The Best Board Books for Babies, Most Loved by Babies And Parents
The day that my first child stopped asking me to read the same book over and over and over again? That was a good day.
Because before that point, I had been dangerously close to retelling Curious George as Planet of the Apes just to preserve my sanity.
But now I find myself back at square zero with my youngest. The second I finish reading his favorite baby board book, he looks up at me with those big eyes and touches his pudgy little hands together – sign language for “more.”
Thankfully, I learned my lesson the first go-round: Never let a bad board book in the house.
Because if you don’t love a book the first time you read it, you’re definitely not going to love it the 600th time.
How This List of Baby Board Books Is Different
You won’t change the fact that your baby wants to read the same book over and over. The experts say repetitive reading is fantastic for building a child’s language skills.
But you can make sure that the baby board books in your home are something you enjoy, too. Because your baby will get the most out of a shared reading experience when it’s something you look forward to.
That’s hard to accomplish when you find yourself hiding Love You Forever and Goodnight Moon under couch cushions so your baby won’t ask for them again.
That’s why this list of baby board books is different. Here’s how:
- I’ve had four babies, and I’ve babysat oodles more. I read to my babies several times a day, and when I go to babysit a friend’s baby, I always bring my own bag of the best board books. Thanks to all this firsthand experience, I know which baby books will keep a baby’s attention, and I know which books are least likely to drive you bananas. So in this list, you’ll find the baby board books that both babies and parents adore.
- Every time I put together a new list of children’s books for this site, my kids and I read hundreds of books to find the best. Each list takes months to finalize because the librarian looks at us funny if we walk out with more than 50 books at a time. What makes it to the final list is only the best of the best.
- I’m personally kind of obsessed with children’s books, which means I’ve read thousands and thousands of kids’ books as an adult. I also happen to be the pickiest one in my family. If a book is just okay, I’m ruthless about getting that book out of our house as soon as possible. In other words, I have high standards for what goes on my book lists.
Related: Forget the Award Winners! These Are the Best Picture Books for Kids
9 Best Baby Board Books Most Loved by Babies And Parents
Here are the absolute best baby board books that meet the tough criteria above. To be clear, these board books for babies aren’t all award winners, and you won’t see the titles most children’s literature gurus would put on a “best baby board books” list.
For example, you won’t find Goodnight Moon† in this list, but I mean no disrespect to the book. There’s a reason it’s one of the most classic board books for babies: Babies love it. (Although after you read it 10 times in a row, you may start having nightmares about a creepy old lady in your bedroom whispering “hush.”)
But the point of this list isn’t to share which board books the professionals think are the best. You could find that anywhere. The point of this list is to give you the tried-and-true baby board books most loved by babies and parents.
In our family, we’ve read these board books to all our babies again and again…happily. We have most memorized by heart. And when our baby gnaws on the spine of one of these books until even duct tape can’t hold it together, we buy another copy to replace it.
If your child has progressed from the board book format for baby books to bona fide picture books, check out The Ultimate List of the Best Picture Books, Endorsed by Kids And Parents.
Note: indicates my family’s absolute top favorites on the list. These are the books my babies could never get enough of. And even though my kids are older now, they still ask for these books!
1. Good Night, Gorilla
Forget Curious George. If you’re looking for a mischievous primate, this gorilla’s got your back. When it comes to baby board books, this has the perfect amount of text for short attention spans. And on the pages with no text, you can either explain what’s happening to your baby or just close your eyes for a few seconds because that’s the closest thing you’ll get to a nap anytime soon.
Older kids love reading this board book to babies for the same reason you’ll love it as a tired parent. It has 10 words total, and 5 of those are the same word over and over.
3. The Carrot Seed
This kid believes in himself even after everyone important to him including his mom, his dad, and his brother tells him he should give up. Baby board books that encourage a growth mindset have a special place in my heart!
4. First 100 Words
The best part of this book is you don’t have to read anything. Babies love to stare at real life pictures in baby board books like this one. Just point at a picture, say the word if you want, and wait til baby is bored with that page and flip it.
5. Not a Box
Sometimes all you need to keep a baby happy is an empty cardboard box. Or a book about an empty cardboard box.
6. Bear Snores On
This is one of my favorites of all the books for a baby I’ve ever read. And after four babies and hundreds of weekly trips to the library, I’ve read a lot. The story’s cute, but the kicker is the rhythm of the text. It’s just plain fun to read. I have the whole thing memorized, and when my baby is fussy, reciting it calms him right down. This book has more text than some other baby board books, so it works best during the newborn phase and then again later when baby is 1-year-old (or older) and has the patience for actual sentences.
7. Mouse Paint
Educational baby board books don’t have to be boring. This book teaches your baby about primary and secondary colors but with a cute storyline.
9. Everywhere Babies
I love the diversity of babies and families shown in this board book. Biological and adopted, breastfed and bottle-fed, two-parent and single-parent, and more. Babies don’t judge, and they love looking at all kinds of babies.
Before you go, get my FREE cheat sheet: 75 Positive Phrases Every Child Needs to Hear
What are your favorite board books for babies? Share in a comment below!
Note: All information on this site is for educational purposes only. Happy You, Happy Family does not provide medical advice. If you suspect medical problems or need professional advice, please consult a physician.
Oh, this is a good list! I admit, I ended up making up the stories eventually. I know, I’m horrible. :-( When Apa started lagging behind in reading in 1st Grade, I made her read “The Giving Tree” every day for weeks. She ended up memorizing the book, but now she’s doing pretty well with reading. LOL!
Chris, making up stories is AWESOME. Not horrible at all, mama! Abby loves it when I do that, even though the stories suck, haha. What a beautiful book to use with Apa to work on her reading. Love that book!
Awesome! I hate most of the books we find at the store. We really like The Little Fur Family. It’s kind of poetic. :)
Brenna, I know I’ve seen that one but I don’t think I’ve read it! Thank you for the rec. :-)
I love all of Karma Wilson’s books, my favorite is “Never Ever Shout in a Zoo” but I adore all of the Bear books almost as much! I also love “Good Night Lulu” and “Click Clack moo”
Amy, I loooooove Click Clack Moo! Thanks for the other recommendations – I will definitely check those out. :-)
Love this list. We are also very fond of “On the Night You Were Born”. Excellent lyrical book using natural phenomena to highlight how unique and precious every baby is.
We love Sandra Boynton’s books. My favorites are “The going to bed book”, “Happy hippo, angry duck”, and “Moo, baa, lalala!”.
What a great list! Well, except for 100 words. That is my gouge-my-eyeballs-out book. But the others are winners. We also love the Llama Llama Red Pajama books and the That’s Not My… series. ?
I could not agree more! I’ve added I Am A Bunny and The Big Red Barn to the Delightful Baby Book List.
I’m really glad you included “Everywhere Babies”! We were gifted this and I was so skeptical at first. But at 2 years old, it’s the one book my son has liked consistently from birth! “Goodnight Gorilla”, has also been a staple since he got it at year old, so good call on that one too! Those are definitely good choices for anyone having a baby or anyone looking for baby shower gifts!