Books can be introduced to children when they are babies - a few months old. Babies enjoy books, like all other toys, in myriad different ways, not always in the ways we adults would imagine. They love the colours of the books. When they can turn the pages themselves, it is a great accomplishment for them. When you talk to them and show them the pictures in the books, and talk about the animals or their sounds or just read the story, they are captivated by the words, the sounds, the cadence, everything.
WHAT KIND OF KIDS' BOOKS ARE OUT THERE?
If you are wondering about what sorts of books are available for a child between the ages of 3 months to 3 years, these are a few points to consider.
Water Proof Bath Books: These are fun to play with in water, apt for babies above 3-6 months of age. Not suitable for everyone as not everyone has the possibility of a bath in a large tub. But they are still fun, being squishy and soft.
Board Books: These are often small (sometimes a bit bigger) hard covered books, easy to be handled by small children. These are the first books every child should have.
Paperback Books: Not all books are available in board book format. Especially if you want to read Indian language books to your child, you will have to make do with paperback books, which are torn easily. But if you can be careful, then some books are wonderful to read to small kids.
Story Books: Some story books that have musically or rhyming sentences are the best for small kids. They love the rhythm and tones of your voice when you read these books. They don't really understand all the words, but they do absorb the sounds and words which will one day lead to better language and speech. These books are enjoyed by a child for many years in many different ways.
Animal Books: Babies and small children often love animal pictures more than flowers or plants. They love baby faces the most though, and those are also available.
Shapes and Textures Books: Children love to see colourful shapes and to touch different textures, and books with punched out shapes, liftable flaps, and holes are also a bit hit. These books are loved by them for many months or even years. The smaller children tend to tug at teh flaps, so be careful to have supervised reading then using books with "yankable" flaps.
Rhymes Books: These again when accompanied by good illustrations are very well liked by small children. Music and cadence are important to small kids, and they love things that can be sung. As soon as they can make a few sounds, they will join in your poetry (rhyme or story) recitation with their babbles.
Sound and Light Effects Books: Some books have sound or light buttons on them, and some children like them, some don't. The electronic sound is not pleasant to all children. Children who avoid sensory overload do not prefer such books.
OUR BEST LOVED BOOKS
We used scores of books for our kids when they were infants. We also bought many books simply because they are the most popular or the most recommended, but found them to be less enjoyable than many other less famous ones. Books, like clothes, are a personal choice, so different things may be attractive to different kids. People love the books that they themselves read in their childhood, so some of the very old classic kids books are still very popular. Some books are more relevant to the cultures of a certain country.
These are the TOP BOOKS that we think are worth buying for small kids as their first books. You can click on the images to go to the products on Amazon India. These are Amazon Affiliate Links. A few good books of each category are given, you can choose even one from each category to start your first collection.
The kids love to play with bath books in water, and these books make it easier to give them a bath. These are usually made of vinyl like material and claimed to be safe to be chewed on. They are not easy to tear and are water-proof.
1. Squirty Series: Squirty Duck Bath Book
Other books in this series: Squirty Series: Squirty Fish Bath Book. These two books are available as a set as well.
2. Playgro Splashing Fun Friends Bath Book
You can find many other Bath Books HERE.
TOUCH & FEEL BOOKS
1. Baby Touch: Playbook Board Book
This was one of our children's top favorite touch book with lots of textures, shapes, liftable flaps, holes to peep through, and vibrant colours. And it stays a child's favorite for a long, long time.
2. Baby Touch: Flipflap Board Book
This book from the same series as above is a super book for stimulating children's tactile ability. The book has liftable flaps, colourful and bright pictures and different textures to explore like coarse glitter, ridged plastic, smooth plastic, velvet, wool, mirror finish and foil.
3. Touch and Feel Play Book - The Very Hungry Caterpillar
This book is by the author Eric Carle, and based on his famous book, "The very hungry catepillar". We believe that this book is more useful that the classic book itself, as this one combines lot of other things like touch and other things like animals, fruits, etc. This is a great book that presents new age appropriate information and fun to kids of a wide range of age from few months to 3 years of age.
4. Baby Touch and Feel Animals
Animal pictures and their names are given on each page with a sound element to be read. And there are tactile elements on each page to be touched and explored. Be it the fur of a rabbit or a fluffy puppy, kid love to touch these adorable animals. Great for babies and toddlers.
5. Where's Spot?
A sweet and engaging book originally written by the author for his own son, this book has us looking for the missing puppy, liftings flaps on every page. Suitable for babies to toddlers. Be careful about the flaps!
These are books that have a story to tell, so the child enjoys these books for many years, and as they grow older they understand the story more and more. The books of Julia Donaldson are excellent in this category, and you can buy most of them with your eyes closed and still won't regret them.
1. The Jungle Book (First Stories) Board book
Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book is a timeless tale of growing up, and the main character is Mowgli is loved by each generation that read the story or watched the movie or the series. This board book is based on the characters of this story and depicts some favorite scenes in wild colorful glee.
2. Monkey Puzzle Board Book
A little baby monkey is lost and is looking for his mommy. A little blue butterfly is helping him find her. He must first describe his mom for the butterfly to find him, and that turns out to be more difficult and more fun than we can imagine. A must buy. This book reading will usually begin and end with a lot of cuddles with your child.
3. The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's Child
These two books are a must-buy from Julia Donaldson's works. If you wish to buy only two books, we would suggest buying "The Monkey Puzzle" and "The Gruffalo" because these two combine so many things into the story - rhyme, story, rhythm, animals, exciting story relevant to kids, lovely illustrations, etc.
4. The Runaway Peacock (HINDI)
If your child will have Hindi in their school curriculum, and you do not speak Hindi at home, then it is advisable to add some Hindi books to the collection. When children hear the sounds of a certain language from early on, it is easier for them to acquire/learn that language later on.
Ghumantu Mor is a story full of imagination and colours. Tulika books have many books in Indian languages. You can check out their website: www.tulikabooks.com This book, Ghumatu Mor, is about a peacock that escapes from mother's saree and roams around the Indian town's roads and sky... You will love it and so will your child.
5. Where is that Cat? (HINDI)
Tulika Publishers' book, "Kahan gayi billi?" is also very nice for small kids. The cheeky cat is nowhere to be found, and again we make a relatable trip down some Indian localities and scenes in a small town. A cute story.
SING SONG RHYTHM BOOKS
These books don't necessarily have a storyline, but you can make up anything you want to go with any picture for small kids! The books are lovely to read to small tots in a sing-song voice and for the little ones to join in according to their vocal ability. A child exposed to both music and speech, will always sing before talking, that is how important music is to our brains. Choose any book from this section to have fun filled sing-along sessions.
1. Moo, Baa, La La La
Silly animal pictures and silly noises. What more can a small child ask for? Absolutely great book for toddlers.
2. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See
A good book for toddlers till up to preschoolers. It is also perfect for acting along with it.
3. Old Macdonald had a Farm: A baby sing-along board book
A popular song that every child hears is made into a board book. Kids love the song and love your performance. Give it your best and your child will reward you with a lot of giggles!
4. Llama Llama Red Pajama Board book
A sleep time book, but with lovely colours and emotions. The mom and baby story is enjoyed by kids a lot and this book was a huge favourite in our home too.
5. Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss
This famous author's books are popular since many decades for children of all ages. This book is absurdly funny and also introduces the child to making up silly rhyming words, a prelude to the world of phonics.
These are superb to show pictures of animals or baby faces, etc., and keep the kids occupied by themselves, even when you are not talking about the book or reading it to them. These also increase their vocabulary when you talk about the pictures, and even if they cannot speak, they internalize the words and names they hear.
1. Hug (Bobo and Friends) Board Book
This book is a masterpiece with just one word, HUG. Pictures of animals on every page, with moms hugging their little ones create a beautiful opportunity for cuddlesome reading together of this book. It has quiet colours, and is perfect for an evening read or a bedtime read.
2. Toddle Waddle by Julia Donaldson
This is a book that does have words, but not really sentences or phrases, so we have put this book in the picture books category. Delightful, cute pictures on every page taking us through a beach trip from the POV of a toddler. A sure shot favourite.
3. Baby Faces Peekaboo
This book filled with pictures of babies, is an instant hit with babies. Notice how even a week old child will take interest in another infant near them? Babies are automatically drawn to other little humans and this books charms them no end.
4. First 100 Animals
This book is filled with animal pictures and children just love to hear you show them the pictures, say the names of the animals in a funny way, and make the sounds you think they make. Giggles are guaranteed.
5. 101 First Words At Home
This is a book that is again full of pictures and the corresponding words, but no stories or songs. A good book to be introduced to 2-3 year old kids to increase their English vocabulary.
We would really love to hear from you about books that you read to your child in your own regional languages. Do join our Facebook Group and join in the conversation!
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