Tracy C. Gold


30 of the Best Baby Shower Books that Go Beyond “Goodnight Moon”

on November 21, 2020

Books are amazing baby shower gifts! In fact, for my baby shower, I asked everyone to bring a book instead of a card (many board books are the same price as a nice card!). I put lots of books on my baby shower registry and my daughter has a wonderful library. Giving books as (socially distanced) baby shower gifts is an even better idea due to Covid-19, as many parents don’t have the same access to the library as before.

Great baby shower gift book, "Everyone's Sleepy but the Baby"

Full disclosure, I have two great books for baby showers that I wrote! There’s “Everyone’s Sleepy but the Baby,” which, come on, is guaranteed to get a chuckle at a baby shower (in my unbiased opinion). However, unlike another personal favorite, “Go the F** to Sleep,” this is a board book you can actually read it to your child. And there’s “Call Your Mother,” which is a bigger, hardcover book, that’s making reviewers tear up in a bittersweet way. (Affiliate links.)

But of course you need more than a couple books for a baby shower registry! Thus I’ve listed some of my favorite new baby gift books. My aim is to go beyond the classics everyone already knows about, like “Goodnight Moon,” because I got 4 copies of this when my baby was born! She’s enjoyed them all in different spaces in our house, but it’s nice to have variety.

These are all affiliate links, so if you buy these books through this post, you’ll help me earn money to buy even more books!

I also highly recommend ordering either directly through your local bookstore or through Indiebound or Bookshop to help support local stores. If they don’t have them in store, they can normally order them for you.

All of these books are on the shorter side so they are more likely to hold the attention of babies and toddlers, but still enjoyable for parents. I’ll have to do another post with more complex books when I have a better test subject!

Board Books
Board books are short, stiff, and durable. Great for little fingers to learn to turn pages and often chew-proof.

“Nita’s First Signs” and “Nita’s Day” by Kathy MacMillan, illustrated by Sara Brezzi
I really wanted to communicate with my baby via sign language but found it incredibly hard to remember any of the signs, much less use them. Along came these two adorable books. My daughter loved pulling out all the tabs to look at the instructions for the signs, so after lots of repetition, we nailed down the basics like “more” and “all done.” For a while there she was even doing “please” and “thank you.” I hear there’s a potty training book coming from this duo as well!

“A is for Activist” by Innosanto Nagara
Introduce your babies to the ways to fight for the world to change!

“Little Feminist Board Book Set” by Emily Kleinman, illustrated by Lydia Ortiz
Teeny cute books that are great for little fingers to play with. An introduction to groundbreaking women.

“Dim Sum for Everyone” by Grace Lin
Our friends Scott and Jen gave us this one and my daughter loved its simple repetition when she was about 9 months old. We read it over and over and over again. Sadly, Covid-19 has kept us from actually taking our child to eat dim sum. One day!

“Not a Box” by Antoinette Portis
A celebration of a prized kid’s toy: a cardboard box that is so not a box!

“Made for Me” by Zack Bush, illustrated by Gregorio De Lauretis
A great one for babies to enjoy specially with Dad!

“Color Wonder Hooray for Spring” and “Color Wonder Winter is Here” by Chieu Anh Urban
My daughter loves the color wheels in these books! They’re so pretty.

Soft Books and Novelty Books
Soft books are great for tiny babies. You can let them play with them in the car seat without worrying that they’ll hit themselves or go flying in an accident. “Novelty books” include all kinds of bells and whistles. My daughter is excellent at pulling them apart, ha, so I wouldn’t spend too much on these, but they are great while they last!

“Unicorn Tails” by Jellycat
Jellycat makes so many absolutely adorable soft books. I had to get this unicorn one for my daughter!

“Peek A Baby” by Jellycat
Another soft book from Jellycat. This one has a little mirror, which my daughter adored!

“Dog” by Matthew Van Fleet, photographed by Brian Stanton
My daughter loved–and still loves–all of Matthew Van Fleet’s novelty books with moving parts, pop-ups, and pull tabs.

Picture Books
Your typical picture books, some offered hardcover and others paperback.

“Big Mean Mike” by Michelle Knudson, illustrated by Scott Magoon
A lovely story about a big dog who is maybe not-so-mean.

“Best Frints in the Whole Universe” by Antoinette Portis
An excellent choice for geeky parents!

“Pug Meets Pig” by Sue Lowell Gallion, illustrated by Joyce Wan
I mean, just take a look at the cuties on this cover.

“Doggone Dogs” by Karen Beaumont, illustrated by David Catrow
Ten doggies break out and go for a romp! Super silly rhyming book that you can practically sing (until your child is like mine and says “no, no singing!”). As an extra bonus, it will help your kid learn to count!

“What a Naughty Bird” by Sean Taylor, illustrated by Dan Widdowson
This one is about a bird who loves people on everyone. So funny!

“Ada Twist, Scientist” by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts
This one is a little longer but so rhythmic that it flies by!

“P is for Pterodactyl” by Raj Halder and Chris Carpenter, illustrated by Maria Beddia
You would think this would be a bit complicated for a baby/toddler, but my daughter loved this book, and, no joke, pterodactyl was one of her first few hundred words!

“Stripes of All Types” by Susan Stockdale
My daughter loved looking at the beautiful, high contrast art in this book.

“I am Enough” by Grace Byers, illustrated by Keturah A Bobo
Poetic, positive message!

Okay, a Couple Classics
I can’t help myself, because these were my daughter’s favorites for such a long time! Here are a few of the classics she loved, which we have in board book format.

“Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?” by Bill Martin, Jr., illustrated by Eric Carle
Back when we could go to the library, my daughter learned the sign language for all of the animals in this book, and was known to scream if she didn’t read it every night before bed.

“The Going-to-Bed Book” by Sandra Boynton
Sandra Boynton is the queen of board books and this silly book is a great example of her work.

“Orange Pear Apple Bear” by Emily Gravett
I really have no idea what made this book so hilarious to my daughter but it used to crack. her. up!!

“Each Peach Pear Plum” by Janet and Allen Ahlberg
My daughter loooooves looking for the various characters in this book and has essentially memorized it.

“The Paper Bag Princess” by Robert Munsch
Now that my daughter is a little older, she loves yelling “Hey, Dragon” and “bum!” at the appropriate moments.

Bonus: Something for Mom!
“You Are a F*cking Awesome Mom” by Leslie Anne Bruce
I really wish this book was out when I was pregnant but I enjoyed it all the same as a toddler mom! If you gift this at a baby shower, hopefully Mom will read it while pregnant because once baby comes there will be no time!

“Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts” by Karen Kleiman
Another great book that recognizes how hard it is to be a mom and that helps new moms through those difficult moments. From the book description: “Over 90 percent of new mothers will have scary, intrusive thoughts about their baby and themselves. What if I drop him? What if I snap and hurt my baby? Mothering is so hard. I don’t know if I really want to do this anymore. Gosh, I’m so terrible for thinking that! Yet for too many mothers, those thoughts remain secret, hidden away in shame that make you feel even worse. But here’s the good news: you CAN feel better!”

That’s it!

This list is by no means exhaustive and I’ll likely add to it as I find more books in our collection that I left out, but it’s a great start for a baby registry!

One Response to “30 of the Best Baby Shower Books that Go Beyond “Goodnight Moon””

  1. Rich Wray says:

    Tracy — great! Jo got it on her e-mail and I hope you can add me to receive future mailings! I loved reading books to Rob, including the Hobbit, when he was older but probably not old enough. I believe he’s said that he doesn’t remember it! Too bad!

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