A picture of several books for babies in their first year on a bright yellow background

Image: Alex Francis/Penguin

From newborn to toddler, a baby’s first year is a busy one. As they start to engage with the world around them, their little brains are working constantly. Those early months can feel like a whirlwind of milestones, but with every baby developing at a different rate, there is one ‘first’ it is definitely worth making time to experience together: baby’s first book. So, here are our top picks for every age and stage in your baby's first year! 

Books for your newborn (0-3 months)

Baby Touch: My First Book: a black-and-white cloth book (2020)

Tiny babies first see in black and white, making My First Book’s monochrome illustrations perfect to help develop a newborn baby’s vision. Simple images and touch-and-feel patches provide a multi-sensory experience, as well as helping focus attention and concentration for months-old little ones. Plus, it’s made from padded cloth so is extra safe to chew.

Baby Touch: A black-and-white buggy book (2021)

This is the perfect book to keep close by when you are out and about. Designed to entertain babies when their vision is still developing, the friendly faces in this book will keep your child’s attention even if everything around them is a bit busy. The chunky pages mean the book can cope with a few drops, knocks, and gnaws, and the detachable clip and strap are a handy extra when you’ve already got enough to carry with you.

Baby Touch: Faces: a black-and-white book (2019)

As we said before, in the earliest months of a baby’s life, their vision is still developing. So, as their eyes adjust, they see in black and white, and high contrast colours like yellow and red; colours used across many of the books in the Baby Touch seriesBaby Touch: Faces is designed to help babies’ developing eyesight, using simple images to introduce different faces and expressions, including your baby’s own.

Baby Touch: Vehicles: a black-and-white book (2021)

Vroom vroom! Babies will love this wheely fun black-and-white book designed to develop their eyesight from birth. Boats, diggers, buses, and bicycles – this book has it all, plus some faces to wave to along the way. The simple text will also help children as they start to build their vocabulary for when they are ready to spot vehicles in the big wide world. 

Books for your infant (3-6 months)

Baby Touch: Tummy Time (2020)

Tummy time – placing a baby on their stomach for up to 10 minutes at a time – has been shown to be beneficial in a number of ways, including strengthening the head, neck and back, and developing key motor skills. Keeping a baby entertained during tummy time is another matter though, but this sturdy board book has the answer. With lots of bright colours, textures and peepholes to explore, the pages of Baby Touch: Tummy Time can be tied together using a ribbon, making it easy to use even when your baby is on their tummy.

Baby Touch: Pets (2021)

Whether your little one is growing up surrounded by pets or not, this fun book is a must-have. Full of different textures for your baby to stroke and touch, they’ll meet a range of pets along the way. The simple text and bold illustrations will engage your child as they encounter a sparkly goldfish, a scaly lizard, and a fluffy dog.

Baby Touch: Peekaboo (2019)

This lift-the-flap book – another favourite from Ladybird’s Baby Touch series – is fantastically tactile, with bright, bold, eye-catching illustrations and a range of different textures to see and feel. The large flaps are perfect for a game of peekaboo, encouraging young babies to interact with the images as they start to learn about the world around them.

Baby Touch: Playbook (2019)

With lots of pictures to look at, holes to peek through, textures to explore and even a mirror to study, this touch-and-feel playbook features friendly animals and engaging characters of all shapes and sizes, from elephants to bees. This is a fantastic book to look at with your 3-6-month-old, encouraging them to interact with the textures and flaps as you explore the pages together. 

Books for your baby (6-12 months)

Baby Touch: Night Night (2020)

Need a little help getting them to settle? This little book will become every new parent’s bedtime hero. Night Night features soothing text, star-shaped peepholes, touchable patches and the colours cleverly fade from light to dark as you read the book, ideal for lulling a baby or toddler to sleep. 

Baby Touch: Animals Tab Book (2019)

Use the animal-shaped tabs to turn the pages of this book and introduce your baby to some friendly animals, including penguins, frogs and lions. Robust enough to withstand even the most enthusiastic young reader, this board book features big touch-and-feel areas to stroke and wonderful pictures to talk about. Each page talks about different types of animals, from pets to farmyard creatures to those that live under the sea, making it a great first-word book.

Baby Touch: Fairy Tales (2021)

Introduce your little ones to some of children’s literature’s most famous characters with this bright and fun board book. The easy-to-grab tabs and textured patches will encourage your baby’s sensory development. And the colourful illustrations of fairy tales such as Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood are sure to be a visual treat for children from birth upwards. 

Gift books for new arrivals

Baby Touch: Ears (2020)

A different pair of ears stick out of every page in this fun book from Baby Touch. Aimed at helping to stimulate babies’ developing senses, this book is made of soft padded cloth with no hard edges, is super cuddly and chewable, and handily machine washes at 30 degrees. And if little ones get tired of tugging on ears they can always switch to Baby Touch: Tails!

Baby Touch: Hello, Daddy! (2020)

Say hello to all sorts of baby and daddy creatures in this book which will delight both new parents and their little ones. Snuggle up together and neigh with daddy horse before roaring along with daddy tiger. And make sure you give yourself a wave hello in the mirror at the end!

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star: Ladybird Touch and Feel Rhymes (2016)

Many experts – and parents – believe a good bedtime routine is a key part of encouraging good sleep habits, and what better way to lull baby to sleep than with a favourite nursery rhyme? This collection features five much-loved bedtime songs, including Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star; Wee Willie Winkie; Hush-a-bye, Baby; Hey Diddle Diddle; and Rock-a-bye, Baby. Friendly characters and stimulating textures also encourage babies to engage with the pictures, as well as the songs.

Baby Touch: Colours (2019)

This touch-and-feel playbook celebrates all the colours of the rainbow and would make a beautiful addition to any nursery bookshelf. Part of the Baby Touch range, this is a board book designed to be used from birth, encouraging interaction and play even for very young babies. Toddlers will also enjoy learning all about the colours and exploring the different sensations and textures on each page.

Baby Touch: Shapes (2019)

This engaging book makes a perfect gift for baby’s first year. Its bold colours and interesting textures will appeal to young babies, stimulating their senses and encouraging them to interact with the touch-and-feel panels on every double-page. As they get older, little explorers will find there is even more to discover as they start to learn about shapes, including squares, circles, triangles and stars.

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