Any parent of young children can tell you that reading aloud to them has a wealth of benefits (so much so that some parents begin when the baby is still in utero!). From encouraging language and cognitive development, to increasing vocabulary and teaching book-handling skills — the list goes on and on. It can also be an enjoyable activity for the caregiver; here, I stress the words “can be.” Anyone who has read the same Paw Patrol book five times a night for the past two months may not regard it so favorably. That being said, there are tons of books out there that appeal to parents as well as children! Check out a few of my (and my daughter’s) favorites.
You may be familiar with Jimmy Fallon from “The Tonight Show,” but did you know that he is also an author? Fallon was so determined to get his daughter to utter “Dada” as her first word that he wrote a whole book about it: “Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada.” While this didn’t ultimately work out in his favor (apparently she said “Mama” first, the little rebel), the book was so popular that he followed it up with another: Everything is Mama. Both are short, sweet, and perfect for even the tiniest babies.
Speaking of tiny babies: Despite being only three months old, it’s pretty clear (to me) that my daughter is a genius, light-years ahead of her time, and will someday rule the world. Of course, even if we all believe this of our children, it doesn’t hurt to give them a bit of an academic push early on … right? I’ve been loving the Baby University series by physicist and mathematician Chris Ferrie. Some of his titles include “Newtonian Physics for Babies” and “General Relativity for Babies.” Not only did my daughter enjoy them (even if she hasn’t quite mastered quantum physics), but they even have my husband volunteering to do the nighttime reads. Not too shabby.
When baby is fussy, does he want a toy? A tambourine? What could it be? “What Does Baby Want” by Tupera Tupera was published in 2017 and quickly gained popularity, especially among nursing mothers. The large, circular-shaped board book is aesthetically pleasing to baby, with cheeky humor that is perfect for mom and dad.
There’s also something to be said for good ol’ fashioned favorites. Growing up, I absolutely loved an unassuming book entitled “Amos: The Story of an Old Dog and His Couch,” which I recently discovered is available through the Ocean State Libraries! If you have a long-lost favorite from your younger years, we would be happy to look it up and see if we can get it in for you. In the meantime, check out our large children’s book collection, and attend one of our great Storytimes! The Tuesday Family Storytime will resume in September, but we have multiple other storytime programs throughout the summer.
Cassie Skobrak is a reference librarian at the Westerly Library.