If you know a reader who is expecting or has a small child, and you want to give them a present, there are all sorts of wonderful bookish gifts for babies out there. This post has some great ideas for bookish baby shower gifts and this one here has ideas for books to buy babies: the three books I buy for my friends’ babies. I recently had a baby, and received quite a few bookish presents—we had a book themed baby shower and about half my registry (perhaps somewhat impractically) consisted of children’s books.
Now, six months on, I can tell you which bookish gifts are the most used and loved, even if at the time I received them I didn’t fully appreciate how great they would be.
The library cart
This was built by my husband’s uncle, and it is my favourite piece of baby furniture. It’s on wheels, so can be moved easily, holds a decent number of books, and looks great. The plan for making this, if you are into DIY projects, is here.
I didn’t really understand how great toys would be until the past couple of months, when my baby grew a bit older and started to grab for things and shove everything in her mouth. Eric Carle, of The Very Hungry Caterpillar fame, has a line of developmental toys that has proven to be quite popular with my baby. And although we’ve read The Very Hungry Caterpillar many, many times, I don’t think she’s made the connection yet that the toy is the caterpillar in the book. Oh well.
We received a LOT of books. After reading most of them, and especially now that my baby is a bit older and she pays more attention to the world around her (including books), there are two books we were given that stand out as favourites. The first is The Gruffalo, a delightful book with bright illustrations and is a joy to read out loud.
My husband and I have both practically memorised this one.
The second is The World Shines For You. The best thing about this book isn’t so much the words or story, but the gorgeous illustrations. It’s a big board book and my baby loves the colours and pictures in this.
The presents for the parents
I read a few parenting books when I was pregnant, and some after my baby was born. Then there were a few that I didn’t finish because I realised that they were basically all making me feel inadequate and like I wasn’t doing anything right. So I said ‘Sod it’ and stopped reading parenting books. There is one book about babies and parenting that I did enjoy, though. The Gardener and the Carpenter isn’t a parenting book in that it will give you advice or teach you how to get your baby to sleep through the night. But it is a fascinating examination of the relationship between children and parents. The author is a scientist and philosopher, and this book draws from her work in developmental psychology and philosophy. I enjoyed this book a lot more than the more traditional parenting books I read.
The final ‘best present received’ isn’t something that everyone will be in the position to give, but if you are able to give this, then the gift of time is amazing. Just an hour or two of baby-sitting so that the new mum or dad can drink their hot beverage while it’s still hot, read a chapter or two, and remember that they were people before they were mum and dad…An excellent, excellent present.
What are your favorite bookish gifts for babies, to give and receive?