author, educator and strong advocate of unschooling,  that the children who read the most were the ones who’s parents were avid readers and who’s houses were filled with books. If it is the quotient of books that makes avid readers then theres no wonder my kids don’t sleep without reading or being read to. I am an admitted book addict… I go to the book store and buy 5 books, I read two of the 5 books and panic I am running out then go buy another 5. As a result in general if you pick up anything in my house you are likely to find a book under it.

So if you are wondering what to buy for a baby shower or a baby or toddlers birthday you can never go wrong with books!

I’ll share with you my list of must have books for any baby or toddlers first library. I have read these same books for all four of my children and each was obsessed with (at least) one in the list which means I have basically learned them by heart.

  1. The Little Girl (or Boy) Who Lost Her (His) Name. I am totally in love with these books. They are personalized stories about a child who looses his/her name and goes on a quest to find it collecting letters along the way. The letters in the end spell the name of the child you personalised the book for. It’s precious and was a huge hit with my kids, even the 13 year old.
  2. The Tiger Who Came To Tea. This is such a gem of a book because of the absurdity of a tiger coming to tea and eating everything in the house to the point that the family have to go out for dinner because there’s nothing left! If you’re in London look out for the play based on the book which is just as cute.
  3. Dr suess anything. Anything at all! But especially ‘I do not like green eggs and ham’ which is always a major performance at our house with all of us saying in chorus ‘I do not like green eggs and ham! I do not like them Sam I am!’ and ‘oh the places you will go’ which is also a great graduation present.
  4. Goodnight gorilla. One of my all time favorites. B loved this one so much that we had the characters painted on his bedroom wall for a while. Although the book has very few words the words it does have are perfect. It’s fascinating for babies and toddlers alike (and a few grown ups as well).
  5. Guess how much I love you. This book is a great way to start an I Love You ritual between you and your child or to inspire a whole new one that you make up.
  6. Dear zoo is brilliant lift the flap book. It tells the story of a child who wrote to the zoo to send them a pet. On every page it reads ‘they sent me a…’ and your child lifts the flap to find everything from camels to frogs until they finally get it right with a small puppy. I love books that have repeated sentences and a bit of suspense for toddlers and they never get tired of them. The worry is that the adult reading them would! I actually enjoy reading this one.
  7. There was an old lady who swallowed a fly. This rhyme was always one of my favourites because of its obserdity! And this books is a perfect depiction of the rhyme with  big old lady and thick board pages which show you what she swallowed in her tummy building up from the fly to the cow. ‘I don’t know how she swallowed a cow!. Apparently the new version of this story have changed the famous line of “perhaps she’ll die” to “Don’t ask me why” and “she died of course” to “Of course of course she swallowed a horse”.. Yeah, don’t mess with the classics. But I guess if the line bothers you theres an alternative.
  8. Good night moon. I could read this to you from memory. This book has some sort of magic to it. It has a rhythm and seems to breath with a life of its own when you read it. This is one of my all time favorite books for anyone.
  9. We’re going on a bear hunt. This cannot be read sitting down! If you are in any doubt as to how to read this book then look up on YouTube a video of the Michael Rosen, the author, reading it and if you are not willing to do the same don’t bother buying it. A classic!
  10. The Gruffalo. Although not in the picture this book is up there with the classics. There is also a fantastic video of this book being sung by Julia Donaldson and again, like the bear hunt, it would be a shame not to sing it!
  11. (Because I couldn’t stop at 10) any book by Bill Martin Jr. And Eric Carle such as the Hungry Caterpillar or Brown Bear.  

There you have it, the difinitive list of what to get for baby’s first library! Your welcome, get buying!

*The quote hasn’t been definitely linked to Dr. Seuss although it is written in his style.

One comment

  1. Nice selection Mama B!
    We need recommendations for older kids too.

    I have an 11 years old who is an avid reader. She prefers mysteries and autobiographies. Most young adults books nowadays have much more romance or violence than I would like to introduce to her at this age.
    Any recommendations would be appreciated!

    Thanks,

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