– Ask a Real Mom – Favorite Books For Every Kid on Your List

Before I had my first baby, I was a fourth-grade teacher, and my students surprised me with a baby shower. They each bought me a children’s book and wrote sweet notes inside the covers. It was such a blessing, and I still tear up when I open a book and read their notes. I love the baby shower trend of bringing a book instead of a card. A little board book costs about the same as a card and will be a treasure your whole family can enjoy together.

reading together

There is nothing sweeter than reading together, and there are so many benefits to reading aloud to your child as early as a newborn. Books may not be at the top of your baby registry, but they should definitely be on it. One of my close mom friends recommended adding some books to my registry so I didn’t get replicas of popular books– and boy, I’m glad I did!

Our Real Moms NEVER disappoint, so we reached out for advice and book recommendations. We’ve compiled this list of the best books for babies, toddlers, and big kids, as well as books the whole family can read together. Whether you’re an expectant mom creating a baby registry or a friend looking for a great gift– we have the perfect book for you!

Favorite Books For Infants and Toddlers

Poke a dot

We all know that the brand Melissa and Doug makes fabulous toys, but have you seen some of their amazing books? The Poke-A-Dot! collection features 20-page interactive board books with buttons to pop on every page. They are wonderful for counting, fine motor skills, and beginner reading. Real mom Chelsea says these books keep her toddler entertained during story time.

Where's the ladybug

Where’s the Ladybug is cute, bright, and perfect if your little one loves to play the game Peekaboo. Each page has pictures and a felt flap to introduce a hands-on approach to story-time for your little babe. The felt flaps are so great for really little ones to easily pull on and not worry about tearing. Where’s the Ladybug is part of a collection where each book ends with a mirror for the baby to see themselves.

Hello, Baby Animals

At birth, your baby’s color perception is limited, so black-and-white books are known to be easier for them to focus on. Although they may seem boring to adults, your newborn won’t take their eyes off them! Recommended by my very own mom, Souhila, Hello, Baby Animals, and other high-contrast books by Julissa Mora are great for your newborn’s eye and brain development.

baby touch and feel

Baby Touch and Feel books are a great way to introduce colors, animals, textures, and shapes to your baby. They have an extensive collection of 32 books for your baby to enjoy, and the photographs and tactile features will stimulate your baby’s brain and early fine motor skills. Real mom Emilee said her little boy loved these books from early on, and they helped him learn some of his first words.

Where is Baby’s Belly Button

Where is Baby’s Belly Button is a fun and interactive book with lifting flaps and bright colors.  Real mom Lindsay recommended this book because it allowed her to teach body parts to her sweet toddler as they read it. She said her little girl caught on fast and could point to her nose, eyes, and belly button while she read and had plenty of tickling opportunities.

Favorite Books For Preschoolers

The Pout Pout Fish

For the preschooler full of big emotions (all of them!), The Pout-Pout Fish is a great choice; this book is a great way to start conversations about emotions and feelings. The Pout-Pout Fish is about Mr. Fish, who always has a frown on his face but learns that life has a purpose and needs to find joy in it.  Real Mom Kendra, who is also a preschool teacher, said this is her favorite tool for teaching her students how to handle their emotions.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a book everyone should own. This book’s upbeat alphabet rhyme has all the letters race to the top of the coconut tree where there may or may not be enough room. Real mom April, who is also a teacher, says this book helped her son learn to write his letters!

The going to bed book

If you are anything like me, you want something short, sweet, and to the point when it comes to bedtime stories. The Going to Bed Book is a quick read that makes going to bed fun! Sandra Boynton is a fabulous author and illustrator; all her books are great for a funny and easy read.

little blue truck book

Little Blue Truck is a cute story that teaches kids the importance of being kind by helping others, and it’s perfect for the little boy who loves cars and trucks! Real Mom Quinn said her son always chooses this book when it comes to story time and happily reads it over and over.

Favorite Books For Elementary

beezus and Ramona

Some of my childhood favorite books are written by Beverly Cleary. The Ramona Collection is some of her best work and will be a favorite to any elementary-aged girl. It’s very easy to relate to her characters as she writes a comical depiction of what it is like to have a younger sibling. Real mom Toni B. says, “Whether you are the big or little sister, you are sure to love this series.”

The book Wonder

The book Wonder was a #1 New York Times Bestseller for over 5 years in a row!This story is about a boy named Auggie who was born with a facial deformity and struggles as he navigates going to school for the first time. I love that this book teaches kids sympathy, compassion, and kindness. Real mom Tara says, “This book is inspiring and should be read by everyone.”

oh the places you'll go book

When I was a fourth-grade teacher, one of my student’s parents brought Oh, the Places You’ll Go to me in a large envelope on the last day of school. She asked me to write a note of encouragement for her son on one of the inside pages. When I opened the book, every teacher he had growing up had written in the book as well. She told me she would give him this book the day he graduated high school, and I just thought that was the sweetest tradition and keepsake. Oh, the Places You’ll Go is a story that teaches kids to keep an open mind and take risks when they try new things and that they are on their way to greatness. So whether you’re graduating kindergarten or high school, this is a great gift to encourage the child in your life.

Favorite Books to Read as a Family

On the Night You Were Born

On the Night You Were Born is the book I bring to every baby shower. It is just one of those books that brings you to tears every time you read it. Real mom Brandy said, “Every mom should keep a copy in their homes to read and bond with their kids.” Nancy Tillman outdid herself with beautiful rhymes and illustrations, making it an easy read before bedtime. My favorite line will always be, “Heaven blew every trumpet and played every horn on the wonderful, marvelous night you were born.”

the giving tree

The Giving Tree is one of those books everyone loves; in fact, it was the most popular recommendation I received from moms. It is a parable that teaches kids the gift of giving out of pure love. This book is a great gift for a new mommy who, like the tree, will give and give and give to her children out of pure love.

the world needs who you were made to be

As if we needed one more reason to love Joanna Gaines, she goes and writes the book, The World Needs Who You Were Made to Be. The story is about how each child is unique and how their differences are important to successfully working together. No matter your age, this book will leave you feeling encouraged. Real mom Stephanie said this book is a family favorite and opens up great conversations about each child’s talents and uniqueness. Every child will enjoy this book because everyone needs to hear, “You’re one of a kind, and it’s so clear to see: The world needs who you were made to be.”

Creating Memories

I have so many amazing memories of reading with my mom as a child. She had a talent for finding the best books and enthusiastically reading them to my siblings and me. Now, I love reading and creating those same memories with my kids. Trust me- you can’t go wrong with gifting or registering for a special book – you won’t regret it!

For more baby essentials and registry advice, check out our GiveIt Blog, where our Real Moms share their tried and true tips and links for shopping and registering!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. The ideas are ours, but we may be compensated if you make a purchase by clicking on one of the links. Thanks for your support!



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