Birthday Books for Babies

I’m a little bit obsessed with board books these days. Maybe it’s because, as Betsy Bird claims, the board book is on the rise. Board books are so brilliant, and there’s such a narrow window to share them before children move on to bigger, longer books. I also think I’m experiencing a little bit of baby fever since both my brothers have children now… Speaking of which, it’s my newest niece’s birthday this month—she’s one!

Naturally, I give all the young ones in my family books. My strategy for gifting books has been to give them in threes: something they’ll like, something I want them to like, and something completely out of left field. At the pre-toddler age, “they” refers mostly to the grown-ups (I take great care to ensure all the books are chewable for baby).

When my newest niece, Kenley, was born, I gave her a mix of board books: a touch-and-feel book; A is For Activist by Innosanto Nagara (my gift to all newborns); and, Baby Loves Quarks by Ruth Spiro, illus. by Irene Chan. In the card I put with the books, I joked that this set was baby’s pre-Ivy League training program!

This year, I’m continuing Kenley’s education with these titles:


You Are One by Sara O’Leary, illus. Karen Klassen

It’s not my favorite board book but I really like the way it goes through some developmental milestones. I plan to send the next two installments (You Are Two; You Are Three) as Kenley ages up to them. This is the one I think they will like.


I’m a Librarian (Tinyville Town) by Brian Biggs

Why, yes, I do believe that Mr. Librarian has a same-sex partner—exactly like Kenley’s Uncle Alec! It’s a subtle detail, and the book is a bit old for a one-year-old, but I’ll take it! This is the one I want them to like (surprise, surprise!).


Feminist Baby by Loryn Brantz

Not only does this book have some great themes but it’s also just really fun to read! The illustrations are bright, colorful and hilarious. This is my choice out of left field.

What are your favorite gifts for babies? Do you have a go-to baby shower gift?

4 thoughts on “Birthday Books for Babies

    1. I have never read Hippos Go Berserk. But I just did and it’s SO GOOD. Such a great counting book. Thanks, Kazia!


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