Asked to bring a book to a baby shower instead of a card but you don’t know where to start? Or invited to a baby shower and you think a book would be a great gift but you’re unsure about which book? Have no fear, for I have compiled a list of excellent books for a baby shower or to give to a new parent.
Some of the books for baby showers on this list are aimed at an audience that’s older than ‘baby’ but I’ve included them as books that the baby can grow into and that the parent can appreciate. There are a lot of books on my baby’s bookshelf that she won’t be ready for for quite some time but I love them all the same. We’re given clothes to grow into, so why not books? This applies especially to some of the more beautiful hardcovers.
I have deliberately left off some of the more well-known classics, because I think they feature in enough lists of ‘books for a baby shower’. Give The Very Hungry Caterpillar if you must (and I do love that book), but check out some of the books on this list too.
I’ve divided the list of books for baby showers into rough subject categories to make it easier for you, if you know the parent has particular interests they would like to pass on to their child. A lot of these books are also part of series, and I’ve added links to the series so you can seek out other titles (if you want to collect them all, or if there is a more suitable title for you). Many books are also available in multiple formats, including board books. I think board books are most appropriate for babies but picture books are also great before babies are mobile (and will sit there quietly listening to the story without ripping the pages).
(All descriptions are from Goodreads.)
Big beautiful gift books for baby showers
These two books are gorgeous. They are large format board books (9″ by 10″) and great if you want to give a book present that’s a little bit more special than a standard board or picture book.
The World Shines for You by Jeffrey Burton
A gorgeous keepsake book that shines with emotion and foil on every spread, The World Shines for You is full of illumination and hope—perfect for the youngest readers in your life.
Touchthinklearn: ABCs by Xavier Deneux (the other Touchthinklearn books are also great; see more of them here.)
Raised die-cut pieces nestled in mirroring indented cut-outs engage readers on both visual and tactile levels. An impressive gift, this exquisitely designed board book is a fabulously fun and educationally essential alphabet book.
Books for a budding scientist
There are a lot of books that introduce STEM concepts to babies. They can learn to code, learn mathematics, become scientists and engineers. Here are a few of my favourites.
ABCs of Science by Chris Ferrie
Written by an expert, The ABCs of Science is a colorfully simple introduction for babies (and grownups!) to a new science concept for every letter of the alphabet—from amoeba all the way to zygote. Each page in this science primer features multiple levels of text so the book grows along with your little scientist—read just one line of text per page to start or linger on the longer descriptions as baby’s vocabulary expands. This alphabetical installment of the Baby University board book series is the perfect way to introduce basic concepts to even the youngest scientists.
Rocket Science for Babies by Chris Ferrie (and other Baby University books)
Rocket Science for Babies is an introduction to aerospace engineering (also known as rocket science). Baby will learn the principles of lift and thrust, the forces responsible for flight. This is the first in a series of books designed to stimulate your baby and introduce them to the world of science.
Hello, World! Solar System by Jill McDonald
Hello, World! is a series designed to introduce first nonfiction concepts to babies and toddlers. Told in clear and easy terms and featuring bright, cheerful illustrations, Hello, World! makes learning fun for young children. And each sturdy page offers helpful prompts for engaging with your child. (“Can you point to the red planet? That’s Mars!”) It’s a perfect way to bring science and nature into the busy world of a toddler, where learning never stops.
Hello, World! Dinosaurs by Jill McDonald (and other Hello, World! books)
Told in clear and easy terms (“T. rex’s arms were very small, even though its body was large”) and featuring bright, cheerful illustrations, Hello, World! makes learning fun for young children.
Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beatty
Scientist Ada has a boundless imagination and has always been hopelessly curious. Why are there pointy things stuck to a rose? Why are there hairs growing inside your nose? When her house fills with a horrific, toe-curling smell, Ada knows it’s up to her to find the source. What would you do with a problem like this? Not afraid of failure, Ada embarks on a fact-finding mission and conducts scientific experiments, all in the name of discovery. But, this time, her experiments lead to even more stink and get her into trouble!
Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beatty (and other books by Andrea Beatty)
Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she’s a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal—to fly—Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt’s dream come true. But when her contraption doesn’t fly but rather hovers for a moment and then crashes, Rosie deems the invention a failure. On the contrary, Aunt Rose insists that Rosie’s contraption was a raging success. You can only truly fail, she explains, if you quit.
Books for a literary/English major baby
Want to introduce your baby to Shakespeare, Dickens, Austen? Immerse them in literary classics, fairytales, and poetry? Here are some books to get you started.
Anne of Green Gables: A Babylit Storybook by Annabel Tempest and Stephanie Clarkson (and other Babylit books)
In Anne of Green Gables, preschoolers get to know the beloved redheaded orphan Anne Shirley, who is sent to live with Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert in Avonlea. Tag along with Anne on her adventures with her best friend Diana and classmate Gilbert as they explore Prince Edward Island. Easy-to-follow, engaging text combined with original quotes and beautiful artwork create a book to be treasured through childhood and beyond.
Cozy Classics: Pride and Prejudice by Jack Wang (and other Cozy Classics books)
Cozy Classics is a new board book series that presents well-loved stories to children aged 0+. Every classic in the series will be condensed to 12 baby-friendly words, and each word will appear alongside a photograph of needle felted objects. Pride and Prejudice is a timeless romance about how a bad first impression can turn into love, and one of the world’s most beloved classics.
Rapunzel (Once Upon A World) by Chloe Perkins
The classic tale of Rapunzel gets a fresh twist in this third book of a brand-new board book series, Once Upon a World. With India as the backdrop, and vibrant artwork from illustrator Archana Sreenivasan, Rapunzel is still the same girl who lets down her beautiful hair—but she’s totally reimagined. Once Upon a World offers a multicultural take on the fairy tales we all know and love. Because these tales are for everyone, everywhere.
Cinderella (Once Upon A World) by Chloe Perkins(and other Once Upon a World books)
With Mexico as the backdrop, and vibrant artwork from Mexican illustrator Sandra Equihua, Cinderella is still the same girl with a fairy godmother and a glass slipper—but she’s totally reimagined.
My Village: Rhymes from Around the World by Danielle Wright
A collection of nursery verses for young children (and the young at heart). From Iran to Iceland, Samoa to Switzerland, readers can delight in quirky, touching and funny verses from 22 different countries, brought to life by the artwork from exciting young illustrator, Mique Moriuchi, who captures each verse with a uniquely beautiful and child’s-eye focus.
I’m Just No Good at Rhyming by Chris Harris
Meet Chris Harris, the 21st-century Shel Silverstein! Already lauded by critics as a worthy heir to such greats as Silverstein, Seuss, Nash and Lear, his hilarious debut poetry collection molds wit and wordplay, nonsense and oxymoron, and visual and verbal sleight-of-hand in masterful ways that make you look at the world in a whole new wonderfully upside-down way.
Books for a politically aware baby
It’s important to be aware of world issues and key historical figures. If you want to raise a little baby activist, start with a few books.
Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
Farmer Brown has a problem. His cows like to type. But Farmer Brown’s problems REALLY begin when his cows start leaving him notes…
Counting on Community (and A is for Activist) by Innosanto Nagara
Counting on Community is Innosanta Nagara’s follow-up to his hit ABC book, A is for Activist. Counting up from one stuffed piñata to ten hefty hens—and always counting on each other—children are encouraged to recognize the value of their community, the joys inherent in healthy eco-friendly activities, and the agency they posses to make change. A broad and inspiring vision of diversity is told through stories in words and pictures. And of course, there is a duck to find on every page!
Feminist Baby by Loryn Brantz
Meet the irrepressible Feminist Baby in this refreshing, clever board book about a girl who’s not afraid to do her own thing, and wants to make as much noise as possible along the way!
The Little Refugee by Ahn Do
After Australian comedian Anh Do told his story about being a refugee in his award-winning memoir, The Happiest Refugee, he received many requests for a children’s version. This is the inspiring result.
Maya Angelou (Little People, Big Dreams) by Lisbeth Kaiser
In the Little People, Big Dreams series, discover the lives of outstanding people from designers and artists to scientists. All of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream. The book follows Maya Angelou, from her early traumatic childhood to her time as a singer, actress, civil rights campaigner and, eventually, one of America’s most beloved writers. This inspiring and informative little biography comes with extra facts about Maya’s life at the back.
Amelia Earhart (Little People, Big Dreams) by Isabel Sánchez Vegara (and other Little People, Big Dreams books)
When Amelia was young, she liked to imagine she could stretch her wings and fly away like a bird. As a grown woman, she set a new female world record for flying up to 14,000 feet. She also flew across the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans, and eventually undertook the most dangerous mission of all: to fly all the way around the world.
Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls (and Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls 2) by Elena Favilli
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is a children’s book packed with 100 bedtime stories about the life of 100 extraordinary women from the past and the present, illustrated by 60 female artists from all over the world. This book inspires girls with the stories of great women, from Elizabeth I to Serena Williams.
Books for a baby foodie
I love food. I love reading about food in books. If you also enjoy literary feasts and want to share that love with your baby, here are some picture books where food is the focal point.
Bee-bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park
Bee-bim bop (the name translates as “mix-mix rice”) is a traditional Korean dish of rice topped, and then mixed, with meat and vegetables. In bouncy rhyming text, a hungry child tells about helping her mother make bee-bim bop: shopping, preparing ingredients, setting the table, and finally sitting down with her family to enjoy a favorite meal. The energy and enthusiasm of the young narrator are conveyed in the whimsical illustrations, which bring details from the artist’s childhood in Korea to his depiction of a modern Korean American family. Even young readers who aren’t familiar with the dish will recognize the pride that comes from helping Mama, the fun of mixing ingredients together in a bowl, and the pleasure of sharing delicious food.
Dim Sum for Everyone by Grace Lin
In English, dim sum means “little hearts,” or “touches the heart,” but to this young girl, dim sum means delicious. On a visit to a bustling dim sum restaurant, a family picks their favorite little dishes from the steaming trolleys filled with dumplings, cakes, buns, and tarts. And as is traditional and fun, they share their food with each other so that everyone gets a bite of everything.
Possum Magic by Mem Fox
Grandma Poss uses her best bush magic to make Hush invisible. But when Hush longs to be able to see herself again, the two possums must make their way across Australia to find the magic food that will make Hush visible once more.
Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji by F. Zia
Aneel and his grandfather, Dada-ji, tell stories, use their imaginations, and make delicious roti, a traditional Indian flatbread.
General books For Baby Showers
These books for baby shower recommendations don’t fit in any of the above categories. A lot of these are classics and award-winners, for good reason—charming plots, or delightful illustrations, or great to read aloud, or all of the above!
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
“One night, after thinking it over for some time, Harold decided to go for a walk in the moonlight.” So begins this gentle story that shows just how far your imagination can take you.
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
No book has captured the magic and sense of possibility of the first snowfall better than The Snowy Day. Universal in its appeal, the story has become a favorite of millions, as it reveals a child’s wonder at a new world, and the hope of capturing and keeping that wonder forever. The adventures of a little boy in the city on a very snowy day.
Little Owl’s Night (and Little Owl’s Day) by Divya Srinivasan
It’s evening in the forest and Little Owl wakes up from his day-long sleep to watch his friends enjoying the night. Hedgehog sniffs for mushrooms, Skunk nibbles at berries, Frog croaks, and Cricket sings. A full moon rises and Little Owl can’t understand why anyone would want to miss it. Could the daytime be nearly as wonderful? Mama Owl begins to describe it to him, but as the sun comes up, Little Owl falls fast asleep.
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
This is a rhyming story of a mouse and a monster. Little mouse goes for a walk in a dangerous forest. To scare off his enemies he invents tales of a fantastical creature called the Gruffalo. So imagine his surprise when he meets the real Gruffalo.
The Smartest Giant in Town by Julia Donaldson (and other books by Julia Donaldson; see also this post on what to read after The Gruffalo)
George wished he wasn’t the scruffiest giant in town. So, one day, he sees a shop selling giant-size clothes, he decides it’s time for a new look. With smart trousers, a smart shirt, stripy tie and shiny shoes, George is a new giant. But on his way home, he meets various animals who desperately need his help…and his clothes!
Sheep Out to Eat by Nancy Shaw
The sheep from Sheep in a Jeep are back, and this time they’re hungry, venturing into a tea shop for even more rollicking fun and, of course, disasters.
Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French
Wombats are cuddly-looking, slow-moving Australian animals. Their favorite activities are eating, sleeping, and digging holes. Here, in the words of one unusually articulate wombat, is the tongue-in-cheek account of a busy week; eating, sleeping, digging holes…and training its new neighbors, a family of humans, to produce treats on demand. This entertaining book, with its brief, humorous text and hilarious illustrations, will endear the wombat to young children, who may recognize in the determined furry creature some qualities that they share.
Who Sank the Boat? by Pamela Allen
Beside the sea, there once lived a cow, a donkey, a sheep, a pig, and a tiny little mouse. They were good friends, and one warm, sunny morning, for no particular reason, they decided to go for a row in the bay. Do you know who sank the boat?
Baby Goes to Market by Atinuke
Join Baby and his doting mama at a bustling southwest Nigerian marketplace for a bright, bouncy read-aloud offering a gentle introduction to numbers.
Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk
This bedtime poem, written by internationally acclaimed Inuit throat singer Celina Kalluk, describes the gifts bestowed upon a newborn baby by all the animals of the Arctic. Lyrically and lovingly written, this visually stunning book is infused with the Inuit values of love and respect for the land and its animal inhabitants.
Little You by Richard Van Camp
Richard Van Camp, internationally renowned storyteller and bestselling author of the hugely successful Welcome Song for Baby: A Lullaby for Newborns, has partnered with talented illustrator Julie Flett to create a tender board book for babies and toddlers that honors the child in everyone.
My Heart Fills With Happiness by Monique Gary Smith
The sun on your face. The smell of warm bannock baking in the oven. Holding the hand of someone you love. What fills your heart with happiness? This beautiful board book, with illustrations from celebrated artist Julie Flett, serves as a reminder for little ones and adults alike to reflect on and cherish the moments in life that bring us joy.
Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
This lovable white dog with black spots (or black dog with white spots) has charmed children for fifty years and is perfect for reading aloud before going to bed or avoiding a bath.
Peekaboo! by Taro Gomi
It’s more than a book—it’s a mask! Every spread includes a funny fact about featured creatures, from bears to robots. And young readers will squeal in surprise to find that when this board book is opened, the eye-sized die-cuts allow each spread to become a mask! Kids will have a blast posing as a fly-eating frog or a mouse-chasing cat. Sure to be a hit during both story time and playtime!
Color Me: Who’s in the Ocean? by Surya Sajnani (and the other soft and bath books by Surya Sajnani)
A bath book that changes colour when it gets wet. Color Me: Who’s in the Ocean? introduces children to a range of sea creatures that include a fish, an octopus and a starfish. Squeezable and lightweight, each black-and-white creature transforms in a child’s hands, guaranteeing hours of bathtime fun.
Hush, Baby, Hush: Lullabies from Around the World by Kathy Henderson
A book of traditional lullabies with a difference. Gathered from all over the world, these beautiful, simple songs give a flavour of different parts of the world as well as showing that soothing a baby to sleep is the same the world over. With words in the original language plus the English version, together with a melody line and delightful illustrations by Pam Smy, this is the perfect gift book for parents of new babies. The lullabies come from: Australia (Aboriginal), Austria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Czech Republic, England, France, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, India, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Malawi, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Russia, Spain, Turkey, USA (Hopi), Wales, West Africa (Yoruba).
Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox
Here is the blue sheep, and here is the red sheep. Here is the bath sheep, and here is the bed sheep. But where is the green sheep? Mem Fox and Judy Horacek take you on a wildly wonderful adventure in their rollicking search for the green sheep.
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox
This is a gorgeously simple picture book for very young children, and once you finish the rhythmic, rhyming text, all you’ll want to do is go back to the beginning…and read it again! The luminous watercolor illustrations of these roly-poly little ones from a variety of backgrounds are adorable, quirky, and true to life, right down to the wrinkles, dimples, and pudges in their completely squishable arms, legs, and tummies.
Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers
Oliver Jeffers offers a personal look inside his own hopes and wishes for his child—a missive about our world and those who call it home.
So Many Stars by Andy Warhol
Best known for his images of soup cans and celebrities, Andy Warhol, one of the preeminent artists of the 20th century, also created many hand-drawn pieces of whimsy and wonder. In 26 beautifully illustrated pages, the So Many Stars Board Book showcases the complete collection of one of his most playful projects—an exploration of the concept of “So,” including You Are So Big, You Are So Small, So Sweet, and I Love You So. Filled with sweet phrases and a mirror feature that will delight young readers, So Many Stars is a terrific introduction to an iconic modern artist.
Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd
Hairy Maclary goes off for a walk in town, followed by a few friends. All is uneventful until they meet Scarface Claw, the toughest tom in town, and run for home. The story is told by a brilliant, cumulative rhyming text and terrific pictures.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
Come along on a bear hunt in this award-winning classic from Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. We’re going on a bear hunt. We’re going to catch a big one.. Will you come too? For more than twenty-five years readers have been swishy swashing and splash sploshing through this award-winning favorite.
Animalia by Graeme Base
Animalia’s incredible imaginary world intrigues all readers. Each page includes hidden objects and ideas: start with “A is for An Armoured Armadillo Avoiding an Angry Alligator” and you’ll find aprons, ants, aces, Atom-brand anchovies, and much more. The rest of the alphabet is just as much fun!
The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan (and other Shaun Tan books)
A kid finds a lost ‘thing’ on the beach where he’s scavenging for his bottle-top collection. The thing is a large, freakish creature but no-one else really notices it—it’s simply not a part of their familiar day-to-day reality. So the kid takes it upon himself to try to find where the lost thing belongs…The Lost Thing is a gently humorous story that will be read and enjoyed by a wide range of ages. While the narrative is full of typical thoughts of an observant and caring young person, the illustrations provide a surreal and thought-provoking backdrop for this ‘lost dog story’ with a definite twist.
Indestructibles: Mama and Baby! by Kaaren Pixton (and other Indestructibles books)
Built for the way babies read, Indestructibles are printed on an amazing paperlike material that can’t be ripped, torn, or punctured. Indestructibles are 100 percent safe and nontoxic, and if they get too funky, just throw them in the washing machine or dishwasher. Mama and Baby! is about mothers and babies of different species.
If these books for baby shower recommendations aren’t enough, or if these have whet your appetite and you want more baby book suggestions, we’ve got you covered! Here are 50 must read board books for babies, board books with a plot, unique books to give at baby showers, black and white board books for a newborn, and these feminist baby board books.