The moment I found out I was pregnant I began to compile a list of books I wanted our future baby to have in their library. At first I was automatically adding all of my childhood favorites, only to soon find out that some of the stories were pretty messed up (I see you Beatrix Potter). So I started to seek out some new books along with some old harmless favorites (Go Dog Go, Brown Bear Brown Bear, etc.) to create the perfect collection for our little one. Once I found out that she was a girl I started to add some empowering books for young girls, so that she would learn at a young age her value, and be inspired by other women who came before her. I remember people looking at our baby registry and saying “wow that’s a lot of books” haha.
I want Olivia to have a love of reading and a fierce imagination like I did as a child (only child perks). So I have carefully curated her library to include books that are both educational and beautifully illustrated. If a book has less than stellar illustrations it better have a really good message, or if a book is kind of silly and pointless it better be so beautiful to look at haha. But honestly, there are so many wonderful books out there for children these days, and I’ve had so much fun adding to her collection.
board books + flap books
These are your everyday (durable) books that I’ve let Olivia play with and turn the pages from the get go. I didn’t realize this but a lot of books come in both hardback and board book, so when board books were an option I’d get those. I would hate for her to tear any of the pages just yet.
— from left to right top to bottom —
Are You My Mother? this is a classic and one of my favorite books, and its story still holds up generation after generation
Dear Zoo I actually didn’t grow up with this book, but it came highly recommended, it’s a very cute story on finding the perfect pet
Olivia’s ABCs obviously we had to get all of the Olivia books, this one is fun because it refers back to illustrations and scenarios from the entire series
Guess How Much I Love You this is a cult classic, although I wish I didn’t have to say “little/big nutbrown hair” 1,000 times haha it’s a lot
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom I had this growing up and I just love “rapping” it to Olivia haha everytime Derek reads it I get frustrated because he doesn’t do it right
Doggies: A Counting and Barking Book this actually wasn’t on our list but was a favorite of one of my co-workers and it is SO cute. It’s a counting book based on different dog barks. Love it.
Olivia Counts another clever homage to all of the Olivia books
Dot Town - Where Are You Blue? I randomly stumbled upon this one, but the illustrations are really pretty and the story is a fun game of telephone. Olivia loves when I do the voices for each person. Then tend to either be southern or British. It’s all I have up my sleeve.
Fairy Friends Counting we have this whole series and it was an off-registry gift from a friend and I am SO in love with them. The illustrations are made with pressed flowers and other items found in nature and they are just so beautiful and meaningful
Moo, Baa, La La La! this is just such a funny little animal sounds book
Olivia we had to get the OG version obviously
Oh No George! this is Olivia’s favorite book. She laughs and laughs when you say “oh no George!” a funny story about a dog who just can’t help but get into trouble. So cute.
The Three Little Pigs I had issues with this story because in most versions the pigs get eaten and the wolf like stalks the last pig and then the pig eats the wolf (?!) its all very weird. This is the vegetarian version haha where the little pigs run to the next pigs house and the wolf doesn’t eat any of them, and he burns his butt on the pot of turnips and runs away. Also the illustrations remind me of The Stinky Cheese Man (remember that one?)
Brown Bear Brown Bear I had to throw in some Eric Carl classics, and this one is a fan favorite with Olivia. We have a bunch of his books on rotation.
Spot Goes to the Farm I had all of the spot books growing up and I just love the hidden elements, as does Olivia
Olivia’s Opposites super cute and dramatic just like Olivia (the pig not the baby)
Spot Goes to School another Spot classic
Olivia Saves the Circus we love how witty and sarcastic the Olivia series is and this one is no exception
for the baby with designers as parents
Obviously when your dad is an Architect and your mom is an Interior Designer, you’re going to get a lot of graphically pleasing or nerdy punny designer books. Which honestly these are some of her faves. Who can blame her?
Art For Baby so this is a fun alternative to black and white abstract cards to stimulate your baby in the early months, but in the form of famous black and white art pieces
Pantone: Box of Color this is such a cute little set where each book represents a different color with cut outs of objects in that color. I have these spread out on the shelves and didn’t feel like linking each one ha but you get the idea
Romeo & Juliet we have several of these Babylit books and just love them, they are all primers (counting, colors, seasons, animals, camping, weather, etc) but are adapted to be an over simplified version of the actual book. So creative.
Charley Harper’s Animal Alphabet these books are full of his beautiful abstract geometric animals, and it rhymes which I always love in an alphabet book
Counting With Frida this was a fun off registry gift and bilingual counting book, and the illustrations are really dynamic which I love
Fairy Friends Seasons this is my favorite of the series, I just love how each season is depicted
Charley Harper’s Book of Colors another beautiful charley harper book
Alice in Wonderland this one is a colors primer with really punchy illustrations
Pantone Colors this just goes beyond nerdy for any color lover or graphic designer
Dwell Studio: What’s Inside? Neighborhood this is a really fun and modern book that names items in each area of your city: post office, fire station, etc.
Baby’s First Eames: The ABCs of Modern Architecture and Design this is my all time favorite book for babies of design loving parents. It goes through the ABCs of modern architecture and furniture and even has a little kitty hidden on every page. This book was so well done. I can’t say enough about it.
Eating the Alphabet I love this alphabet book from the 80s, the illustrations are gorgeous watercolors and it introduces her to so many new fruits and veggies. We can even go through it and talk about what she has already eaten.
beautiful picture books
These books are my absolute favorites. While she is a little to young to turn the paper pages on her own, she just loves the beautiful illustrations they all have. All of her picture books are either beautiful and inspiring in the message or just inspiring to look at. Picture books tend to be more expensive than board books so I usually find these second hand or whenever I can get a good deal.
I Want My Hat Back so this one has sort of a dark ending, but the illustrations are so beautiful that I sort of just gloss over the fact that the bear eats the bunny for stealing his hat. I just love Jon Klassen’s illustrations. There is a whole series of these hat books and they are so pretty.
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie another cult classic. We have this along with If You Give a Moose a Muffin, and she just loves them. They are just so funny and elaborate.
Little People Big Dreams: Audrey Hepburn I love love this series. It’s a bunch of books focusing on women throughout history. I was surprised to learn some of the back stories of some of these women, it’s a fun and beautiful way to learn more about the empowering women in our world.
Home this is such a gorgeous book that talks about the different types of homes you can live in from a house in the suburbs to an apartment in the city to an igloo or a hole in a tree. Again stunning illustrations.
Olivia Forms a Band this one is probably at the top of our Olivia series list (along with Olivia and the Fairy Princesses — which is anti-princesses) because of the sound effects of Olivia’s band. She just loves it! And her musician daddy loves reading it to her.
Penguin Problems This book is hilarious, there is a whole series of them. They teach you to appreciate the world around you and not complain so much.
Mother Bruce This was a gift and it is SO clever. I just love it and would recommend it to anyone. Bruce the bear is a victim of mistaken identity when some baby goslings think he is their mother. Shenanigans ensue.
Triangle I just love this series (Circle and Square too). The story is silly and clever, but it had me at the illustrations. They are just stunning!
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild This book is all about being yourself in a world full of conformity, and again the illustrations are a show stopper. Are you sensing a pattern here?
Little Owl Lost This book is so cute and a part of the same series as Oh No George and Shh! We Have a Plan. A little owl is trying to find his mommy by describing her to a squirrel and it’s just too funny.
Last Stop on Market Street This is a great book about diversity, inner-city living, and giving back to your community. Its such a beautiful story.
A Greyhound A Groundhog This book has absolutely no point other than being a big fat tongue twister, but the illustrations are amazing and it’s fun to read haha
The Day the Crayons Quit This book was always recommended to me and it’s so funny! Each color of crayon has written a letter to their owner expressing their concerns about his coloring style. Very clever.
Little People Big Dreams: Coco Chanel Another favorite from this series. I had no idea that Coco Chanel is the reason we don’t have to wear corsets anymore, did you?
So clearly books are very important to our family, and not just any book. Thoughtful books. We have made it a point to tell family and friends that rather than blinky annoying toys as gifts, I rather her receive books that can grow with her over the years. I constantly have a running Amazon list to send anyone who is looking to give her something. I love to shop small and support local businesses or even buy our books gently used at Half Price, Thrift Books, or yard sales. Whenever i’m out and about I’m always keeping an eye out for more books to add to her collection. I’m so excited that December is around the corner so that I can start her Twelve Books of Christmas (more on that later). What are some of your favorite children’s books?