Baby’s First books: The 17 Best Books for Newborns and Infants

Baby's First books: The 17 Best Books for Newborns and Infants

There are so many books for newborns on the market that it can get a little confusing. Our list of baby’s first books is a condensed look at the books on the market to help you build your child’s first library.

The books for infants below were chosen to reflect the reading you’ll want to do for your baby’s first few months. Primarily, you’ll be using these stories at bedtime, during tummy time, or to enhance their eyesight and stimulate their senses.

**This post contains affiliate links and will result in a small commission if you make a purchase. Some items have been gifted. All opinions are our own.

What books are good for newborns?

For newborns and infants, it’s important to expose them to high-contrast books to help develop eyesight. It’s also a good idea to read to them during tummy time to encourage them to lift their heads.

Baby’s First Books for Bedtime

A newborn’s bedtime routine should start right away! Read the same bedtime books every night at the same time to signal to your little one that it’s bedtime and not just time for a snooze.

Goodnight Moon and other books for a 2-year-old

 Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

This classic children’s literature is beloved by generations of readers and listeners. The quiet poetry of the words and the gentle, lulling illustrations combine to make a perfect book for the end of the day. This is one of the most popular bedtime stories for babies ever written.

Why We Love This Book: Soothing, repetitive phrases guide children to sleep.
Appropriate for ages 0-4
Find this book in Newborn Books / Best Board Books / 1-year-old Books / 2-year-old Books / Bedtime Books / Classic Kids Books/ Bunny Books

Time for Bed and more books for 2-year-olds

Time for Bed by Mem Fox

Rhyming, animals, and the sweet words in this book make it the perfect companion before bed. I loved setting up a routine that let my kids know bedtime was coming.

We would bathe, put on lotion, and snuggle up to read a story. I made sure that my voice was quiet and soothing. Even if you have a new baby, incorporating a book into your nightly routine is a wonderful way to end the day.

Why We Love This Book: Rhyming for language development and lovely illustrations of animals make this a perfect going-to-bed book to include in the first books for babies.

Appropriate for ages 0-3
Find this book in Bedtime Books / Classic Books for Kids / 2-year-old Books / First Year Reading Tips / Newborn Books / Best Board Books / 1-year-old Books

I love you to the moon and back

I Love You to the Moon and Back by Amelia Hepworth

This charming bedtime story is perfect for our list of books for infants. It’s all about a mama bear explaining how much she loves her baby all throughout the day, before tucking her child in for bed. It’s a modern classic.

If Animals Kissed Good Night

If Animals Kissed Good Night by Ann Whitford Paul

This is an adorable bedtime story for babies. Even though your little one may not understand all the words, the adorable pictures of animals kissing good night are too cute and your baby will love the sounds of your voice as well as the rhymes.

Baby’s First Books About Love

Prop your baby up facing you as you read these love books for infants to them. They will learn about emotion from the sound of your voice and enjoy watching your face move as you talk. After all, your face is a newborn’s first glimpse into the world.

and tango makes three

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson

An amazing story about two male penguins adopting a penguin. Adorable text and photos will expose your child to this unique and true story while also teaching a lesson that there are many different kinds of families.

Why We Love This Book: This book is a cuddly way to teach a child that love is love.
Appropriate for ages 1-5
Find this book in
Zoo Books, Banned Books, Father’s Day Picture Books, Books for a 2-year-olds, Best Books for Newborns

love you head to toe

Love You Head to Toe by Ashley Barron

This is an adorable post filled with rhymes and describing love. With each amazing illustration, the book takes a picture of a baby and turns it into an animal. This is a perfect pick in books for newborns!

In this book, babies splash like ducklings, stretch like cats and so much more.


Hug by Jez Alborough

Jackie’s family loves this story! A little monkey is looking for a hug and asking all his little animal friends! When reading this book, ask your little one for a hug every time the monkey does.

Black and White Books for Newborns

Did you know that newborns can only see in black and white? These high-contrast books help them to develop their eyesight right from birth.

Baby, boo and more books for 1-year-olds

Baby, Boo! by Beth Hardwood

My husband loved to read this to our little one repeatedly. It’s peekaboo in a board book. There are black and white photos of other babies, then the baby goes missing and a mirror appears for your child to find themselves. The giggles this book produced from kids were the best!

Why We Love This Book: Black and white illustrations for newborns, high contrast images, interactive, baby faces
Appropriate for ages 0-18 months
Find this book in Newborn Books / Best Board Books / 1-year-old Books

look look

LOOK LOOK! by Peter Linenthal

The simple text mixed with Black and White high contrast photos makes this a great book to read off the bat. My boys used to point and stare at each image as I repeated over and over again what they were seeing.

Why We Love This Book: Black and white illustrations for newborns, high contrast images
Appropriate for ages 0-1
Find this book in Newborn Books / Best Board Books / 1-year-old Books

I kissed the baby

I Kissed the Baby by Mary Murphy

This black-and-white board book is perfect for newborns since they can only see black and white initially. It’s all about a new baby duckling and animals talking about their interactions with it. Make it interactive by following the tasks talked about in the book – tickling, hugging, and kissing!

Why We Love This Book: It has repetition and rhyme, black and white illustrations for newborns, interactive.
Appropriate for ages 0-1
Find this book in Newborn Books / Best Board Books / 1-year-old Books / 2-year-old Books

Interactive Books for Infants

The senses we take for granted are new for your infant. The books below have flaps to grip and different textures to explore. Lightly guide their fingers and help them interact with the interactive books below. Eventually, they will learn to reach for the books themselves.

Five Little Monkeys and other books for a 1-year-old

Five Little Monkeys by Cottage Door Press

This adorable finger puppet book is interactive and fun. The repetition in this classic rhyme encourages language development and as children get older, they may start babbling along while you read.

The finger puppet encourages hand-eye coordination while they interact with the finger puppet on this book.

Why We Love This Book: encourages language development and hand-eye coordination, interactive
Appropriate for Ages baby -2 years
Find this Book in Counting Books/ Interactive Books For Kids

Dear Zoo and other books for a 1-year-old

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

The descriptions of the animals in this zoo book are so funny. The flaps are fun for little ones and as kids get older, they realize how silly it is to write to the zoo for a pet.

Why We Love This Book: This book was an absolute favorite in our house. It’s lift the flap pages make it a fun interactive book for babies and toddlers.
Appropriate for ages 1-3
Find this book in
Zoo books, best books for a 1-year-old, first books for newborns

pat the bunny

Pat the Bunny (Touch and Feel Book) by Dorothy Kunhardt 

This touch-and-feel book is perfect for little ones to feel the soft bunny and look in the mirror.  It’s such a cute classic that launched interactive board books for babies and spawned a million spoof books!

Why we love this book: We love that this board book is multi-sensory
Find this book in Books for Newborns / Books for a 1-Year-Old / Interactive Books For Kids / Bunny Books for Babies

Where is Baby's Belly Button and other books for a 1-year-old

Where is Baby’s Belly Button by Karen Katz

Sweet pictures and lift-the-flaps make interactive fun in this adorable board book. You can look at the pictures and then play with your baby. “Where is your belly button?”


Baby's First books: Books for Newborns and Infants

Classic Books for Newborns

The classic books for newborns below are perfect to keep your infant’s attention during tummy time. Place the books in front of them while your read to encourage them to lift their head.


Alphablock by Christopher Franceschelli

Each page in this book is cut into the shape of a letter with chunky pages that are easy to turn.  This huge board book is amazing to hold and a definite favorite.

It’s also the first in a series featuring countablock, dinoblock, and 12 more!

brown bear brown bear

Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See by Bill Martin Jr.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear is a classic for a reason. It uses Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle’s signature style to teach about colors and animals.  The repetitive pattern is addictive.  There are so many activities that can be done with this great book for toddlers. But the colors and pictures are perfect for even the littlest reader.

Why We Love This Book: It’s a great introduction to colors and animals.
Appropriate for ages 0-4
Find this book in Color Books / Newborn Books / Best Board Books / 1-year-old Books / Learning Books for 1-year-olds / 2-year-old Books / Classic Kids Books

The very hungry catterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

There are so many things about this classic book that I love. Not only can you talk about days of the week, food, and counting, you can follow the caterpillar on his journey to becoming a butterfly. When it comes to books for infants, this one is tops.

Did you find any books for infants and newborns to add to your home library? For more first books for baby, check out the posts below.

reading to babies

Essential Tips for Reading to Baby

This post explores ways to interact with your newborn to encourage language skills in everyday life. It also explores the importance of reading to newborns and includes a list of books for the baby’s first year.

Each book also comes with an explanation of how the books can be used to promote reading readiness skills with your baby.

9 Best Books for Baby Girls: A First Library Collection

Check out these charming girly books for infants.

baby girl library
Baby boy's library - the baby books for boys

7 Great Baby Books for Boys to Read as They Grow

These are the perfect books for infant boys.

best baby books baby shower

7 Gender-Neutral Baby Books for Families to Cherish Forever

We love the stories on this list for babies of any gender!

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