Research shows the value of reading to your baby from day one. Infants are taking in language from books and hearing the rhythm of language as they do from conversation, activating brain cells that lead to eventual understanding and using words learned.

As your child enters the second half of his first year, he is on the move and listening to books of interest. Chose books that are appropriate for his age. Certainly try anything that will hold his interest. Some children will listen to a bit of a story but usually at this age they need catchy rhythm, repetition of words and phrases, simple rhyming lines about babies’ favorite subjects: love, hugs, body parts, toys, daily routines, animals and of course themselves. Clear simple colorful pictures hold their interest and relate to the words being digested.

When I was visiting Caroline, I fell in love with two of her favorite books that her other grandma got for her. Grandma Perry is an avid reader who bestowed the love of books on her daughter. It seems to have been passed to the next generation too! I wanted to share them with you because they have all the elements of a good book for babies.

I just had to read the title of I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rosetti-Shustak, and Caroline started to smile. yes,  10-month-old can have favorites already. This darling tale of a toddler professing his love for his teddy bear through opposites invites a little tickle on the toes and tap to your child’s top and bottom side. Repetition of “I love your..” builds learning and emphasizes the little change of adding new words at the end–inside/outside, happy side/sad side, or running/walking. Always add gestures to your stories. Remember that around 9 months is when babies are capable of repeating simple motor gestures and therefore ready for sign language. Gestures precede and enhance language development.

Caroline’s other favorite is Baby Cakes by Karma Wilson. You know you have a catchy, rhythmic book when the lines keep repeating in your head long after reading the book! Baby Cakes is one of those books. Along the same theme of the baby/toddler expressing affection for his teddy bear, just as we love, kiss and smooch our own baby cakes. Providing plenty of opportunity to add gestures to the story, this book encourages bouncing on the lap, clapping, playing peek-a-boo, laughing, singing and hugging.

What are your child’s favorite books? Please share them in the comments below.